May 12, 2022
Walter G. Wright
Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law
The Biden-Harris Administration released on May 11th what it described as a “Permitting Action Plan.”
The stated purpose of the Permitting Action Plan is 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 stated goal is to ensure infrastructure projects are “delivered on time and on budget.”
The Permitting Action Plan intends to establish environmental review and permitting processes which will be:
- Effective, efficient, and transparent to accelerate delivery of well-designed infrastructure projects, to ensure predictability and timeliness for project sponsors and stakeholders;
- Guided by the best science, information, and complete environmental effects analysis to promote the best outcomes; and
- Shaped by early and meaningful public input – particularly from disadvantaged communities – and through partnership with State, territorial, and local governments and in consultation with Tribal Nations to deliver results for all Americans.
The stated five key elements include:
- 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 key 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; and
- adequately resourcing agencies and using the environmental review process to improve environmental and community outcomes.
A copy of the announcement and Permitting Action Plan can be downloaded here.
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