The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 21 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a new interim final guidance telling applications for large, multi-county projects, like pipelines or highways, how to do environmental assessments required under Chapter 105 Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permits.
The fundamental principle outlined in the new guidance is applicants should consider the environmental impacts, avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures, compliance with antidegradation measures and alternatives for the entire project, even if individual permit applications are submitted for parts of the project.
The new guidance does not apply to Chapter 105 General Permit registrations.
The interim guidance entitled, “Chapter 105 Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permit Comprehensive Environmental Assessment of Proposed Project Impacts- DEP ID: 310-2137-006” is intended to provide guidance to clarify the process for completing the information requirements for a Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permit application, Environmental Assessment Form # 3150-PM-BWEW0017.
Currently, the permit application requirements generally address proposed project impacts to waters of the Commonwealth associated with small scale projects located in a single county and covered by a single permit application.
Large scale projects, however, often cross more than one county and are covered by multiple permit applications necessitating the need for a comprehensive review of all proposed impacts to waters of the Commonwealth from the entire project.
This guidance outlines for the permit applicant the required project wide comprehensive environmental assessment information in the permit application in accordance with the rules and regulations of 25 Pa. Code Chapter 105 (relating to dam safety and waterway management).
Interested persons may submit written comments on this draft technical guidance document by March 21.
Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted. Comments, including comments submitted by e-mail must include the originator's name and address. Commentators are encouraged to review this proposed guidance and submit comments using the Department's online eComment tool or by e-mail to: email@example.com.
Written comments should be submitted to the Technical Guidance Coordinator, Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.
A copy of the interim final guidance is available online.Questions regarding this technical guidance document should be directed to Sidney Freyermuth, Chief, Water Obstruction and Encroachments, Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands at (717) 772-5977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.