Friday, October 23, 2020

DEP Increases Permitting Efficiency, Maintains Environmental Protection Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

On October 23, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it continues its efforts to maintain environmental protections and even increased permitting efficiency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March, DEP staff have taken final action on nearly 20,000 permit applications.

DEP used innovative cloud-based tools and Gov. Tom Wolf’s ongoing e-Permitting initiative to improve efficiency while protecting the environment.

“Thanks to the tireless work of staff, DEP is processing 94 percent of applications within the Permit Decision Guarantee timeframe,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It is a testament to the dedication of DEP staff that they are demonstrating high performance standards despite the tumult caused by the pandemic.”

Since telework began in March 2020, DEP has processed 19,971 permit applications and authorizations. For applications covered by the PDG, DEP processed 4,975 applications, with 4,663 (94 percent) within the Permit Decision Guarantee timeframe.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, DEP staff have ensured that permit applications are thoroughly reviewed,” said McDonnell. “Through new technology solutions like the OnBase permit application submissions, we are improving the efficiency of our reviews while still ensuring compliance with environmental laws and regulations.”

DEP launched the OnBase permit submission tool in June 2020 to better help businesses and streamline permit review. Since the tool was launched, there have been more than 2,000 applications submitted. 

Throughout the Wolf administration, DEP has worked to increase availability of online permit application tools, including common permits like Chp. 105 wetland and waterway encroachment permits.

Guidance for the OnBase permit application tool can be found here.

Instructions for applicants to submit permit fees can be found here.

Visit DEP’s Alert webpage for more information and updates.

Related Articles:

-- DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 946 More Permits, 1,572 More Inspections Since Last Week 

-- DEP Posted 64 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In Oct. 24 PA Bulletin

[Posted: October 23, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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