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BREAKING NEWS: New bill targets Commonwealth Crossing dilemma
Commonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act unveiled
Thursday, August 1, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, along with U.S. Reps. Robert Hurt and Morgan Griffith, today introduced the Commonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act in both houses of Congress.
The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would address the longstanding controversy in Henry County over the 726-acre proposed Commonwealth Crossing Business Center, and expedite the approval of an important economic development site, according to a news release.
Henry County and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. have long worked to secure a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for site preparation in hopes of attracting one or multiple job-creating manufacturing firms to the business center.
However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been reluctant to issue the permit due to the lack of a company that has publicly committed to the site and prepared detailed blueprints. A company will not relocate to the site without an approved permit, but a permit cannot be approved without a company willing to relocate.
The Commonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act specifies that the lack of a committed end-user company shall not be a reason to deny a corps permit that meets all other legal requirements.
“Henry County and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. have done extraordinary work to develop the Commonwealth Crossing Business Center site,” said Kaine, D-Va. “They have worked in good faith — at great cost in money and personnel hours — to promote economic development in line with environmental protection and all requirements of the law. Yet due to a regulatory quirk, this process is unable to move forward. Our legislation fixes that quirk. I believe this bill will allow Commonwealth Crossing to move forward while maintaining all environmental protections. I intend to continue working with my colleagues in the Senate and House in both parties to move this legislation forward.”
See this site and Friday's Martinsville Bulletin for more on this story, incuding reaction from the other sponsoring legislators.