National and Regional Environmental Streamlining and Stewardship Activities
National and regional environmental streamlining and stewardship efforts focus on enhancing interagency partnerships through pilot efforts, programmatic agreements, process reinventions, conflict resolution systems, and performance evaluation. Many national and regional initiatives have been developed and are successfully being used to implement environmental streamlining and stewardship.
As one measure to implement Section 1309 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and six Federal resource agencies entered into a National Environmental Streamlining Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July 1999. The signees of the MOU are the Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Departments of Transportation, Interior (Forest Service), and Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
With the support of the FHWA, several national interagency workshops have been held that have focused on the implementation of environmental streamlining and stewardship.
- FWS and NOAA Fisheries Environmental Streamlining and Stewardship Workshop, San Diego, California, May 2003.
- EPA/FHWA Environmental Streamlining and Stewardship Workshop, Phoenix, Arizona, December 2002.
- USACE Executive Summary, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 2001.
- National Environmental Streamlining Interagency Workshop, St. Louis, Missouri, November 2000.
- FHWA Resource Center Regional Workshops, 2002.
- Planning/NEPA Linkage Peer-to-Peer Exchange, Baltimore, Maryland, May 2001.
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Interagency Guidance on Funding Positions
State and Federal agencies can use programmatic agreements, delegation of authority, and other flexible approaches to aid in streamlining the transportation development process. FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are working with the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the resource agencies to update existing programmatic agreements and to explore how such agreements can expedite specific regulatory requirements.
Most agreements address historic preservation, wetlands, endangered species, and Section 4(f) issues, often the areas that can cause project delay. For example, a national template with guidance for negotiating a programmatic agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite Endangered Species Act (ESA) reviews has been developed by FWS.
Section 1309(e) of TEA-21 allows states to use Federal-aid funds to provide additional resources to Federal agencies to meet newly established time limits for environmental reviews, if the time limits are less than the customary time necessary for such reviews. The Interagency Guidance: Transportation Funding for Federal Agency Coordination Associated with Environmental Streamlining Activities provides guidance and tools to FHWA Division offices, State DOTs, local transit operators, and Federal resource agencies to develop mutually beneficial agreements to help meet the environmental streamlining goals of TEA-21. In July 2003, the Environmental Technical Assistance Program (ETAP) issued a report on the Number and Distribution of DOT-Funded Positions at Resource Agencies and Analysis of Trends Since 2001. ETAP is a program of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Official's Standing Committee on the Environment.
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Domestic Scan on Environmental Commitment Implementation
The Domestic Scan Tour on Environmental Commitment Implementation visited seven State DOTs between September and December 2002 to review successful State processes, procedures, and methodologies used in fulfilling environmental commitments in the transportation project development process and in environmental permits. The FHWA's Office of Project Development and Environmental Review sponsored this effort, in recognition of the importance of this highly visible area to environmental stewardship and streamlining activities. During the Domestic Scan, the State DOTs demonstrated approaches to meeting environmental commitments by presenting key programs, tracking systems, and guidance materials, as well as exemplary construction projects and transportation enhancements.
The Domestic Scan report is intended to assist States, FHWA Divisions, environmental resource agencies, and the private sector in successfully complying with environmental commitments throughout the entire transportation design, development, and construction process.
For additional information, read The Domestic Scan Tour: Environmental Commitment Implementation, March 2003.
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Regional and National Agreements and Products
The tables below provide links to regional and national agreements and products. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF documents. Click here to download it for free if it is not installed on your system.
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