The goal was increased to 10 permit application decisions per month starting with the January report. The team has not met the monthly goal during the last two months, but continues to meet the rolling goal with an average of 12 permit application decisions per month. External factors have contributed to the team being redirected to other duties delaying some permit applications decisions.
The program continues to exceed the state permit application decision goal.
Emerging Issues/Risks: NDEQ staff continues to devote significant effort toward preparing for the potential impact of prescribed fires in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. NDEQ, DHHS, Lincoln Lancaster County Dept. of Health (LLDH) and Douglas County staff have collaborated on a process to notify local authorities if there is potential for distant fires to impact air quality. NDEQ has increased ambient monitoring capability with the installation of an additional fine particulate monitor in Beatrice. The increased monitoring capabilities and the continued collaboration of the agencies will contribute to an increased capability to provide health-based information to the public.
The goal was increased from 4 to 8 permit application decisions per month for the January report. The team did not meet monthly goal in March, but continues to meet the rolling goal with an average of 12 permit application decisions per month. The team is short one engineering position and will soon have another vacancy. The agency is working to fill these positions as quickly as possible.
Accomplishments: The Environmental Quality Council met March 30th. The Council held two hearings on the repeal of Title 116 – Code of Ethics and Title 194 – Regulations for the Disposal of Low-Level Radioactive Waste. The Dept. proposed repealing Title 116 because it duplicated statutes of the Accountability and Disclosure Commission and regulations promulgated by the Director of State Personnel. The Dept. proposed repealing Title 194 as no longer needed because Nebraska has withdrawn from the interstate compact that designated Nebraska as the site for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. The Council‘s action to repeal both titles is also consistent with Governor Rickett’s regulatory reform initiative.
NDEQ conducted a public information process related to simplification and streamlining of air quality construction and operating permits. Three comment periods and a public meeting were held to take comments on how general conditions, common to construction and operating permits, could be standardized. This will bring clarity to sometimes confusing permit conditions.
Misc. Items of Note: NDEQ staff, with the assistance of Troy Paisley, DAS Continuity Coordinator, continues to refine the NDEQ Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). A tabletop exercise was held March 15th and areas in need of attention were identified. These areas are being addressed and it is anticipated the Director will sign an updated COOP in April.