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PA DEP Publishes Final Permit Improvement Policies

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced today it has finalized its Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee and Permit Coordination policies. The agency submitted the final versions of the policies, as well as accompanying comment-and-response documents for each policy, for publication in the Nov. 3 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Because of DEP's emergency response work related to Hurricane Sandy, the final policies will not be implemented until Nov. 14.  

"These policies deliver on Governor Corbett's promise to reform how state government works," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "We are making clear to those who seek permits that we need to see quality applications. That is key. Then, we will do our part to deliver efficient and complete reviews in a predictable time frame."

The policies implement Gov. Corbett's July 24 Executive Order, outlining the process DEP will use to guarantee an efficient timeframe in which the agency will make a decision on complete applications for 278 types of permits and authorizations.

In reviewing its permitting procedures, DEP found that 40 percent of permit applications submitted to the agency were deficient, meaning they lacked the full information needed for DEP's permit reviewers to make a sound decision.

"The result of this was a waste of time and resources for all involved," Krancer said.

Under the new process, if a permit lacks necessary information, DEP may deny the application. If a complete permit application is technically deficient, requiring it to be returned twice, DEP may deny it. Agency staff will point to specific statutes or regulations when citing deficiencies in the application.

The final Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee strongly encourages pre-application conferences between DEP staff and applicants to discuss expectations and obligations. The final policy also provides guidance to DEP managers on how to prioritize workload for the review of permits.

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