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Contact: Adam Joseph
860-240-8641

September 30, 2010

New Law to Help Grow Jobs & Reduce Government Red Tape Takes Effect Tomorrow

Lawmakers, business leaders and Quinnipiac University officials say new law will make it easier to move ahead with job-generating projects—cite new student center as example

HAMDEN—A new state law that takes effect tomorrow, October 1 will make Connecticut a friendlier place to do business by streamlining the environmental permitting process, cutting red tape and reducing the uncertainty often involved in economic development projects.

State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven); Senator Joseph Crisco (D-Woodbridge); state Reps. Elizabeth Esty (D-Cheshire) and Patricia Widlitz (D-Guilford); New Haven Manufacturers Association Executive Director Jerry Clupper; and Quinnipiac University officials held a news conference at the school’s new student center to highlight the changes.

The Rocky Top Student Center—which opened earlier this month—is part of Quinnipiac’s $300 million York Hill Campus construction project. The university worked with local permitting officials to complete the project on time. The new state law is designed to help projects move through the state permitting process just as quickly.

“Quinnipiac University’s new student center is a wonderful project and part of an expansion that is bringing jobs and economic activity to the area,” Senator Looney said. “We want to make sure projects like this can move along as quickly as possible, and this new permitting law will help. To businesses, time is money, so if we can speed-up the environmental review process then we can attract and retain businesses to locate and expand here in Connecticut.”

Public Act 10-158, “An Act Concerning Expedited Permitting for Economic Development,” passed the General Assembly May 5th with strong Democratic and Republican support. The new law:

  • Requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to make “all reasonable efforts” to review initial applications for deficiencies within 60 days and to issue tentative determinations—either approval or denial—within 180 days.
  • Requires the DEP to undertake a study of its permitting process—and the impact of the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act on the permitting process—and to report to the General Assembly its plan for establishing an expedited permitting process for not less than 200 manufacturing and industrial facilities.
  • Creates an Office of Permit Ombudsman in the state Department of Economic and Community Development to help expedite certain permit applications by the DEP and the state health and transportation departments.

“There is no understating the importance of regional planning and cooperation with regard to economic development, particularly in managing practical matters like utilities, transportation and housing infrastructure, and in the availability of a viable workforce in the first place,” Senator Crisco said. “This new law streamlines the connection between regional entities and the state Department of Economic and Community Development and can help secure federal grants through the U.S. Department of Commerce—something individual projects and local governments are poorly positioned to do.”

“Manufacturers and the business community applaud the farsightedness of this new legislation,” Clupper said. “It is a positive example of effective collaboration with legislators to create laudable goals and partnerships that, with effective implementation, will truly support our economic health, jobs and communities.”

“This new law underscores our commitment to streamlining state government and supporting business to create new jobs,” Rep. Esty said. “I know from my work with the local chambers of commerce that this is exactly the sort of real, concrete step we need to take to get people back to work in small business and manufacturing.”

“The economic future of Connecticut depends largely on the business community’s perception of the regulatory climate,” Rep. Widlitz said. “With this legislation we are sending the message that we are open for business in the State of Connecticut.”

“One of the chamber’s chief objectives is to help make Connecticut more business-friendly,” said Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President Anthony Rescigno. “This new statute, which shortens some timeframes in DEP’s permit process and reduces uncertainty for businesses that want to invest in our state, will certainly help achieve that goal.”

“Clean air, clean water and our natural landscape benefit not only our quality of life, but our economy,” said Environment Connecticut Program Director Christopher Phelps soon after the bill passed. “This legislation recognizes that a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand. It contains some reasonable steps to help improve the permitting process while maintaining the integrity of Connecticut’s environmental protections.”

 

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