Earlier this month, President Trump issued Executive Order 13,805, which establishes a Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure (Council). The President will appoint up to fifteen members to the Council to represent the interests of various infrastructure sectors. The Council will be led by two Co-Chairs designated by the President, and the Department of Commerce will provide the Council with staff, facilities, equipment, and administrative support. The executive order specifically tasks the Council with studying renewable energy generation, electricity transmission, and pipelines, among other infrastructure sectors.
As outlined in the executive order, the Council is required to submit a report to the President. The Secretary of Commerce will submit questions to the Council for consideration in that report within 60 days of the date of the order. In addition to these questions from the Secretary of Commerce, the Council must make findings and recommendations concerning the following:
(a) prioritizing the Nation’s infrastructure needs;
(b) accelerating pre-construction approval processes;
(c) developing funding and financing options capable of generating new infrastructure investment over the next 10 years;
(d) identifying methods to increase public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, including appropriate statutory or regulatory changes;
(e) identifying best practices in and opportunities to improve procurement methods, grant procedures, and infrastructure delivery systems; and
(f) promoting advanced manufacturing and infrastructure-related technological innovation.
The Council will terminate on December 31, 2018, unless the President extends the date, or within 60 days after it issues the report, whichever occurs first.
Within a week of the issuance of the executive order, the nonprofit group Food & Water Watch filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claiming that Executive Order 13,805 violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act, a law that sets certain reporting and public notice requirements for federal advisory committees.