Main environmental officers in Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration mentioned one particular of their primary priorities in the course of the following 4 decades will be to assessment and velocity up Virginia’s permitting procedures.
“Taking a glimpse at allowing is just one of the priorities for this secretariat,” stated Performing Secretary of Natural and Historic Means Travis Voyles Wednesday during a discussion board on company sustainability, power and the environment hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
In the same way, Department of Environmental Quality Director Mike Rolband mentioned his “number-1 process is to make DEQ procedures far more distinct and hopefully by clarifying items we can expedite the permitting approach.”
Environmental allowing has grow to be an significantly contentious political issue in Virginia, where by resistance to the Mountain Valley and now-canceled Atlantic Coastline Pipelines has led to not only slowdowns in the issuance of point out permits but many profitable worries in federal court docket to these approvals.
One permit denial by the Condition Air Air pollution Control Board this December relevant to a proposed normal gasoline compressor station was a principal driver of the General Assembly’s final decision to strip permitting authority from Virginia’s many years-outdated citizen air and h2o boards. It was the air board’s first allow denial in 20 many years.
Rolband claimed Wednesday that final 12 months DEQ issued extra than 24,000 air, water and land use permits.
Nevertheless, controlled corporations have complained that Virginia’s environmental allowing processes are much too sluggish and lack certainty, discouraging economic enhancement. The have to have to “streamline regulatory and permitting processes” was 1 of the tips bundled in the Virginia Chamber’s Blueprint Virginia 2030, a lengthy-vary approach for strengthening the state’s business climate.
Voyles mentioned DEQ would be the initially agency in just the normal sources secretariat to launch a extensive work to reform the permitting approach. “Lessons learned” at DEQ will then be utilized “across, just one, the secretariat into our other companies and two, finally throughout the total federal government.”
“A good deal of that is bringing more transparency and reliability to the allowing course of action. Part of this is it is truly making certain that we get to an reply in a fair time frame,” he explained. But, he included, “This is not getting to of course. This is obtaining to an reply.”
Rolband also outlined strategies for the growth of a general public on line system that would track the development of all pending DEQ permits.
“We’re heading to track the place it is, due to the fact appropriate now it’s a black box for every person, for the community and the permittee,” he informed the listeners at Wednesday’s forum. “You use for a permit and you never know what happened to it. And typically it receives caught someplace. So I want to have a community on line system exactly where any person can locate out where by the permit is in the course of action.”
Rolband said DEQ has by now chosen two comprehensive-time staff to work on the undertaking, referred to as the Allowing Enhancement and Analysis Platform, and designs to seek the services of a contractor for extra help.
“That I think is heading to be possibly the most effective device or initiative that we apply,” he mentioned.