Block Island Wind Farm | Atlantic Coast

Federal Infrastructure Policy and Funding Update: Week of May 9, 2022 

Thank you for reading our Federal Infrastructure Policy and Funding Update for the week of May 9, 2022.  These serve to keep subscribers informed on the latest happenings in infrastructure policy and funding that affect the markets that we serve. If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe now.

Key Recent Policy and Funding Happenings

Office of Management and Budget Issues Guidance on “Advancing Effective Stewardship of Taxpayer Resources and Outcomes in the Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" 

The Office of Management and Budget issued a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on transparency and accountability for implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Memo builds off of Executive Order 14052 “Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” and directs federal agencies to: 

  • Designate a senior official for IIJA implementation (Equivalent of Deputy Secretary or Deputy Administrator) 
  • Designate an implementation coordinator to manage cross-functional teams and processes 
  • Ensure equity expertise is embedded in IIJA implementation 
    • Support rural communities by designating rural desk officers or teams 
    • Identify teams to partner with territorial governments 
    • Designate IIJA liaisons for Tribal affairs 
  • Develop IIJA program implementation plans that: 
    • Reflect consistency with statutory requirements 
    • Define key performance metrics 
    • Confirm program-level financial management controls and risk mitigation strategies 
    • Identify key program implementation milestones

Department of Interior Considers Offshore Wind Leasing in Central Atlantic and Oregon Coastal Regions 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced its intent to publish two separate Calls for Information and Nominations for possible leasing in areas that are determined to be suitable off the coast of Oregon and in the Central Atlantic. The areas include nearly 3.9 million acres in the Central Atlantic and nearly 1.2 million acres off the Oregon Coast.   

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Requests Information for Possible Exemption of Federal Electrification Activities 

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation published a Notice of Intent To Request Public Comment on Draft Exemption From Historic Preservation Review for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. This possible exemption would exclude from the Section 106 process certain activities associated with the licensing, approving, or funding of activities to install, maintain, repair, or expand electric vehicle charging stations, provided those activities take place in existing parking areas, and structures and are generally non-permanent in nature. 

Marine Highway Program Funding Opportunity 

The Maritime Administration published a Notice of Funding Opportunity, opening the window for grant applications for nearly $40 million supporting the Marine Highway Program (FAQs on the Marine Highway Program). 

National Complete Streets Assessment 

The Federal Highway Administration published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its intent to survey 52 state departments of transportation to establish a baseline inventory of both the enabling policies and implementation strategies for Complete Streets at the statewide level. This builds on the FHWA’s Report to Congress, titled “Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model: A Report to Congress on Opportunities and Challenges.” Additional information on FHWA’s Complete Streets resources can be found on the FHWA website. 

Executive Order on Strengthening America’s Forests 

As the White House commemorated Earth Day, President Biden issued an Executive Order establishing the policy of the Biden Administration “to: 

  • pursue science-based, sustainable forest and land management 
  • conserve America’s mature and old-growth forests on federal lands 
  • invest in forest health and restoration 
  • support indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and cultural subsistence practices 
  • honor Tribal treaty rights 
  • deploy climate-smart forestry practices and other nature-based solutions to improve the resilience of our lands, waters, wildlife, and communities in the face of increasing disturbances and chronic stress arising from climate impacts.”  

To accomplish these broad policy objectives, the EO directs federal agencies to:

  • Safeguard mature and old-growth forests on federal lands 
  • Strengthen reforestation partnerships across the country 
  • Combat global deforestation 
  • Enlist nature to address the climate crisis

The EO provides discrete actions intended to help protect against wildfire threats, support local economies, and reduce climate pollution. More information is available on the White House Fact Sheet

Council on Environmental Quality — Climate Change and Economic Justice Screening Tool 

The Council on Environmental Quality extended the deadline for public comment on the Climate Change and Economic Justice Screening tool until May 25, 2022. CEQ originally published the Request for Information on February 23, 2022, seeking the public’s input on the beta version of the tool with a deadline for comments by April 25, 2022.  This extension provides an additional 30 days for public review. 

CEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency created the screening tool in accordance with Executive Order 14008 “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” which directed CEQ with creating a geospatial tool and “publishing interactive maps highlighting disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.” 

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