Improving Permitting Reforms Will Lead to More Economic Growth and Job Creation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) today released a discussion  draft of legislation to improve coordination of the infrastructure permitting process.  This measure would build on the successes of their efforts in 2015 to enact the Federal Permitting Improvement Act as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST-41”).  It would make FAST-41 permanent; apply FAST-41 to more projects; set a two-year goal for permitting large infrastructure projects; and expand the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s consulting authority.  On the release of the discussion draft, Senators Portman and McCaskill issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to offer these ideas to improve federal infrastructure permitting through the FAST-41 process we set up in 2015.  FAST-41 already has helped a number of large projects save money and time while maintaining environmental standards.  We look forward to receiving input and ideas on these bipartisan proposals.”

NOTE: In 2015, Senators Portman and McCaskill co-authored the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which Congress ultimately enacted into law as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  That bill, now known as FAST-41, significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process, while maintaining environmental protections.  Most significantly, it created the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council), which brings together agencies at the start of the permitting process for some of the largest, most complicated infrastructure projects (covered projects) to write out a comprehensive plan for the permitting process across agencies.  The public can track the permitting progress for each of those projects at www.permits.performance.gov.  And for covered projects, FAST-41 reduces the statute of limitations for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) challenges from six years to two.  Since FAST-41 became law, the Permitting Council has helped more than 40 projects with their permitting processes, saved several projects millions of dollars, and resolved numerous interagency conflicts. 

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