Under the Dome

Small firms could be exempted from air quality permits

A proposal to let about 1,200 small businesses avoid having to secure air quality permits has been approved by a state commission that sets rules to protect the environment.

Those businesses account for less than 1 percent of all emissions from factories and other industries in the state, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

The agency says the businesses will still be subject to inspections, and that the change would not lower the current air quality standards. The intent is to relieve small business of what is considered unnecessary and costly regulation.

The new rule would encourage those companies to reduce air emissions in order to qualify for the exemption.

The change will go to the General Assembly for approval, likely later this year.