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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts, Yahoo Praise New Customer-Friendly Culture at Environmental Quality Agency

Online permitting has been key to building a new approach to providing better services.

Photos here and video here.

LA VISTA – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined representatives from Yahoo to highlight the new customer-friendly culture of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), the state’s top environmental regulatory agency.  These reforms follow a commitment from Governor Ricketts to building a customer-centric culture in state government by running government more like a business.

“Making state government more customer-friendly has been one of my administration’s top priorities to help grow our state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Under the leadership of Director Macy, our environmental quality agency has been able to dramatically accelerate their delivery of permits, helping businesses like Yahoo expand and bring the jobs we need to keep Nebraska the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.”

Last fall, NDEQ launched online permitting for general construction permits.  Nebraska is one of only four states in the nation that offer permits online.  NDEQ launched the online application for general air construction permits to streamline processing of similar source groups.

Online air quality permit applications have now been developed for four different general permit categories: Drum Mix and Batch Mix Hot Mix Asphalt Plants; Truck Mix Concrete Batch Plants; Aggregate Processing and Crushing; and Emergency Engines.

“These types of applications are significant at this time of year, as spring construction projects begin operations,” said NDEQ Director Jim Macy.  “The time savings for online applications are substantial, both for the applicant and for NDEQ.  This process streamlines the application and review process for less complex categories of construction applications, which gives NDEQ staff more time to focus on larger, more complex permit applications.”

Thanks to the online application process, NDEQ has reduced the time it takes to process air quality permits from weeks and months to an average of one day.  Macy said the success Nebraska has experienced with their online application process has generated interest from other state environmental regulatory agencies, who are considering online applications.

Last month, Yahoo was the first applicant to receive coverage through NDEQ’s new online application for their emergency engine general construction permit.  The permit was a part of a $20 million expansion to increase capacity to power Yahoo products and services at their data center located in La Vista, Nebraska. 

“The business-friendly culture created by Governor Ricketts and Director Macy are helping businesses like Yahoo expand their operations,” said Yahoo’s Senior Director of Data Center Operations Mike Coleman. “A permitting process that can take months in other states can now be completed in a matter of days, right here, in Nebraska. It’s because of this and the talented people in this great state that we are at home here and continue to grow our business in Nebraska.”

NDEQ continues to look for new ways to deliver services in a customer-friendly manner while fulfilling their core duty of protecting our clean air and water.  NDEQ plans plan to launch an online application for incinerator general construction permit applications in the coming months.