YES, VIRGINIA, PERMITTING WILL GET EASIER
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|Faster permitting is not a fantasy says New DEP commissioner Ken Kimmell. In our old industrial coastal state, where so many projects could impact water, soil, and air quality, do we hear groans of disbelief? The commissioner says watch us. This month, the DEP will launch permitting reforms that offer the same protections to the environment but let the private sector make more decisions about how to achieve them. The state will audit performance and enforce the law. DEP will upgrade its IT system so more permitting can be done online and modernize its internal management structure. The economic recovery will test this theory. Permit applications are likely to increase by about one-third, but DEP lost one-quarter of its budget and one-third of its staff during the recession.|