Regulatory Update: MA Permits and Licenses During Covid-19
During March 2020, Governor Baker and the State of Massachusetts began issuing COVID-19 Executive Orders in response to the worsening pandemic that affected businesses and state offices throughout the Commonwealth. Orders having a significant impact on Environmental, Safety and Health (EHS) professionals included Order No. 9 “Order Extending the Registrations of Certain Licenses Professionals” and Order No. 17. “Order Suspending State Permitting Deadlines and Extending the Validity of State Permits” These orders are being rescinded by Orders No. 41 “Order Authorizing Reopening of Childcare Programs and Rescinding Eight Covid-19 Orders” and No. 42 "Order Resuming State Permitting Deadlines and Continuing to Extend the Validity of Certain State Permits."
COVID-19 Order No. 41 rescinds Order No. 9, which granted extensions to certain licensed professionals including Licensed Site Professionals. Licenses that expire after July 10, 2020 will not be automatically extended and individuals will need to renew or file for an extension. Licenses that were extended while Order No. 9 was in place are valid until October 1, 2020.
COVID-19 Order No. 42 rescinds the previous Order No. 17 in its entirety. The previous order had put in place deferrals and suspensions for Constructive Approvals, Hearing Deadlines, Decision Deadlines, Appeal Rights, and Permit Tolling. These items will resume as follows:
Constructive Approvals – Approvals that would have been issued while Order No. 17 was in place will now be issued on August 17, 2020. Approvals that would have been issued after July 1,2020 will be issued on the original deadline or August 17, 2020; whichever date is later.
Hearing Deadlines – Hearings that would have commenced while Order No. 17 was in place will commence on or before August 10, 2020. Hearings that would have commenced after July 1, 2020 will commence on the original deadline or August 10, 2020; whichever date is later.
Decision Deadlines – Decisions that would have been issued while Order No. 17 was in place will be issued on or before August 10, 2020. Decisions that the state would have been required to issue on a date after July 1, 2020 will be issued by August 10, 2020 or the original deadline; whichever date is later.
Appeal Rights – Any person whose right to appeal expired while Order No. 17 was in place will have until August 10, 2020 to file an appeal. Persons whose right to appeal expires at a date after July 1, 2020 will now have until August 10, 2020 or the original deadline to appeal; whichever date is later.
Permit Tolling –Order No. 42 also pauses or "tolls" permit approvals which were valid as of March 10 and provides that these approvals will not lapse until after the state of emergency is terminated. The new deadline for expiration of an approval or to record an approval is calculated by adding the number of days left to expire or record the approval as of March 10, 2020 to the day that the state of emergency is lifted.
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