Governor Tom Vilsack today touted a project he says he has successfully cut the time it takes businesses to get a required air pollution control permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.Vilsack, a democrat, says a 25-thousand dollar grant was used in June to study the process after 600 applications for permits backed up. He says in almost every aspect of Iowa business, time is money. Vilsack says the review allowed the state to cut the paperwork involved in the process and it set up one person who can handle the applications from start to finish. He says the average amount of time to process a permit was decreased from 62 days to 12 days — and he says in the last four months, 44 businesses have been able to secure the permits in seven days or less. Vilsack says the improvements cut the processing time — not the scrutiny the permits receive. He says “We have not sacrificed environmental protection or air quality.” The executive director of the Iowa Business Council, Alexa Heffernan, served on the committee that reviewed the process and came up with the fix. She says instead of trying to help taxpayers navigates the government maze to obtain the service, they decided to eliminate the maze. Heffernan says business owners like to see this kind of change. She says they hope the effort can be sustained, and they hope that other areas of D-N-R and the government follow suit to truly transform government. The D-N-R also established a hotline that businesses can call to ask questions about the process.
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