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Contact: Adam Joseph
860-240-8641

October 6, 2010

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

Lawmakers, director of local chamber of commerce, and small business owners say new law will make it easier to move ahead with job-generating projects

Willimantic—A new state law that took effect just days ago, on October 1st, 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.

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn), State Rep. Susan Johnson (D-Willimantic), Executive Director of the Windham Region Chamber of Commerce Roger Adams, and small business owner Mike Weitz held a news conference Wednesday to highlight the changes.

Design Center East expanded its operation recently and was able to hire additional employees. The small business 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.

“This small business’ expansion is the perfect example of what the economy needs to rebound and grow jobs,” Senator Williams 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.”

“As a person in the business world, it is of vital importance to stay on schedule with projects,” said Mr. Weitz. “We tend to move at a faster pace than the government. Any process that is streamlined to save us time and money is greatly needed and helps us with our expenses.”

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.

“One of the Chamber’s priorities is the removal of roadblocks that prevent our region’s entrepreneurs from moving ahead with job creation and investment in new and revitalized businesses,” said Mr. Adams. “Encouraging a more rapid turnaround in portions of the environmental permitting process will help assure those investors that they are making the right decision in their investment in Connecticut jobs.”

“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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