Federal regulators unveiled this week a new, “more streamlined” process by which Maryland oyster farmers can lease places in the Chesapeake Bay for raising their shellfish.

The revised permitting procedures announced by the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers come in response to long-voiced complaints from oyster farmers – backed up by Maryland’s U.S. senators – about delays and red tape in obtaining aquaculture leases.

The Corps said it is replacing a regional general permit, which it issued in 2011, with what it calls a Nationwide permit, which the agency says provides a “more streamlined” way to authorize new aquaculture activities.

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