One Federal Decision was designed to modernize the environmental review process for major infrastructure projects. Here’s what offshore wind developers need to know.
Last year, Executive Order 13807 created a new framework—known as One Federal Decision—establishing a method for improving the environmental review process for major infrastructure projects. If you are developing an offshore wind project, here are three ways One Federal Decision can help streamline your process:
- Timeliness: One Federal Decision creates a goal for all federal agencies to complete the environmental review process in an average of two years. While the two-year goal is based on a federal agency average and some specific projects may take longer, you should expect significantly more consistency in the timeline. A more timely and predictable environmental review process will also make it easier for developers to secure financing.
- Transparency: As part of One Federal Decision, your offshore wind projects are now on the Permitting Dashboard, even if you haven't signed up to be a FAST-41 project. That means all environmental reviews and consultations for a project (e.g., Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act) are tracked online via a publicly available website. The Dashboard itself has been around for a while. What’s new is that all major infrastructure projects (infrastructure projects that require an Environmental Impact Statement, multiple authorizations, and have reasonable availability of funding) are posted on the Dashboard. As a project developer, you will be able to go to the website and see what progress has been made, where you are in the environmental review process, and when you can expect to have permits completed.
- Togetherness: One Federal Decision creates an extra layer of coordination between the various federal agencies for all major infrastructure projects. Agencies are getting together earlier in the process to figure out who the key players are and what actions are required for the environmental review. The goal is to do as much of the environmental review as possible concurrently instead of sequentially. Laying out the foundation early in the process should help you identify any issues and figure out how to best move your project forward.
Do you have additional questions about the ways in which One Federal Decision or FAST-41 could impact your offshore wind project? Please contact us and we can help you navigate the process.