Senators look to expand streamlined permitting to national security technology sectors

Sen. Rob Portman (U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Flickr)

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A trio of senators filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022 that would allow emerging national security technology sectors to use the reformed federal infrastructure permitting process.

Semiconductor, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage, data management, and cybersecurity projects would be eligible for faster permitting.

Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act created the FAST-41 program, in which the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council sees permitting agencies plan the process for large, complicated infrastructure projects.

“Developing and re-shoring key technologies impacting national security, from semiconductors to electric car batteries, will not only create millions of American jobs but boost American supply chains and national security,” said Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., in a statement. “By creating greater permitting process certainty and coordination, and encouraging these industries of the future to invest in the United States, we will win the strategic competition with communist China to develop the technologies of tomorrow.”

Hagerty proposed the amendment on behalf of himself and Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Angus King, I-Maine. The senators pulled their list of key technology sectors from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.

The FAST-41 program maintains health, safety and environmental protections and allows the public to track the permitting progress of projects at permits.performance.gov.

“Over the past six years, the FAST-41 process has substantially reduced the permitting process timeline for covered projects by increasing agency communication and accountability,” Portman said in a statement. “This amendment will leverage that process to make America more competitive and secure.”

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Angus King, emerging technology, FAST-41, National Defense Authorization Act, permitting, Rob Portman
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