Streamlining federal agency environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects took a significant step toward reality on Monday, April 9th. Gathered in the Oval Office, cabinet secretaries and federal agency heads executed the “One Federal Decision” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), establishing a consolidated agency review procedure for major infrastructure projects, per Executive Order 13807, effective April 10, 2018. Major infrastructure projects include those with reasonably available funding, needing multiple federal agency approvals, and providing services to the general public such as: water resource projects, stormwater and sewer infrastructure, energy production and transmission, transportation, aviation, ports and navigation channels, broadband Internet, and pipelines.
Major infrastructure projects will have a single permitting timetable, with a 2-year goal for agency action, and a designated lead federal agency responsible for navigating the project through concurrent environmental review and permitting requirements. The lead federal agency will seek concurrence from involved agencies at specific junctures including: (1) statement of the project’s purpose and need, (2) elevation of alternatives for detailed analysis, and (3) before identification of the preferred alternative in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS). Agency commitment to elevating disputes for prompt resolution is also assured. The result will be a single EIS and Record of Decision, with federal agency permit decisions to follow within 90 days. Major infrastructure permit applicants can look forward to the end of piecemealed and time consuming federal agency decisions with multiple challenge points.
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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.
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