The legislature today passed and sent to Gov. Mark Dayton a bill to speed up environmental review and permitting processes.
Last year the legislature set a goal for the DNR and Pollution Control Agency to act on permit applications within 150 days. Under the new measure, the deadline counts even if the application is incomplete.
The bill allows non-government professionals to prepare permit applications and draft permits, and calls on the Department of Employment and Economic Development to help applicants through the permit process.
It also allows the DNR and MPCA to choose three projects to undergo alternative forms of environmental review, designed to streamline the process further.
The bill also weakens requirements for water conservation programs, especially in the metro area, and allows companies to begin construction before they receive a construction permit.
Dayton is expected to sign the bill.