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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 12-1499


[42 Pa.B. 5148]
[Saturday, August 11, 2012]


[ 4 PA. CODE CHS. 7 AND 7a ]


Permit Decision Guarantee for the Department of Environ- mental Protection

July 24, 2012

Whereas, it is the Commonwealth's constitutional responsibility to conserve and maintain Pennsylvania's public natural resources for generations yet to come; and

Whereas, the Commonwealth fulfills this mission in part through the granting of permits and other approvals (''permits'') by the Department of Environmental Protection (the ''Department'') for specific regulated activities; and

Whereas, the Department's permitting function places significant responsibilities and obligations on the regulated community-individuals, small businesses, local governments and industry alike; and

Whereas, delays in making permitting decisions often have significant impacts on the individual, government and business planning processes and do not enhance the ability of the Department to protect the Commonwealth's natural resources; and

Whereas, both the Commonwealth and its diverse population have a vital interest in timely answers within reasonable time frames, but not at the expense of public comment and good environmental decisions; and

Whereas, permit applicants have the responsibility to submit applications that are complete and meet all requirements and include all information necessary for the agency to make a decision; and

Whereas, Executive Order 1995-5 Money-Back Guarantee Permit Review Program for the Department of Environmental Protection issued by Governor Thomas J. Ridge on August 23, 1995, established definitive processing times for permit applications under review by the Department; and

Whereas, the Department has identified further improvements to its permitting processes that can build on the successes of Executive Order 1995-5, Money-Back Guarantee Permit Review Program for the Department of Environmental Protection.

Now, Therefore, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other laws, do hereby establish the Permit Decision Guarantee for the Department of Environmental Protection, as hereinafter set forth.



Fiscal Note: 2012-11. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A




Subchapter RR. (Reserved)


7.651—7.659.  (Reserved).




7a.91.Types of permits covered.
7a.92.Applicant responsibilities.
7a.93.Department of Environmental Protection responsibilities.
7a.94.Coordinated permits.
7a.95.Staff evaluation.
7a.96.Information technology tools.
7a.97.Effective date.
7a.98.Termination date.

§ 7a.91. Types of permits covered.

 This subchapter authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) to establish by policy, using an open and participatory process, the elements of the Permit Decision Guarantee Program and the specific permits covered by the permit decision guarantee. Permits may include those with the most direct impacts on protection of public health, safety and the environment, as well as economic development. The Department will periodically revise and republish the policy as needed. Notice of these actions will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

§ 7a.92. Applicant responsibilities.

 The permit applicant is responsible for submitting an application that contains the information needed by the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) to make a decision and meets applicable environmental statutory and regulatory requirements. The applicant is encouraged to schedule a preapplication conference with the Department as soon as practicable to discuss the permitting needs for the total project.

§ 7a.93. Department of Environmental Protection responsibilities.

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) will establish clear guidance that describes permit application requirements. The permit decision guarantee policy (policy) developed by the Department for implementation of this subchapter must include a predictable processing time for each permit application covered by the permit decision guarantee. The policy must establish that the Department will strive to process environmentally-protective applications as expeditiously as possible but no longer than the established processing times. The policy must indicate that only applications that are complete and technically adequate are eligible for the permit decision guarantee and that incomplete or severely deficient applications will be returned to the applicant. The processing time is the total number of business days beginning with the receipt of an application and ending with the final action by the Department.

§ 7a.94. Coordinated permits.

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) will coordinate the review of applications for projects with multiple permits. The Department will develop and update, as needed, a permit coordination policy that is consistent with the permit decision guarantee.

§ 7a.95. Staff evaluation.

 The Department of Environmental Protection will establish performance standards for staff engaged in permit reviews and consider compliance with the review deadlines a factor in job performance evaluations.

§ 7a.96. Information technology tools.

 The Department of Environmental Protection will develop, implement and improve available information tools to include an automated system, when possible, for notifications, permit applications, form letters regarding application completeness and technical deficiency, and general permit registration notifications.

§ 7a.97. Effective date.

 This subchapter takes effect July 24, 2012. Applications received by the Department of Environmental Protection on or after July 24, 2012, are included in the Permit Decision Guarantee Program.

§ 7a.98. Termination date.

 This subchapter remains in effect until amended or rescinded by the Governor.

§ 7a.99. Rescission.

 Executive Order 1995-5 is rescinded.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 12-1499. Filed for public inspection August 10, 2012, 9:00 a.m.]

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