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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2017 12:30 PM
From: Representative Stephen Bloom
To: All House members
Subject: Fairness in Environmental Protection Permitting

Legislators across our commonwealth are hearing from environmentally responsible individuals and businesses, small and large, who are being frustrated by a chronic lack of accountability and transparency in the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) permitting processes. Further, there are persistent reports of arbitrary delays, disparities and inconsistencies in these processes. The unfair and unnecessary obstacles being imposed on responsible applicants are costing jobs, wreaking havoc with fragile project finances and capital investment, and ultimately depriving the commonwealth of opportunities for economic growth and the accompanying tax revenue, all with no additional beneficial impact on the protection of environmental safety and quality.

Therefore, in the near future I will be introducing legislation to restore fairness to the environmental protection permitting process.

Specifically, my legislation will require that in any instance where DEP formally communicates to a project applicant that an application is lacking information needed to make a decision (such as granting a permit or authorization) or is deficient with respect to complying with relevant statutory or regulatory criteria, DEP shall clearly and concisely state in writing what information or data is lacking and/or what corrections must be made to the application.

In any such instance, DEP shall be further required to:
  1. cite precisely which section(s) of a statute or regulation require a correction of or additional information within the application;
  2. state precisely why the application is not in conformance with the cited regulation or statute; and
  3. enumerate precisely what additional information and/or correction to the application is needed for a permit or authorization.
My legislation will also include reasonable timeframes by which DEP must abide with respect to the aforesaid communications.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1353