Tuesday, August 20, 2019

DEP Terminates Some Permit Review, Inspection Authority Delegated To Beaver Conservation District

On August 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it is terminating the delegated permitting and inspection authority of the Beaver County Conservation District for the erosion and sediment control (E&S) program. 
This decision follows an evaluation of the BCCD program conducted by DEP.
Delegation is an optional process that allows DEP to authorize conservation districts to perform certain permit review and inspection duties. The delegation agreement had authorized BCCD to review permit applications, take action on those applications and conduct field inspections for permits under 25 PA Code Chapter 102.  
As a result of the termination, the DEP’s Field Operations team will assume those duties in Beaver County, including the appropriate distribution of the anticipated workload.
“Protecting water resources in Pennsylvania is paramount to the work that DEP is responsible for, and to work that we delegate to partners like Conservation Districts,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We need to ensure that our delegated authority is being administered in a responsible way that meets our legal obligations and the responsibilities we have to the people of Pennsylvania.
“DEP staff identified significant and consistent problems with BCCD’s recordkeeping, permit review, and inspections,” said McDonnell.
The decision to terminate the delegation is based in part on program evaluation, observations of BCCD implementation practices, and program administration.
An evaluation conducted by DEP staff identified multiple deficiencies in BCCD’s reviews of permit applications and inspections of permitted projects, such as the issuance of permits without evidence of full technical review. 
In addition, the evaluation found that staff had insufficient training, and that BCCD staff were not conducting inspections of permitted projects as they are required to.
Also Reviewing Chapter 105 Permitting
DEP will soon be conducting a review of BCCD’s delegated Waterways and Wetlands program (25 PA Code Chapter 105) as well.
In a separate letter to BCCD, DEP will outline the steps necessary for DEP to consider entering into a new delegation agreement with BCCD. 
DEP is designing an updated evaluation program for all delegated Conservation District programs and will work with the State Conservation Commission to improve the evaluation process. More information on this process will be made available before the end of the year.
Click Here for a copy of DEP’s letter to the Beaver Conservation District.  Click Here to read a copy of the audit report.
Litvak: Beaver County Conservation District Did Poor Job Overseeing Major Pipeline Projects

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