Focus On Planning & Aid
Small Business and Public Assistance Program

The Small Business and Public Assistance Program was created as a result of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to assist sources in complying with air quality regulations. The department realized the potential beneficial impact of the program and expanded the scope of the program to encompass all environmental media – air, waste and water.

Four components

The program is divided into four major components:

1. the Small Business Compliance Advisory Panel (CAP),

2. the Public Advocate (who serves as the ombudsman for the purposes of the Clean Air Act),

3. the Assistance Program, and

4. the One-Stop Permitting Program.

The Small Business and Public Assistance Program Coordinator performs all four functions.

The Small Business Compliance Advisory Panel is comprised of seven people:

* two representatives from the general public selected by the Governor,

* four representatives from small business selected by the Legislature, and

* one agency representative selected by the Director.

The panel has four functions:

1) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Small Business and Public Assistance program and to identify any obstacles that may cause it to become less effective,

2) to provide feedback on outreach and education methods provided by the program,

3) to review written documents developed by department programs to ensure the information is understood by the lay person, and

4) to provide a liaison between the state’s small business community and the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy.

Public Advocate
Another component is that of Public Advocate. The Public Advocate provides several services to the public by acting as a clearinghouse for department information. The Public Advocate receives requests for regulatory information or environmental complaints from the public, and either addresses the issue or ensures that the appropriate department employee follows up on the issue. This role of interfacing with the public ensures the department is accessible and responsive to public concerns.

Assistance Program
The Assistance Program includes site visits, development of outreach materials, workshops, and business and industry assistance in understanding their obligations under state law. The program also helps analyze outreach efforts and identifies additional rules or regulations that may affect future small business operations. In addition, the assistance program provides a directory of environmental engineers and consultants, which can be used by those seeking private environmental assistance.

One-Stop Permit Assistance Program
The One-Stop Permit Assistance Program was established to serve as a clearinghouse for information related to the department’s various permitting processes. This program’s objective is to ensure that businesses and industry are aware of what permits they are required to apply for, what information they will need to provide in the permit application, and the permit process.

The one-stop program coordinator doesn’t personally address all inquiries, but brings together appropriate staff to address questions or concerns and ensure that inquiries receive a timely response. The one-stop program also coordinates activities with other state, federal or other assistance organizations and regulatory programs in an attempt to address questions and concerns in a timely and comprehensive manner.

Directory of Environmental Consultants and Engineers

Small Business and Public Assistance Publications and Reports