Permitting Reform Bill Passes

Here are two press releases from the Department of Economic and Community Development concerning the recent passage of the Permitting Reform Bill.  Among several provisions, the bill is aimed at hastening job creation by cutting through bureaucratic red tape.

Governor Rell Hails Passage of Permitting Reform Bill

May 5, 2010

Contact: Rich Harris, 860-524-7313, rich.harris@ct.gov

Governor M. Jodi Rell tonight celebrated final legislative action on House Bill 5208, An Act Concerning Expedited Permitting for Economic Development, a measure to reform the state’s permitting process and hasten job creation by cutting through bureaucratic red tape. The bill resulted from a task force Governor Rell formed on the first day of the legislative session.

“Tonight’s bill is a companion – really, the other side of the coin – to the comprehensive and bipartisan jobs bill that was passed on Saturday,” Governor Rell said. “The surest way to help speed the retention and creation of jobs in our state is to make certain there are no bureaucratic hurdles preventing developers and manufacturers from doing business – so long as they do it in a responsible way.

“This legislation strikes an important – but necessary – balance between safeguarding the environmental treasures that make our state such a wonderful place to live and helping our employers keep and grow jobs,” the Governor said. “We have come too far and worked too hard to improve our environment to throw all of our progress away. The same can be said, however, for the programs and policies now in place to help our economy recover from the lingering global recession. We cannot let that recovery be strangled by excessive regulation or unneeded delays.”

The legislation Governor Rell offered requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to examine all of its permitting processes and report to the Governor on recommendations for reducing its time periods for permit reviews. In particular, DEP is required to make all reasonable efforts to review initial permit applications for problems within 60 days and make final determinations within 180 days.

The bill also creates an Office of Permit Ombudsman within the Department of Economic and Community Development to work with Connecticut companies seeking permits from the state departments of Environmental Protection, Public Health and Transportation. The bill automatically extends any general permit beyond its original expiration date, provided DEP has already proposed a renewal of the permit.

Other provisions include:

  1. Eliminating unnecessary or duplicative public hearings, thereby reducing the time for businesses to obtain wastewater discharge and other permits from DEP

  2. Requiring DEP to create a consulting services program within the department

  3. Requiring DEP to adopt future revisions to water quality standards as regulations

Governor Rell: Permitting Task Force Report In, Legislation Upcoming to Slash Delays, Red Tape

April 22, 2010

Contact: Rich Harris, 860-524-7313, rich.harris@ct.gov

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that she is offering comprehensive legislation reforming the state’s permitting process to cut through bureaucratic red tape and speed job creation. The bill is based largely on the work of Governor Rell’s Permitting Task Force, which she created by Executive Order on the first day of the current legislative session.

On February 3, as Governor Rell delivered her budget proposals to the General Assembly, she also issued an Executive Order creating a Permitting Task Force composed of consumers and representatives of business and industry, the construction industry, labor and the state’s cities and towns.

The Governor gave the panel 45 days to meet with state agencies, examine the permitting process and recommend ways to remove frustrating delays to the progress of construction projects, business development and other economic activity. She set the quick deadline so legislative proposals could be ready before the current session ends.

“One of the biggest complaints the construction and business community has ever had has been the slow, sometimes agonizing process of getting state permits,” Governor Rell said. “In one sense, we are improving procedures and eliminating needless, time-consuming duplication – but in a broader, more important sense, this is really a jobs package. Because the only way to keep and grow jobs is to get our economy moving again. We cannot afford to have projects stall or workers sit idle while business managers and state bureaucrats tango through a tangle of bureaucratic red tape.

“Everyone agrees the system is broken,” the Governor said. “Equally importantly, however, everyone agrees that we cannot simply cast aside the tremendous strides that Connecticut has made in protecting and preserving our environment. The Task Force report represents a consensus among stakeholders – my Administration, environmental regulators, the business community and labor leaders. And the legislation I am offering will make sure the advances we have achieved will not be undone while ensuring that economic development and prosperity are not hamstrung by excessive regulation and repetitive processes.”

The legislation Governor Rell is preparing will require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to examine all of its permitting processes and report to the Governor on recommendations for reducing its time periods for permit reviews. In particular, DEP will be required to make all reasonable efforts to review initial permit applications for problems within 60 days and make final determinations within 180 days.

The bill will also create an Office of Permit Ombudsman within the Department of Economic and Community Development to work with Connecticut companies seeking permits from the state departments of Environmental Protection, Public Health and Transportation. And the bill will automatically extend any general permit beyond its original expiration date, provided DEP has already proposed a renewal of the permit.

Other provisions include:

  1. Eliminating unnecessary or duplicative public hearings, thereby reducing the time for businesses to obtain wastewater discharge and other permits from DEP

  2. Requiring DEP to create a consulting services program within the department

  3. Requiring DEP to adopt future revisions to water quality standards as regulations

Carol Wallace, CEO of Cooper-Atkins Corp., chaired the Permitting Task Force.

“I am very proud of the fact that this diverse group of public and private partners was able to come together and address many key areas of Connecticut’s regulatory structure that concern businesses,” Wallace said. “The fact that the task force’s recommendations are serving as the basis for groundbreaking legislation is a testament to their hard work and collective desire to improve the state’s competitiveness in an area so vital to business growth and crucial to attracting new economic development opportunities.”

DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella called the work of the task force an important step in the agency’s continuing efforts to provide timely and high-quality service.

“DEP has already made a strong start in improving our permitting processes through our LEAN initiative,” Commissioner Marrella said. “We stand ready to build on this progress in a way that strengthens our economy and creates jobs while maintaining our state’s important environmental standards. We look forward to working with Governor Rell, the business community and labor and environmental organizations to achieve these goals.”

John Rathgeber, President of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said, “The work of this task force is among the most important steps we can take to get our economy up and running. I appreciate the commitment that all of the partners in this effort have shown to both defending our environmental standards and making sure that Connecticut’s economy isn’t tied up in needless knots. By keeping these common goals in sight at all times we are taking great strides to make our state more business friendly.”

John W. Olsen, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, added, “I want to thank the Governor for pulling the group together and thank the committee for all its hard work. All of the departments and agencies worked very hard to gather and provide the information we needed. I am happy to see that everybody worked together to come up with recommendations that all could embrace for the good of economic development in the State of Connecticut.”

#DECD #jobcreation #RichHarris #connecticutbusinessandindustryassociation #DEP #DepartmentofEconomicandCommunityDevelopment

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