On July 24, 2012, Governor Corbett signed Executive Order 2012-11 establishing a Permit Decision Guarantee for the Department of Environmental Protection. A copy of the Order can be found here. The Order acknowledges the importance of prompt agency action on permit applications and states that the Department has identified improvements to the permitting process that can build upon the success of Executive Order 1995-5, Money-Back Guarantee Permit Review Program. Executive Order 1995-5 rescinds the Money-Back Guarantee Permit Review Program, which program Governor Ridge initiated.
The Order encourages pre-application conferences to discuss permitting needs for the whole project and requires the Department to establish clear guidance on permit application requirements, including a processing time for each permit covered by the guarantee from the date of submittal until final action. The Order essentially restates portions of the Money-Back Guarantee in noting that applicants are responsible for submitting complete applications, expressing the goal of coordinating review of applications for projects with multiple permits and requiring performance standards for staff engaged in permit reviews applicable to job performance evaluations.
The efficiency-in-government effort represented by Executive Order 2012-11 is certainly welcome. It is curious that the popular Money-Back Guarantee program is being rescinded before specific permit decision guarantees are in place. The regulated community can only hope that the Department will be expeditious in determining processing times for covered permits.