With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law now devoting billions to development projects, including clean energy, the Biden administration has released a new action plan to accelerate the permitting and environmental review processes.
The plan focuses on cross-agency coordination, clearly established timelines, early outreach to stakeholders, agency responsiveness, and prioritized environmental reviews.
Taken together, the White House believes the plan will "deliver infrastructure investments on task, on time, and on budget without unnecessary bureaucratic delay."
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Signed into law last November, the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a lasting accomplishment for President Joe Biden, who has otherwise been plagued by legislative challenges on key agenda items, like the $550 billion for clean energy set out in the now-dead reconciliation package.
So, it's clear that the successful implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is of the highest priority to the White House.President Joe Biden talks with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Flatirons Campus in Arvada, Colorado, Tuesday, September 14, 2021. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
The permitting action plan combines existing permitting authorities with new provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including new FAST=41 requirements and authorities for covered projects in renewable or conventional energy production, electricity transmission, and water resources, among other areas.
Signed into law in 2015, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) created a new governance structure, set of procedures, and funding authorities to improve the federal environmental review and authorization process for certain projects.
The White House has also convened a set of sector-specific exports in offshore wind energy and transmission, onshore renewable energy and transmission, production and processing of critical minerals, transportation, broadband, and climate-smart infrastructure.
The group of experts will provide guidance to the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) in the coming months on their organizational structure and strategies.
Within the next 90 days, the Office of Management and Budget will provide guidance to federal agencies on carrying out the initiatives in the permitting plan.