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Dayton orders agencies to speed up permits

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton ordered two state agencies yesterday to issue permits quicker.

Under his order, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources must try to issue permits with 150 days, down from the current informal 180-day guideline.

The order is designed to speed up permits businesses need before expanding or building new facilities. Among the more complex permits are those that are needed before mines open; before they are issued, extensive studies of environmental impacts are required.

"This is going to be an ongoing process," Dayton said, adding the he hopes it encourages hundreds of businesses to look at Minnesota after years of what sometimes is a long, slow permitting process.

"Time is money," the governor said.

Dayton and Republican legislative leaders agree on the need to speed permits. House File 1, which is a GOP priority, does much the same as today's executive order. But the bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian of Roseau, goes a bit beyond what Dayton could do by himself.

Commissioner Paul Aasen of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the order does several things, including increasing the use of electronic permit applications.

Business leaders say that speeding the permitting process is one of the major things lawmakers can do to help encourage businesses to create jobs.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.