Large federal infrastructure projects require coordination across agencies, state governments and communities. The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council was established in 2015 to make the permit process seamless, transparent and efficient.
- The council serves as a central coordinating body with 13 member agencies that are involved in the process, explained Christine Harada, executive director of the council.
- She said the process starts when a project developer submits an application to the Permitting Council, then an agency has 14 days to make a determination and 60 days to develop a project plan and identify which permits are needed by which agencies.
- The projects are well over $200 million, explained Harada, with overall timelines for permits (and environmental reviews and authorizations) of approximately three years.
- Harada said the council works very closely with state and local governments to ensure they are prepared and said stakeholder engagement with local communities is part of the process.
- She said the council is prioritizing environmental justice and said the new Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool enables the government to visualize traditionally disadvantaged communities from this perspective.
- Harada said her team is working with most offshore wind developers that have current projects to help meet the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.