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Gov. Dayton wants faster environmental reviews

Gov. Mark Dayton says the state has greatly streamlined the permitting process for businesses — while preserving environmental protections, he adds — and is now looking for even ways to “improve Minnesota’s complex environmental review process.”

An executive order signed today requires the Environmental Quality Board to study and give recommendations on further “simplifying Minnesota’s environmental review process and governance, which are in line with the recommendations set out earlier this year by the Legislative Auditor. The order also directs the state to develop an environment and energy ‘report card’ to track the state’s performance and report results on environmental protections,” the governor’s office said.

Dayton issued a Jan. 24 executive order calling for simplifying the permit process, and he reports that, so far, “the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued more than 1,300 new permits within the Governor’s goal of 150 days or less. This 96% success rate in new permits has played a critical role in ensuring the department is ‘moving at the speed of commerce’ so businesses can grow and retain jobs in Minnesota.”

Dayton said in a statement today:

“What we’ve shown is that Minnesota can promote job growth and industry development by approving permits in a timely manner, while protecting our natural resources at the same time. Applying the same approach to the environmental review process allows us to continue making common sense reforms that address the concerns of both the business and environmental communities in our state.”

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