White House Aims to Streamline Environmental Permits to Accelerate Infrastructure Projects

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes $973 billion over five years from fiscal 2022 through fiscal 2026, including $550 billion in new investments for all modes of transportation, water, power, broadband, cybersecurity, energy, environmental remediation, resilience, and more.

To make the most of these historic investments and ensure infrastructure projects are delivered on time and budget, the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing a new Permitting Action Plan to strengthen and accelerate federal permitting and environmental reviews by fully leveraging existing permitting authorities, as well as new provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Action Plan outlines the Administration’s strategy for ensuring that Federal environmental reviews and permitting processes are effective, efficient, and transparent, guided by the best available science to promote positive environmental and community outcomes, and shaped by early and meaningful public engagement.

The Action Plan is built on five key elements:

  • Accelerating permitting through early cross-agency coordination to appropriately scope reviews, reduce bottlenecks, and use the expertise of sector-specific teams.
  • Establishing clear timeline goals and tracking critical project information to improve transparency and accountability, providing increased certainty for project sponsors and the public.
  • Engaging in early and meaningful outreach and communication with Tribal Nations, States, territories, and local communities.
  • Improving agency responsiveness, technical assistance, and support to navigate the environmental review and permitting process effectively and efficiently.
  • Adequately resourcing agencies and using the environmental review process to improve environmental and community outcomes.

According to a White House fact sheet:

Taken together, these new steps will help strengthen supply chains, lower costs for families, grow our clean energy economy, revitalize communities across the country, support good-paying jobs, and deliver infrastructure investments on task, on time, and on budget without unnecessary bureaucratic delay.

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