PA Governor-Elect Tom Corbett Lays Out Environmental PrioritiesDecember 2010 – Newsletters In the Zone
Wasting no time following his election on November 2, 2010, incoming Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett has begun laying out his plans for the Commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Specific plan highlights to refocus the agency to be more efficient include:
- Eliminating permit backlog.
- Creating the Permit Decision Guarantee Program to ensure timely permit decisions based on clear deadlines for each permit issued by the agency.
- Establish a DEP Legacy Corps enlisting retired DEP senior managers, who have vast experience and knowledge in implementing DEP’s programs, to voluntarily mentor future DEP managers through a management trainee program.
- Reviewing DEP programs, regulations and guidance documents within the first three months.
- Creating a PA Environmental “Expert” Loan Program, allowing DEP to create relationships with academic and other institutions to allow individuals with expertise in pre-identified specialties to lend their skills to DEP for a specified period of time.
- Promoting environmental education as a key to the future.
In addition to removing environmental threats, a redeveloped brownfield or grayfield property often serves as the keystone of a community’s successful economic revitalization. The governor-elect’s proposals to revitalize brownfield and grayfield properties include:
- Refocusing and consolidating site remediation programs.
- Reinvigorating the Brownfield Action Team.
- Supporting reinvestment in brownfields programs by reallocating low-performing funds to yield a higher investment.
- Establishing the Pennsylvania Brownfield Reimbursement Program, a new performance-based brownfield funding program that would provide reimbursement for up to 75 percent of cleanup-related costs incurred at brownfield or grayfield sites in the form of a tax reimbursement.
- Reclaiming and revitalizing mine-scarred lands.
- Incorporating renewable energy through “brightfield” sites.