Minn. Senate passes environmental permitting billby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Senate Thursday approved a bill aimed at streamlining environmental review and permitting.
The bill's backers say it builds on last year's bipartisan efforts. The Legislature passed and the governor signed a law that set a goal for state environmental agencies to issue permits within 150 days of receiving an application.
But the changes passed by the Senate say agencies must start the clock ticking when they receive an application, whether it is complete or not.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently reported that it issued 81 percent of permits within 150 days, during the last 10 months of 2011.
An amendment offered on the floor exempts manure digesters from needing state air quality permits. The digesters process manure into methane, which can be used for energy.
A similar bill in the House awaits floor action.