White House plan for improving infrastructure permitting by federal agencies could also aid conservation goals

May 14, 2014

A plan was released today to implement President Obama’s directive to modernize how our country permits infrastructure development, including roads, bridges, power lines and large energy projects. The Wilderness Society is encouraged by the recommendations outlined in the multi-agency plan and believes that taking steps to modernize the way we design, site and build much needed infrastructure in this country could also greatly benefit the millions of acres of public lands federal agencies oversee and improve the process for communities to engage in planning for development.

The following statement is from Chase Huntley, Senior Director for Government Relations at The Wilderness Society:

“The administration’s plan offers concrete steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of permitting without shortcutting the public or undercutting wild lands. Reforming the way we do business on our shared lands has been a priority for this administration and we are eager to see these reforms continue.

We should not have to choose between clean power and conserving America’s wild places. Today’s report makes it clear that these goals should not conflict and provides specific reforms to identify conflicts early and track progress toward overcoming those potential obstacles, including engaging local communities early in the process. For too long, public processes have been seen as a roadblock to development but today’s report recognizes that stakeholders actually improve the end result.

By taking action to protect those places too special to develop and to offset impacts where development moves ahead, the administration can ensure our public lands will continue to provide the energy we need while protecting the lands Americans love.”

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The Wilderness Society is the leading public lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org

Chase Huntley, Government Relations Director
(202) 429-7341

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