Dear Permitting Council Stakeholders:
Pursuant to the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) Office of the Executive Director’s order of succession, this morning I assumed the duties of Acting Executive Director. While in this role, my priority will be to provide steady leadership and to ensure an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Administration. I am honored to have this opportunity to continue the Permitting Council’s important work and to daily advance the Permitting Council’s mission to facilitate coordinated, deliberate, and transparent Federal environmental review and permitting processes for critical national infrastructure projects.
Enacted on December 4, 2015, Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) created the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council), a new Federal agency comprised of the Permitting Council Executive Director; 13 Federal agency council members (including the designees of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Army, Commerce, Interior, Energy, Transportation, Defense, Homeland Security, and Housing and Urban Development, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairmen of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation); and additional Permitting Council members, the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Permitting Council is charged with improving the timeliness, predictability, and transparency of the Federal permitting process for “covered” infrastructure projects in the conventional energy, renewable energy, electricity transmission, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource, broadband, pipeline, manufacturing, mining, and carbon sequestration sectors, and covers over 60 Federal reviews and authorizations.
FAST-41 coverage does not predetermine the outcome of any Federal decision making process with respect to any project. FAST-41 is a voluntary program governed by the statutory eligibility criteria in and expressly does not alter any applicable statutory or regulatory requirement, environmental review process, or public involvement procedure. Instead, the Permitting Council achieves FAST-41 benefits by coordinating interagency efforts, eliminating needless duplication, and engaging Federal agencies and project sponsors to foster improved communication and clarify expectations.
The Permitting Council has achieved unprecedented success in achieving its statutory objectives, as documented annually in the Executive Director’s Annual Reports to Congress from 2016 through 2020. In 2020 the Permitting Council coordinated Federal reviews for 28 FAST-41 covered projects, which represents $107 billion in total economic investment and 57,000 new jobs. This includes the first four projects to complete the entire FAST-41 process—one solar, one wind, one gas, and one electricity transmission project—which collectively represent $45 billion in economic investment, 20,000 construction jobs, and 10 years in Federal environmental review and permitting time savings.
The Permitting Council’s current voluntary project portfolio includes 10 renewable energy production projects, two pipeline projects, two water resource projects, two conventional energy production projects, one electricity transmission project, and one ports and waterways project. The Office of the Executive Director looks forward to continuing to support the Permitting Council member agencies’ efforts to green and modernize America’s aging infrastructure through implementation of a coordinated, deliberate, and rational process for reviewing and implementing infrastructure projects that maximize domestic investment and sustainable job creation.
Thank you for your continued support,
Acting Executive Director
Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council