PA DEP Slowing Down Permits to Construct Well Pads & Pipelines

In 2012, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched an “expedited” review process for erosion and sediment control general permits that it grants when drillers or pipeline companies plan to push dirt around on more than 5 acres at a time. Which means every pipeline built and every shale well pad constructed. The expedited review process shortened the time to get a permit down to as little as 14 days–provided the paperwork was filled out correctly. The DEP conducted an internal review and found that 59% of the time they didn’t get the paperwork in a form they wanted, so they disqualified those applications. Now the DEP is revising its rules for expedited review, meaning they’re pretty much doing away with it. Welcome back to long delays in getting permits to push dirt around. This action appears to be a response to stinging criticism from the PA legislature that permits, which are supposed to be issued in 14 days, are taking over 100 days–a charge leveled by PA Sen. Camera Bartolotta who is introducing legislation to put a burr under the DEP’s saddle. So the DEP is saying fine, we’ll just change it back to the way it used to be. You can now expect long permit delays from the outset. Your state government at work, serving the people…

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