The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) is developing a new Erosion and Sedimentation (“E&S”) general permit for small, low impact projects of five acres or less. Property owners now generally must obtain individual permits for these types of projects. If implemented, the new general permit could significantly expedite the processing of these E&S permits. This is because property owners would have less paperwork and DEP permit reviewers’ workload would be drastically reduced. DEP estimates that 40%-50% of the E&S permit applications it receives are for projects that would be covered by the new general permits. The intent of the new general permit is to allow DEP to focus its resources on larger sites that have more potential to impact the environment. Municipalities and farmers would significantly benefit from the use of the anticipated new general permit.
There is not currently a timetable for the release of the new general permit. Any proposed permit will be subject to public comment. Stock and Leader’s Environment, Energy, and Environmental Mediation Group will be monitoring developments related to the proposed general permit and will be able to assist clients to assess potential impacts on their projects.