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The ACHP is engaged in efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Section 106 reviews for infrastructure development.

Executive Order 13807: Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure


On August 15, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13807, “Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure,” with the goal of increasing the coordination, predictability, and transparency of the federal environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects. The EO directs federal agencies to complete their environmental reviews of “major infrastructure projects” within an average of two years, guided by a lead agency that coordinates all required federal environmental reviews to result in “one federal decision.”

Several provisions in the EO align with ongoing efforts to improve permitting processes, such as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41, see below). The EO reinforces and builds upon requirements in FAST-41 for federal agencies to identify and implement best practices in their environmental review processes, prepare project-specific permitting timetables, and coordinate or synchronize federal environmental reviews to the extent possible. It will heighten awareness of and agency accountability for meeting permitting timetables, including milestones for Section 106 reviews, for major infrastructure projects.

Certain provisions of EO 13807 require development of further guidance by the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget. The ACHP will post updates on this page.

Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and the FAST-41 Process
The ACHP serves as a member of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC), created by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. FPISC plays a key role in implementing specific provisions in Title 41 of the FAST Act that apply to certain types of major infrastructure projects. The FAST-41 process was designed to improve the timeliness, predictability, and transparency of the federal environmental review and authorization process for covered infrastructure projects. FAST-41 provides for improving the federal coordination of environmental reviews, including Section 106 reviews, but does not alter an agency's responsibility to comply with Section 106 or change the requirements or timeframes in the ACHP's regulations or an existing Section 106 Programmatic Agreement. Federal agencies develop permitting timetables for projects that follow the FAST-41 process. Milestones for environmental review and other information about covered projects are publicly tracked on the Federal Permitting Dashboard. 

Federal Permitting Dashboard
The Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for federal agencies, project developers and interested members of the public to track the federal government’s permitting and review process for large or complex infrastructure projects. In addition to FAST-41 projects, the Permitting Dashboard includes information about some U.S. DOT agency-assisted transportation projects.

Improving Tribal Consultation in Federal Infrastructure Decisions
The ACHP participated in the interagency consultation process led by the Departments of the Army, Interior, and Justice to identify opportunities for more effectively consulting Indian tribes on infrastructure projects and has prepared a report with recommendations specific to the Section 106 process in response to comments offered by Indian tribes. The ACHP’s report is a companion publication to an interagency report on Improving Tribal Consultation and Tribal Involvement in Federal Infrastructure Decisions released in January 2017 in response to the listening sessions.

Recommended Best Practices
On January 18, 2017, FPISC released a report on Recommended Best Practices for Environmental Reviews and Authorizations for Infrastructure Projects. Federal agencies are encouraged to make improvements consistent with these recommendations, as appropriate, in carrying out environmental reviews and authorizations for infrastructure projects.

Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Transmission Siting on Federal Lands
The ACHP and eight other federal agencies developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding siting of transmission lines on federal lands in 2009. The MOU establishes a protocol among land managing agencies regarding the designation of a lead agency when multiple agencies are involved in a project. The MOU commits the ACHP to working cooperatively with participating agencies to ensure that these projects are fully considered under Section 106 of the NHPA without unnecessary delay.

 

Updated September 29, 2017

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