DOE Implements Federal Permitting Reform to Expedite Transmission Infrastructure Development

In a move aimed at streamlining the permitting process for onshore electric transmission facilities, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the finalization of a new rule that promises significant improvements in Federal environmental reviews and permitting procedures. The Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorizations and Permits (CITAP) Program, established in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, seeks to enhance coordination among Federal agencies while ensuring meaningful engagement with Tribes, states, local communities, and other stakeholders.

Central to the CITAP Program is the commitment to expedite the permitting process for transmission projects, with a key focus on providing a more efficient pathway for developers. One of the standout features of the program is the implementation of two-year timelines for completing Federal authorizations and permits, offering project developers clarity and certainty in navigating the regulatory landscape. Under the program, DOE will assume the role of lead coordinator for environmental review and permitting activities, facilitating collaboration among participating Federal agencies and project developers.

A notable benefit of the CITAP Program is the emphasis on sustaining integrity in the environmental review process while improving efficiency. By working with relevant agencies to prepare a single National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review document, the program aims to reduce duplication of work and streamline decision-making processes. Furthermore, the inclusion of state siting authorities in the CITAP Program allows for enhanced coordination and resource sharing, thereby maximizing efficiency and minimizing redundancies.

Transparency and public participation are also key pillars of the CITAP Program. With a comprehensive public participation plan in place, project developers will be empowered to identify community impacts from proposed transmission lines at the outset of projects, fostering early engagement with communities and Tribes. The introduction of an online portal for coordination between project developers and participating Federal agencies further enhances transparency and efficiency, offering a one-stop-shop for permitting communications and document submissions.

Eric Beightel, Executive Director of the Permitting Council, expressed enthusiasm for the CITAP Program, highlighting its importance in achieving the ambitious clean energy goals set forth by the Biden-Harris administration. By bringing clarity, transparency, and efficiency to the Federal permitting process, the program is poised to accelerate the development of crucial transmission infrastructure needed to deliver renewable energy across the nation. The CITAP Program, along with the existing FAST-41 permitting assistance program, represents a significant step forward in enabling the delivery of clean and affordable energy to homes nationwide.

To learn more about the CITAP Program, a public webinar is scheduled for May 15, providing stakeholders with an opportunity to engage directly with program officials and learn about its implementation details. Interested parties are encouraged to register for the webinar to stay informed about the latest developments in Federal permitting reform for transmission projects. Registration link HERE



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