PA Senate Ctte Sends “Study Slow DEP” Resolution for Full Vote

You have to understand something about politicians–a lesson we learned long ago when working in Washington, D.C. If a politician floats a plan to “study” something, that really means “we’re not going to do a single thing about it.” Over the past couple of years the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has gotten slower and slower in issuing permits for shale drilling–for simple things, like erosion permits a driller needs to push dirt around to create a well pad. The DEP has a policy of issuing erosion and sedimentation permits 14 days from the date of application. These types of permits are common and necessary when building roads, well pads, etc. As of last summer it was taking the DEP 250 days to issue those permits (see More Pushback on PA Senate Plan to Fix Slow DEP Permit Reviews). The drilling industry has been loudly pushing for a change. The DEP says it has fewer people on staff and that’s the reason for the slowdown. The thing is, the number of requests for permits has gone down too–so that particular argument doesn’t hold a lot of water. PA House Republicans have introduced a number of bills to “fix” the DEP, not least of which is a bill introduced that allows certified third parties to assist the DEP in reviewing permit applications (see Bill Introduced to Fix PA DEP’s Extreme Delays Issuing Permits). The House bill got Gov. Wolf’s attention. Last week he introduced his own plan to fix the DEP–by hiring more people and hiking fees on the drilling industry to pay for it (see PA Gov Wolf Floats Plan to Fix DEP Slow Drilling Permits: Hike Fees). Not to be outdone, the PA Senate now wants to weigh in. Last fall a Democrat Senator from Wilkes-Barre, John Yudichak, floated a “let’s study the problem” resolution (see PA Dem Senator Calls for “Study” to Address DEP Permit Delays). That resolution was just reported out of the Senate Energy Committee (of which Yudichak is the Minority Chair). Yep, both the swamp-dwelling Republicans and Democrats on the committee voted to “study” the DEP slowness problem, meaning they plan to do NOTHING about it…

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)
You do not have permission to view the comments.

Please Login to post a comment