Changes on Tap for Stream and Wetlands Permitting
The year 2021 promises to be eventful for those looking to complete projects in Pennsylvania that may impact streams and wetlands, such as residential and commercial building construction, and linear projects like pipelines and roads. On Dec. 5, 2020, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) published a proposed rulemaking to amend the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) Chapter 105 regulations, which are the commonwealth’s wetland and aquatic resource permitting regulations. The proposed amendments amount to the first substantive revisions to the Chapter 105 regulations in nearly 30 years. In addition, changes to the federal wetland permitting program are scheduled to be implemented in 2021, and the scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction in this area will likely be revisited. This article highlights some of the potentially significant changes associated with these anticipated developments in state and federal aquatic resource permitting programs.