In a bid to draw more jobs to the state, Connecticut is making it easier for developers to get permits. On June 9, Gov. Jodi Rell signed into law House Bill 5208, An Act Concerning Expedited Permitting for Economic Development, which will reform the state's permitting process.

The act resulted from a task force Rell formed on the first day of the legislative session. "This legislation will make Connecticut much more business friendly, yet strikes a very important balance by safeguarding our environment," Rell said during a bill signing ceremony. "We have worked too hard to protect our natural resources to lose ground just for the sake of speedy paperwork."

The governor said the legislation is a companion piece to the comprehensive and bipartisan jobs bill that she signed into law last month. The permitting bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to examine all of its permitting processes and report to the governor on recommendations for reducing its time periods for permit reviews. DEP is required to make all reasonable efforts to review initial permit applications for problems within 60 days and make final determinations within 180 days.

The bill also creates an Office of Permit Ombudsman within the Department of Economic and Community Development to work with Connecticut companies seeking permits from the state departments of Environmental Protection, Public Health and Transportation. The bill automatically extends any general permit beyond its original expiration date, provided DEP has already proposed a renewal of the permit.

Other provisions require DEP to eliminate unnecessary or duplicative public hearings, create a consulting services program and adopt future revisions to water quality standards as regulations. "We will now be able to bring businesses on line more quickly, but not at the expense of our environment," Rell said. "That is reform we can all embrace."

Read more on Connecticut's Act Concerning Expedited Permitting for Economic Development.

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