Agencies aim to cut red tape hampering infrastructure projects

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and six federal agency or department counterparts joined President Donald Trump in a meeting at the Oval Office last month to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing to the One Federal Decision framework for major infrastructure projects.

Under the MOU, the agencies aim to work together to make necessary environmental and permitting decisions and complete the entire process within two years. It compels them to establish a lead agency to navigate the Federal environmental review and permitting process; abide that agency’s permitting timetable; and, conduct necessary review processes concurrently. The MOU also automatically elevates interagency disputes with an eye to expedited resolution.

“The Department [of Transportation] has been vigorously implementing the President’s ‘One Federal Decision’ policy since last August to reduce costs and unnecessary burdens that have long delayed infrastructure projects,” said Secretary Chao. “It is essential for all Federal resource agencies to work together to cut red tape and deliver infrastructure and safety improvements more rapidly and spurring economic growth.”

“President Trump’s leadership on this issue is the reason we’re making strides to improve the nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” added EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “[The] MOU will streamline permitting processes and position EPA as a partner, not an obstacle, to making much-needed infrastructure improvements as quickly and safely as possible.”

Mary Peters