In August, Mr Schaap received a proposal from Gunns to make a minor variation to the storm water management plan for the Bell Bay pulp mill site.
As a result, Mr Schaap requested Gunns provide him with a submission setting out the reasons why the company believes substantial commencement has occurred.
"I have considered the evidence presented to me by the company and have obtained additional documentary substantiation of that evidence. I have also taken advice from the office of the Solicitor General," Mr Schaap said.
"I have reached the view that substantial commencement has occurred.
"I do not therefore feel obliged to seek an order or declaration from a court on the question. I will continue to regulate the site on the basis that a valid permit exists unless a court determines otherwise."
The view of the Director EPA is availablehere