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Washington, DC (May 16, 2014) – The White House today cited a project involving Venable client, Minnesota Power, as an example of effective interagency coordination with business leaders as a critical factor in the Administration’s drive to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

Over the past three years, federal agencies and business have worked together to expedite the review and permitting of over 50 major infrastructure projects, including bridges, transit, railways, waterways, roads, and renewable energy projects, and over 30 of those projects have completed the permitting process.

The project that the White House cited was the implementation of the Great Northern Transmission Line (GNTL), where the Department of Energy initiated monthly meetings with other Federal agencies, Venable client, Minnesota Power, and non-federal agencies to expedite the process. The Administration pointed to the early coordination meetings held by Minnesota Power to facilitate approval of the project. Those meetings helped the company narrow down potential corridors for the project to two routes. Their application also addressed other agency concerns and will serve, in the future, to facilitate a more efficient review process.

The White House press release outlined four specific strategies to realize its comprehensive plan to accelerate and expand permitting reform government-wide:

Strategy 1: Institutionalize Interagency Coordination and Transparency by formalizing interagency coordination, including: early identification of a lead agency; synchronizing separate federal review and permitting processes and decisions; standardizing the use of the Permitting Dashboard; and identifying best practices for early engagement with state, local, and tribal governments. The release focused on the Minnesota Power experience as an example of effective coordination.

Strategy 2: Improve Project Planning, Siting, and Application Quality by developing tools to assist project applicants in planning for a major infrastructure project and support effective and timely decision-making by agency staff once the federal process begins.

Strategy 3: Improve Permitting Reviews and Mitigation by supporting agency staff in effectively implementing existing regulations, policies, and guidance, as well as identifying barriers.

Strategy 4: Drive Continued Improvement by establishing a team dedicated to implementation of the reforms across agencies, further analyzing agency processes, identifying additional reforms, and developing reliable metrics to track timeframes and outcomes for communities and the environment.

The Venable team working with Minnesota Power is led by partner, Kathryn Floyd.


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