Permitting Council Press Office (email@example.com)
WASHINGTON (December 20, 2023) – Today, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) Executive Director released the fiscal year 2023 fourth quarter report evaluating federal agency compliance with FAST-41 requirements. The report showcases continued growth as permitting agencies met the requirements of the FAST-41 program consistently, building a foundation that will lead to transformative change in federal permitting review.
“This report marks my first full fiscal quarter as Executive Director and I am pleased to see continued growth in federal environmental review and permitting excellence as our member agencies continue to meet FAST-41 requirements,” says Eric Beightel, Permitting Council Executive Director. “This report reflects the Permitting Council’s ongoing efforts to integrate project management and permitting best practices into federal agency permitting workflows, which will bring accountability and efficiency not only to the projects under our purview, but to projects across the federal permitting review landscape.”
During the fourth fiscal quarter there were 30 projects under active federal review in the FAST-41 program, with the majority in renewable energy-related sectors. Two new projects were added to the program, including the portfolio’s first carbon capture project (the Central Louisiana Regional Carbon Storage Hub - Vernon Parish One CCS Site project) and the portfolio’s second ports and waterways project (the Sparrows Point Container Terminal). One project was completed during the quarter: the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project.
The report highlights a growing stability in agency compliance with FAST-41 requirements, as agencies fulfill requirements like establishing coordinated project plans and completing the majority of anticipated federal agency milestones. Even in instances where an agency could not complete an action by the anticipated completion date, agencies provided explanations and monthly status reports, as required by FAST-41, 100 percent of the time.
As the Permitting Council works with federal agencies to improve upon the permitting review process, the Council will continue to offer opportunities to increase efficiency and accountability, including:
● training to improve dashboard and permitting timetable management;
● increasing awareness of FAST-41 requirements with agencies;
● identification of Federal Permitting Dashboard enhancements that will support transparent permitting timetable management and improve permitting timetable data quality in accordance with FAST-41.
Additionally, the Executive Director is working with federal agencies to identify resource constraints that contribute to performance challenges and has leveraged the Environmental Review Improvement Fund to transfer funds to federal agencies to facilitate timely and efficient completion of environmental reviews and authorizations.
The quarterly report is now available on the Permitting Council website.
About the Permitting Council and FAST-41
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. In addition to purview over FAST-41 covered projects, the Permitting Council has also been designated as a federal permitting center of excellence, working to improve coordination among agencies, identifying and sharing best practices, and accelerating information sharing and troubleshooting for infrastructure projects throughout the federal government.