PA DEP’s Short-Term Solution to Get More Help – Hire 92 Interns

Everybody has a “fix” for the chronically slow Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP has a policy of issuing erosion and sedimentation permits for shale drilling 14 days from the date of application. At last check, it was taking the agency over 250 days to issue those permits. The Marcellus industry has been pressuring the PA legislature for a fix. As we noted in a companion story today, the PA Senate’s “fix” is to study it (see PA Senate Passes Meaningless Resolution to “Study” DEP Slow Permits). The PA House is more proactive, with a series of 5 bills that would, among other things, enlist the help of independent third parties to take up the slack (see PA House Advances “Fix DEP & Other Agencies” Plan with 5 Bills). Even PA Gov. Tom Wolf got in the act, offering his own solution, which involves hiking fees and hiring more people (see PA Gov Wolf Floats Plan to Fix DEP Slow Drilling Permits: Hike Fees). Perhaps the DEP has found a way to fix itself. The DEP recently posted 92 openings for paid internships. Many of the openings are for “Engineering and Scientific Technical Interns” for which the intern will earn $13.23/hour. While some of the openings are in the coal program, or the water resources program, many of positions (we’d say most, judging by a random check) are in the oil and gas program. But wait, the DEP is on a tight budget, right? They don’t have an extra two nickels to rub together. That’s what we always hear. That’s why fees need to go up, right? Somehow the DEP has been able to find money for an intern program. If 92 interns work for a 3-month period earning $13.23 per hour (40 hour weeks), that’s more than $580,000. Maybe the DEP will pull the money from one of the slush funds Republicans wanted to empty as part of balancing the budget? At any rate, here’s the deets on becoming an intern for the PA DEP…

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