On December 1, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) launched its long-awaited Permitting Enhancement and Evaluation Platform (PEEP), an online service to streamline the permitting process and enable applicants and the public to track pending applications. The initial release exclusively makes data for Water Protection Permits available, however, 12 other permitting programs are slated for release on the platform throughout 2023, making the platform a one-stop shop for all permitting types.
The goal of the program, according to DEQ Director Mike Rolband, is to “make DEQ processes more clear, and hopefully by clarifying things, [to] expedite the permitting process,” eliminating confusion about why and where an application may have stalled. PEEP accomplishes this by not only providing the real-time status and location of applications, but allowing users to track tasks and deadlines, see who is responsible for completing each task (the applicant, DEQ, or external agencies), and follow recommended times for task completion.
While many agencies are working hard to advance their permitting programs, Virginia’s PEEP is a unique example of success, prioritizing transparency, down to the minute details of the process. DEQ’s explanation is simple: “If you can track a pizza, why can’t you track a permit?”