Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Corbett Tells DEP to Expedite Permit Process

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Governor Corbett, at the Elizabethtown Fair, September, 2011.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has issued an executive order requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to set established timelines for processing permit applications. The DEP is responsible for issuing permits on industrial activity that may impact the environment. The department’s resources have been stretched by the recent shale gas drilling boom. In a press release issued Tuesday, Corbett says he’s responding to complaints about how long DEP takes to issue permits.

“One of the biggest complaints I have received over and over again is the time it takes for businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments to work through the permitting process,” Corbett said. “I promised to correct this, and today we are setting the wheels in motion to deliver on that promise. At the same time, DEP will continue its longstanding mission to protect our environment.”

The executive order also instructs DEP to coordinate the multiple permits often required by large or complicated projects.

Josh McNeil, executive director of the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, says the order could jeopardize environmental protection.

“[Corbett] has already cut $20 million from DEP’s budget and now they’re asking them to do things faster,” says McNeil. “The Department is less than half the size it was a few years ago, that strikes me as egregious.”

The executive order also makes timely permitting process a factor in employee evaluation.

“This is a department put under tremendous pressure to approve permits as quickly as possible and now its going to be a factor of job evaluation,” says McNeil. “The incentive is not to make sure these projects are safe, their incentive is now to make sure these projects get done quickly.”

Corbett’s executive order does not outline specific timelines for permit review, but leaves it up to DEP to make that decision.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000664898805 Mary Mercincavage Rodriguez

    Executive order. He couldn’t even wait until September to get it passed the correct way by our representatives. Here is a man running scared and by passing every regulation he can. He has gassers he needs to repay before he is out of office…Tom keep running..your time is short…can you feel the Sandusky Scandal hot on your heels, or do you feel it biting your a–

  • John Burroughs

    And I thought that Rendell was a disaster for conservation in PA!  Corbett makes Rendell look green.

  • Marlene

    Corbett has been bought and paid for by the natural gas industry. Now he’s in the position of having to pay them back at the cost of our state citizens’ welfare and our environment.

  • ndvox

    Mr Corbett didn’t it ever occur to you that complicated projects involve more stakeholders, require more scrutiny, and therefore more time especially if DEP is to, as you put it, “continue it’s longstanding mission to protect our environment”, So please tell us how you plan to circumvent this longstanding and obviously effective process since you say you have promised to deliver!!  It’s so nice that you have taken the reigns and made commitments to single handedly and effectively eliminate input and democracy from the process to speed things up for this polluting industry…..Here’s an idea, how about trying to get the industry to stop polluting then they wouldn’t need to be slowed down in the permitting process and DEP wouldn’t be in their way….You’re starting to sound like you may be so enamoured with your power that it might be clouding your judgement.

  • http://twitter.com/Fractivista Liz Rosenbaum

    Spending an average of 32 minutes per permit isn’t fast enough?

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.price.98 Al Price

    Ownership of the State of Pennsylvania is what gets you when you contribute a million dollars to the governor’s election campaign.  The return on that is a thousandfold.   

  • Agw24

    I bet those poor kids at Second Mile wished the then Atty Gen. Corbett had the same sense of urgency years ago. One term Tom.

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