On January 24, 2018

Environmental permitting goes digital with new portal

portal Once considered out-of-sight, the state’s environmental permitting system just got a massive makeover that’s turning heads. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently launched the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB). Now, for the first time ever, there is an online hub that gives anyone the ability to easily track permit applications and add public comments.

DEC issues more than 9,000 permits annually. Nearly half of these permits will be publicly noticed on ENB in the coming year, making the entire process more straightforward and transparent. ENB gives users the power to add comments directly to the website, request a public meeting, and receive notice of the final permit application decision.

DEC permits protect public health, support economic viability, promote the safe handling of fuel and other hazardous materials, and safeguard drinking water. These permits help businesses, municipalities and individuals build homes, facilities and infrastructure while protecting Vermont’s air, water and land.

“The Environmental Notice Bulletin is an example of how government should operate, working together with the public to improve access to information and to decisions that affect our everyday lives,” said DEC Commissioner Emily Boedecker. ENB is the result of user feedback and represents a larger movement in state government to modernize processes. DEC looked at its overall permitting system and analyzed how the public was engaging with the permitting process. After reviewing these results, the Department created ENB to increase public engagement and provide a more predictable, consistent system for applicants. ENB merges 85 different permit procedures into five categories and consolidates all permit information on the ENB website.

In the three weeks since ENB launched, there is a mix of permit applications in the system including permits for brewery conversions, lakeshore protections and stormwater management.

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