- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Legislative auditors say the state’s processing of surface mine water discharge permits is returning to normal levels following several years of delays.

An audit released Monday by the Legislative Auditor’s Office says the Division of Mining and Reclamation has reduced the average processing time from 23.8 months in fiscal 2010 to 8.3 months in fiscal 2013.

In fiscal 2006, the average processing time was 9.5 months. This time increased sharply after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began a review of the state’s permitting system in 2009.

As a result of the review, the state Department of Environmental Protection strengthened permit requirements to protect narrative water quality standards.

Narrative standards describe conditions of a body of water that will generally protect the water’s designated use, if the conditions are met.

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