Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Public Act 11-5 lengthening existing wetlands permits in effect as of May 9th

Time will tell, indeed. I last wrote, wondering whether the Public Act 11-5 which I hypothesized would go into effect October 1st would cause a mini-spike in wetlands agency work. To recap, that public act extends the life of wetlands permits to 9 years, with a possible extension of up to a total of 14 years. The automatic increase in length of the permit applies to all wetlands permits (and a variety of other specified land use permits/approvals) which haven't expired on the effective date of the public act and were issued prior to July 1, 2011.

I didn't note the 2-prong conditions which determine if a wetlands permit qualifies for the automatically lengthening. I overlooked the parenthetical phrase, "(Effective from passage)," within the first sentence of section 4, the section of the bill addressing the wetlands act, as well as the phrase applying this to permits issued prior to July 1st. The Public Act became law with the governor's signature on May 9, 2011.

Did I have a moment of insight to catch my reading oversight? Not at all. DEP wetlands staff Darcy Winther, in the most deferential way possible, wrote me a personal e-mail wondering if I might clarify my previous post given the inclusion of the phrase, "effective upon passage." Clarify? Civility is alive and well and living in the corridors of DEP (or do I mean DEEP? Not yet in effect?)

I'm sure this was going to be a headache for Darcy to have to straighten out in DEP training, so I will clarify, ahem, correct my previous post. To qualify for the automatically longer permit term, one of the following conditions must be satisfied:

(1) there is already a permit in effect which has not yet expired as of May 9, 2011
(2) if there is no permit as of May 9th, a permit is issued prior to July 1, 2011.

Wetlands permits issued from July 1st forward will revert to the 2 - 5 year permit length, with a possible renewal for 5 years. The mini-spike of wetlands agency work that I wondered about in the previous post will end on June 30. I suspect few projects will be able to rush in for a permit, unless they did so last month.

To err is human; to be politely and discreetly informed of one's shortcomings is divine. Thank you, Darcy.

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