PA Senate Holds Hearing on DEP PermittingApril 2010 – Newsletters In The Zone
The Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Ted Erickson (R-26), held a public hearing on March 16 on improving the Department of Environmental Protection's permitting process.
The committee looked into possible causes of delays in the DEP permitting process and discussed possible solutions to make the process more "user friendly." As one testifier stated, the regulated community in Pennsylvania -- including water service providers, farmers and others -- is seeking uniformity, consistency and responsiveness in DEP's permitting actions.
"DEP faces the dual challenge of ensuring the protection of our natural resources through a process that is applied in a consistent manner statewide, without causing undue delays that impede community development and job creation," said Erickson.
Some examples of DEP permits include NPDES – National Pollution Discharge Elimination System -- air permitting and solid waste permitting.
In addition to DEP Secretary John Hanger, testifiers included an environmental lawyer, Aqua America, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania, Country View Family Farms based in Lancaster and the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association.
The committee heard concerns about the length of time for DEP permit reviews and approvals and that regional offices are not always consistent in interpreting laws and regulations when reviewing and granting the permits. Some ask for inconsequential information, are not timely in requesting additional information from the applicant or take too long to say that the application is incomplete.
Copies of testimony and video of the hearing can be viewed here.