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Speedier review process proposed

Published (3/11/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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Environmental review permits can take months or even years to complete, depending upon how contentious they become. Some developers may even walk away from a project if the process takes too long.

Sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park), HF3079 would set a goal for the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and Pollution Control Agency to issue or deny environmental and resource management permits within 150 days after an application is made. The average length of time for a completed environmental review is 228 days, but that includes the Department of Transportation, which is not included in the bill.

There would be no penalty if a review took longer.

Hortman told the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee March 4 that speeding up the process would “increase faith in the system.”

Rep. Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock) unsuccessfully tried to delete a provision that would allow contested environmental assessment worksheets and environmental impact statements to bypass district court and be referred to the Court of Appeals.

The committee approved the bill, which awaits action by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division.

Sen. Linda Scheid (DFL-Brooklyn Park) sponsors the companion, SF2761, which awaits action by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

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