7.2 Public Participation in Agency Decision-making

Georgia Auto Plant Boosts Local Economy. A GSA regional administrator recently toured Kia Motors in West Point, Ga. The visit was to see how companies incorporate sustainable practices that reduce their impact on the environment. Among the green initiatives are technologies and practices to optimize energy performance, conserve water and recycle scrap metal. Kia officials shared their thoughts about what GSA and the Obama administration can do to help create sustainable markets for further innovation in America and the jobs that go along with them. We are meeting with companies like Kia that are developing the products, tools and the workforce for America to remain competitive on the world stage. Georgia Auto Plant

GSA Officials Visit E-Waste Recycler and Creator of Green American Jobs. GSA’s Chief Sustainability Officer and a regional administrator toured CloudBlue, an electronics recycling company headquartered in Norcross, Ga., and discussed the impact of a recent announcement that all government electronics must be either reused or recycled by a certified recycler. The Federal Government goes through an estimated 10,000 computers a week. After reuse considerations under GSA’s Computers for Learning Program, if all unwanted computers must be sent to certified recycler, companies will have more opportunities for big business and more jobs. In working for the U.S. government, certified electronics recyclers can anticipate new opportunities, including increased business ultimately resulting in the ability to expand operations and provide more jobs for each facility’s local community. Electronics Waste Recycler

Picture of sustainable building

Sustainable Buildings Offer Economic Growth. GSA is committed to making significant strides in energy efficient retrofits and sustainable buildings. The Obama administration recently announced the Better Buildings Challenge at the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago. The challenge brings private-sector partners and local governments together to improve energy-efficiency in their buildings. Fourteen partners launched the challenge, and they agreed to more than $500 million in investments that will make 300 million square feet of building space more energy-efficient. Through these investments, we are increasing demand for energy-efficient products that will in turn make them more cost beneficial for society and create jobs here at home. We have more than 200 sustainable construction and retrofit projects across the country, and we anticipate up to 270 more in the coming years. Our projects have created more than 24,000 jobs, and our projected percentage of energy use will be cut by double digits, with an estimated energy utility cost savings of $21 million per year. These efforts allow us to make smart investments that will shrink our environmental footprint and support a clean-energy economy. Through these projects, we can create highly skilled jobs, reduce energy costs and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These combined efforts have a larger impact on our environment while also providing our economy with new opportunities for growth. At GSA, we're seeing promising prospects for energy innovation and a cleaner environment specifically in sustainable buildings.

logo for Energy Listening Session

Government Plugging Into Energy Markets. GSA hosted an energy listening session in Boston, where we heard from industry leaders from different regions of the country on ways to leverage our investments to spur new, clean, responsible and renewable energy markets. GSA can use the information from such sessions to become more aggressive and strategic in our energy investments to spur economic growth and create jobs. During our meeting, we received input from a broad selection of experts in the energy field in New England. We heard examples of sustainable energy technology and methods to conserve energy. GSA has the ability to implement energy solutions from the private sector in our portfolio of real estate and energy related acquisitions. We find the diverse array of solutions discussed helpful as we continue to work across our business lines to incorporate innovative products and tools. Our reach spans the nation, so we are in a unique position to test and validate new ideas in different regions, and we can share this information so it can be used to further energy innovation. Through our energy listening sessions, we're reaching out to industry leaders so that government can scale our investments across our business lines to support job-creating innovation in the energy markets. These planned sessions will allow an exchange of best practices and broaden our perspective to take creative approaches to support expanding markets, save taxpayer dollars and create jobs.

screenshot of Federal Infrastructure Project Dashboard

Federal Infrastructure Dashboard-Permits.gov. In August 2011, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum instructing Federal agencies to expedite environmental review and permitting processes for selected infrastructure projects with significant potential for job creation, and to improve the accountability, transparency and efficiency of those processes. This Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard was designed to meet these objectives, based in part on recommendations from the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

As the council has highlighted, the Federal Government must improve the efficiency and effectiveness of permitting and environmental reviews to ensure smart infrastructure projects move as quickly as possible from the drawing board to completion. Agencies are taking steps to expedite the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects that will create jobs, spur economic growth in adjacent communities, and improve the safety and quality of life of Americans.

The dashboard provides an overview of the high-priority infrastructure projects categorized by sector, including descriptions of the expedited processes that are being undertaken and status information on specific permits, reviews and approvals. In addition, the dashboard offers the public an opportunity for creative engagement with the information provided and will highlight success stories and key achievements related to the projects. The new Web page allows users to track the Federal permitting and environmental review process for expedited high-priority infrastructure projects.

The dashboard initially includes the expedited infrastructure projects. It will be expanded to include additional projects, enabling the public to access information on the status of Federal permits and reviews for a variety of major infrastructure projects across our nation. The public will be able to learn exactly where a project is in the review process and whom to contact if it is delayed. In addition, the dashboard will highlight best practices and coordination efforts that have been successful in making Federal permitting and review decisions more efficient so that the administration can apply these lessons broadly to further improve the permitting process for all projects. To learn more, visit High-Priority Infrastructure Projects.

Picture of directives page

Changes to Internal Management and Administrative Policies. To support GSA’s efforts to open our operations to the public, our Administrative Operations and Policy Division will evaluate best practices in sharing internal directives for public review and comment. In addition, as new internal directives are revised or replaced, we will identify those that can be posted for external review.

GSA comprises several services and staff offices that initiate directives that will be issued for publication and submits them to the Administrative Operations and Policy Division for formatting and editorial review.

We can post the appropriate directives for public review on the GSA.gov/Open website. In those instances, the public will be allowed 14 days to submit comments. After a final directive is developed, we will post it on GSA.gov/Open and on our internal directives Web page.

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