Today, President Obama highlighted his Administration’s focus on a sustained, all-of-the-above approach to developing American energy, which has included doubling renewable electricity generation, increasing oil and gas production on federal lands and waters, and reducing our reliance on foreign oil, most notably through the historic fuel economy standards the President has established, which will nearly double the efficiency of the vehicles we drive and save families $1.7 trillion at the pump. As part of the President’s comprehensive strategy for a secure energy future, he will outline the steps his Administration is taking to promote the development of necessary infrastructure and accelerate the pace of innovation of clean and cost-effective alternatives to traditional fuels.
Developing Infrastructure to Support an Economy Built to Last. Fulfilling a commitment the President made in his State of the Union Address and building on a series of recommendations from the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness on March 22, the President will travel to Cushing, Oklahoma to announce a new Executive Order on Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects, which will require agencies to make faster permitting and review decisions for vital infrastructure projects while protecting the health and vitality of local communities and the environment. Specifically, the EO will direct agencies to, by the end of April, identify regionally and nationally significant infrastructure projects that will be tracked on the Federal Infrastructure Dashboard so that Federal permitting and review schedules and progress for these important projects are available online. Because many permitting and review decisions for significant infrastructure projects involve multiple Federal agencies, the Executive Order sets up a Steering Committee chaired by the Office of Management and Budget’s Chief Performance Officer and composed of relevant Federal agencies and directs it to develop a Federal government-wide plan by the end of May that includes clear deliverables and timelines for reducing the amount of time it takes to make permitting and review decisions. This Federal Plan will institutionalize permitting and review improvements like conducting permitting analyses and reviews concurrently rather than sequentially to eliminate duplication; enhancing coordination with State, local, and tribal governments; engaging early with stakeholders; and using information technology to replace outdated paperwork. The Executive Order will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes the Federal government to make permitting and review decisions for infrastructure projects such as roads and surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource projects, renewable energy generation, electricity transmission, broadband, and pipelines.
As part of this effort to develop American infrastructure, the President will also issue a specific Memorandum in Cushing directing federal agencies to expedite the Cushing Pipeline and other pipelines that relieve bottlenecks as the top priority of the new EO’s permitting process. The need for pipeline infrastructure is urgent because rising American oil production is outpacing the capacity of pipelines to deliver oil to refineries. Expanding and modernizing our nation’s crude oil and refined products pipeline infrastructure is a vital part of a sustained strategy to continue to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and enhance our nation’s energy security. As part of the Obama Administration’s broader efforts to improve the performance of Federal permitting and review processes, it is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority. At the same time, we need to do so in a way that protects our natural resources and addresses the concerns of local communities. In expediting agencies’ decisions, the goal must be to execute Federal permitting and review processes with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring the health, safety, and security of communities and the environment while supporting projects that can contribute to economic growth and a secure energy future. This Presidential Memorandum builds on a strong record of accomplishment. Over the past three years, there have been more than 27,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines added. This has accompanied a growth in oil and gas production during each year of this Administration.
Investing in Clean Energy Innovation and Jobs. Later in the day, the President will travel to Ohio State University (OSU), which is home to cutting-edge, clean-energy research and hands-on training to prepare the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. In Columbus, the President will highlight the investments his Administration has made on breakthrough research – like the two OSU research teams sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) – and the collaborations between the University and the Energy Department on training programs for jobs in the advanced vehicle, solar, and nuclear industries. In addition, the President will introduce new and continuing efforts to support his all-out, all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, including: