AGC called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to apply federally approved “Recommended Best Practices for Environmental Reviews and Authorizations for Infrastructure Projects” in delegated states that EPA has authorized to implement and enforce a federal environmental permit program. In response to EPA’s request for input, AGC’s Nov. 22 letter explains that where states have taken over the responsibility for executing federal authorizations and environmental reviews, the obligation to use best practices should transfer to the state permitting authority. A majority of states have been delegated authority to implement and enforce one or more provisions of the federal pollution control laws.
The “recommended” management practices and streamlining measures include processes to enhance coordination, transparency, predictability, administrative burdens and oversight of reviews and permitting required prior to construction. They were published by a Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) – an oversight council established by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) of 2015 to oversee the cross-agency federal environmental review and authorization process for a defined set of large-scale infrastructure projects. The FPISC includes members from 13 Federal agencies, the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget. AGC has urged the White House, Congress and the regulatory agencies to more widely apply the FAST Act environmental streamlining measures (contained mostly in Title 41); most recently focusing on the FPISC’s recommended best practices.