Federal Memorandum Further Streamlines Permitting Process

On April 9, federal agency heads signed the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will further implement the administration’s executive order to streamline the federal permitting process for major infrastructure projects.

The MOU calls for greater coordination between federal agencies, establishing permitting timetables under a designated “lead agency” to provide a single environmental impact statement and issue one record of decision with the goal completing the permitting process within two years.

Under the MOU, coordinating federal agencies will conduct their review processes simultaneously rather than the current sequential process that has resulted in unnecessary and costly delays.

The MOU was signed by the heads of the departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and Homeland Security as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said, “The Department has been vigorously implementing the President’s ‘One Federal Decision’ policy since last August to reduce costs and unnecessary burdens that have long delayed infrastructure projects. It is essential for all Federal resource agencies to work together to cut red tape and deliver infrastructure and safety improvements more rapidly and spurring economic growth.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said, “This is another important step toward rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. Major projects can too easily get bogged down in bureaucracy, and these reforms will go right at that logjam. This initiative reflects tools Congress provided in the most recent highway bill to expedite critical projects. Moreover, this builds on our recent action to provide critical funding for improvements to our bridges, highways, railways, and airports. We will continue to work with the administration to advance this priority.”

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said, “Time is money. Reviewing and approving infrastructure projects in the most efficient way possible is critical to our Nation’s efforts in building a 21st century infrastructure and keeping project costs from escalating. I am pleased that the Administration is exercising the authority provided by Congress to streamline the review process for infrastructure projects. Today’s announcement is a positive step forward in the fight against inefficient, bureaucratic permitting.”

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