Today, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) Executive Director released guidance for agencies implementing the Biden-Harris Permitting Action Plan. This guidance will strengthen and accelerate Federal environmental review and permitting, and ensure crucial improvements to America’s infrastructure are on time, on task, and on budget.
This guidance will support Federal agencies as they carry out the timely and ambitious goals of the Permitting Action Plan. These goals include better permitting outcomes, more predictability for project sponsors, and increased accountability across Federal agencies as they implement the once-in-a-generation investments in the Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The guidance provides key strategies and processes to ensure that Federal environmental reviews and permitting processes are effective, efficient, timely, and transparent. Specifically, the guidance provides direction for agencies to:
- Accelerate smart permitting through early cross-agency coordination;
- Establish clear timeline goals and track key project information;
- Engage early and meaningfully with States, Tribal Nations, territories, and local communities consistent with the Administration’s commitment to advancing environmental justice;
- Improve agency responsiveness, technical assistance, and support; and
- Use agency resources and the environmental review process to improve environmental and community outcomes, including minimizing pollution.
The Administration has also convened sector-specific teams of experts to coordinate across the Federal Government on siting, permitting, supply chain, and related issues. The guidance directs these sector teams to identify and provide regular updates to the Permitting Council on:
General permitting issues—including issues related to personnel, budget, processes, administration, or legislative considerations and policies—that should be addressed to reduce bottlenecks and facilitate the successful and timely review of permit applications for projects; Large, complex, or significant infrastructure projects that may warrant the attention of senior agency officials and the Permitting Council to help complete environmental review and permitting soundly and expeditiously; and Strategies to address disputes or complicated issues, including opportunities to streamline environmental analyses.
Additionally, the memorandum provides guidance to agencies and sector teams on recommending infrastructure projects to the Permitting Council Executive Director for inclusion on the Federal Permitting Dashboard. The dashboard offers accountability and transparency for Federal agencies, project developers, and interested members of the public to track the Federal Government’s environmental review and authorization processes.
Taken together, these actions will help grow our clean energy economy, increase our Nation’s energy security, revitalize communities across the country, lower costs for families, support the creation of good-paying jobs, and mobilize infrastructure investments in a timely and sound manner.