In “Building to Win,” manufacturers outlined a bold plan for rebuilding U.S. infrastructure, which included good governance reforms such as streamlining the environmental review process. On Monday, President Donald Trump took another critical step forward for manufacturers by requiring key federal agencies to sign the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons welcomed the news Monday calling the permitting process reforms “yet another great step” from the administration on infrastructure.
The MOU commits the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and Homeland Security; Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to an unprecedented level of collaboration in the environmental review process. This will help accomplish manufacturers’ goals of reducing red tape and time wasted in environmental permitting.
In early 2017, the NAM began working with key administration officials and congressional leaders to shape policies that could deliver the needed regulatory reform to enhance manufacturing in the United States. As part of these efforts, the NAM submitted specific feedback to regulators recommending a lead agency to coordinate the approval process between the many federal entities reviewing environmental permits. Currently, disputes between agencies as well as sequential—rather than concurrent—permit reviews can cause unnecessary delays.
The MOU signed Monday addresses the inefficiencies the NAM outlined and establishes clear deadlines to reduce the approval timeline from upward of seven to 10 years to a maximum of two years. This will decrease the overall project cost and increase certainty for project planning.
Manufacturers welcome the White House’s leadership and continue to encourage House and Senate leaders to advance an infrastructure initiative that includes both good governance reforms that require statutory changes and investments to upgrade American infrastructure.