President Trump signed an executive order today requiring federal agencies to engage in early and open coordination with other federal, state, local, and tribal agencies on environmental reviews for infrastructure projects, including broadband Internet infrastructure projects. The executive order also directs the Office of Management and Budget within 180 days to establish a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal on Infrastructure Permitting Modernization so that reviews for new major infrastructure projects can be completed on average within approximately two years, where permitted by law.
“According to a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, it takes 7 years on average for a complex highway project to go through the entire environmental review process,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
The executive order directs federal agencies to modify their strategic plans and annual performance plans to “to include agency performance goals related to the completion of environmental reviews and authorizations for infrastructure projects consistent with the new CAP Goal on Infrastructure Permitting Modernization.”
The executive order also aims to make agencies accountable for meeting these goals by requiring them to track their permitting processes for each major infrastructure project. Each project will have a single lead agency responsible for navigating the environmental review process and issuing a permitting decision. —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org