Dayton orders simplification of environmental permitting

Gov. Mark Dayton issued an executive order Wednesday that requires the state to simplify Minnesota's environmental review process.

Dayton said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued more than 1,300 new permits within his goal of 150 days.

MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen said that's a 80 percent success rate for all permit requests and a 96 percent success rate for new permits. He said the findings should end a stigma that environmental permitting takes too long in Minnesota.

"Environment and business can coexist very nicely," Aasen said. "We've always believed that and we're doing out best to make sure that we are not a piece of that perceived issue."

Dayton said his order instructs the Environmental Quality Board to look at more ways to speed up the environmental review process.

"Looking at the whole overlay of environmental protection agencies and state and local organizations and whatever duplication of oversight there is that can be reduced or eliminated and not suffer strong environmental protection," Dayton said.

The board is required to submit recommendations to Dayton by November of next year.

Environmental permitting was a major issue in the 2011 legislative session. Dayton signed a bill designed to improve the permitting process.

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