Enhanced Environmental Coordination


Agency: Department of Transportation

Title: Enhanced Environmental Coordination

Background Information

The FHWA/National Performance Review (NPR) recommendation "Enhancing Interagency Environmental Coordination" addresses the difficulties ineffectively meeting the complex environmental documentation and permit processing requirements for Federal projects. Improved collaboration among agencies and coordinated environmental processing will streamline the project development process and expedite transportation and environmental decision making in a way which protects and enhances the environment.

This NPR recommendation is currently being implemented through interagency Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) for each FHWA Region. These MOUs constitute agreements among affected Federal agencies to merge National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision making with Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting through early consideration of water resource protection issues within the project planning and development process. This merger will facilitate improved Federal agency collaboration and joint decision making, and promises a smoother, more intelligible process to grantees.

Last year one FHWA region used the framework set up by their MOU to expedite development of a $400 million dollar project on new location, the Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway, near Scranton, Pennsylvania. As a result of the joint efforts of the transportation and environmental communities under this MOU, less than two acres of wetlands were affected by the 12 mile project, and the Section 404 permit was approved within six weeks of location approval. Under normal circumstances, the Section 404 permit would not be obtained until years after project location approval.

Main NPR Category: Cutting Back to Basics

Related NPR Categories: Cutting Red Tape

Contact Person: Fred Jones

Contact Phone: (202) 366-1212

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