Jordan Ramis land use attorney Jamie Howsley works closely with many government agencies to expedite economic development projects. One perennial cause for delays is when a public agency must approve a project, but lacks sufficient staff to review an application promptly. This is true for the US Army Corps of Engineers, which reviews permits for many water-related projects such as marine development at our river ports and on private sites. Jamie worked with Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler on a federal bill to allow project sponsors to fund additional staff to speed up permit review. Here is the news release from Capitol Hill –
Press release from Congresswoman Herrera Beutler's office
Contact: Amy Pennington – 202-225-3536
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced that she and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) had introduced the Timely Permitting Accessibility Act to allow private entities to pay for additional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff to help expedite the permitting process for important economic development projects.
To maintain the integrity of the process and avoid unnecessary environmental risk, additional staff would be employed by the Army Corps – not the organization funding the position – and permits must meet the exact same standards as projects processed in the traditional way. In addition, the law specifically prohibits this program from interrupting or delaying traditional permitting, improving wait times for all permit applicants.
Many ports and cities in the Northwest successfully use an identical program for important infrastructure and ecosystem restoration projects. Due to the program’s success, the 2014 Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) made it permanent – an effort Jaime helped successfully turn into law.
“Due to limited government resources, private builders and developers are forced to wait years for permits, costing thousands of dollars and unnecessarily slowing down economic activity. Getting a single permit doesn’t have to take this long,” said Jaime. “I’m hopeful that we can give businesses access to this incredibly useful tool that public ports and utilities have used so successfully. I want to give businesses the certainty they need to plan future investments, and most importantly, allow them to do what they do best – invest in the economy and create jobs. Even better, this program will save taxpayer dollars.”
“Developers and builders in Southwest Washington currently face wait times of up to four years for Army Corps wetland permits, stalling out projects that could bring economic benefits to the region and causing substantial holding costs for the projects,” said Jamie Howsley, land use attorney and Government Affairs Director for the Building Industry Association of Clark County and Government Affairs Director the Clark County Association of Realtors. “By allowing the private sector to take part in the same program available to local governments and utilities, this bill allows employers to properly plan and deliver future investments on target and without wasting tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary holding costs. I thank Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler for championing this common sense change.”
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