Text: S.Hrg. 115-334 — FAST 41 AND THE FEDERAL PERMITTING IMPROVEMENT STEERING COUNCIL: PROGRESS TO DATE AND NEXT STEPS
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[Senate Hearing 115-334]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 115-334
FAST 41 AND THE FEDERAL PERMITTING
IMPROVEMENT STEERING COUNCIL: PROGRESS TO DATE AND NEXT STEPS
PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS
HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS
JUNE 27, 2018
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.fdsys.gov
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
31-410 PDF WASHINGTON : 2018
COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
RAND PAUL, Kentucky HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
STEVE DAINES, Montana DOUG JONES, Alabama
Christopher R. Hixon, Staff Director
Margaret E. Daum, Minority Staff Director
Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk
Bonni Dinerstein, Hearing Clerk
PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
RAND PAUL, Kentucky HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
STEVE DAINES, Montana MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
Andrew Dockham, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
John Kilvington, Minority Staff Director
Kate Kielceski, Chief Clerk
C O N T E N T S
Senator Portman.............................................. 1
Senator McCaskill............................................ 3
Senator Harris............................................... 24
Senator Portman.............................................. 33
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Alexander Herrgott, Associate Director for Infrastructure,
Council on Environmental Quality............................... 4
Angela Colamaria, Acting Executive Director, Federal Permitting
Improvement Steering Council................................... 7
Joseph Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Federal Regulatory
Process Review and Analysis, Environment, Technology, and
Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce................... 9
Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President, Energy and Environment
Policy, Center for American Progress........................... 10
Sean McGarvey, President, North America's Building Trades Union.. 12
Hon. Mary L. Landrieu, Senior Policy Advisor, Van Ness Feldman,
LLP; Accompanied by Megan K. Terrell, Legal Advisor, Coastal
Activities, Environment and Natural Resources Office of the
Governor of Louisiana.......................................... 14
Jolene S. Thompson, Executive Vice President, Member Services and
External Affairs, American Municipal Power, Inc................ 16
Alphabetical List of Witnesses
Prepared statement........................................... 38
Prepared statement........................................... 47
Prepared statement........................................... 35
Johnson, Joseph, Ph.D.:
Prepared statement........................................... 42
Landrieu, Hon. Mary L.:
Prepared statement........................................... 56
Prepared statement........................................... 51
Prepared statement........................................... 59
Statements submitted for the Record from:
Marc S. Gerken, PE, CEO/President, American Municipal Power,
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority................. 93
Responses to post-hearing questions for the Record from:
Ms. Colamaria................................................ 103
ROUNDTABLE ON FAST-41 AND THE
FEDERAL PERMITTING IMPROVEMENT
STEERING COUNCIL: PROGRESS TO DATE AND NEXT STEPS
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2018
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations,
of the Committee on Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:34 p.m., in
room 106, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Rob Portman
Present: Senators Portman, McCaskill, Peters, and Harris.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR PORTMAN\1\
Senator Portman. All right, we are going to get going.
\1\ The prepared statement of Senator Portman appears in the
Appendix on page 33.
Senator McCaskill I know has three things going on at once,
as do all of us, and yet we have something really important to
talk about today so we are delighted you are here. We may have
other colleagues who come in and out. Everybody is busy today.
It is kind of crazy. I guess I need to do this.
I just love doing that.
First of all, you know why we are here. We are here to talk
about Federal permitting, and this is, I think, a great story,
what we have accomplished so far with very little resources,
too little in my view, and with a permanent executive director.
I think the Obama Administration was slow to get it started. I
think the Trump Administration has not been aggressive enough
in permitting a permitting reform executive director to be
permanent. I think Congress has not provided adequate funding.
But notwithstanding all that, we have made real progress and we
are going to continue to do so.
This issue affects everything. It affects the roads we
drive, the bridges we cross, the airports we use, the
infrastructure projects, including environmental projects,
which we will hear about today, that are important, and the
electricity that we use. It is all about infrastructure.
Right now the system, as we have heard from our
constituents constantly, takes too long. It is complicated,
sometimes very bureaucratic. Those delays have real costs. They
have costs in terms of money, in terms of jobs, in terms of
safety, in terms of the ability for the private sector to
invest as well as the public sector, and often it is a matching
investment. It is an opportunity to say as we improve
infrastructure and maybe do something exciting later this year
on legislation, let us be sure that the permitting part of this
is fixed. That way the Federal dollar will go even further
toward doing what everybody wants to do, I hope, to create more
jobs and more economic activity through better infrastructure.
Five years ago, actually, probably 7 years ago, Senator
McCaskill and I started in on this project, and about 2\1/2\
years ago we passed legislation. That was in 2015, and it is
called Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST-41),
because it was part of the FAST Act, Title 41. FAST-41 tries to
streamline the permitting process and it focuses on the largest
infrastructure projects. We call them covered projects. For
those listening today, when we talk about covered projects,
those are ones that, under FAST-41, are included.
We also created the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering
Council (FPISC). We will hear a lot about the Council today,
bringing all the permitting agencies together at the start of
covered projects to coordinate and streamline the permitting
process. I think we will hear some good things today about
that, but also the need, again, for more resources.
The law has a number of common-sense measures, encourages
agencies to do their reviews concurrently rather than
sequentially. That always seemed like a no-brainer to us. Let
us not finish one of maybe a couple dozen regulatory reviews
and then have to go to the next and the next. Let us try to do
It also requires one agency to be the lead agency. Common
sense, this provides for some accountability, so that there is
some responsibility built into the system. It also requires
agencies to post a timeline on a public online dashboard so
that project sponsors and the public can keep track of where
they are in the permitting process, another common-sense
measure that is making a big difference in my view, with these
When we first came up with this idea, and I think Senator
McCaskill would agree with this, we had hoped it would save
money, both by project sponsors and government, and save time.
Based on the testimony we are going to hear today, I think it
is safe to say that much of what we had hoped for has happened.
Expectations have been met in the sense that there have been
some significant savings in time and money. Over the past year
and a half, the Council informs me that they have saved
projects $1 billion in avoided costs. That is a pretty good
start, $1 billion. We will hear more about that through your
testimony. And we have done this without a permanent executive
director and with a bare minimum of funding.
I do want to take a moment to offer Acting Executive
Director Angie Colamaria, who is with us here today at the
panel, former Acting Executive Director and current Deputy
Director Janet Pfleeger, who is here, and your whole team, our
sincere thanks. You pulled together groups. I have had a chance
to speak with the Council and seen your work first-hand.
We need a permanent executive director. I hope that will
happen soon. We will also continue to advocate for funding for
the Council that is adequate to be able to have enough
infrastructure within the Council to get infrastructure moving.
Based on our experience of the past 2\1/2\ years, and
listening to you all and talking to outside stakeholders,
Senator McCaskill and I have now introduced follow-on
legislation. It is called S. 3017. It is the Federal Permitting
Reform and Jobs Act. The whole idea is to improve FAST-41 and
learn the lessons, what worked, what did not work, and how we
can make it work better.
Most critically to me, the bill would remove the 7-year
sunset in FAST-41. We know enough about it now to know that we
should not be sunsetting this in 7 years. We should keep it
going. It would also allow more projects to apply to be
covered. I think that is important, including some areas like
transportation and energy. You definitely want to be covered.
It would set a 2-year goal for each project's permitting
process. By the way, if agencies determine they will need
longer to permit a project they can explain why and what they
are going to do to mitigate those delays. I think that 2-year
goal is really important. The bill will allow the Permitting
Council to consult on non-covered projects as well, to take
your expertise and be able to use it for non-covered projects,
if asked, and to help resolve conflicts.
These are modest, smart, common-sense reforms that will
build on the success we are already seeing. We are looking
forward to hearing from each of the roundtable participants
today about FAST-41's performance so far, what you think has
worked, what has not worked, and where we can improve the
permitting process going forward.
With that I would turn to my former Ranking Member on the
Subcommittee and co-author, Senator McCaskill.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR McCASKILL
Senator McCaskill. Thank you, Senator Portman. We have been
working on this for a long time but things do not happen around
here quickly. Good ideas have a way of latching on, and this is
a good idea. This is an idea that is going to make a difference
in terms of saving taxpayers money. It is going to make a
difference in terms of being able to get infrastructure in
place in a way that saves local jurisdictions money and saves
money for the companies that are willing to invest in some of
these infrastructure projects. It is a win-win all the way
I am disappointed, along with my colleague, that we do not
have a permanent executive director. I am disappointed, since
we have already saved $1 billion, that the President's budget
only allocated $1 million for the Council when we know the
requirements to do it right would take about $10 million. That
is a small amount. If they have managed to already save $1
billion, the potential is huge in terms of the amount of money
that could be saved if this works the way it is supposed to
I think my friend from Ohio will be more persuasive with
this Administration than I will be. But we have played tag team
before, we have handed the baton back and forth, and that is
what it means to work in a bipartisan way. I am hopeful that we
can continue to do that and get our new bill through, which
will make improvements. But most importantly, make this work as
robustly as it has the potential to work, in terms of saving
money and putting some common sense into the public sector that
would match the desires of the private sector when they are
more driven by a bottom line.
Thank you and I will look forward to our conversations and
the information that we get here today.
Senator Portman. Excellent. Senator Peters, who was just
here, had to leave, may come back, and other Senators may come
and go and we are going to be informal here so allow them to
interject when they come in.
We are going to hear from our participants now. Let me
introduce them briefly.
Alexander Herrgott currently serves as the Associate
Director for Infrastructure on the Council on Environmental
Quality (CEQ). Angela Colamaria, I already mentioned, currently
serves as Acting Executive Director of the Federal Permitting
Improvement Council. Joe Johnson is the Executive Director of
Federal Regulatory Process Review and Analysis for Environment,
Technology, and Regulatory Affairs--fit that on a business
card--at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Christy Goldfuss is the
Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy at the
Center for American Progress. Sean McGarvey is the President of
North America's Building Trades Union.
Our former colleague, Senator Landrieu, is here. She
currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor at Van Ness Feldman.
I understand that Megan Terrell, Legal Advisor to Louisiana
Governor John Bel Edwards on Coastal Activities, Environment,
and Natural Resources is also on hand. Thank you for being
here, Megan, to answer questions about the project.
Finally, last but not least, we have Jolene Thompson, who
is the Executive Vice President of Member Services and External
Affairs for the American Municipal Power (AMP), Inc., which is
the sponsor of the R.C. Byrd hydropower project in Ohio.
Actually, it was American Municipal Power that first came to
me, probably 8 years ago, about this permitting problem, and
the difficulty of getting private investment, because the
capital is not that patient. Investors were going somewhere
else because their permitting was taking so long. We look
forward to hearing how things are going and what you think
Mr. Herrgott, we will hear from you first. We are going to
try to keep these to 5 minutes on the timer.
TESTIMONY OF ALEXANDER HERRGOTT,\1\ ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR
INFRASTRUCTURE, COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Mr. Herrgott. Before I begin, if you will permit me a small
sentimental moment. In 2015, when I was senior staff for
Senator Inhofe negotiating the FAST Act, my father,
unfortunately, passed away, and I rushed back to Arizona. Two
days later Senator Boxer called me and said, ``Would you please
come back to the Hill'' because the bill had been hung up on
our streamlining negotiations. Right outside this room, Senator
Boxer gave me a hug, as we walked back in with Senate staff,
and she said, ``Get back to work.'' I think that spirit of
bipartisanship is something that Senator McCaskill and you,
Senator Portman, have exemplified is
something that we need to remember when we are talking about
FAST-41 and the streamlining initiatives that the President has
engaged in, because once we inject facts into this debate we
can make pragmatic successes together.
\1\ The prepared statement of Mr. Herrgott appears in the Appendix
on page 35.
Thank you for having this hearing because I think it is an
opportunity for us to show the world how we can actually turn a
light on a process that previously has been somewhat of a black
Senator Portman, Ranking Member McCaskill, thank you for
the invitation to discuss the Federal permitting process for
major infrastructure projects. I am looking forward to having a
meaningful dialogue on the topic today as we work toward a
shared goal of reducing permitting delays, providing the
American people the modernized infrastructure they deserve.
As you know, a major cause of delay in the permitting
process for major infrastructure projects is that there are too
many decisionmakers without effective cross-agency coordination
or communication. Multiple Federal agencies oversee dozens of
Federal statutes that project sponsors must navigate before
beginning construction. Over time, this has created a redundant
and often inconsistent Federal permitting process with no
single framework and no varying times.
We can do better. By looking at the chart behind me, you
can see that you need a Ph.D. or you need to hire a consultant
to navigate the 29 statutes and 5 Executive Orders (EO) that
dictate a process just to build a highway project. For example,
a highway project could use as many as 10 different Federal
agencies involved in 16 different permitting decisions, in
addition to the State, local, and tribal permitting schedules.
The result is a Federal permitting process that often takes
too long, increases costs, and creates uncertainty. The
Administration is actively trying to fix this problem by
addressing the challenges while maintaining environmental
With process enhancements and common-sense, harmonized
approaches among the Federal agencies, infrastructure projects
will move through the environmental permitting process more
efficiently. Federal agency coordination is imperative to long-
term process reforms throughout the agencies.
That is why, last August, President Trump signed Executive
Order 13807, implementing a policy we have referred to as ``One
Federal Decision.'' Under this policy, Federal agencies will
administer the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
procedures so that a single Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) and a single Record of Decision (ROD) and that for all
applicable permitting decisions it will conduct it concurrently
with the NEPA process. One Federal Decision also provides that
Federal agencies will seek to complete the environmental review
process within an average of 2 years.
In April, President Trump announced that 11 Federal
agencies and the Permitting Council signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) where agencies agreed to an unprecedented
level of coordination and communication in conducting their
environmental reviews. Under this MOU, CEQ, in coordination
with other White House components, has convened a Federal
agency working group to develop the framework under which the
Permitting Council and other agencies will implement this
Executive Order. The agencies are working together to identify
the appropriate level of analysis needed to conduct the
necessary environmental reviews, synchronize the public
engagement, and complete the other procedural steps to ensure
that all necessary decisions are made within the timelines
established by the Executive Order.
Since the agencies signed the MOU, CEQ and agency
leadership have been coordinating extensively on agency
streamlining efforts to identify and implement policy process
and regulatory changes.
Some significant steps have already been taken. For
example, the Federal Highway Administration signed an agreement
with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers (USACE), the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), the Coast Guard, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coordinating agencies'
processes and committing to working together to achieve the
goals of the Executive Order, something that seemed so simple
but something that previously had been so complicated.
Additionally, the Secretary of Interior issued a
Secretarial Order and additional guidance that advanced the
department's NEPA streamlining efforts within the Executive
Next, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a Section 408
policy change adopting other agencies' NEPA documents and
issued a policy to improve coordination and risk management
among the Federal family. This is not rocket science.
Many agencies are expanding the use of time-saving,
programmatic consultation, improving internal clearance
processes along with increasing agency capacity for staffing
Moving forward, agencies will be issuing directives and
conducting training with all levels of organizations, from
headquarters down to the field offices, which we all know is
some of the most important activity, to ensure that timetables
and plans to implement One Federal Decision are done
nationwide. And the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and
CEQ, in collaboration with agencies, are implementing a
performance accountability system to ensure agencies meet the
While CEQ is focused on the development of a better process
for all infrastructure project permitting, the Permitting
Council is focused on overcoming obstacles on a project-by-
project basis. Ms. Colamaria will expand further on the
implementation of FAST-41 and the Permitting Council's role in
streamlining the Federal permitting process.
As a result of One Federal Decision, and the work of the
Permitting Council, Federal environmental review and permitting
processes will be streamlined, more transparent, and, most
importantly, more predictable. Our goal is to give the American
people the process they deserve and not the process they have.
We are looking forward to continuing to work together with
you on advancing One Federal Decision. Thank you again for the
invitation, and I look forward to the discussion.
Senator Portman. Thank you, Mr. Herrgott.
We will now hear from Ms. Colamaria.
TESTIMONY OF ANGELA COLAMARIA,\1\ ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
FEDERAL PERMITTING IMPROVEMENT STEERING COUNCIL
Ms. Colamaria. Thank you. Senator Portman, Senator
McCaskill, thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today
about our progress in improving the Federal permitting process
for infrastructure projects.
\1\ The prepared statement of Ms. Colamaria appears in the Appendix
on page 38.
Throughout my career, I have participated in the Federal
permitting process from various perspectives. As an attorney, I
represented project sponsors who were trying to build new
projects. I worked within a permitting agency where I oversaw
the NEPA review for infrastructure projects. I am currently
leading a working group tasked with improving the Federal
permitting process across all agencies. And after FAST-41 was
passed in December 2015, I helped lead the Administration's
efforts to set up the Council and the new governance system and
to provide guidance to agencies as we started to implement
FAST-41 codifies many of the best practices that experts
identify as essential to creating the sea change needed to
overall process improvements for the Federal permitting
process. This is all to say I believe in the principles of
FAST-41 and it is my priority to ensure it is a success.
Today I want to describe some of the project-specific
successes we have been able to achieve so far, using the tools
provided by FAST-41. We have accomplished this in three main
ways: breaking down silos through enhanced coordination,
ensuring efficiency in the permitting process, and providing
oversight and issue resolution. As Senator Portman mentioned,
these efforts already have resulted in saving FAST-41 projects
over $1 billion in costs through avoided permitting process
I would first like to point to our efforts to break down
silos across government to create a more standardized,
predictable permitting process. The enhanced interagency
coordination that supports our ability to identify and resolve
potential impediments to the permitting process are led by
deputy secretary-level Council members as well as agency chief
environmental review and permitting officers (CERPOs).
My office has established regular in-person meetings to
bring these CERPOs together and appropriate staff for in-depth
conversations on specific FAST-41 projects. These meetings
allow interagency discussion and identification of potential
delays so that they can be resolved early in the process.
To my second point, ensuring efficiency in the permitting
process, my office ensures agencies work together to ensure
each FAST-41 project has a permitting schedule that is
optimized. For example, my office serves as a communication
bridge to connect personnel at all levels of the government
with staff and subject matter expertise, both within an agency
and then across agencies, to identify and resolve project
My third point on oversight and issue resolution, my office
uses FAST-41 tools, including the Coordinated Project Plans
(CPPs), the publicly available permitting dashboard, agency
representatives, and that is both at the working group level,
the CERPO level, and the Council level, and the provisions
limiting modifications to permitting timetables, all to ensure
that each FAST-41 project receives the most efficient and
effective permitting process possible.
I would like to share just three examples of our work this
year in keeping projects on schedule and on track. The first
success story is our effort to facilitate cooperation among
agencies involved in the Nexus Gas Transmission Line, to ensure
an efficient and timely 106 review under the National Historic
Preservation Act. The resulting coordination among agencies
allowed subsequent authorizations to move forward and saved an
estimated 6 months and $300 million in capital costs to the
The second success story results from my office's oversight
role leading to the successful drafting and implementation of a
Programmatic Agreement for the 106 review for two FAST-41
projects. Our actions supported the Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation in facilitating issue resolution with
three different Federal agencies and the States that were
involved in that project. For one of those projects, the
Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the completion of the Programmatic
Agreement allowed other Federal permitting actions to proceed
forward, which then allowed the project sponsor to use that
year's tree-clearing window for construction. That avoided a 1-
year delay for that project.
The final success story is an example of an effective
Federal-State coordination in the Mid-Barataria Sediment
Diversion (MBSD) Project. I will not say a lot about that
because I know we have distinguished speakers that are going to
talk about that some more. But the project created the first
FAST-41 MOU, which established clear roles and responsibilities
for not just the Federal agencies but also the State agencies
involved in that project. To address complex issues related to
NEPA implementation, our office worked with CEQ to provide
subject matter expertise to the agencies to help them identify
the next steps for that project. These actions resulted in a
reduction in the current permitting schedule by nearly 2 years
for this project.
In summary, I look forward to building on the $1 billion in
avoided permitting delays as we work to fully implement the
potential of FAST-41, while maintaining important environmental
Senator Portman. Great. Thank you. Dr. Johnson.
TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH JOHNSON, PH.D.,\1\ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
FEDERAL REGULATORY PROCESS REVIEW AND ANALYSIS, ENVIRONMENT,
TECHNOLOGY, AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Mr. Johnson. Thank you. Good afternoon, Senator Portman,
Ranking Member McCaskill. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been
involved in permit streamlining for a long time. The Chamber
greatly appreciates this Committee's interest in Federal permit
streamlining and the work the Committee did in the 114th
Congress that led to passage of Title 41 in the Fixing
America's Surface Transportation Act.
\1-\ The prepared statement of Mr. Johnson appears in the Appendix
on page 42.
My statement today details the Chamber's strong support for
the Federal permit streamlining provisions in FAST-41, our
members' experience with it since passage, and our continued
support for next steps to improve the permitting process in S.
3017, the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act.
FAST-41 actually did a lot. It established the multi-agency
Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and it
established a process that includes designation of lead agency,
timetables for projects, coordination between agencies, dispute
resolution mechanisms, and judicial review reforms.
One example of the benefits of FAST-41 is the transparency
and certainty generated by the permitting timetable. Simply
put, our members find this feature indispensable. Knowing an
expected schedule for all the steps in the permitting process
from the beginning allows project sponsors to better coordinate
and manage scheduling of contractors, suppliers, and resource
Simply by reducing the uncertainty of permitting through
the timetable, coupled with the other provisions to keep this
process on track, our members who work on covered projects,
including those all along the supply chain, not only project
sponsors, are better able to manage resources, reduce down time
and waste, and manage workflows to get more done, hire more
employees, and help grow the economy.
With the Council recently reporting that 97 percent of
covered projects had timetables in their 2017 annual report, we
are near full implementation on covered projects across all
agencies. This is a significant step forward.
Not surprisingly, Chamber members are also highly
supportive of speeding up the permitting process. The Council
recently reported that they were able to reduce the permitting
timetable on the Mid-Barataria project by 22 months. I am not
the expert here on that project. I will not go into details but
this is a significant step.
It is only one case study but it is a positive indication that
the FAST-41 process works and that we should expect to see more
benefits from reductions in permitting timetables in the near
future. It has only been 2\1/2\ years since implementation
began and we are already beginning to see massive payoffs in
terms of projects scheduling reductions.
An important next step is further improving the permitting
process and increasing the number of covered projects. To that
end, the Chamber strongly supports S. 3017, the Federal
Permitting Reform and Jobs Act. The bill does four crucial
things-eliminating the 7-year sunset in FAST-41, by far the
most important. This will ensure that FAST-41 continues into
the future and serves as the foundation for additional future
Two, it expands the statutory definition of covered
projects. By removing exclusions in FAST-41, more
transportation infrastructure projects will become eligible.
This is crucial for modernizing America's infrastructure moving
Three, it sets a 2-year goal for permitting covered
projects, by requiring agencies to submit a plan that adheres
to this timetable. An expected 2-year permitting schedule is a
powerful incentive to increase investment in covered projects.
The Chamber firmly believes there is no good reason why any
Federal permit should ever take longer than 2 years to obtain.
And four, it expands the Council's consulting authority by
codifying provisions of EO 13807, which grants the Council
enhanced consultation authority and expands the Council's
dispute resolution authority, allowing for it to better
coordinate agency actions and keep the process on schedule to
further reduce project timetables.
In conclusion, the Chamber applauds the work that has been
done to implement FAST-41 so successfully and expediently, and
strongly supports passage of S. 3017. Early successes have
shown that the FAST-41 process works. Enhancing the system with
the common-sense improvements in S. 3017 will allow a broader
range of projects to take advantage of improvements in the
permitting process and ensure that this process continues to be
refined without the clock running out on FAST-41.
In January 2018, the Chamber laid out a four-point plan to
modernize American's infrastructure, of which enhancing the
usage rate and effectiveness of FAST-41 is one of the four key
We look forward to working with this Committee to ensure
that we have the necessary tools to modernize America's
infrastructure moving forward. Thank you.
Senator Portman. Thank you, Dr. Johnson. Ms. Goldfuss.
TESTIMONY OF CHRISTY GOLDFUSS,\1\ SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ENERGY
AND ENVIRONMENT POLICY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS
Ms. Goldfuss. Thank you. Thank you for having me today,
Senators Portman and McCaskill.
\1\ The prepared statement of Ms. Goldfuss appears in the Appendix
on page 47.
What we are talking about today, as you two know very well,
is not and should not be politically divisive. Both Republicans
and Democrats have sought to improve the process by which the
government permits major infrastructure projects. As Managing
Director at the Council on Environmental Quality under
President Obama, I worked closely with my colleagues at OMB and
the National Economic Council (NEC), at the time, to implement
the FAST Act by standing up the Permitting Council, writing its
inaugural guidance, and staffing it with talented people, some
who are in this room still, who knew how to move the levers of
government to overcome barriers.
Prior to being at CEQ, I was Deputy Director at the
National Park Service (NPS), which gave me a front-row seat to
a lot of the interagency conflicts and disputes that can lead
to the delays. Both at the White House and at NPS, I saw first-
hand the need to coordinate agencies, establish milestones, and
create transparency so that environmental review can be
improved where necessary and, quite honestly, not blamed for
the burdens of a complicated network of public and private
requirements. That is why I supported the creation of FPISC and
all the other permitting reforms when some of my other
colleagues did not.
Through the Title 41 and FAST Act and other recent actions,
Congress has done a lot to give the Federal Government the
tools to modernize the way it does business. However, those
tested measures only work if the government uses them and
builds trust with industry to demonstrate that this model can
work in the complex government structure. Unfortunately, the
Administration has pushed Congress to expand its authority
rather than effectively exercising all the tools you have
already given them. As a result, I have reservations and
concerns about amending the Act without more proof points from
the implementation of existing authorities.
The Administration and others point to the permitting
process as the main cause of project delays. Existing data
show, however, that delays are more often the result of a lack
of funding. Recognizing the need for further study and causes
of project delays, the Congress gave the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) the permitting dashboard, which is still
very much a work in progress, with incomplete data and limited
mapping capabilities. It has significant potential but we are
not there yet.
While we were pleased to see an acting director announced,
the FPISC executive director position is still vacant. A
political appointee is particularly important in this role to
demonstrate to departments and agencies the level of priority
and commitment from the White House. The same is true for
project sponsors who may question the legitimacy of FPISC
without political leadership. This person would have broad
authority to advance the group's mission and move large
Most importantly, though, the FAST Act allowed FPISC to
establish a fee structure for project proponents. The FPISC has
not yet implemented this initiative, which would help
facilitate faster reviews at the expense of project sponsors,
in this case private developers. These additional funds will
improve the process and perhaps allow for other funds to be
invested in the dashboard or other important measures. The
Administration has failed to use the basic tools of governing
that have been proven to improve permitting times.
When the Committee, or if the Committee chooses to advance
other legislation to enact more permitting reforms, I would
like to offer a few recommendations.
First, the FAST Act, the Water Resources Reform and
Development Act (WRRDA), and the Moving Ahead for Progress in
the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) all contained permitting reforms
and changes to environmental review that need to be harmonized
to make clear which authorities apply to which projects.
Next, given the slow implementation pace, it would be
prudent to keep a sunset date for provisions of FAST-41 that
have not yet been implemented, such as advancing a preferred
alternative or judicial review.
Last, I strongly recommend against any consideration of
legislated deadlines. Little can be gained by forcing under-
resourced agencies to develop the projects faster. This will
only lead to more court battles and additional stops and starts
in permitting timelines as agencies rush reviews and
communities are cut out of the process. Instead, thorough
implementation of FAST-41 and other permitting reforms will net
excellent data for the Committee to truly diagnose any
additional problems in process and procedure.
In conclusion, I thank you again for inviting me to speak
to you about this top priority issue for all of us, which is
addressing the needs of the Nation's crumbling infrastructure
while protecting the air, water, and wildlife on which we all
depend. Thank you.
Senator Portman. Thank you, Ms. Goldfuss. Mr. McGarvey.
TESTIMONY OF SEAN McGARVEY,\1\ PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICA'S
BUILDING TRADES UNION
Mr. McGarvey. Good afternoon, Senator Portman, Senator
McCaskill. Thank you both for your leadership on this issue and
for convening this Roundtable to discuss permitting reform. As
President of North America's Building Trades Union (NABTU) and
on behalf of the three million construction workers in North
America that I proudly represent, thank you for allowing me to
join this distinguished panel to discuss an issue that directly
impacts the building and construction trades men and women
across the Nation.
\1\ The prepared statement of Mr. McGarvey appears in the Appendix
on page 51.
Before we begin I would like to take a very brief moment to
make a few comments.
America's labor leaders and businesses agree: the
permitting process for major U.S. infrastructure projects must
continually be modernized to ensure efficiency, safety,
accountability, and transparency. These projects employ
hundreds of thousands of building trades members, and the
sooner projects can break ground, the sooner our members can
get to work applying their crafts and providing for their
The general problem with the permitting process is this:
project owners in the public and private sectors often confront
an overly complex, slow, and inconsistent Federal permitting
process. Gaining approval for a new bridge or factory typically
involves negotiating a maze of review by multiple Federal
agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and no real deadlines.
Usually, no single Federal entity is responsible for managing
the process. Even after a project has cleared extensive review
and a permit is granted, lawsuits and judicial intervention can
stymie effective approval for years, or even worse, halt a
half-completed construction project in its tracks. This problem
still needs more attention.
Senators, your bipartisan work and leadership on the
Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which we were proud to
support through several sessions of Congress, demonstrated a
steadfast commitment to cutting red tape in order to get much
needed infrastructure projects moving forward. NABTU, and the
entire building trades community, was tremendously grateful
that these efforts were finally enacted and resulted in Title
41 of the FAST Act. Already, Title 41 has started to streamline
the Federal permitting process, providing new hope for
construction workers, project owners, and industry leaders
across the country that our system can be transparent and
The reforms instituted in FAST-41 were designed to take
steps to rectify the problem. We believe the creation of the
Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council was a long-
overdue step in the right direction. We are confident that the
new procedures set forth in FAST-41 to standardize interagency
coordination and consultation will ultimately lead us toward
the better coordination among agencies and deadline-setting
that has been lacking in the permitting process and frustrating
construction owners, contractors, and workers for years.
As an organization that relies upon standards, we welcome
this. Furthermore, by tightening litigation timeframes
surrounding some permitting decisions, major infrastructure
projects may 1 day no longer be subject to the seemingly never-
ending cycle of lawsuits project opponents advocate. The new
process is working, not only to the benefit of the construction
industry but also to the Nation at large.
However, as with any program or agency, there is always
room for improvement and innovation. I commend you on your
continued efforts to address this critical work in improving
the permitting process with your introduction of S. 3017, the
Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act.
I must also acknowledge the Trump Administration's efforts
to help alleviate some of the logjams in the permitting system
as a whole. We have supported the thoughtful steps they have
taken to reform the system while maintaining the underlying
regulations that protect the health and safety of our members
on the jobsite and the environmental and human impacts of
projects on communities across the country.
I know there has been much confusion on the issue of
permitting reform versus regulatory reform, and it is important
to note that while permitting and regulations are intertwined,
they are still exclusive of one another. We can reform the
permitting process without sacrificing the integrity of the
underlying regulations, and we have testified before the Senate
on this point. I will be very clear: North America's Building
Trades Union supports responsible regulations that protect the
environment, public health, and worker safety. We believe these
regulations are critical to responsible infrastructure
development that lasts for decades and allows for future
generations to use these invaluable assets.
What we are opposed to is the lack of certainty and
transparency in the process and the unnecessary delay and
redundancy in the permitting process. These unnecessary
barriers, coupled with the constant stream of endless lawsuits
that project opponents rely upon because they cannot defeat a
project on the merits of the project itself, leads to a loss of
investment and job opportunities. When projects are tied up in
the courts our members are not working, they are not putting
food on the table, and they are not providing for their
North America's Building Trades Union strongly supported
the FAST-41 reforms because they lead us toward a path of
standardization and finality in the permitting process. That
pathway has created a floor on which future streamlining
efforts can build upon. But more must be done, and we are
committed to advancing practical, bipartisan solutions to
further improve this process. We welcome collaboration from all
interested parties who are serious about advancing this issue.
Senator Portman. Thank you, Mr. McGarvey.
And now a co-sponsor of FAST-41, former Senator Mary
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE MARY L. LANDRIEU, SENIOR POLICY
ADVISOR, VAN NESS FELDMAN, LLP; ACCOMPANIED BY MEGAN K.
TERRELL, LEGAL ADVISOR, COASTAL ACTIVITIES, ENVIRONMENT &
NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA
Senator Landrieu. Thank you, Senator Portman and Senator
McCaskill. It is wonderful to be here with you again, working
on some very important legislation and thoughts. I want to
commend you both for your steadfast commitment to this issue
and working closely together to build a bipartisan solution,
which many of the colleagues, or those testifying today have
mentioned, because without bipartisan support, what we are
suggesting may not move forward.
Both of you are so wise to understand that you could talk
all day about infrastructure and the need to provide more
infrastructure for our Nation, but if this process is not fixed
or focused or made better, it would really be not worth
speaking about, because there is such a gap between what our
aspirations are and what is actually possible in processing
these many projects.
I am here representing Van Ness Feldman, an entity that
represents many clients, but today I was asked to speak in my
role representing the Louisiana Coastal Protection and
Restoration Authority (CPRA). It is a $1.3 billion project,
which is one of the largest on the dashboard. It has actually
been mentioned in the testimony of those before me. Unlike
other projects that are struggling to find the funding, Senator
McCaskill and Senator Portman, we have our funding. We have the
plan to restore our wetlands. It is one of the largest wetlands
restoration projects underway in the Nation. The funding will
come from a variety of sources. There is some Natural Resource
Damage Assessment (NRDA) funding that must be approved but it
is basically designated. We are not one of the projects that
Christy might have mentioned, that are waiting for funding, so
there is no reason to speed us up because we do not have the
We actually have the money, and we have the scientific
plan. We have a master plan for restoring Louisiana's coast
that, Senator McCaskill, you and Senator Portman are somewhat
familiar with because you have been very helpful. That was
passed unanimously by our legislature. That, amazingly, through
Republican and Democratic Governors has been supported. That is
uniformly supported by our environmental community.
We have our scientific plan, we have our political
blessing, if you will, but we are struggling to get our
When we first started this project, Senator McCaskill,
representing this client, the Corps of Engineers told us, in a
calm voice, that it would take us 10 years--10--to get our
permit. Now this is after you passed the FAST Act. And so we
would respond to them, ``Have you read about the FAST Act?''
``Oh, yes. We have read about it but we really do not, you
know, have to, like, pay a lot of attention to it.'' I said,
``Well, I think you might want to pay attention to it, because
it says that you have got to go fast, and 10 years is not
Then they thought they were doing us a big favor by coming
back about a year later. Megan will tell you the details--and
said, ``Oh, we have figured this out. We have figured out how
to take it down to 6 years.'' We said, ``Six years is still too
We have lost 1,800 square miles of coastline since 1932. We
lose a football field of land every hour. Louisiana is in a
race against time to restore our wetlands, so while I most
certainly respect all of the projects that are on FAST-41--
building highways, building airports, to our trade unions--this
is really important. These are not just any jobs. These are
well-paying jobs that keep a lot of people employed. But our
project is a coastal restoration project with its own money.
Its sole purpose is restoring the environment, whole-scale
restoring of the environment, building this marsh. And they are
saying to us, ``You have to wait 10 years.'' ``You have to wait
I was proud, in representing our client, to lead an effort,
and the team is here, to work the first MOU, Senator McCaskill
and Senator Portman, under your law. Using your law as the
guideline, we worked the first MOU to bring clarity,
transparency, a 2-year aspirational goal--and I understand you
may not want to put 2 years in the law but it sure sounds good
to people trying to build projects. It sounds better than 10.
Now whether you put it in the law or not, but a 2-year goal for
these projects, transparency, etc., is so helpful.
I am going to turn in the rest of my statement for the
record\1\ and turn it over to Megan. But the MOU that we
established, I am turning in as a part of the record.\2\
Hopefully it can serve as a
template. I generally support the goals of the enhancements to
the FAST Act, and do believe, as Senator McCaskill said, that
having--and both of you--a permanent director, a budget, a
staff to give some strength to what you all are trying to do.
\1\ The prepared statement of Senator Landrieu appears in the
Appendix on page 56.
\2\ The MOU referenced by Senator Landrieu appears in the Appendix
on page 93.
But thank you for continuing your focus on this, because
the work is not done, and there are billions and billions of
dollars of projects that could be built. Many have their own
funding. Many have their own capital that need not 10 years or
6 years, but need more reasonable timelines.
Thank you so much and I will turn it over to Megan Terrell.
Senator Portman. Well, thank you, Senator Landrieu, and,
Ms. Terrell, would you like to speak now or be available to
answer questions, because Senator Landrieu, even though she is
no longer a Senator, has learned how to use all of her time.
Senator Landrieu. Oh, I am sorry. Was I supposed to save my
time? I did not know.
Senator Portman. No. We are going to have Megan there for
Senator Landrieu. OK. Do the questions.
Ms. Terrell. No, that is fine. I am happy to answer any
Senator Portman. That is great. We are going to have some
Ms. Terrell. Great.
Senator Portman. Ms. Thompson.
TESTIMONY OF JOLENE S. THOMPSON,\1\ EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT,
MEMBER SERVICES AND EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, AMERICAN MUNICIPAL POWER,
Ms. Thompson. Thank you, Chairman Portman and Senator
McCaskill. I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate
in this Roundtable and discuss our experience with the FAST-41
\1\ The prepared statement of Ms. Thompson appears in the Appendix
on page 59.
AMP is a nonprofit, wholesale power supplier and services
provider for 135 municipal electric systems across nine States,
including Ohio, which is where we are based. We have a diverse
generation portfolio that includes fossil resources and
We have a unique experience with permitting and
infrastructure processes as we recently completed the largest
development of new run-of-the-river hydropower generation in
the United States. We built four projects at the same time,
along the Ohio River, at existing Army Corps dams. These
represent more than 300 megawatts of new emissions-free, long-
life generation and a $2.6 billion investment.
I want to express our sincere appreciate to Senator Portman
for his support of our projects as well as his leadership in
pursuing balanced permitting reform. As he indicated, this
process started with our telling him the tales of woe that we
went through in all of our permitting processes with the four
projects that we were doing.
Last fall, our CEO testified before this group about the
importance of reasonable and cost-effective permitting
processes. He talked about the project that we still have
remaining--the R.C. Byrd project, which would be a 48-megawatt
facility located in Ohio at an existing Army Corps dam. The
Byrd project is one of the 34 projects in the initial FAST-41
We understand the need to balance environmental protection
with development. However, the distinct Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing and then Army Corp and
resource agency permitting processes for hydropower are
especially arduous, often duplicative, and typically take more
than a decade.
Licensing for the Byrd project began in April 2007,
obviously predating the effort on FAST-41. We received our
license a decade later, in August 2017. We believe if the FAST-
41 process had existed earlier this would have moved much more
quickly. Today our economic commitment to the Byrd project
exceeds $4 million with permitting remaining.
To tie this into the FAST-41 process, let us back up to
July 2014, when FERC issued its draft environmental assessment
for the Byrd project. A stalemate developed with AMP and FERC
on one hand, and the Army Corps and Fish and Wildlife on the
other, regarding a disagreement about the timing of the
modeling study, a study which would cost up to $2 million.
We were asked to complete the full study prior to receiving
the FERC license. We agreed to perform the study post-license
but were unwilling to do so pre-license as that would have
placed the study cost at risk if the project did not move
forward. We spent much of 2016 gathering additional information
in an attempt to address this issue with the resource agencies.
Concurrent with this stalemate, our experience with the
FAST-41 process began in September 2016. We had conference
calls with the Permitting Council staff to discuss the
hydropower approval process and the challenges we were facing
with our project. In June 2017, FERC and Fish and Wildlife
finally reached concurrence on the issue at hand, and Fish and
Wildlife issued their biological opinion. This broke the logjam
and FERC subsequently issued the license a few months later. We
attribute this movement to the visibility that the Byrd project
received as a result of being included in the FAST-41
We are now at a juncture where we are experiencing a
Catch-22 involving the staging of the conditions contained in
the FERC license with other requirements and deadlines. One
condition in the license requires us to reach an agreement with
the Army Corps to coordinate plans for construction site
access. Importantly, other separate license obligations are
contingent upon completion of this agreement. For instance, we
cannot begin certain modeling prior to completion of the
agreement because we are not permitted to begin the core
drilling absent the agreement. Without the core drilling,
powerhouse locations cannot be determined. Without powerhouse
locations, certain studies would be premature.
We drafted the agreement and sent it to the Army Corps for
their review in October 2017. They sent their proposed changes
back this month and we are reviewing those. The fact that the
FERC license conditions do not marry up to the Army Corps
agreement results in a schedule that can be illogical, at best.
My point in describing this post-licensing situation is to
highlight the importance for hydropower projects of continuing
the Permitting Council process post-licensing into the
From our experience, FAST-41 has been successful in
improving the transparency of the Federal environmental review
and authorization process for covered projects. Concurrent
reviews, lead agencies, firm deadlines, and a top-down approach
are very important steps in improvements to the permitting
The permitting dashboard can identify delays caused by
intra- and inter-agency disputes, which can help facilitate
resolutions. However, State agencies are not currently
participants and they do play a critical role in the approval
process for many projects.
We recommend providing the appropriate resource commitments
for the Steering Council and broadening the scope of the
Council process to ensure that there is an ability for full
resolution of disputes that can exist between State and Federal
agencies, as well as between developers and agencies.
Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to appear
before you today and for your work on this important topic. We
appreciate the R.C. Byrd project having been included in the
initial inventory and we view the FAST-41 process as an
important tool in balanced permitting reform and infrastructure
Senator Portman. Thank you so much. Ms. Thompson, the
testimony this afternoon has been very helpful because it gives
us a lot to chew on, a lot to talk about, and I look forward to
getting into questions.
I am going to ask Senator McCaskill if she is interested in
going first. She is the Ranking Member of the full Committee
and I know she has to get to another commitment shortly, so I
want to have her have the chance to ask questions and we will
get into a little dialogue here.
By the way, this is not a hearing in the sense that if you
have something important to say, speak up. I promise not to
wield the gavel too much, and let us have a dialogue. Senator
Senator McCaskill. Let me start with FERC. The AMP
hydropower project is a perfect example of how frustrating it
is when FERC and the Army Corps do not talk to each other and
require duplicative information. The whole point was to get
agencies to work together.
I understand that FERC has resisted in participating in the
development of the initial timeline, saying that they are an
independent agency. Can you address this, Ms. Colamaria, and is
there something we can do in the new legislation that would--
other than a two-by-four--that would convince FERC that whether
it is the Army Corps or FERC, they all need to play nicely
within this law. Can you speak to that? Is this accurate, that
FERC is pretending as if they do not have to participate?
Ms. Colamaria. I would just say, both with FERC and the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the two independent
agencies we have on the Council, they are actively
participating in the implementation of FAST-41 now. They
participate regularly in the working group and, as you know,
FERC has many of our current FAST-41 projects on the dashboard.
They are the lead agency.
There are statutory limitations to some of the things that
they can and cannot do, ex parte communications, for example,
which we are working with FERC environmental staff, licensing
staff, and their General Counsel (GC) to think of creative ways
to move forward so that they can still continue their
coordinating roles with the agencies and use all the FAST-41
tools while still maintaining their independent agency status.
Senator McCaskill. Well, I think it would be helpful for us
if there is language----
Senator Portman. Yes.
Senator McCaskill [continuing]. That would clear this up
and that would be more directive and not discretionary. If you
could share that with us I think what we need to do is make
sure we draw this legislation as cleanly and tightly as
possible. Because it does not do us any good, if we get
everybody working except one.
Ms. Colamaria. Right.
Senator McCaskill. I mean, it is like you, Mary, and the
Ms. Colamaria. Exactly.
Senator McCaskill. Everybody is working well but if the
Army Corps thinks that somehow they are outside of this, then
the whole thing falls apart.
Senator Landrieu. Senator, I would like to just jump in and
add to what has been said. Our office is actually an expert on
FERC. It is not work that I do personally but I am very proud
that Van Ness Feldman has one of the largest FERC practices. If
you do not mind, I would like to submit that question, if the
record stays open, and we could provide probably several----
Senator McCaskill. That would be great.
Senator Landrieu [continuing]. Ideas to the Committee, if
you would accept it, and we could provide it within, what, 48
hours or a few days?
Senator Portman. Yes. That would be great. We had a hearing
on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week where
we had the FERC Chairman--actually, we had all the
commissioners there, which is, if not the first time it has
ever happened, it is unusual--and I asked him this very
question, as you probably know. I talked to him about the
Council, asked him why they were not posting on the dashboard.
And I asked him to get back to us on it because he was not
aware of the issue.
But the point is, to Senator McCaskill's question
specifically, are the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and FERC
actually posting on your dashboards, or not? Are they posting
their information and their deadlines?
Ms. Colamaria. They are posting some of their milestones,
but they still do believe they have some limitations on the way
that it is posted, and so that is an example of----
Senator Portman. And they said those are legal limitations,
Ms. Colamaria. What was that?
Senator Portman. They say those are legal limitations.
Ms. Colamaria. Correct.
Senator Portman. Even statutory limitations? OK. We should
take a look at that.
Senator McCaskill. We can fix that.
Senator Portman. Yes.
Senator McCaskill. We can write that law. We can change
that legal problem.
Senator Landrieu. Amen.
Senator McCaskill. I know we have some disagreements about
whether or not we do the sunset or do not do the sunset. I have
to go to another hearing, because I am Ranking Member and it
has to do with all the stress and conflict we have around the
border right now, and I need to go down there to that. But I
want to ask you Sean--it is so important in this era that we
listen to workers and that we pay attention to the workers. I
want to make sure from the perspective of your membership, if
there is anything that we need to put in the legislation that
would be helpful.
I know getting these jobs ready to go faster, making them
so that your folks can get to work in a more quick and
efficient way matters, but if there is anything else I sure
would like to have your input as it relates to our improvements
Mr. McGarvey. Well, I appreciate that, Senator. And, we are
not only interested in expediting the permitting timeframe to
more quickly deploy men and women that we represent onto those
projects, but also we are running about 140 apprenticeship
residence centers across the United States, one in Columbus,
Ohio; Cleveland; one in St. Louis; Kansas City, where we are
communities that have not had a lot of opportunity in their
lifetime--communities of color, women, veterans--and using
these infrastructure projects as their entryway into
apprenticeship and on to the middle class, once they learn the
skills sets. The more quickly we can go, the more people we can
On top of that, over the next 10 years, we are going to
move about $70 billion of our pension money out of other
investments into alternatives in infrastructure and commercial
real estate. So, like the Hair Club for Men, we are not just a
client; we are an owner. When we are investing our dollars, it
is important to us too.
Senator McCaskill. I am not going to say anything about the
Hair Club for Men. [Laughter.]
You gave me an opening there that a Mack truck could drive
through, Sean, but I am not going to say anything.
Mr. McGarvey. You are correct. But there is a second
opportunity for us, not only to get good help invested in the
Nation's infrastructure, also to get good returns for our
pension funds that need them, but to create the jobs. With all
the uncertainty and unpredictability, in the years that I have
been working now at the C-suite level, with people who are
investing hundreds of billions of dollars in gas and oil,
petrochem, public and private other types of infrastructure,
this predictability is the whole thing when it comes to the
financing. The banks on Wall Street and others that are putting
up a lot of this money, they cannot be in a position where they
do not know when they are going to start to get the return on
investment (ROI) on the investment, and as pension fund
investors we are the same way.
Again, if we could ever get to that magic 2-year where we
knew, from start to finish, in 2 years we were going to know
whether we were going or not, that would change the whole
ballgame, I think. And not sun setting the bills. The other
Senator McCaskill. Let us go to that, because this is in
the predictability place, and this will be my last question.
You raised concerns about removing the sunset, Ms. Goldfuss. I
just think that this predictability, if people think it might
go away, then all of a sudden all of the speed that they had
gained they think could dissolve, and not that our government
is not totally predictable and stable and functioning smoothly.
I am not being partisan there. We have the same problem. I
mean, this is a door that swings both ways.
Do you see that removing the sunset has some advantages as
it relates to predictability?
Ms. Goldfuss. Yes, and just to clarify, I think for the
portions of the law that we know are working--so the dashboard
and the Council and the pieces that we see are demonstrating
success--putting the sunset in place makes perfect sense. But
we have not had the law long enough for specifically the
judicial review pieces.
The only recommendation I would make there is look at--is
there a point in time that Congress could come back to some of
the untested provisions of the law and see whether or not they
are working. The sunset gives you that opening to maybe extend
it several years and come back and look at the judicial review,
or some other version of that, where you would check in.
Senator McCaskill. So your objection to removing the sunset
is about the untested parts dealing with the judicial review
that we really have not----
Ms. Goldfuss. Right. We have not determined whether or not
they work. Correct.
Senator McCaskill. That makes sense. Thank you all very
much. Thank you.
Senator Portman. Thanks, Senator McCaskill. We are joined
by Senator Harris, and feel free to jump in at any time you
would like. Senator McCaskill went first because she has to
head down to another committee hearing.
But again, there is so much to talk about here, and I
thought, Mr. McGarvey, you pretty well summarized where we are
in terms of the problem. The problem is we all want more
infrastructure and we need it badly, and relative to other
developed countries, we have a real gap in our infrastructure,
across the board. Certainly that includes energy projects, as
we heard about and environmental restoration projects, but also
roads and bridges, ports, and things that directly affect the
economic development of our country.
So this helps a little bit. We have seen the billion
dollars in savings already. It is awesome. The question is,
what can we do to make it work better? I wanted to ask a couple
First, to Ms. Colamaria, I know that you are in sort of an
awkward position because we are talking about your Council and
how it could work better, and you would be the last one to ask
for more money for yourself, I am sure. Maybe not. But looking
at what you have been able to do with $4 million over this
period of time, saving about $1 billion, what could you do with
$10 million? What could you do with $15 million? What would you
do if you could get a higher appropriation?
Ms. Colamaria. Before I answer that I just want to clarify
something that Senator McCaskill said. Our budget through
appropriations this year was $1 million, but that was
significantly lower than what was requested by the President's
Fiscal Year budget. We did request $10 million and we were
given $1 million. This year we requested $6.07 million and that
is currently in both the House and Senate appropriations bills.
As you alluded to, we are kind of skating by on a skeleton
budget right now, but we have been able to accomplish some
significant successes. But I do think that to fully realize the
potential of FAST-41, to create that sea change across all
agencies, we really are going to need the full budget in order
to really spend the time on each project that we do,
shepherding each project through the process, having the one-
stop-shop service for project sponsors, and then also just
creating all the tools that the agencies will need in order to
make their internal process and their intra-agency processes
more efficient as well, including the GIS tools, making the
dashboard more of a tool as opposed to a reporting function,
that type of thing.
Senator Portman. Let me just be specific. You talked about
$6 million, roughly, in the budgets this year. Neither of those
bills have been voted on yet but we are hoping that those bills
and others will come to the floor. Would that be adequate for
what you are currently experiencing--the number of projects on
the dashboard, the amount of staff you need, the amount of
tools you need, money you need to have the tools to help these
agencies and departments? Mr. Herrgott, jump in here too,
because I know you are very involved with this.
Mr. Herrgott. She is doing a great job.
Ms. Colamaria. I think given the current project workload,
that is an adequate amount, given the fact that we are also
planning on issuing fee regulations to further enhance our
budget and to help both in terms of the operating costs for the
Office of the Executive Director, as well as the cost to the
agencies, for implementing FAST-41.
Mr. Herrgott. I would just like to point out it is
important to focus on making sure that the Permitting Council
is adequately funded, but as you know from your experience in
performance management at OMB, the problem that we are dealing
with is fierce. We have a legacy, paper-based system that was
developed before the Internet, in a way in which we have 59
statutes and up to 14 agencies that oftentimes do not have a
central repository for data. It is not just enough to create a
dashboard and then to appoint a permanent executive director to
make the systemic cultural changes within agencies.
Just the way they talk to each other--and this is not a
Republican or Democrat issue. This really is a process
redesign. And to comments about One Federal Decision or the
Permitting Council somehow eroding environmental protections or
far--that would be an inaccurate assessment, because what we
are really doing is taking a hard look at how agencies get to a
decision. Not to a yes but to a decision, using the best
available data. Although folks have talked about resources
within the agencies, the important thing here is we do not have
a central repository for data on where the resource constraints
Part of the accountability system that is tied to FAST-41,
and to One Federal Decision, is for the first time ever to ask
agencies where the resources actually are, where they are being
used, so we can pinpoint and target where the resources are.
Throwing money at the agencies is not the problem. What we need
to figure out is where they actually are.
So that is why, on April 9th of this year, we had 11
Federal agencies and the Permitting Council sign the MOU,
including FERC, which binds them to do things that are
consistent with the spirit of FAST-41. I would argue that they
both work hand-in-hand. You need FAST-41 as a project-by-
project tool to adjudicate project disputes and to change the
way we do business. But you also need One Federal Decision
across all Federal agencies, the entire Federal family, to do
things a little bit differently, and you need them to work
together or else we cannot achieve the coordinated project plan
and the timelines that are in FAST-41.
Yes, it is important that we address the adequate funding,
but we also need the MOU, which is being implemented now, to
take root, so that it can further support the FAST-41
Senator Landrieu. Senator Portman, could Megan just say 30
second on this, because it is so important.
Senator Portman. Absolutely. I was going to get down to
your project next. I am really impressed that so many people
know how to pronounce Mid-Barataria too. Everybody on the panel
has said that word one time today, except you.
Senator Landrieu. They know this project. They have heard a
lot about this project.
Senator Portman. Probably America's biggest environmental
restoration project right now. Right?
Senator Landrieu. Yes, it is. Go ahead, Megan.
Senator Portman. What is your sense? How is it working?
Ms. Terrell. I think the process right now has worked
really well. The MOU that we entered into with the United
States and the Federal cooperating agencies and the Corps as
the lead agency I think was really the trigger to really speed
things up for our project. It is one of the Coastal Protection
and Restoration Authority's five cornerstone projects in the
State of Louisiana, and right now is going through the
permitting process. As Senator Landrieu mentioned, it started
off as a 10-year process, and then after the project got put on
the dashboard in January 2017, the new Coordinator Project Plan
was issued with about a 6-year project timeline.
Shortly thereafter, there were several months of
negotiations, but in early January of this year we entered into
that milestone MOU, and that has really been the impetus to see
the changes. We being the State of Louisiana, I think one of
the key pieces that helped us, as part of the MOU, was allowing
the State, as a project sponsor, to have more participation in
the process. Where that led to was the State working directly
with the Corps but also the other Federal cooperating agencies.
We had a whole framework development team, multiple calls,
where we sat down and really talked about this is the timeframe
within which the modeling is going to take place, this is the
timeframe that we can accomplish and working through each stage
of the EIS process.
Through that, that is where we were really able to create
the efficiencies. It was through increased coordination and
increased communication between the State, the Federal
cooperating agencies, and the lead agency. The agencies also
dedicated necessary staff and resources to the project that may
not have been there before.
One of the other extremely helpful things was to have
executive staff in the room. We have Colonel Clancy, who is the
commander and District Engineer of the New Orleans District and
who was directly involved in the process, checking in and that
ensures that his staff and his personnel are focused on the
project, but also ensures that it remains a priority. That has
been extremely helpful.
Senator Portman. Do you feel like the Corps feels
accountability for the performance of the other agencies?
Ms. Terrell. They do.
Senator Portman. That is the idea, to have one agency in
Ms. Terrell. The lead agency in charge definitely helps. We
have monthly meetings and the Corps is constantly keeping not
only CPRA as the project sponsor but also the other cooperating
agencies on task, and asking where we are in the timeline, and
are we going to meet our milestone goals. I think that has been
I think having that goal of a 2-year permitting timeline
has also been extremely helpful. I am acting as sort of a
project manager for the environmental and permitting for this
project, but I started off my career as an attorney, still am.
But we all know, as an attorney, if you have a brief deadline,
for example, you are going to make sure you do the prep work
and make sure you get that filed on time. That is why I really
think having a 2-year timeframe and a goal in mind helps keep
people focus on the job at hand. It helps with early
identification of issues that may result in delay down the
road, and then you can enter into these dispute resolution
processes, which we have, as part of our MOU, and that has been
Senator Landrieu. But that MOU would not have been possible
without Alex and without the Federal push coming down to tell
them, ``You must work together,'' and maybe we need stronger.
But your team up here, Senator Portman, was terrific, because
they would not be listening if it was not be coming from the
Senator Portman. By the way, the 2-year goal is that it is
a goal. As I said earlier, if agencies cannot meet that goal
for some reason, they have to explain why, and how they are
going to try to meet it. That is what we are doing here. To the
point earlier from Ms. Goldfuss, which I get, sometimes there
are going to be situations that are out of the control of the
agency. Something happens. But having that goal, as Mr.
McGarvey said, is so critical.
I want to give Senator Harris a chance to jump in here, if
she is interested, and I appreciate you coming.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR HARRIS
Senator Harris. I appreciate you. Thank you.
Ms. Colamaria, you are probably familiar with what happened
back in October in California. PG&E, electric transmission
lines, there was failure and it resulted in the death of 18
people and 12 wildfires. At least Cal Fire estimates that the
causal connection included the 12 wildfires that we
experienced, that devastated communities.
Tell me how FAST-41 is addressing, in particular, the
safety concerns that we have around electrical transmission
wiring. Certainly the efficiency and speed is important, but
also safety. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?
Ms. Colamaria. Well, I can get back to you on any
specifics, if there are any of our projects that are
specifically dealing with that issue. I do not know off the top
of my head if there are.
FAST-41, the purpose of it is to improve the Federal
permitting process for environmental reviews and
authorizations. Those are typically more environmentally
related authorizations, but there are some that also bring in
safety concerns as well. The purpose is to ensure all the
agencies that have some role in that project are coordinating
and are talking and are identifying potential issues, possibly
a safety issue that would come up later on in the process,
identifying it earlier on so you can address it throughout the
process, and making sure that all of those potential dangers
are identified so they can be addressed as the project
approval, or not approval, goes forward.
Senator Harris. OK. If you could follow up with me that
would be great. Thank you.
Senator Portman. How many projects are on the dashboard
Ms. Colamaria. There are 38 projects right now on the
dashboard. Sixteen have completed their Federal environmental
reviews and authorizations. Seventeen are in progress. One is
planned. Additionally, two projects are paused at this time,
due to project sponsor financial concerns, and two projects
were canceled by the project sponsor, due to economic
considerations, and then the need to determine the need for the
Senator Portman. How many have applied to be covered?
Ms. Colamaria. We have had six new projects to apply to
become covered projects under FAST-41. Five of them were
determined to be covered projects. One was rejected because it
was not one of the covered sectors under FAST-41.
Senator Portman. OK. Have you looked at our new legislation
on the additional coverages on some specific areas?
Ms. Colamaria. I am aware of the legislation. As you know,
because the Administration has not taken a position on the
bill, I cannot comment on any specific legislation. But I will
say a lot of the issues addressed in the bill are issues we
have seen come up during implementation.
Senator Portman. We will just take Mr. McGarvey's word for
it. He thinks it is good, to cover more, right, more covered
projects. There are just some silly, I think, carve-outs that
do not make sense, in terms of what is covered and what is not
covered. There is not a big expansion because most things were
On the issue of you and your people being able to help give
advice or consultation to non-covered projects, have you looked
at that part of the legislation? I am not trying to put you on
the spot here. That is a part of the bill that came out of some
of the concerns that we heard from your folks.
Ms. Colamaria. I am aware that it is in the bill. I will
say, though, in the 13807 Executive Order we do cover that
issue and it does allow, under the Executive Order, the
executive director to help out on projects that are not FAST-41
Senator Portman. OK. Good.
Ms. Colamaria. We are supportive of that, obviously.
Senator Portman. Yes. Good.
Senator Landrieu. Can I jump in to add to that?
Senator Portman. Yes, please.
Senator Landrieu. On behalf of our client, we would support
a broadening of the coverage, but as long as it does not dilute
the focus on the large projects that are on the dashboard. So,
of course, we would love to try to expedite as many projects
across the country, Senator, as we can, but there are really
significant projects that are on this dashboard. We have $1
million and no executive director, as we sit here today. So
there are some really important steps that a permanent
executive director, a good, solid budget, and continued
coordination and transparency would be extremely helpful.
Senator Portman. Yes.
Ms. Colamaria. Can I respond to that, just quickly?
Senator Portman. Of course.
Ms. Colamaria. I think that you might have noticed that I
qualified my $6.07 million number as sufficient for the current
set of projects, but, yes, if we do expand, and we are starting
to increase our marketing and letting more project sponsors
know about the benefits of FAST-41. As we do start to
significantly expand the number of covered projects we would
need more money, exactly for that reason. We do not want to
dilute the services we are providing.
Senator Portman. We wanted to start off with some projects
like Mid-Barataria that would be successful, and thanks to your
hard work, all of you, it is moving along. I would still like
to shorten the time, as Mr. Terrell said. But, as we have
successes and build on that foundation, obviously the idea is
to give you the opportunity to take on more, and I was
interested to see how many projects have applied. I would like
to see more, but we need the resources to make it work. And to
both of you, Mr. Herrgott and to you, Ms. Colamaria, I think
the executive director of permanence would be really helpful
for everybody. I am not going to put you on the spot to ask you
why we do not have one yet, but I have asked others, including
some of the senior officials in the Administration, and they
all indicate that they are moving toward that. So I would hope
that that is true.
Mr. Johnson, you have not had a chance to speak up much
since your good testimony, but what do you think the top
priorities are going forward, and what should we be doing? I
know you said you strongly support the new legislation. What
should our emphasis be in that and what is the most important
thing going forward?
Mr. Johnson. Absolutely. We have already talked about a lot
of the most important things. I think one thing to keep in mind
is the entire permitting process, with all the interagency
coordination that is required, is a complicated problem to
solve. We are only roughly 2\1/2\ years into implementation of
the Steering Council and getting FAST-41 underway. They have
made remarkable progress in that time. But we are just
beginning to see the payoff from that, in terms of measurables,
metrics that we can actually use to look at the success of the
I think one of the things that would help, moving forward,
is to increase the number and diversity of projects, to make
sure that we get a better data set, more information in terms
of how useful this is, and make sure that we have a lot of
coverage in how we can explain what this does to the process,
and to show what this does to the process.
Furthermore, I think it is absolutely critical that we
remove the sunset provision to ensure that we can do that in a
timely way and we can do that in a way that continues forward.
Seven years is just too short to make sure that we get this
fully implemented, that we have success stories, and that we
could show that this process really works.
And then, like I said, to build on top of it, to continue
the process forward. I think Alex was talking about the
complexity of the system and the problems that we have with
paperwork and inconsistencies across agencies. These are
problems that can be solved without any kind of substantive
change in the statutes that require environmental review, or
that require environmental review for permitting. We can
actually not change the way we do anything but still improve
and speed up the process, make it more transparent and better,
simply by fixing the bureaucratic overhang that happens because
of all of the inefficiencies in the system.
The more we can do that and the more projects we can do
that on, I think the better we will be in the long run and the
better the position of the country will be, in terms of all of
the things we have talked about--creating jobs, growing the
economy, having more projects, and attracting more investment
to these projects.
Mr. Herrgott. One point on the judicial review section. It
is worth pointing out that in MAP-21 and the FAST Act that
those judicial reform remedies, that reduction in time, is
already applicable to Section 139 of Title 23 and DOT projects.
It is already internally consistent with other parts of the
code. Data does exist that it does deliver projects faster, in
a way in which projects otherwise would not go from red to
green without those judicial reform sections. It would be an
inaccurate assessment to say that the judicial reform sections
in your bill are any different than other treatment that we
have seen in something, that have been bipartisan bills that
have passed through Congress.
Senator Portman. That is a good point. By the way, more
data and the ability to use the data, so it is not just having
big data but to be able to put the analytics behind it so it
makes sense, will help put the performance measures. Ms.
Goldfuss, I think it also helps with some of your concerns,
frankly, because the inefficiencies of the process do not lead
to a better result.
Ms. Goldfuss. I completely agree, and I think the tension
of adding more projects versus having a bunch of proof points
to show that this works is some of what Senator Landrieu
pointed out. This is a new-ish process for government.
Unfortunately, we would all like the timeline to go faster. The
success that you have was with a shift in Administration, which
we know also takes time as new people come in and learn what is
So I think----
Senator Portman. By the way, can I interject there for just
a moment? Thank you for your work at the end of the Obama
Administration getting the Council going. I did not mean to
Ms. Goldfuss. No.
Senator Portman [continuing]. Ungrateful there, because I
know there was lots of back-and-forth. The director and I were,
as you know, in constant communication for a while there.
Ms. Goldfuss. Constant.
Senator Portman. You did get it set up and going, and our
job is to push, push, push.
Ms. Goldfuss. And show that it works. Barataria is a
wonderful project but we need more of that. We need to show
that this is what we learned, and have that data to see what is
really holding it up.
Senator Portman. I did not mean to interrupt you. Keep
going, if you can remember your line of----
Ms. Goldfuss. I just wanted to agree with Alex on that
point about the data. We may not agree on everything but having
data from the system, really the inefficiencies in the
bureaucracy are overwhelming. PDFs, for example, in some
places, people just refusing to return phone calls or emails.
FPISC really has put a big, bright light on the fact that
people have to work together, and forcing that and showing that
it can work on projects and still have strong environmental
outcomes will mean that it will benefit more projects in the
Senator Portman. Excellent. Anything else to add from the
group? Ms. Thompson, you said you had a 10-year, as I heard you
talking about the numbers, a 10-year permit in process, still,
on your last hydropower plant. Is that right?
Ms. Thompson. For the license for the project currently in
the inventory it took 10 years to get the license. The license
is the permission to start permitting, which will be another
probably 4 to 5 years, at least. A part of that being the
amount of studies that you have to do for a hydro project
because you are affecting a Corps dam. So there has to be a
number of structural studies and those sorts of things.
I wanted to echo what I heard--I have heard the words
``cultural change'' come up a couple of times and I just want
to talk about how important that is. You are really trying to
move some very entrenched bureaucracies, and ways of doing
things that are not things that necessarily need to be changed
in the statute. But this process can help encourage
collaboration and shine a light on it.
There are some things that just do not make sense in some
of these processes and I think if that becomes apparent to the
Permitting Council and there are other folks that are arbiters
of the situation, that it could make some serious progress
forward on certain things. Particularly you have some
differences between the FERC and Corps, when we are dealing
with our projects. Some things the Corps does are completely
duplicitous of what we have already done in the FERC process.
For instance, studies that after 5 years they will no longer
accept a study. Once you have done the study and the licensing
process, it is going to be expired, but it has already been
done, but you redo the study, it is more cost for the
developer. It is just more time and more delays.
So cultural change, having the arbiter of someone looking
at this and saying it does not make sense, is critically
Senator Portman. That is why I think it is so important
that the Council be permitted to consult on non-covered
projects, because I think the effect of the Council is actually
far more than $1 billion. I think it actually has changed the
culture in some agencies and departments that do not have
covered projects. I think that could happen even more if you
all had the flexibility, and it sounds like you do under
Executive Order already. But under statute to be encouraged to
consult so that the cultural changes take place, not just with
regard to a couple dozen covered projects but with regard to
the agencies and departments, in general. That is kind of your
job, to be the person who is trying to change a mindset and
focus on results, jobs, and economic development.
I think that is a really important point, and I am glad to
hear you think there is some cultural shift going on in some of
these agencies you are working with already, but it sounds like
you could see a little more of it.
Ms. Thompson. Yes, it could be a lot. There could be a lot
Senator Portman. Yes.
Senator Landrieu. There is a lot of room to avoid
Senator, one other idea I will throw out, and I can follow
up with the staff on this. But it occurred to me, sitting here,
with the jurisdiction of Homeland Security, that the Committee
is responsible for rebuilding cities, counties, and portions of
States that are destroyed by disasters. Of course, I led a lot
of that effort when I was here. It occurs to me that a special
grouping of projects would be infrastructure projects that must
be rebuilt quickly after a storm. I am not sure there is any
special HOV lane for that. We should think about that.
Because, remember, these projects, for instance the bridge
over Lake Pontchartrain, that I-10 collapsed, it had already
been permitted once. It was a fine bridge. It just was
overwhelmed by the force. Why would you have to wait to go
through X number of years to rebuild it?
Projects like that could go on a fast track if it could
quickly be determined that that bridge was, in fact, safe. It
needs to be built to a higher standard, but if it is being
built in the same footprint as the old bridge, why do you have
to do a whole NEPA, because it is on the same footprint? Now if
you are moving the bridge a mile away, over land that was never
examined, then maybe so. But I have always argued, if you are
building back on relatively the same footprint, why do you even
need NEPA? You need a safety check. You need safety to make
sure that the bridge you are building is stronger.
We should think about that, a special category. It would be
so helpful to mayors and Governors that are struggling right
now in Houston to rebuild, and with all the problems, they do
not need that. We should think about that. I do not know if you
all have talked about that.
Mr. Herrgott. We have talked about that extensively, and at
its core what we were trying to do is realign everyone's
definition of success, and it is building the project. And
unfortunately, the very talented people that work within the
agencies, we have failed them. We have not set them up for
success because we have not given them a process to address
what is behind me.
[Points to chart.]
That is systemic. We can work within existing statutes, and
along with the Permitting Council, which is institutionalizing
best practices which helped us to the logical outgrowth, which
is One Federal Decision, to change the way in which agencies
talk to each other, at the front of the process. To bring
stakeholders in, not just for the opt-in projects of the
Permitting Council, which is extremely important and it has
changed the way in which we do business. For example, one
example, we have the Department of Commerce National Marine
Fisheries Service who will do an analysis on the Twin Span
Bridge on salmon, because they are an ocean-faring fish. But
yet the Fish and Wildlife Service is doing analysis on trout
because they are river fish and under the jurisdiction of the
Department of Interior.
When we talk about resources, it is essential that we
collaborate and coordinate to ensure that we harmonize those
processes, because I do not know how to explain to a taxpayer
in Nebraska that we wasted an additional $600,000 on two
different biological opinions for something that easily could
be done simultaneously and concurrently. That is what is
essential, and that is the lessons learned from the Permitting
Council, which we have taken to extend onto the rest of the
Federal family. And I think the collaborative nature and the
one-two punch are essentially what is going to help us really
demonstrate what your vision was.
Senator Portman. As you probably know, the Administration
is proposing a reorganization of government right now, which
every Administration does, and usually it does not fare very
well up here because of the jurisdictional problems with our
committees. One of the reorganization policies maybe comes from
you guys, which is about fish, and it is about trying to have
one agency be responsible for both the salmon and the trout, to
use your example. That would reduce some of the duplication and
some of the confusion that people have. I think it is
By the way, you did help, when you were here, I think, on
highway projects with regard to rebuilds, not having to go
through such a laborious process. Correct? But it is a good
point. It needs to be broadened beyond just that. I do not
think it includes bridges, as an example. Highway projects and
bridges. You may have done more than you thought while you were
Senator Landrieu. Thank goodness I did something.
Senator Portman. Yes, you did a lot.
Senator Landrieu. At least I did one thing when I was here.
Senator Portman. This has been very helpful, and needless
to say we want to continue to hear from you. Some of you are
going to send some things for the record of this particular
meeting, and we will be sure and get those. But, in general,
please keep working with us. We have, I would say, a
nonpartisan approach to this, and in some regard we talked
about it. It took us several years to just get this thing into
legislation. Now, it has taken us a few years to get it up and
going. I think there is an opportunity, with this additional
legislation, which I view as common sense, really very modest
changes. And I understand, Ms. Goldfuss, your concern about
part of it with regard to the sunset not applying to every part
of the new bill.
But it is really important that we take the lessons we have
learned and use it to make this even more streamlined, to use
one of your favorite words. So continue to work with us please,
our team. We want to move this forward with regard to new
legislation, and we want to be sure you get your appropriations
this year. We are going to weigh in on that on a bipartisan
basis, and talk about the savings, and talk about the
incredible return on investment this is for the taxpayer.
Finally, there are 15 days that the record will be open, so
this gives you not 2 years, but 15 days. To Ms. Terrell's point
that lawyers have to get their briefs in, your briefs need to
be in within 15 days, for the record. We really want to hear
from you and continue to work with you.
Thank you for being here today. Thanks for your service.
Mr. McGarvey. I cannot share with Senator McCaskill, but I
had a full head of hair when this process started. [Laughter.]
[Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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