The following Federal departments and agencies are members of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC or Permitting Council), created by FAST-41 and tasked with improving Federal infrastructure permitting.
USDA Rural Development (RD) is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. RD programs help rural Americans by offering loans, grants, and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric, and communications infrastructure. RD promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions, and community-managed lending pools and offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations and help communities undertake community empowerment programs. USDA is a co-chair of the Broadband Opportunity Council with the Department of Commerce. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) preserves national forests and grasslands by requiring special-use authorizations for project proposals seeking rights-of-way or other uses of National Forest system land.
The USACE Directorate of Civil Works conducts water resource development activities, including flood risk management, navigation, ecosystem restoration, hydropower, recreation, and environmental stewardship, as well as providing emergency response services. Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended, and codified in 33 USC 408 (Section 408) provides that the Secretary of the Army may, upon the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers, grant permission to other entities for the permanent or temporary alteration or use of any USACE Civil Works project. USACE regulates work or structures in, over, or under navigable waters of the United States or affecting the course, location, or condition of navigable waters of the United States pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters, including wetlands, pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and the transportation of dredged material for open ocean disposal pursuant to Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration is engaged in a range of efforts to increase broadband Internet access and adoption in America, which supports economic growth, job creation, and improved education, health care, and public safety.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the stewardship of the Nation’s ocean resources and their habitat, including marine and coastal ecosystems. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NMFS works to recover protected marine species while allowing economic and recreational opportunities. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), NMFS works to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations, including protecting and restoring Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).
The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks including a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments managed for the conservation of their natural and cultural resources, and the promotion of sustainable recreation and tourism. The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) provides several tools to protect designated national marine sanctuaries, including the ability to issue permits for prohibited activities and the requirement that federal agencies whose actions are “likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure any sanctuary resource” consult with ONMS before taking said actions.
The vision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards where American interests, aspirations, and way of life can thrive. DHS oversees both the U.S. Coast Guard (see description and links below) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has responsibility for coordinating the Federal government’s disaster recovery efforts and supporting states and localities in disaster preparedness and resilience planning.
Within DHS, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has a unique mission encompassing maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship. Of note for infrastructure projects, the USCG administers bridge permits, reviewing the location and plans of bridges and causeways that cross navigable U.S. waters per the requirements of the General Bridge Act of 1946 and Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) protects and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is to work with others to conserve fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats, for the continuing benefit of the American people. USFWS does this in accordance with a number of conservation laws and treaties, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Under the ESA, any Federal agency must ensure that any activities it authorizes, funds, or carries out also conserve imperiled species, so must consult with USFWS to ensure that those activities will not jeopardize the continued existence of a protected species or its critical habitat. Consultation results in USFWS issuing biological opinions for those projects that may adversely affect a listed species or a letter concurring with the agency's determination that an action or project is not likely to adversely affect a listed species. If activities or projects could potentially result in harm to a threatened or endangered species, agencies need to seek permits and provide habitat conservation plans (HCPs) to minimize and mitigate the harm.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers the Nation’s public lands for multiple uses while conserving natural, historical, and cultural resources for future generations. In collaboration with local, state, and tribal governments, the public, and stakeholder groups the BLM develops Resource Management Plans which ensure the best balance of uses and resource protections for America’s public lands, and form the basis for right-of-way grants and other decisions authorizing use of public land.
The Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) is a water management agency operating in the western United States that supplies irrigation, municipal, and industrial water and produces hydropower. Its mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. The Bureau of Reclamation manages a wide variety of Reclamation land, facilities, and waterbodies, consistent with authorized project purposes and appropriate site-specific resource management considerations.
The National Park Service (NPS) reviews applications for permits to pass over, under, or through an NPS-managed area. The NPS must always seek ways to avoid, or to minimize to the greatest extent practicable, adverse impacts on park resources and values. This enables NPS to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, as required by statute.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plays a critical role in securing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy and mineral resources for the Nation. BOEM’s management responsibilities extend over approximately 1.76 billion acres of the OCS and include resource assessments; scientific research; and environmental, economic, and fiscal reviews. BOEM also provides appropriate access to energy and mineral resources; and administers leasing, plan approvals, and lease management throughout the lifecycle of OCS energy projects.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees policies and programs that contribute to ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people today, and into the future. DOT strives to make 21st Century investments in our transportation system through 21st Century delivery mechanisms by modernizing permitting and project delivery processes.
In order to accelerate economic growth and improve the competitiveness of the American economy, DOT seeks to streamline permitting and approval processes while protecting safety and the environment. Through the recently created Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Center (IPIC), DOT focuses on activities such as expanding and deploying the Permitting Dashboard and providing assistance to project sponsors, consistent with new requirements in the FAST Act. Other DOT activities include supporting codification of the agency’s “Every Day Counts” initiative—required by the FAST Act— which helps to identify, accelerate, and deploy proven innovations that shorten the project delivery process and improve safety and environmental sustainability; providing support to innovative project financing mechanism through the Build America Bureau; and promoting best practices in environmental streamlining via resources such as the 2015 Red Book on interagency coordination.