Report highlights significant advancements as the agency works to transform the accountability of the Federal permitting review process
Permitting Council Press Office (Media@fpisc.gov)
WASHINGTON (April 18, 2023) – Today, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) Executive Director released the agency’s Annual Report to Congress. The report highlights a transformative year for the Permitting Council, featuring landmark investment, institutional evolution, and innovative new ways to support Federal agencies as we work to make the permitting review process more transparent, better coordinated, and ultimately more accountable.
“The past year has been one of significant progress for the Permitting Council as we realized our first full year as a permanent Federal agency,” says Christine Harada, Permitting Council Executive Director. “From the release of the Biden-Harris administration’s Permitting Action Plan to the tremendous investment appropriated to the Council through the Inflation Reduction Act, 2022 was a game-changing year for the agency and it is already bearing fruit as we pursue the benefits of this once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment.”
This year was one of tremendous growth for the Permitting Council, beginning with substantial updates to incorporate Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and CHIPS and Science Act amendments. The subsequent release of the Permitting Action Plan was another highlight, as the Biden-Harris administration directed the Permitting Council to help strengthen and accelerate the Federal permitting and environmental review process as a key component to delivering critical infrastructure. The historic $350 million investment into the agency by the IRA enables the Council to take its charge of advancing permitting efficiency and predictability to new levels for years to come.
Other report highlights include:
• The addition of “transparency” projects to the Permitting Dashboard, allowing projects that otherwise would not qualify for FAST-41 coverage to gain the benefits of transparent Federal permitting timetables posted on the Federal Permitting Dashboard.
• The designation of $5 million to Federally recognized Tribes in order to enhance Tribal engagement in the Federal review and authorization process for FAST-41 projects.
• Progress in addressing Federal workforce needs, including work with the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration, to ensure that agencies have access to needed staff and expertise to complete permitting reviews in a timely and efficient fashion.
During 2022 there were 30 active FAST-41 covered projects on the Permitting Dashboard, with the majority in the offshore wind, solar, and other renewable energy sectors. These projects collectively represent nearly $98 billion in infrastructure investments in the United States. View the Permitting Council Annual Report 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, 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.