|Posted:||December 11, 2020 09:35 AM|
|From:||Senator Camera Bartolotta|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Elevating DEP’s Erosion and Sediment Control Permits|
|In the near future, I intend to reintroduce legislation that will provide increased certainty in the oil and gas permitting process while ensuring strong and consistent standards that protect our environment and natural resources. This legislation was Senate Bill 1040 of last session.
One of the most critical permits necessary for the development of key infrastructure to move Pennsylvania natural gas to market is the erosion and sediment (E&S) control permit. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) created this permit without express statutory authority and requires it before commencement of any earthmoving activity greater than five acres for projects that are not already covered under a comparable federal permit. These permits ensure that a site – whether well pad, compressor or processing facilities or gathering pipelines – is designed, engineered and constructed in a manner that protects the surrounding area from stormwater runoff.
Under DEP’s own established timelines, review of an E&S control permit should take less than 45 business days. DEP also has established an ‘expedited’ E&S control permit process, whereby a permit application is prepared, signed and sealed by a licensed professional (e.g. engineer, geologist) who has undergone formal DEP training. An expedited permit is to be reviewed and issued in 14 business days.
Unfortunately, DEP is not fulfilling its obligation of timely and efficient review of permit applications with great disparities existing among regional offices. In too many cases, permits that are to be reviewed in 14 days are taking in excess of 100 days. These delays and inconsistencies slow development of critical infrastructure projects and discourage our efforts to attract capital investment to Pennsylvania.
To remedy this problem, my legislation would: