Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce Adopt New Tools for EV Charging, CHIPS Manufacturing Through Bipartisan Permitting Reforms

WASHINGTON – Today, during remarks at Climate Week NYC, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Brenda Mallory announced the first two federal agencies to use new permitting efficiencies passed by Congress in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 to help accelerate American manufacturing and build a clean energy future.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 includes a process for a federal agency to adopt and use another agency’s categorical exclusions, unlocking faster reviews for projects that do not have significant environmental effects. Under this authority, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is adopting the Department of Energy (DOE)’s electric vehicle (EV) charging categorical exclusion to accelerate environmental reviews for EV charging projects located on land where there is already existing development, like parking lots. This will cover the vast majority of DOT’s EV charging projects and will be particularly beneficial for non-traditional grantees that are less familiar with the environmental permitting process.

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology also announced that it is adopting eleven DOE categorical exclusions to help expedite review for semiconductor manufacturing projects that receive funding through the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. These categorical exclusions, which cover activities ranging from funding for research activities to the expansion of certain semiconductor facilities, including equipment installation, will enable rapid review of activities and smaller projects that don’t have significant environmental effects.

“Since the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, CEQ has worked with our agency partners to quickly implement the new permitting efficiencies,” said CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory. “I am excited to announce that this week, the first two agencies have used these new efficiencies to advance clean energy and domestic manufacturing, boosting our supply chains and helping drive our electric vehicle future.”

“Positioning the United States as a global leader in the transition to electric vehicles is creating good paying jobs in communities across the country and helping more Americans make the switch,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “That’s why DOT is accelerating progress on President Biden’s clean energy goals by speeding up the installation of EV charging stations in communities across the country.”

“As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are moving as fast as possible to make sure the CHIPS and Science Act brings semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains back to our shores,” said CHIPS Program Office Director Mike Schmidt. “These new steps will help recipients of CHIPS incentives to stand up projects and strengthen supply chains more quickly, positioning the United States to secure and extend its technological leadership into the 21st century.”

To meet President Biden’s historic clean energy and infrastructure goals, a core component of Bidenomics, the Biden-Harris Administration is undertaking an all-of-government effort to accelerate federal permitting while ensuring strong environmental protections and robust community engagement. This includes President Biden’s Permitting Action Plan and $1 billion included in the Inflation Reduction Act to help expedite federal agency permitting.

CEQ is also working toward finalizing the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule, which will build upon the Fiscal Responsibility Act to modernize and accelerate environmental reviews while accelerating America’s clean energy future, strengthening energy security, encouraging early community engagement, and advancing environmental justice.

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