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Friday, August 16, 2013

DEP Announces Decreased Permit Backlog, Provides Third Update on Permit Improvement Policies

DEP Announces Decreased Permit Backlog, Provides Third Update on Permit Improvement Policies

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection today released the third of fourth quarterly reports on its revised permitting policies. The report shows that since July 2012, DEP cleared 66 percent of all permit applications that were backlogged.

The 66 percent reflects a decrease from 9,982 applications awaiting decision at various stages in DEP’s review process to 3,377 in a little more than a year. Omitting pending authorizations that cannot be cleared due to factors beyond DEP’s control, DEP staff has actually cleared 93 percent of the applications awaiting a decision.

“Governor Corbett challenged state agencies to be efficient as possible when he took office in 2011. For DEP, our goal was to streamline the permit review process without sacrificing the quality of our review,” DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo said.

“The DEP team has been outstanding. We’ve proven that when provided technically complete permit applications, we can accomplish our core mission of protecting the environment and still meet acceptable permit review timeframes,” Abruzzo said.

In addition to disposing of all possible permits in the queue, DEP continued to ensure that all new permit applications met their guaranteed and target timeframes.

In response to Corbett’s Executive Order 2012-11, signed on July 24, 2012, DEP developed the Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee policy and the Permit Coordination policy.

Permit Decision Guarantee established guaranteed target timeframes in which DEP will make a decision on 278 types of permits and authorizations, provided the application is complete and technically adequate in the first submission. To date, DEP staff members are meeting these timeframes 96 percent of the time.

Since the policy was implemented, DEP has increased permit review efficiency by 44 percent in the Mining program; 31 percent in the Water programs; 18 percent in the Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation programs; and 4 percent in the Oil and Gas program.

The third quarterly report provides a cumulative update on the agency’s progress since the policies took effect on Nov. 14, 2012. DEP will announce a subsequent review of the permitting policies in the fourth, and final, quarter.

For more information or to view the quarterly report, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Permit Decision Guarantee” button on the homepage.

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