The US Environmental Protection Agency’s State Innovation Grant (SIG) program provides financial support for state environmental agencies to develop and evaluate innovative approaches to working with regulated entities to improve environmental performance. The SIG program also supports the development of approaches to improve state agency operations and provide time and cost savings for regulated entities that exceed minimum standards or otherwise demonstrate better environmental performance.
Over the past two years, DES has conducted research, collected input, and involved numerous DES staff and outside representatives to understand existing permit processes and constraints, identify opportunities for improvement, and develop a proposed approach for the DES Innovative Permitting Initiative. Key components of the initiative include the following.
Guidelines on Best Practices for Minimum Impact Development
DES has articulated draft guidelines identifying best practices to achieve a superior environmental outcome for land development projects. These guidelines expand upon current requirements related to regulated activities (e.g. stormwater management) and address non-regulated activities (e.g., location choice, energy efficiency, water conservation) that greatly influence the overall environmental impact of a project.
Enhanced Pre-application Meeting Procedures
DES has defined options for enhancing our current pre-application meeting procedures. In providing an opportunity for a detailed review and discussion of conceptual (pre-engineering) site plans and available resource information, DES hopes to increase awareness and implementation of opportunities to reduce environmental impact as well as streamline future permit reviews.
Streamlined, Coordinated Permit Review and Technical Assistance
DES has examined existing permit procedures and identified streamlined permit review procedures to better coordinate permitting activities involving multiple programs.