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Baker Botts welcomes MoU

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On 9 April 2018, President Trump’s Administration announced its latest step to improve and streamline environmental reviews and permitting for major infrastructure projects, such as and major pipelines or LNG terminals.

Signed by the heads of 12 federal agencies, including the US Departments of Energy, Interior, and Transportation, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Memorandum of Understanding Implementing One Federal Decision Under Executive Order 13807 (MoU) establishes a coordinated and timely process for environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects.

Baker Botts’ environmental and energy regulatory lawyers have analysed and applied the Administration’s new procedures and policies, as set out in Order 13807, issued previously, and welcome the MoU.

“The Administration believes streamlining the environmental review process for a variety of major infrastructure projects will significantly cut the amount of time and expense associated with obtaining needed permits for project development. Our interactions with Administration staff on behalf of our clients have shown us President Trump’s priority to this policy initiative. This MoU is critical because it represents agreement by leadership of the key federal agencies to specific plans to improve the current permitting process by consolidating decision-making, increasing accountability, and cutting costly delays, all while maintaining the thoroughness of required environmental reviews,” said Deerek McDonald, Partner in Baker Botts’ Environmental Practice.

“The MoU is the latest action in a series of developments that aim to streamline infrastructure siting and development within the boundaries of existing statutes and regulations. The practical effects on infrastructure development, however, will depend on how the MOU is implemented and supported by authorization agencies in the coming months,” added Brooksany Barrowes, Partner and Global Projects Deputy Department Chair in the firm’s Washington D.C. office.

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