Gov. Ricketts Launches Online Environmental Quality Permitting
A new online application process will reduce turnaround time from weeks to days
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) announced the launch of online applications for two types of permits issued by the department.
Starting immediately, Nebraskans can apply for storm water permits online at http://deq.ne.gov by clicking on “Permits and Authorizations.” A screenshot of the page is attached. Additionally in the coming weeks, the agency will launch an online application for the new general air construction permit, which it recently began to offer. With this new permit, businesses will no longer need to submit duplicative applications for similar projects. Applicants will be able to answer a few questions online to qualify for the permit if they fall within a specified range of environmental constraints.
“My administration is focused on finding ways to make state government more customer-friendly,” said Governor Ricketts. “Nebraskans expect to be able to access government services and applications online. Moving the application process online for these permits saves valuable time for businesses and allows the agency to dramatically reduce turnaround time.”
“Processing permit applications in a timely manner with the same level of environmental protection helps everyone involved,” said NDEQ Director Jim Macy. “The time savings gained by streamlining the application process for these storm water and air permits not only shortens up turnaround time, but also will allow agency staff to focus on expediting review of more complicated or site-specific permitting and compliance issues.”
“The two new online permit applications the state is instituting will help cut red tape for the private sector,” said NEBCO Director of Corporate Development Bob Caldwell. “By streamlining this application process, our business will be able to have our permits in hand faster so we can begin construction sooner. In our industry this is critical as we work to deliver projects in a timely manner.”
NEW MANAGEMENT FOCUSED ON CUSTOMERS, MAINTAINING QUALITY
Changes began to take root following the Governor’s decision to hire new leadership for the agency. After taking office earlier this year, NDEQ Director Jim Macy began to examine how the agency could do a better job of delivering services to its customers in a timely manner while still achieving their goal of protecting Nebraska’s clear air and clean water. Providing online services is one of the first steps taken to make it easier for the agency’s clients to conduct business with the state.
“Typically, it has taken weeks for a construction storm water permit to make it through our paper-based application and review system,” Macy said. “In contrast, we expect through this online approach that the process should be completed in one or two days.”
“The new leadership at the Department have put a new focus on timeliness and communication with their clients,” said Piyush Srivastav, President of NAQS Environmental Experts. “In recent years, my office worked with permit applications that were taking years to process with long periods of time where we saw no sign of progress. Since Director Macy arrived, that has changed, and the Department has opened up lines of communication. It’s refreshing.”
Nebraskans interested in applying for an air quality permit online, should visit the NDEQ’s website by clicking here. The online application for the wastewater permit will be published in the near future.
NDEQ continues to pursue additional initiatives to streamline other permitting processes as they continue to make their services more customer-friendly and timely.