New Environmental Permit Policy Presents Significant Changes
On November 3, 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published its new Permit Decision Guarantee for activities subject to environmental permitting. With the Permit Decision Guarantee, which replaces the DEP's Money-Back Guarantee policy, the DEP intends to prioritize high-quality applications for projects with demonstrative positive economic impacts. At the same time, to combat what DEP Secretary Michael Krancer described as a widespread problem of the DEP fixing subpar permit applications during the review process, the new policy indicates that the DEP will have less tolerance for initial applications that fail to meet what the DEP believes are established legal and technical standards. As will be discussed in greater detail below, by placing greater emphasis on the initial application, the Permit Decision Guarantee may alter the way businesses approach the environmental permitting process and position applications going forward.