When a business like Kaman Corporation, an important cog in Connecticut's aerospace supply chain, wants to expand, it makes sense for state officials to do everything possible to help.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works, said George Steir, senior environmental and process engineer at Bloomfield-based Kaman.
Steir testified March 8 before the legislature's Commerce Committee in favor of SB 265, which establishes an expedited process within the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for permits required for business initiation, physical expansion, or new production.
Steir discussed Kaman's planned $1 million expansion at their Blue Hills Avenue facility in Bloomfield.
By expanding, Kaman wants to increase production and hire more employees—all positive developments that would help Connecticut, Bloomfield, and, of course, the company.
Onerous Permit Process
But Steir said the company is reluctant to move forward on the project because of the state's onerous permitting process.
"We're apprehensive about doing this expansion due to the uncertainty of the regulatory process" Steir said.
"The expansion would require a modification to the company's existing permit. We have been waiting years for a renewal of our existing permit.
"That gives us pause when we think about the time frame that might be required for approval of a permit modification."
And therein lies the problem.
Wall of Red Tape
Kaman is not the only company in Connecticut looking to expand but running up against a wall of red tape.
Ginny Ryan of allnex in Wallingford recently told members of the legislature's Environment and Energy and Technology committees that it took her company nine years to finalize one DEEP permit.
The state needs to do more to smooth the permitting process and allow Connecticut companies to grow and expand.
"It costs us money," Ryan said, "because we're limited as to what new products we can bring in until the process is complete."
'Smooth the Process'
When a Connecticut business wants to expand, state agencies should be working with those companies to smooth the process.
But business leaders say the opposite appears true—that efforts to expand Connecticut companies are often me with bureaucratic hurdles.
The Commerce Committee unanimously approved SB 265 March 22. The bill now awaits action in the state Senate.
CBIA appreciates the regulatory changes lawmakers have approved in recent years to expedite the permitting process.
And as the experiences of Kaman and allnex show, the state needs to do more to smooth the permitting process and allow Connecticut companies—especially manufacturers—to grow and expand.
It will be good for Connecticut and our economy.