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A Framework for Building Efficient Environmental Permitting Processes

Department of Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine, 206B Social Ecology I, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega Room 173, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Department of Political Science, Stanford University, Encina Hall West Suite 100, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 180;
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 23 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Despite its importance as a tool for protecting air and water quality, and for mitigating impacts to protected species and ecosystems, the environmental permitting process is widely recognized to be inefficient and marked by delays. This article draws on a literature review and interviews with permitting practitioners to identify factors that contribute to delayed permit decisions. The sociopolitical context, projects that are complex or use novel technology, a fragmented and bureaucratic regulatory regime, serial permit applications and reviews, and applicant and permitting agency knowledge and resources each contribute to permitting inefficiency when they foster uncertainty, increase transaction costs, and allow divergent interests to multiply, yet remain unresolved. We then use the interviews to consider the potential of a collaborative dialogue between permitting agencies and applicants to mitigate these challenges, and argue that collaboration is well positioned to lessen permitting inefficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental regulation; environmental permitting; water management; efficiency; collaborative governance environmental regulation; environmental permitting; water management; efficiency; collaborative governance
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Ulibarri, N.; Cain, B.E.; Ajami, N.K. A Framework for Building Efficient Environmental Permitting Processes. Sustainability 2017, 9, 180.

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