Summary: H.R.4824 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (09/12/2018)

Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act of 2018

(Sec. 3) This bill requires the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior to establish a program to enter into memoranda of understanding with states and Indian tribes to allow for the permitting of broadband within an operational right-of-way to enable broadband providers to install infrastructure that allows users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications, with respect to National Forest System land, land managed by Interior, and Indian land.

The "operational right-of-way" is defined as all real property interests (including easements) acquired for the construction or operation of a project.

A state's governor, the governor's designee, or an officer designated by the governing body of the Indian tribe may enter into such a memorandum for a term not to exceed 10 years if the state or Indian tribe consents to: (1) federal court jurisdiction, (2) federal environmental review procedures, (3) judicial review of decisions regarding the public availability of documents, (4) maintenance of necessary financial resources, (5) the provision of any information that USDA or Interior needs to ensure that the state is carrying out its responsibilities, (6) the provision of revenues generated from the use of public lands to the United States, and (7) the provision of a copy of authorizing documents to the United States for proper notation and recordkeeping.

(Sec. 4) USDA or Interior must establish a broadband permit streamlining team in each state or regional office with responsibility for issuing permits for broadband projects. Under the program, USDA or Interior shall coordinate and expedite permitting decisions for broadband projects through a memorandum of understanding with USDA or Interior, as appropriate, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.