Susquehanna River Basin Commission Executive Director Paul Swartz Wednesday asked the SRBC commissioners to consider extending the public comment period to November 1 for recently proposed regulatory revisions.
The current comment period on the proposed revisions, most of which relate to the approval of natural gas projects, expired on August 23.
In a written statement to the commissioners, Swartz cited the following reasons for the extension request. “This recommendation to extend the public comment period and delay action on the proposed rulemaking is based on the level of public interest indicated in the comments received by the commission on the proposed rulemaking and the commission's desire to provide further information to the public on the nature of the proposed changes.”
The full commission will decide on the recommended extension at SRBC’s next quarterly public meeting on September 15 in Milford, N.Y. The meeting notice is available on SRBC’s website.
“I strongly support the extension of the public comment period,” said Ms. Kelly Heffner, SRBC Chair and Deputy Secretary for Water Management, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. “Pennsylvanians have expressed their desire to the department for the public comment period to be extended. I will vote for that extension and ask the same of my fellow commissioners when we convene.”
Heffner said, “In addition to affording the public more time to review and comment on the proposed regulations, the extension also would give SRBC the opportunity to reach out to the public once again to explain the intent of the changes. It is clear from the comments received to date that certain provisions have been largely misunderstood. We believe that further explanation and clarification might allay some of the concerns raised.”
The proposed regulatory changes, as published in the July 13, 2011 Federal Register, and a summary are available on SRBC’s website.