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The state Department of Environmental Protection recently submitted for public review a draft of its Policy on Public Participation in the Permit Review Process.
Basically, DEP lays out the best practices it should follow in myriad possible scenarios in which it engages with the public during the process of considering a permit application. If you want to read the draft, dated June 22, in its entirety, here ya go.
But my takeaway is a little more big picture. Outside of the details, DEP is simply saying that it's committed to involving the public, where applicable, in the decisions it makes. And that's sensible. Government is an agency of the people charged with guarding the public trust. Hopefully, the follow-through follows this up.
Although not a good direct comparison, I'm sure, there's been at least one instance where engagement with the public — or lack thereof — turned into a bit of a fiasco.
Fewer fiascos mean more chances for compromise, understanding and reaching common ground. We need more of that, and less fiasco.