Main environmental officials in Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration explained just one of their major priorities in the course of the future 4 decades will be to evaluation and speed up Virginia’s permitting procedures.
“Taking a look at allowing is a single of the priorities for this secretariat,” claimed Acting Secretary of Purely natural and Historic Sources Travis Voyles Wednesday throughout a forum on corporate sustainability, power and the atmosphere hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Likewise, Department of Environmental Excellent Director Mike Rolband said his “number-a single process is to make DEQ procedures extra distinct and ideally by clarifying points we can expedite the allowing approach.”
Environmental allowing has develop into an significantly contentious political problem in Virginia, where 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 various profitable issues in federal courtroom to individuals approvals.
Just one allow denial by the Condition Air Pollution Regulate Board this December similar to a proposed all-natural gasoline compressor station was a most important driver of the Standard Assembly’s determination to strip permitting authority from Virginia’s many years-aged citizen air and water boards. It was the air board’s very first allow denial in 20 several years.
Rolband claimed Wednesday that final 12 months DEQ issued a lot more than 24,000 air, water and land use permits.
Nevertheless, regulated businesses have complained that Virginia’s environmental allowing procedures are too slow and deficiency certainty, discouraging economic development. The need to have to “streamline regulatory and allowing processes” was 1 of the tips involved in the Virginia Chamber’s Blueprint Virginia 2030, a prolonged-vary approach for strengthening the state’s business enterprise local climate.
Voyles mentioned DEQ would be the first company inside of the organic means secretariat to launch a comprehensive effort and hard work to reform the allowing system. “Lessons learned” at DEQ will then be used “across, a person, the secretariat into our other agencies and two, finally across the entire govt.”
“A ton of that is bringing extra transparency and trustworthiness to the permitting process. Aspect of this is it is genuinely making sure that we get to an solution in a acceptable time body,” he stated. But, he extra, “This is not receiving to of course. This is obtaining to an remedy.”
Rolband also outlined plans for the growth of a public online platform that would keep track of the development of all pending DEQ permits.
“We’re likely to track in which it is, due to the fact proper now it’s a black box for most people, for the general public and the permittee,” he informed the listeners at Wednesday’s discussion board. “You apply for a permit and you really don’t know what took place to it. And typically it will get stuck somewhere. So I want to have a public on the net platform exactly where any person can locate out exactly where the permit is in the course of action.”
Rolband said DEQ has already preferred two comprehensive-time workforce to perform on the project, referred to as the Allowing Improvement and Evaluation Platform, and strategies to employ the service of a contractor for further help.
“That I imagine is heading to be in all probability the most strong tool or initiative that we carry out,” he claimed.