CHICAGO – July 12, 2011. As part of his aggressive business agenda, Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will make it easier to open and expand a business in Illinois. House Bill 1297 will help employers create more jobs by streamlining the environmental permitting process in Illinois, establish a plan for long-term funding, and make the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) more efficient.
“Simplifying and speeding up the review process for environmental permits will help Illinois companies begin hiring, investing and producing more quickly,” said Governor Quinn. “This law is a great example of my administration’s commitment to reducing the burden on Illinois’ businesses – both large and small – so they can grow and create more jobs.”
Like the recent worker’s compensation reform law, HB 1297 was pushed by Governor Quinn to strengthen Illinois’ business climate. Sponsored by former Rep. Dan Reitz (D-Steeleville) and Sen. James F. Clayborne, Jr. (D-East St. Louis), House Bill 1297 requires the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to speed up and streamline the permitting process.
Under the new law, IEPA will begin to use more efficient techniques such as online permitting, processing and tracking to make the permitting process easier to navigate for businesses. The new law also allows for expedited permitting, general permitting and permitting by rule for certain classes of facilities.
“These changes will improve the agency’s operations and make it more efficient, while ensuring that environmental standards are never compromised,” said IEPA Interim Director Lisa Bonnett.
“For too long, Illinois’ environmental regulatory process has hindered economic development and made it more difficult for businesses to compete,” said Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We applaud Governor Quinn’s support of this new law that modernizes and streamlines the process, allowing businesses to save time and money. It balances environmental and economic interests.”
In addition to making the permitting process easier for businesses, the new law also creates an online portal to assist with the permitting process. As a result, companies can begin production and other projects more quickly. The new law also allows the IEPA to create a new, logical funding source based on revenue from products used to lower emissions. By establishing a Registration of Smaller Sources (ROSS) program for smaller entities, a significant number of low-polluting small businesses will be able to register with the agency instead of obtaining a more extensive air permit. This will reduce the burden on small businesses by lowering the fee for emissions, eliminating the need to hire permit consultants and speeding up the approval process.