Alaska LNG Is On The Fast Track

In August, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) granted “Covered Project” status to Alaska LNG under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41).

FAST-41, signed into law on December 4, 2015 by former President Barack Obama, is designed to improve the timeliness, predictably, and transparency of the Federal environmental review and authorization process for covered infrastructure projects and requires the lead agency to develop a concise, coordinated project plan for each covered project.

AGDC applied for covered project status based on guidance that the FAST Act, originally designed for surface transportation infrastructure, can now be applied to the Alaska LNG project.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as the lead agency overseeing AGDC’s application to obtain a Natural Gas Act Section 3 permit to build Alaska LNG, will develop a concise, coordinated project plan and publish the environmental review schedule to FPISC’s website (https://www.permits.performance.gov/permitting-projects/alaska-lng-project).

FERC will set deadlines for specific agency actions and comment periods during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and create an online dashboard to provide greater transparency regarding agencies’ progress. Additionally, FAST-41 enables federal agencies to adopt state environmental documents to satisfy federal laws and provides mechanisms for resolving disputes among federal agencies regarding the review and permitting of Alaska LNG.

A central requirement of FAST-41 is that any delays in the permitting process caused by government agencies must be reported to Congress.