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Illinois EPA to switch some invoices back to paper

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Tuesday, December 18, 2018  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Environment (41) , EPA (41) , Governor (44)
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has a plan to use more paper. 

The state agency is taking a small step away from digital records. Returning to paper records in some cases could potentially save businesses money. The move is part of an initiative of Gov. Bruce Rauner, who often used government paperwork as an example bureaucratic inefficiency during his time in office.

Rauner retold a story in February about not seeing a single computer during a tour of a government agency shortly after being in elected. 

“I went into one of the departments, 200 people in the room processing applications with pen and paper. No computers,” he told an audience in Springfield. “I said ‘c’mon guys, I heard they invented computers a couple years ago. We could actually digitize this.’ ”

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule change that would allow haulers of certain state-regulated, nonhazardous waste to go back to paper logs, instead of documenting the waste on an e-filing system as they’ve done since earlier this year when the federal government rolled out an electronic filing mandate.

The move back to paper is part of Rauner’s Cutting the Red Tape initiative. The slogan for the initiative is “More jobs. Less paperwork. Better service.”

James Jennings, IL EPA’s manager of waste reduction and compliance section, said the change will result in savings for businesses and taxpayers alike.

“It ends up being less legwork and less expensive for everybody involved,” he said. “It encourages more people to actually participate in the transportation and safe handling of these materials.”

Jennings said e-filing the waste loads can cost up to $25, but didn’t know exactly how much businesses would save or how much time Illinois state workers would save on data entry by going back to paper.

The change doesn’t chain the agency to using paper manifests, Jennings said, only allowing for the use of paper logs while the state modernizes its system to better accommodate digital filing.