By Ben Husch
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at expediting reviews and approvals of high priority infrastructure projects.
After citing the positive impacts of infrastructure projects, the order notes that such projects are too often delayed due to “agency processes and procedures.” To that end, the order establishes a process for infrastructure projects that requires federal environmental reviews and approvals to be declared “high priority.”
A project may be declared “high priority” if the governor of a state, or the head of any executive agency or department, or the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality requests such a declaration. If that is requested, the council would then have 30 days to make such a determination, taking into account the project's importance to the general welfare, value to the nation, environmental benefits, and such other factors as the chairman deems relevant.
Upon receiving the status of “high priority,” the commission chairman would coordinate with the relevant agency to establish expedited procedures and deadlines for completion of environmental reviews and approvals, consistent with current law. However, the executive order concludes by noting that nothing in the order shall affect authority already granted in law to executive departments or agencies.
In addition to this executive order, Trump also issued four other presidential memorandums concerning construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, construction of American pipelines and streamlining permitting and reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing.
For any further questions or concerns, please contact NCSL staff Ben Husch (202-624-7779) or Kristen Hildreth (202-624-3597).
Ben Husch is the director of NCSL's Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.