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For Immediate Release: March 22, 2012
Executive Order - Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to significantly reduce the aggregate time required to make decisions in the permitting and review of infrastructure projects by the Federal Government, while improving environmental and community outcomes, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. (a) To maintain our Nation's competitive edge and ensure an economy built to last, the United States must have fast, reliable, resilient, and environmentally sound means of moving people, goods, energy, and information. In a global economy, we will compete for the world's investments based in significant part on the quality of our infrastructure. Investing in the Nation's infrastructure provides immediate and long-term economic benefits for local communities and the Nation as a whole.
The quality of our Nation's infrastructure depends in critical part on Federal permitting and review processes, including planning, approval, and consultation processes. These processes inform decision-makers and affected communities about the potential benefits and impacts of proposed infrastructure projects, and ensure that projects are designed, built, and maintained in a manner that is consistent with protecting our public health, welfare, safety, national security, and environment. Reviews and approvals of infrastructure projects can be delayed due to many factors beyond the control of the Federal Government, such as poor project design, incomplete applications, uncertain funding, or multiple reviews and approvals by State, local, tribal, or other jurisdictions. Given these factors, it is critical that executive departments and agencies (agencies) take all steps within their authority, consistent with available resources, to execute Federal permitting and review processes with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring the health, safety, and security of communities and the environment while supporting vital economic growth.
To achieve that objective, our Federal permitting and review processes must provide a transparent, consistent, and predictable path for both project sponsors and affected communities. They must ensure that agencies set and adhere to timelines and schedules for completion of reviews, set clear permitting performance goals, and track progress against those goals. They must encourage early collaboration among agencies, project sponsors, and affected stakeholders in order to incorporate and address their interests and minimize delays.
They must provide for transparency and accountability by utilizing cost-effective information technology to collect and disseminate information about individual projects and agency performance, so that the priorities and concerns of all our citizens are considered. They must rely upon early and active consultation with State, local, and tribal governments to avoid conflicts or duplication of effort, resolve concerns, and allow for concurrent rather than sequential reviews. They must recognize the critical role project sponsors play in assuring the timely and cost-effective review of projects by providing complete information and analysis and by supporting, as appropriate, the costs associated with review. And, they must enable agencies to share priorities, work collaboratively and concurrently to advance reviews and permitting decisions, and facilitate the resolution of disputes at all levels of agency organization.
Each of these elements must be incorporated into routine agency practice to provide demonstrable improvements in the performance of Federal infrastructure permitting and review processes, including lower costs, more timely decisions, and a healthier and cleaner environment. Also, these elements must be integrated into project planning processes so that projects are designed appropriately to avoid, to the extent practicable, adverse impacts on public health, security, historic properties and other cultural resources, and the environment, and to minimize or mitigate impacts that may occur. Permitting and review process improvements that have proven effective must be expanded and institutionalized.
(b) In advancing this policy, this order expands upon efforts undertaken pursuant to Executive Order 13580 of July 12, 2011 (Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska), Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), and my memorandum of August 31, 2011 (Speeding Infrastructure Development Through More Efficient and Effective Permitting and Environmental Review), as well as other ongoing efforts.
Sec. 2. Steering Committee on Federal Infrastructure Permitting and Review Process Improvement. There is established a Steering Committee on Federal Infrastructure Permitting and Review Process Improvement (Steering Committee), to be chaired by the Chief Performance Officer (CPO), in consultation with the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
(a) Infrastructure Projects Covered by this Order. The Steering Committee shall facilitate improvements in Federal permitting and review processes for infrastructure projects in sectors including surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource projects, renewable energy generation, electricity transmission, broadband, pipelines, and other such sectors as determined by the Steering Committee.
(b) Membership. Each of the following agencies (Member Agencies) shall be represented on the Steering Committee by a Deputy Secretary or equivalent officer of the United States:
(i) the Department of Defense;
(ii) the Department of the Interior;
(iii) the Department of Agriculture;
(iv) the Department of Commerce;
(v) the Department of Transportation;
(vi) the Department of Energy;
(vii) the Department of Homeland Security;
(viii) the Environmental Protection Agency;
(ix) the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation;
(x) the Department of the Army; and
(xi) such other agencies or offices as the CPO may invite to participate.
(c) Projects of National or Regional Significance. In furtherance of the policies of this order, the Member Agencies shall coordinate and consult with each other to select, submit to the CPO by April 30, 2012, and periodically update thereafter, a list of infrastructure projects of national or regional significance that will have their status tracked on the online Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard (Dashboard) created pursuant to my memorandum of August 31, 2011.
(d) Responsibilities of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee shall:
(i) develop a Federal Permitting and Review Performance Plan (Federal Plan), as described in section 3(a) of this order;
(ii) implement the Federal Plan and coordinate resolution of disputes among Member Agencies relating to implementation of the Federal Plan; and
(iii) coordinate and consult with other agencies, offices, and interagency working groups as necessary, including the President's Management Council and Performance Improvement Councils, and, with regard to use and expansion of the Dashboard, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer to implement this order.
(e) Duties of the CPO. The CPO shall:
(i) in consultation with the Chair of CEQ and Member Agencies, issue guidance on the implementation of this order;
(ii) in consultation with Member Agencies, develop and track performance metrics for evaluating implementation of the Federal Plan and Agency Plans; and
(iii) by January 31, 2013, and annually thereafter, after input from interested agencies, evaluate and report to the President on the implementation of the Federal Plan and Agency Plans, and publish the report on the Dashboard.
(f) No Involvement in Particular Permits or Projects. Neither the Steering Committee, nor the CPO, may direct or coordinate agency decisions with respect to any particular permit or project.
Sec. 3. Plans for Measurable Performance Improvement. (a) By May 31, 2012, the Steering Committee shall, following coordination with Member Agencies and other interested agencies, develop and publish on the Dashboard a Federal Plan to significantly reduce the aggregate time required to make Federal permitting and review decisions on infrastructure projects while improving outcomes for communities and the environment. The Federal Plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following actions to implement the policies outlined in section 1 of this order, and shall reflect the agreement of any Member Agency with respect to requirements in the Federal Plan affecting such agency:
(i) institutionalizing best practices for: enhancing Federal, State, local, and tribal government coordination on permitting and review processes (such as conducting reviews concurrently rather than sequentially to the extent practicable); avoiding duplicative reviews; and engaging with stakeholders early in the permitting process;
(ii) developing mechanisms to better communicate priorities and resolve disputes among agencies at the national and regional levels;
(iii) institutionalizing use of the Dashboard, working with the CIO to enhance the Dashboard, and utilizing other cost-effective information technology systems to share environmental and project-related information with the public, project sponsors, and permit reviewers; and
(iv) identifying timeframes and Member Agency responsibilities for the implementation of each proposed action.
(b) Each Member Agency shall:
(i) by June 30, 2012, submit to the CPO an Agency Plan identifying those permitting and review processes the Member Agency views as most critical to significantly reducing the aggregate time required to make permitting and review decisions on infrastructure projects while improving outcomes for communities and the environment, and describing specific and measurable actions the agency will take to improve these processes, including:
(1) performance metrics, including timelines or schedules for review;
(2) technological improvements, such as institutionalized use of the Dashboard and other information technology systems;
(3) other practices, such as pre-application procedures, early collaboration with other agencies, project sponsors, and affected stakeholders, and coordination with State, local, and tribal governments; and
(4) steps the Member Agency will take to implement the Federal Plan.
(ii) by July 31, 2012, following coordination with other Member Agencies and interested agencies, publish its Agency Plan on the Dashboard; and
(iii) by December 31, 2012, and every 6 months thereafter, report progress to the CPO on implementing its Agency Plan, as well as specific opportunities for additional improvements to its permitting and review procedures.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order shall be implemented consistent with Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments) and my memorandum of November 5, 2009 (Tribal Consultation).
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
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