Nine Federal Agencies to Expedite New Transmission Lines on Federal Lands
November 4, 2009
DOE and eight other federal departments and agencies announced on October 23 that they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to speed the construction of electric transmission lines on federal lands. The goal of the agreement is to expedite the approval of new transmission lines, which are vital to modernizing the grid and increasing access to renewable energy. President Obama noted that the MOU "will help break down the bureaucratic barriers that currently make it slow and costly to build new transmission lines on federal lands."
In addition to DOE, the MOU was signed by the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Interior; the Environmental Protection Agency; the White House Council on Environmental Quality; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The agreement will cut the approval time for obtaining federal permits by designating a single point-of-contact for all federal authorizations, establishing clear timelines for agency review, facilitating coordination and unified environmental documentation among all agencies involved in the siting and permitting process, and establishing a single consolidated environmental review and administrative record. As a result of the new process, applicants will go to a single lead agency that will coordinate all permits and approvals. However, the MOU does not alter the authority of any participating agencies, and all existing environmental reviews and safeguards are fully maintained. See the Interior press release and the MOU (PDF 147 KB). Download Adobe Reader.