NDEE produces a monthly metrics report to measure what the agency has accomplished; to set annual and longer-term goals; and to examine these goals against accomplishments to ensure continuous process improvements.
• On March 5, NDEE and DHHS activated the smoke advisory system for 2021. From March to the end of May, NDEE coordinates with the DHHS, weather services and local health districts to assess smoke levels that may affect air quality. NDEE/DHHS issued two advisories in March.
• The air permitting teams are planning outreach for regulated facilities to provide transparency in its decision making and improve communication with their customers.
• Gov. Ricketts signed LB 148 into law on March 31. This bill transfers the state’s drinking water program, and most Title 178 duties, from DHHS to NDEE, effective July 1.
• The Dollar and Energy Saving Loan program approved a $1.17 million energy loan project for Maywood Public Schools in Maywood. The loan will finance a new energy-efficient heating and cooling system in the school’s facilities to reduce energy costs and improve temperature control.
• After the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund changed loan rates to 0% interest and 0% administration fees and provided additional loan forgiveness in January 2021, there have been 10 new Drinking Water projects and 11 new Clean Water projects totaling over $132 million. In addition, 33 communities have refinanced their loans.
• The next Environmental Quality Council meeting will be in person in June. Possible agenda items include the 2022 State Revolving Loan Fund Intended Use Plan and changes to Title 124 and Title 118.
• Moving forward, NDEE will change how it tracks Ag/Livestock construction and operating permits in the monthly metrics. The department will track the average number of days to issue a permit from a completed application, rather than the number of permits submitted/issued each month. This is because applications are received periodically, and while the program can't control how many applications are received, it can control how fast applications are processed.