The time and effort it takes to apply for, receive, and renew permits with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an issue that has vexed the regulated community for years.
It's one reason DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes earlier this year announced the department's specific goals to improve operations through its new 20 by 20 program and asked the business community to contribute ideas.
"We see this as not just business friendly, but environmentally friendly, because we need to make our processes easier for people to comply with so that businesses can do the right thing, so that complying with our regulations sets businesses at an economic advantage," Dykes said in June in announcing the program at CBIA's Energy and Environment Conference.
CBIA's E2: Energy & Environment Council recently submitted a list of recommendations to DEEP in response to Dykes' request.
"We certainly appreciate DEEP's strong interest in working with the regulated community on this initiative," said CBIA's Eric Brown, vice president of manufacturing policy and outreach.
The council's recommendations include:
- Beginning a multi-year planning process, working with key stakeholders, to re-engineer DEEP for 2022 and beyond because its current structure and operations will be soon be insufficient to meet the needs of the public and our economy
- Developing regulations that adopt best practices because state regulations should be kept up-to-date with the latest federal requirements, adjusted only as necessary to meet specific state policies in a manner that minimizes burdens on the regulated community.
- Creating protocols for developing and using agency guidance because DEEP should help businesses comply with existing regulations and not establish new obligations not specifically approved by regulation under the state's Uniform Administrative Procedures Act
- Establishing a licensed permit professionals program because economic vitality requires the rapid, predictable, and reasonable processing of permit applications.
- Adopting clear and concise spill-reporting regulations pertaining to future spills of common substances based on reportable quantities because Connecticut businesses and citizens need objective standards and methods for easily notifying the state of potentially impactful releases to the environment.
DEEP is reviewing the recommendations for inclusion in its final list of 20 improvements by the end of 2020.
E2 is an effective group of business people who work collaboratively to drive public policy on energy and environment issues.
In fact, council members recently met informally with DEEP deputy commissioner Betsey Wingfield to discuss concrete solutions for improving water-permitting processes.
The Aug. 14 meeting highlighted the impact Connecticut companies can have on public policy when they become CBIA members.