HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection today released the results of the first of four quarterly reports detailing progress under the new Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee policy. "The early results are nothing short of stunning," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. The early data shows that DEP has increased its permit review efficiency by 74 percent in the Mining programs; 68 percent in the Water programs; 67 percent in Waste, Air Radiation and Remediation; and 19 percent in Oil and Gas. The agency has provided permit applicants with decisions within the targeted timeframes nearly 98 percent of the time and has reduced the permit application backlog by about 40 percent. "Last year, Governor Corbett delivered on his promise and directed DEP in July 2012 to establish this program, aimed at assuring predictability and efficiency in permit submissions and reviews," Krancer said. "And DEP has delivered. "Our program has only been up and running since November 2012, and I would like to thank both DEP staff and the regulated community for responding like champions to make this a resounding success for all Pennsylvanians right out of the chute." The new process aims to eliminate what had become an inefficient process of "back and forth" of permit applications. Before the new policy, about 40 percent of permit applications came in the door with substantial deficiencies that prevented timely review. "We have accomplished quite a paradigm shift," Krancer said. "Under the Governor's and DEP's initiative, less than one and a half percent of applications have been in that category. This allows DEP permit reviewers to focus on their core functions of protecting the environment and public health and safety. "We all know that it is still early, and we all need to keep up our efforts and our focus to continue this tremendous momentum," Krancer said.