Pursuant to section 216(h) of the Federal Power Act, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been authorized to act as the lead agency to coordinate all federal authorizations and environmental reviews required to site interstate electric transmission facilities. The Act requires DOE to designate a Lead Federal Agency for Qualifying Projects, usually the agency with the most significant land management interests related to the Qualifying Project. The Act also required DOE and the heads of all Federal agencies with authority to issue Federal authorizations to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure timely and coordinated review and permitting of the new facilities. The MOU, executed on October 23, 2009 , defined Cooperating Agencies as those having jurisdiction by law regarding a proposed project or otherwise having special expertise with respect to environmental and other issues. States, tribes and local governments with relevant expertise or authority, or are potentially affected by or interested in a project, are also invited to participate throughout the Federal Agency Review process. The MOU also defined Qualifying Projects as high voltage transmission line projects (generally 230,000-volts (230-kV) or above), and their attendant facilities, or otherwise regionally or nationally significant transmission lines and their attendant facilities, in which all or part of a proposed transmission line crosses jurisdictions administered by more than one Participating Agency. Other requirements for determining the Lead Agency are contained in the multi-agency MOU. DOE has delegated its authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for projects located within National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETCs) as designated by the Secretary of Energy.

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