Dayton OKs streamlining of Minn. permit processing

Gov. Mark Dayton has directed two state departments to streamline the environmental review and permitting processes for businesses.

Dayton signed an executive order Monday setting new goals and procedures in the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources. He said the order is part of a bipartisan effort to help businesses grow and create new jobs.

During a news conference with the governor, MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen said one of the goals is to decide whether or not to issue a permit within 150 days after an application is made.

"I can tell you that right now both of our agencies are under 80 days for the fastest permits in that zone," Aasen said. "Our averages are somewhere in the 180-day range. So, this is going to be a little bit of a stretch for us. But we think it's the right thing to do and the right step forward to take."

Dayton's order includes some of the same provisions that House and Senate Republicans have put forward as part of their first bills of the session.

Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said he still wants the regulatory relief language in law, but he called Dayton's order a good first step.

"It's great news for job creators when different branches of the government are all trying to lead a parade," he said. "The parade this year is jobs."

Meanwhile, House GOP Majority Leader Matt Dean said he thinks the order is counterproductive and waters down or ignores some of the key provisions in the proposed legislation.

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