News Releases

Baker Botts Analyzes Trump Administration Moves to Improve Inefficient Permitting Reviews

Media Alert
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2018 – On April 9, 2018, President Trump’s Administration announced its latest step to improve and streamline environmental reviews and permitting for major infrastructure projects, such as new highway construction, runway expansion or repair, and major pipelines or LNG terminals.

Signed by the heads of twelve federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy, Interior, and Transportation, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, the "Memorandum of Understanding Implementing One Federal Decision Under Executive Order 13807” (MOU), establishes a coordinated and timely process for environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects.

Baker Botts’ environmental and energy regulatory lawyers have analyzed and applied the Administration’s new procedures and policies, as set out in Order 13807, issued previously, and welcome the just-released MOU.

“The Administration believes streamlining the environmental review process for a variety of major infrastructure projects will significantly cut the amount of time and expense associated with obtaining needed permits for project development. Our interactions with Administration staff on behalf of our clients have shown us President Trump’s priority to this policy initiative. This MOU is critical because it represents agreement by leadership of the key federal agencies to specific plans to improve the current permitting process by consolidating decision-making, increasing accountability, and cutting costly delays, all while maintaining the thoroughness of required environmental reviews,” said Derek McDonald, Partner in Baker Botts’ Environmental Practice.

“The MOU is the latest action in a series of developments that aim to streamline infrastructure siting and development within the boundaries of existing statutes and regulations. The practical effects on infrastructure development, however, will depend on how the MOU is implemented and supported by authorization agencies in the coming months,” added Brooksany Barrowes, Partner and Global Projects Deputy Department Chair in the firm’s Washington D.C. office.

Related lawyers: Jay Ryan, Brooksany Barrowes, Greg Wagner, Tom Jackson, Megan Berge, Tom Holmberg, Joseph Colagiovanni, Derek McDonald, Chris Carr, Marcia Hook and Drew Stuyvenberg.

Read the full industry update.

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