Monica Sanchez, Director of Public Engagement
WASHINGTON (January 31, 2024) — The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) is pleased to announce the appointment of Monica Sanchez as the Director of Public Engagement. Sanchez brings with her a decade of experience successfully driving high-impact initiatives and campaigns in the federal government. She joins the Permitting Council from the Department of Energy (DOE), where she served as the Director of External Affairs for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
"I am deeply honored to join the innovative and forward-thinking team at the Permitting Council," said Sanchez. "The Permitting Council is a key element advancing the Biden-Harris administration's infrastructure investments. As a public servant who has devoted my career to making government work for the people, I am proud to continue my service in this new leadership capacity."
As Director of Public Engagement, Sanchez will spearhead the Permitting Council’s stakeholder engagement and communications activities, working to build understanding across government agencies, industry sectors and the general public about the agency’s role in transforming the federal permitting review process. The Permitting Council currently manages a portfolio of nearly $100 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects, working to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the permitting process by leading federal agency coordination, collaboration and transparency.
“I am thrilled to welcome Monica Sanchez to the Permitting Council team,” says Eric Beightel, Permitting Council Executive Director. “Each and every day our team works tirelessly to transform the federal permitting process into one that is truly accountable to each and every stakeholder. But with FAST-41 being an opt-in process, the benefits of that work are limited by the extent to which the public takes advantage of the opportunity we offer. It’s critical to have a leader to help strengthen relationships and build awareness of the Permitting Council’s value, through strategic communications with project sponsors and other stakeholders. Now that we have Ms. Sanchez leading that work, I cannot wait to see how much further our work and message will travel.”
Sanchez is an expert in coalition building, communication, management, and strategic planning related to energy, climate, and natural resources portfolios. She comes to the Permitting Council after spending two and a half years as a senior political appointee at EERE. While there, she led the External Affairs Office of the Stakeholder Engagement, Legislative Affairs and Communications teams. She also served as an advisor to senior leadership on issues related to sustainable transportation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Sanchez dedicated a significant portion of her portfolio to leading external messaging and engagement across the public and private sectors to build a national network of Clean Energy Champions, working to showcase the benefits of clean energy to every American household.
Prior to her DOE appointment, Sanchez spent eight years working as a congressional staff member for the House National Resources Committee under Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and then-Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and began her career on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellow.
Born and raised in New Mexico, Sanchez brings with her a depth of knowledge and understanding of the American southwest and rural communities. Sanchez graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Education from Brown University. Sanchez began her tenure at the Permitting Council on January 29, 2024. Learn more about the Permitting Council here.
About the Permitting Council
Established in 2015 by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), the Permitting Council is a unique federal agency charged with improving the transparency and predictability of the federal environmental review and authorization process for certain critical infrastructure projects. The Permitting Council is comprised of the Permitting Council Executive Director, who serves as the Council Chair; 13 federal agency Council members (including deputy secretary-level 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 Chairs of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation); and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Permitting Council coordinates federal environmental reviews and authorizations for projects that seek and qualify for FAST-41 coverage. FAST-41 covered projects are entitled to comprehensive permitting timetables and transparent, collaborative management of those timetables on the federal Permitting Dashboard. FAST-41 covered projects may be in the renewable or conventional energy production, electricity transmission, energy storage, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource, broadband, pipelines, manufacturing, mining, carbon capture, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage and data management, and cybersecurity sectors.