The state Department of Environmental Protection has finalized its reformed policies for permit reviews, the agency said this morning.
The new policies will be published in the Saturday’s Pennsylvania bulletin. However, because the DEP has been occupied with responding to Hurricane Sandy, the policies will not take effect until Nov. 14.
In July, Gov. Tom Corbett issued an executive order requiring DEP to streamline its permitting process. A DEP review discovered that a major reason for delays was the large number of permit applications that lack required information.
Under the new system, DEP may deny applications that it must return twice to submitters due to incompleteness. The process encourages applicants to confer with DEP staff before submissions to ensure they understand the process and its requirements.
“Every complete and technically adequate application we receive will be reviewed thoroughly,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said in a statement.
For permits submitted correctly, the state will offer a “permit decision guarantee,” promising a ruling within a set time frame. The time frame varies, depending on the type of permit sought.
DEP said it plans to monitor the new policy over the next year and tweak it as needed. It is implementing paperless electronic notification and other measures along with the new policies and is planning webinars and other efforts to educate applicants about the changes.
“This is not about rushing permits through,” Krancer said. “It is about efficiently using our time and our applicants’ time and resources, and it is about predictable time frames.”
The policy covers 278 types of permits and authorizations, DEP said.