One Federal Decision: The White House has announced that it has come up with a way to shorten the time it takes for environmental permit reviews. Saying “No longer will we allow the infrastructure of our magnificent country to crumble and decay,” the President is quoted as declaring, “While protecting the environment, we will build gleaming new roads, bridges, railways, waterways, tunnels, and highways.” That was the lead in the announcement that EPA, the Corps and other Federal agencies have agreed that “one lead agency will be responsible for navigating each major infrastructure project through the entire Federal environmental review and permitting process.” According to a Reuters report, Scott Slesinger, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said local residents should have input in major projects and downplayed the memorandum. “Trump’s much ballyhooed infrastructure plan has been diminished to little more than an ideological attack on environmental safeguards,” Slesinger said. I was reminded as I researched this latest announcement that the Obama administration created a Permitting Dashboard. I suppose that it helps to see the status of all the Federal permits that are required for a major project, but take a look at this one for a reality check!
I’d like to know your thoughts about this. All responses will be treated as “Anonymous” unless you tell me otherwise. And, No, I don’t know how they’ll choose the lead agency but somehow I don’t think it will be EPA.
WRDA – Is it Moving Yet? Will it Move?: WRDA 2016 is likely to be acted on by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by mid-May. I expect Senate floor action to come sometime before the August congressional recess. House action is less certain, but look for WRDA to be passed by both the House and Senate in late November or early December.
Corps FY18 Work Plan: Under the legislation passed last month, the Corps has 60 days (May 22) to publish its list of projects that will get funding for a year that will be long of tooth by that time. I expect it to take at least 50 of those 60 days.
Want to get your Christmas Card List Ready: Hold off. The head of the US Fish and Wildlife Federation has yet to be nominated, let alone confirmed by the Senate. Maybe by December? Also, more people are leaving the Administration than joining it!
Grant Opportunity: The Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce has announced the availability of applications of grants to help communities and regions devise and implement long-term economic recovery strategies to address economic challenges in areas where a Presidential declaration of a major disaster related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and of wildfires and other natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2017. Please read this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) carefully for all of EDA’s eligibility and program requirements. (Sorry Mom for the extra-long sentence L)
Are you aware of other grant opportunities we should be advertising? Please let us know.
Add this one to your Reading List: Scientists say that the seas are rising too fast to save much of the Mississippi Delta
Last Word: Spring is due to arrive in DC this weekend -- about a month late but All is Well: baseball arrived on time.