How the Biden admin. plans to fast track clean energy permitting

September 14, 2021: Joe Biden, President, speaks at the Flatirons Campus, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Arvada, Colorado. The President received insight into NREL’s long-term research mission, vision, and critical objectives which directly align with his decarbonization goals and national energy priorities.(Photo by Werner Slocum/ NREL).

With the Bipartisan infrastructure Law now directing billions of dollars to development projects, including clean-energy, the Biden administration released a new action plan that will accelerate the permitting and environmental reviews processes.

The plan focuses on inter-agency coordination, clearly defined timelines, early outreach and responsiveness to stakeholders, agency responsiveness and prioritized environmental reviews.

The White House believes that the plan will deliver infrastructure investments on-task, on-time, and on-budget without unnecessary bureaucratic delay.

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President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed into law last October, is a lasting accomplishment. He has been plagued with legislative challenges on key agenda items such as the $550 billion for clean-energy set out in the now-dead reconciliation package.

It is evident that the White House places the success of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as its highest priority.

During Tuesday’s tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Flatirons Campus at Arvada, Colorado, President Joe Biden talks to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. This was Tuesday, September 14, 2021. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz

The permitting plan combines existing permitting authority with new provisions in Bipartisan’s Infrastructure Law, including new FAST=41 regulations and authorities for covered projects in electricity transmission, renewable or conventional energy production, and water resources.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), was signed into law in 2015. It created a new governance structure and set of procedures and funding authority to improve federal environmental review and approval processes for certain projects.

The White House also convened a group of sector-specific exports to offshore wind energy, transmission, onshore renewable energies and transmission, as well as production and processing critical minerals, transportation, broadband and climate-smart infrastructure.

In the coming months, the experts will guide the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (“Permitting Council”) on their organizational structure as well as strategies.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will provide guidance to federal agencies within the next 90-days on how to carry out the initiatives under the permitting plan.