Tuesday, November 14, 2023

New PAyback Permit Fee Refund Program At DEP Covers Permits, Authorizations Submitted After Nov. 1

On November 14, Ramez Ziadeh, P.E., Acting DEP Executive Deputy Secretary, briefed DEP’s
Citizens Advisory Council on the Shapiro Administration’s PAyback Program to return application fees if agencies don’t make decisions on permits within specified deadlines.

Ziadeh said to prepare for the program DEP reviewed over 750 different permits and authorizations processed by the agency, how long it currently takes to process them from complete applications and incomplete applications and then came up with recommended review timeframes.

He pointed out DEP has operated under a similar Permit Decision Guarantee Program that refunds fees for applications not completed on time [since 1995].

“Largely, they [deadlines] are consistent with the Permit Decision Guarantee timeframes is what we found, for the most part,” said Ziadeh.  “Some of the simpler authorizations we recommended shorter timeframes for.”

He noted the new refund program applies to applications submitted after November 1.  Applications submitted before that date are not eligible for PAyback.

Ziadeh said DEP will still operate its existing Permit Decision Guarantee Program in parallel with the new program.

“So the whole intent here is to improve predictability of any expectations overall, [and improve the customer experience],” said Ziadeh.  “We want to receive complete applications upfront so we can get through those reviews efficiently and meet those timeframes. 

“But at the same time, if those applications are deemed incomplete, there's a timeframe expectation that is being put in place by this program where the PAyback clock would reset at that point, and we would work to wrap up that review within that time frame that is set by the clock at that point,” Ziadeh explained.

He also said the new PAyback Program website offers applicants a tool to request an application fee refund.  If an application is eligible-- passed the decision deadline-- the site will guide an applicant through the refund process.

The Governor’s Office has established a dedicated email account for each agency to get more information about the PAyback Program as it applies to that agency.  

For DEP that email is: RA-EPPAYback_DEP@pa.gov

Visit the PAyback Program website and DEP’s Permit Decision Guarantee Program webpage for more information.

For more information on the CAC, visit the DEP Citizens Advisory Council webpage.  Questions should be directed to: Ian Irvin, Executive Director, by sending email to iirvin@pa.gov or call 717-787-8771.

[Posted: November 14, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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