PA Department Of Environment Protection Issues COVID-19 Guidance

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In response to the COVID-19 emergency, and consistent with Gov. Tom Wolf’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency of March 6, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has developed guidance for those permit holders and operators who have questions about their obligations during this time.

Key Points:

PADEP COVID-19 Emergency Request to Temporarily Suspend Regulatory Requirements and/or Permit Conditions. PADEP has developed a form for regulated entities and permittees to request the temporary suspension of regulatory or permitting requirements, which can be accessed here. The form includes a list of questions to allow an applicant to describe how compliance with a requirement is impacted by COVID-19, including but not limited to the following:

  • How strict compliance with a requirement conflicts with necessary actions to cope with the COVID-19 emergency;
  • Whether certain aspects of an operation must be shut down or cannot function as a result of COVID-19 restrictions;
  • The potential duration an applicant expects to be unable to comply with an obligation;
  • How an applicant will account for reporting obligations during this period;
  • Whether the temporary suspension, if granted, may result in an increase in the risk of additional pollution or less monitoring and reporting of potential pollution incidents; and
  • What public health and/or safety benefits may result from a temporary suspension.

All forms can be emailed directly to: RA-EPCOVID19SuspReq@pa.gov.

Note: any request related to a Federal obligation or requirement must be made directly to U.S. EPA. For more guidance, please click here.

Permit Condition and Regulatory Obligations. PADEP suggests that all permit holders review the terms of each permit for provisions related to the cessation or temporary stoppage of work, as well as any related temporary or permanent stabilization obligations that incur upon ceasing earth disturbance activities regulated under PADEP’s Chapter 102 program.

PADEP Permit Review. PADEP is suspending the timeframes for providing permit decisions, though PADEP staff expects to continue to process received permit applications.

Right to Know Law. PADEP notes that any requests for public records submitted to PADEP on or after March 16, 2020 will be deemed to have been received by PADEP’s open-records officer on the first day that the Rachel Carson State Office Building reopens.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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