The Department of Energy proposes to amend its regulations for the timely coordination of Federal authorizations for proposed interstate electric transmission facilities pursuant to section 216(h) of the Federal Power Act (FPA). The proposed rule would require permitting entities to inform DOE of requests for authorizations required under Federal law for Qualifying Projects as defined in the rule, as well as establish a process whereby applicants for Federal authorizations for interstate electric transmission facilities that are not Qualifying Projects can request DOE assistance in the Federal authorization process. Also, the proposed rule provides for the selection of a Federal Lead Agency responsible for compiling a single environmental review document, and a consolidated administrative record, for Qualifying Projects. In addition, the proposed rule provides for the establishment of intermediate and final deadlines for the review of Federal authorization decisions, as well as establishing a date certain after which all permit decisions and related environmental reviews under all applicable Federal laws shall be completed within one year, or as soon thereafter as practicable in compliance with Federal law.
The comments period was originally set to close on January 27, 2012. On January 26, 2012, a Federal Register Notice of Extension until February 27, 2012 was published.