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Overview of Environmental Permitting for Transportation Projects

Overview of Environmental Permitting for Transportation Projects

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Overview of Environmental Permitting for Transportation Projects

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  1. Overview of Environmental Permitting for Transportation Projects Preliminary Report Steve Lerch, JLARC Analyst Gary Walvatne, TechLaw Inc. December 17, 2004

  2. Scope of Review • A pre-audit (overview of issues) • A review of permit streamlining activities in: • Washington State • 24 state DOTs • The beginning of the audit process, to help TPAB consider detailed audit topics • Some initial management recommendations to agencies, when practical and supportable JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  3. Summary of Findings: Washington • National leader in permit streamlining • Successes include: • Multi-Agency Permitting (MAP) Team; • On-line permit applications; • Programmatic permits for routine maintenance; • WSDOT liaison program. JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  4. Summary of Findings: Other States • Interviews with 24 state DOTs • Two common themes: • Create cultural change -- encourage creativity and non-traditional problem solving; • Create efficiencies through use of technology. JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  5. Objectives of Review • Describe streamlining initiatives in Washington and other states • Identify successful projects in other states that could be implemented in Washington • Determine management-related success factors that foster effective streamlining • Identify options for future TPAB audits and/or evaluations JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  6. What is Environmental Permit Streamlining? • Expedited transportation project delivery while being good stewards of the environment • Streamlining Components: • Reduced Time • Reduced Cost • Maintain or Improve Environmental Performance JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  7. State Reviews • Interviews in Washington, other states used the same interview format • Washington interviews were face-to-face • Included transportation, resource agencies • Interviews with other states held by telephone • Limited to State DOT staff • Focus Group of 10 State DOTs • Additional State DOTs JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  8. Streamlining Categories • Proactive Regulatory Affairs Activities • Process Re-engineering • Agency Resources • Technology • Time Management JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  9. Summary Tables • Provided in Appendices 4 and 5 • Tables identify: • Streamlining initiatives and projects • Responsible regulatory authority • Status of initiative/project • Accomplishments • Factors leading to successful development • Factors that were overcome JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  10. Washington State Review • Interviews with Transportation Agencies: • WSDOT Environmental Services • Washington State Ferries • Washington State Rail • US DOT Federal Highway Administration JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  11. Washington State Review • Interviews with Resource Agencies: • Washington Department of Ecology • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife • US Environmental Protection Agency • US Fish and Wildlife Service • National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) • WSDOT Northwest Region MAP Team JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  12. Washington Survey Results:Successes • WSDOT MAP Team • WSDOT liaison program • On-line Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) • 45-day hydraulic project approval for a JARPA JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  13. Washington Survey Results:Successes • Development of dispute resolution processes • Interagency cooperative agreements • Dispute resolution • Information sharing • Communication JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  14. Washington Survey Results:Successes • Programmatic permitting for maintenance and operations activities • TPEAC-initiated permits • WSDOT-initiated permits • WSDOT Environmental GIS Workbench • TPEAC activities encouraged individual agencies to start additional streamlining initiatives JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  15. Washington Survey Results:Areas Requiring Further Attention • Workload Forecasting • WSDOT Liaison Program • Highway Runoff • “Talent Ruling” – 9th Circuit Court • Signatory Agency Committee • Design-Build Initiative • Reader-Friendly Documents JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  16. Washington Survey Results:Areas Requiring Further Attention • Inconsistent Funding • Failure to fund proposed initiatives • "Interrupted" funding • Start-and-stop funding • Low salaries create employee turnover • Inadequate funding for proposed mitigation alternatives for project impacts JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  17. Survey of Other States • Review streamlining for USDOT priority transportation projects • Survey streamlining developed or implemented by other State DOTs • Assess management successes for lessons learned that could be applied in Washington JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  18. Review of USDOT Priority Projects • Established by Executive Order 13274 • Projects nominated by agencies and officials • 3 selection criteria: • National or regional significance • High level of support from elected officials • Undue delay or anticipated delay due to slow federal agency review or coordination • Not considered model projects of the streamlining process JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  19. Survey of Other States • Focus Group of 10 State DOTs California Ohio Florida Oregon Louisiana Pennsylvania Minnesota Texas North Carolina Utah JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  20. Survey of Other States • 14 Additional State DOTs Alaska Nevada Illinois New Hampshire Indiana Oklahoma Iowa South Carolina Maine Tennessee Mississippi Virginia Missouri Wisconsin JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  21. Other States:Successful Initiatives • Two common themes: • Create cultural change – encourage creativity and non-traditional problem solving • Create efficiencies through use of technology JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  22. Other States:Successful Initiatives • Governmental affairs office to track legislation • Interagency agreements • Programmatic permits • Funding resource agency positions • Brief, concise, and legally-sufficient EISs • Multi-agency planning and permitting teams • GIS- and technology-based information management JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  23. Other States:Management Success Factors • Sense of urgency • Strong support from Executive and Legislative Branches JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  24. Other States:Lessons Learned • Standardize data systems • Use best-available scientific information to limit project field survey work • Make preliminary environmental assessments prior to project development JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  25. Other States:Lessons Learned • Create quality-improvement teams • Re-design project-delivery processes • Assess project risks continuously in terms of cost, scope, and schedule JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  26. Other States:Lessons Learned • Secure consistent legislative commitment to streamlining initiatives within natural resource agencies • Purchase right-of-way for environmental mitigation in advance of need • Provide internships at FHWA headquarters for DOT staff JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  27. Review Conclusions • Washington State is a national leader in permit streamlining • Compares favorably with other advanced streamlining programs • Review identifies initiatives with positive outcomes • Some activities too new to evaluate • Successful efforts in other states may hold promise for Washington JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  28. Management Recommendations • 1:WSDOT should investigate FL, MN project delivery designs. • 2:WSDOT, Ecology, WDFW should consider standardizing GIS, other data to ease exchange. • 3:WSDOT, Ecology, WDFW should investigate use of “best available scientific data” as substitute for field survey work. JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting

  29. Options for Future Audits/Reviews • A: Assess WSDOT progress in implementing environmental management system (delayed start). • B: Determine impact of resource agency employee turnover on the permitting process. • C: Identify additional performance measures for environmental permitting. JLARC Overview of Environmental Permitting