Virginia’s New Permitting Portal Is A Model For Other States

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Our nation’s system of environmental permitting is broken, putting both economic growth and the clean energy transition at risk. So it’s a relief that permitting reform has received attention in recent weeks, following updates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the debt ceiling deal between President Biden and congressional Republicans.

While those changes probably won’t radically speed up energy and infrastructure projects in America, they are meaningful because NEPA has historically been an untouchable “third rail” in environmental debates. Thus, the debt limit deal may only represent the beginning of federal permitting reform.

However, it is also notable that states are taking steps to reform their permitting procedures too. One example comes from Virginia, a state that has established a new permitting portal where applicants, as well as government employees and members of the public, can track a permit application as it makes its way through the process.

That may sound like no big deal, but websites offering real-time permit tracking are relatively rare in government. One state official told me it’s like a FedEx or Papa Johns tracker for state permits.

The website—called the Permitting Enhancement and Evaluation Platform, or PEEP—is just in pilot phase for now, and it is focused on one state agency to start, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). On the webpage, a person can view information about the various projects awaiting DEQ approval, as well as where they are in the process, what’s been completed, and what remains to be done as well.

Read the full article on Forbes.