The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fully supports the administration’s One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed on April 9 by numerous secretaries of federal agencies, including the Department of the Army. One Federal Decision is an executive order signed by President Trump in August of last year. It requires each major infrastructure project to have a lead federal agency responsible for navigating the project through the process, that all federal agencies sign one “Record of Decision,” and that federal agencies issue permits for the project within 90 days of the signing of the “Record of Decision.” The goal is to ensure the federal role in environmental reviews and permits is coordinated, predictable and transparent, and that the entire review and permitting process is complete within two years. In general, the MOU commits agencies to process their reviews in accordance with the following four principles:
- Establish a lead federal agency for the complete process.Federal agencies agree to establish one lead federal agency that will navigate the federal environmental review and permitting process.
- Commitment to meeting the lead federal agency’s permitting timetable.The federal agencies agree to follow the permitting timetables established by the lead federal agency with the goal of completing the process in two years.
- Commitment to conduct the necessary review processes concurrently.Federal agencies agree to conduct their processes at the same time and rely on the analysis prepared by the lead federal agency to the maximum extent possible.
- Automatic elevation of interagency disputes.Federal agencies agree that interagency disputes will be automatically elevated and expeditiously resolved.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been and continues to be part of the federal team assisting the administration in the efforts to develop and implement the infrastructure initiative. The Corps is working to streamline processes and procedures in an effort to remove roadblocks, which delay the implementation of projects and increase project costs unnecessarily.