May 31, 2018
The heads of a dozen federal agencies executed a memorandum of understanding implementing Executive Order 13807, which directed federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permitting for major infrastructure projects.
The April 9 memo is significant in part because it provides new details about how agencies will carry out the reforms required by the executive order. But the memo also is significant because it includes a new requirement that wasn’t included in the executive order itself: It requires lead agencies to obtain “concurrence” from cooperating agencies at three critical milestones, which presents the risk that the process could bog down if agencies withhold concurrence.
For project sponsors, a critical issue is whether this new requirement will speed up the process—or slow it down.