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Project Title and Location
Nebraska's Air Quality Innovation Project in Permitting

Name of Applicant

Shelley Kaderly; Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality; Air Quality Administrator; 1200 N St; Lincoln, NE 68509; Phone: (402) 471-4299; Fax: (402) 471-2909; Email: shelley.kaderly@ndeq.state.ne.us

Focused on hazardous waste management and permitting under RCRA - N/A

Project executed in cooperation with/or any federal program- N/A

Regulatory Flexibility -N/A

Departmental Support
Mike Linder, Director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, fully supports implementation of this project. In addition, other senior management must approve the final detailed proposal prior to submitting to EPA. Senior level support is fully anticipated.

Pre-proposal narrative

The objective of this project is to expedite the permitting process for air quality facilities in Nebraska, and thereby reduce the time required to obtain a permit, save costs, and increase efficiency by providing a uniform measure to protect the environment. Our vision for the overall impact of the project is a model of success that can continue to be applied to other permitting processes within the department.

A key factor in contributing to the success of this project is the educational process proposed as part of the outreach activities. Two meetings will be held in different locations of the State for the affected industrial sector, as well as the general public. At the meetings, NDEQ staff will describe the concept and benefits of an on-line permit application and on-line tools, and answer any questions or concerns. This will also give the Department the opportunity to get feedback from industry and the general public.

Facility operators will be sent letters informing them of the progress of the new permitting process and be given the opportunity to provide feedback during a comment period. The outreach activities and public meetings, therefore, provide structure for a learning process in which information is shared and public critique and suggestions are addressed.

Components of this plan include:

Personnel within the department will measure all the items listed above quantitatively and qualitatively.

The long-term benefits of this outreach and permitting process will be enhanced environmental compliance and protection as well as opportunity for replication and widespread application of the process to other types of media.

Project Schedule and Timeframe
The process of streamlining the permitting process for operating/construction permits for facilities will consist of:

Year One-

Year Two-

Year Three-

The completion of this project is expected to be within 3 years after grant award. At this time, it is anticipated that commencement will be within 30 days of grant award.


Streamlining the Department's air quality permitting system should serve to increase the level of cooperation and customer satisfaction from the regulated entities. Processing permits faster will in turn provide better and more timely environmental performance.

The current timeline needed to process a standard permit is 140 to 200 days. Here are the current steps that are involved:

Step 1- Administrative Completeness Review (7-14 days)

Step 2- Technical Evaluation and Permit Package Preparation (60-90 days)

Step 3- Quality Control and Facility Reviews (21-30 days)

Step 4- Preparation for Publishing (7-10 days)

Step 5 Comment Period (35 days)

Step 6- Respond to Comments (7-14 days)

Step 7- Prepare Permit and Issue.

It is estimated that the new on-line applications for permit writing and processing will result in a reduction in the processing time to 105 to 155 days in comparison to the current 140-200 days. Time and resources will be saved within the first 3 steps of the current process for drafting permits.

The proposed timeline for an on -line process system is as follows :

Step 1 - Administrative Review (automated)

Step 2- Technical Evaluation/Permit Package Preparation (45-75 days)

Step 3- Quality Control/Facility Review (15-25 days)

Step 4- Publishing (3 days)

Step 5- Comment Period (30 days)

Step 6- Respond Time (5 days)

Step 7- Prepare Permit/Issue.

Transfering innovation

Many businesses meet environmental requirements only because they have to; going beyond that may not seem worth the extra effort, especially for owners pressed for time and feeling they lack the expertise. Offering an easy to use electronic tool will be empowering. It will give the owner a way right at his or her fingertips to track progress and minimize surprises by flagging potential compliance concerns well before they become problems. By thinking through the development of this process, our permit writers will own it - reinforcing a culture of innovative problem solving and time savings that also equates to cost savings for the entire state as a way of doing business. The on-line process can be utilized for the entire Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality agency, city, and county agencies within the State of Nebraska for permitting.

Qualitative Selection Factors

Results will be measured by:

Feedback form industry partners from air staff at key stages of development. Success will be determined here by the ease in which they are able to use the program and by their indicated willingness to try it outside of the agency.

Results from performance track applicants to use the on-line tools as part of their incentive to permitting on-line, which is a means to save costs. In the future, demonstrated pollution prevention and/or reduction through the use of these tools. This will be measured by annual performance progress reports by industry and improvements noted by NDEQ inspectors as part of their routine visits.

[Budgetary Information Withheld by U.S. EPA]

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