News Releases from Region 04
ATLANTA (June 26, 2018) – Today, the EPA Smart Sectors Program released a ‘best practices’ in permitting video to highlight an example of successful partnerships in permitting for replication by other companies, states, and regional/federal agencies.
The main messages in the video are: Plan: Engage early with key stakeholders; take advantage of pre-application meetings; and create a permit matrix; Communicate: Identify needs (requirements, priorities, uncertainties) and solutions; Be flexible: Be willing to change course when necessary to overcome barriers; and Collaborate: Work together to achieve the best outcomes.
Organizations highlighted in the video are: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the USDA Forest Service, The Boeing Company, Lowcountry Land Trust, the Open Space Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and EPA.
When the Boeing Company decided to secure additional land for future growth in Charleston, SC, the company identified 468 adjacent acres that met its needs. Since about 150 of those acres were wetlands, Boeing worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, SC DHEC, and EPA Region 4 to secure air and wetlands permits for development.
“A streamlined permit process, as called for by President Trump, is beneficial for both the environment and the economy,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “The best practices outlined in this video advance the President’s One Federal Decision Memorandum for critical infrastructure projects and can help American job creators save time and resources while accelerating and improving environmental protections.”
Boeing received the permits to expand onto 468 acres just over six months after filing the permit applications. One major component of the company’s comprehensive mitigation plan involved protecting wetland and upland resources that are next to the Francis Marion National Forest. The mitigation plan included restoration and enhancement of aquatic resource functions and habitat improvements on nearly 4,000 acres of land that will eventually be turned over to the USDA Forest Service and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for public access and recreation.
“This is a great example of the applicant reaching out to the permitting agencies prior to submitting their official application,” said Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn. “In this “preapplication process” the agencies were able to work with Boeing and stakeholders which allowed Boeing to develop a complete permit application with all of the information needed for an efficient and effective permitting process.”
South Carolina environmental officials are in agreement that streamlined permitting does not make the process or environmental requirements any less rigorous.
“South Carolina has reduced the average time it takes to issue South Carolina permits by about 40 percent since 2007,” said SC DHEC Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece. “That yields an estimated economic impact between 72 and 103 million dollars each year for the state and shows that protective permitting can be done quickly and fit well within the community.”
This mitigation plan benefits the community, water quality, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and from a regulatory perspective, it helps maintain and improve the Cooper River watershed by fully offsetting adverse impacts to aquatic resource functions associated with the expansion of the existing aircraft manufacturing and assembly complex.
Watch the video and learn more about the project at: epa.gov/smartsectors.