DEP Process Dragging Out General Permit Renewal
It’s a striking example of why the Department of Environmental Protection’s current process for adopting and renewing general permits needs to change: The DEP-controlled process for establishing requirements for industrial facilities that discharge stormwater is entering its third year—and may have months more to go.
General permits are important tools for the DEP and industry because current state laws, especially regarding water discharges, are written so broadly that even drips of water from air conditioning units legally require a permit. If each unit required its own permit, the DEP would never have the resources to issue them.
General permits create regulatory requirements for thousands of facilities across the state and eliminate the need to issue individual permits. Unfortunately, the current process for adopting these requirements can, and does, take many years.
That’s because it’s much like the permit-issuance process–with the option for intervention, judicial-type hearings and appeals all the way to Superior Court. CBIA is urging the legislature to change the law in a way that recognizes these requirements as regulations that, by law, must be adopted in the same uniform manner as all other regulations, consistent with Connecticut’s Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (“UAPA”).
Sections 9-16 of SB-453 would change the general permit adoption process but need to be revised to simplify that process by making it consistent with the UAPA. Opponents claim it’s the regulatory adoption process that takes years. In fact, once a reasonable proposed regulation leaves the agency proposing it, the rest of the process can move quickly.
Unfortunately, the DEP continues to push for excessively burdensome and costly requirements that trigger significant opposition from a wide variety of stakeholders and delay the process.
Legislators should ensure that regulations, including those that go by the name “general permit,” are adopted in a uniform process involving broad public and governmental review.
For more information, contact Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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