This bill would establish a Federal Permitting Improvement Council that is chaired by a Federal Chief Permitting Officer (Federal CPO) who is an officer of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The Federal CPO would be required to:
Establish an inventory of covered projects for which the review or authorization of the head of any federal agency is pending.
Develop non-binding performance schedules for reviews and authorizations of each category of covered projects.
Maintain an online database known as the Permitting Dashboard, to track the status of federal reviews and authorizations for any covered project.
Covered projects would be defined as a construction activity that requires authorization or review by a federal agency. They would involve renewable or conventional energy, electricity transmission, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource projects, broadband, manufacturing, or any other sector as determined by the Federal CPO. Covered projects would also require an initial investment of more than $25 million.
Agencies would be required to establish a plan for coordinating public and agency participation in, and completion of, any required federal review. This plan would be submitted to the Federal CPO and include a timetable with deadlines for agency action, and a process for consulting with participating agencies on issues of concern.
Congress would allow three or more contiguous states to enter into an interstate compact that establishes regional infrastructure development agencies to facilitate authorization and review of covered projects.
All environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) must be completed in a timely, coordinated, and environmentally responsible manner.The statute of limitations for judicial review of an agency’s approval of a covered project would be shortened from five years to 150 days, and courts could consider the potential for job losses and economic harm from using an injunction to block the project.