By signing Executive Order 2012-11 last July, Gov. Tom Corbett charged the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with developing and implementing a policy that results in more timely permitting decisions, provides clear expectations for applicants to improve the quality of applications, establishes performance measures for DEP’s permit review staff, and implements electronic permitting tools to enhance internal operations.
To implement the directive of Executive Order 2012-11, DEP issued the “Policy for Implementing the [DEP] Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee” which:
- Established a standardized review process for permit applications;
- Provided certain and predictable review times for applicants who submit complete, technically adequate applications that address all regulatory and statutory requirements;
- Articulated clearly and concisely expectations for applicants that result in complete, technically adequate applications that address all regulatory and statutory requirements;
- Established expectations of DEP staff aimed at achieving greater efficiency, clarity, and consistency across regions and programs;
- Improved the DEP’s internal tracking and coordination of permit applications
To create a robust and effective policy, DEP conducted extensive outreach with members of the regulated community, local governments, and the public. In all, the department held 14 different webinars focusing on different types of permits, reaching more than 1,650 people.
Results to Date:
Just six months of implementation indicates success of the new policy as DEP is becoming more efficient in issuing protective and timely permits.
Increased Predictability (measured in the percentage of permits meeting target and/or guarantee):
- Permit Review Process – 97 percent
- Permit Decision Guarantee – 96 percent
Specifically, when compared to the previous permitting structure, the following increases in efficiency have been measured for those permits included in the Permit Decision Guarantee:
Improved Efficiency (measured in fewer average days to process):
- Mining—56 percent
- Oil and Gas—10 percent
- Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation (WARR)—35 percent
- Water —45 percent
During this time, 11,096 permit applications were processed under the Permit Review Process, and 6,243 permit applications were processed under the Permit Decision Guarantee.
To learn more about the Permit Decision Guarantee and DEP’s revised permitting process, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us and click on the Permit Decision Guarantee link.
Hayley L. Book
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection