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 Home > News & Policies > September 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 18, 2002

Executive Order: Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Reviews

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to enhance environmental stewardship and streamline the environmental review and development of transportation infrastructure projects, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. The development and implementation of transportation infrastructure projects in an efficient and environmentally sound manner is essential to the well-being of the American people and a strong American economy. Executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall take appropriate actions, to the extent consistent with applicable law and available resources, to promote environmental stewardship in the Nation's transportation system and expedite environmental reviews of high-priority transportation infrastructure projects.

Sec. 2. Actions. (a) For transportation infrastructure projects, agencies shall, in support of the Department of Transportation, formulate and implement administrative, policy, and procedural mechanisms that enable each agency required by law to conduct environmental reviews (reviews) with respect to such projects to ensure completion of such reviews in a timely and environmentally responsible manner.

(b) In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 1 of this order, the Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with agencies as appropriate, shall advance environmental stewardship through cooperative actions with project sponsors to promote protection and enhancement of the natural and human environment in the planning, development, operation, and maintenance of transportation facilities and services.

(c) The Secretary of Transportation shall designate for the purposes of this order a list of high-priority transportation infrastructure projects that should receive expedited agency reviews and shall amend such list from time to time as the Secretary deems appropriate. For projects on the Secretary's list, agencies shall to the maximum extent practicable expedite their reviews for relevant permits or other approvals, and take related actions as necessary, consistent with available resources and applicable laws, including those relating to safety, public health, and environmental protection.

Sec. 3. Interagency Task Force. (a) Establishment. There is established, within the Department of Transportation for administrative purposes, the interagency "Transportation Infrastructure Streamlining Task Force" (Task Force) to: (i) monitor and assist agencies in their efforts to expedite a review of transportation infrastructure projects and issue permits or similar actions, as necessary; (ii) review projects, at least quarterly, on the list of priority projects pursuant to section 2(c) of this order; and (iii) identify and promote policies that can effectively streamline the process required to provide approvals for transportation infrastructure projects, in compliance with applicable law, while maintaining safety, public health, and environmental protection.

(b) Membership and Operation. The Task Force shall promote interagency cooperation and the establishment of appropriate mechanisms to coordinate Federal, State, tribal, and local agency consultation, review, approval, and permitting of transportation infrastructure projects. The Task Force shall consist exclusively of the following officers of the United States: the Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Transportation (who shall chair the Task Force), Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Defense, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality. A member of the Task Force may designate, to perform the Task Force functions of the member, any person who is part of the member's department, agency, or office and who is either an officer of the United States appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate or a member of the Senior Executive Service. The Task Force shall report to the President through the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality.

Sec. 4. Report. At least once each year, the Task Force shall submit to the President a report that: (a) Describes the results of the coordinated and expedited reviews on a project-by-project basis, and identifies those procedures and actions that proved to be most useful and appropriate in coordinating and expediting the review of the projects.

(b) Identifies substantive and procedural requirements of Federal, State, tribal, and local laws, regulations, and Executive Orders that are inconsistent with, duplicative of, or are structured so as to restrict their efficient implementation with other applicable requirements.

(c) Makes recommendations regarding those additional actions that could be taken to: (i) address the coordination and expediting of reviews of transportation infrastructure projects by simplifying and harmonizing applicable substantive and procedural requirements; and (ii) elevate and resolve controversies among Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies related to the review or impacts of transportation infrastructure projects in a timely manner.

(d) Provides any other recommendations that would, in the judgement of the Task Force, advance the policy set forth in section 1 of this order.

Sec. 5. Preservation of Authority. Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, and legislative proposals.

Sec. 6. Judicial Review. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Federal Government and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

September 18, 2002.

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