You’ve heard of the fox running the henhouse, right? Usually, that’s an expression. It’s usually not “exactly” the case. But, if PA House Bill 1659 goes through, then the Marcellus industry will be in charge of their own permitting process. The DEP simply will not matter. (At least the DEP used to pretend to care, but now they don’t even do that.)
HB1659 allows the outsourcing of permit review to the industry itself– the DEP will be out of the picture.
The vote is this week. Please, call your local elected official today and tell them that you are firmly against HB 1659. (Click here for your lawmaker’s contact info.) When they tell you that this bill is to ensure the “effective and thorough permit review process,” then laugh. The claim that PA has “strict environmental regulation” used to be somewhat laughable. Now, thanks to House Bill 1659, regulation is an outright joke.
UPDATE: Just after I posted my blog, this article came out from the Associated Press. It makes me wonder: If the DEP already only spends an average of 35 minutes on each permit, then why on Earth do we need to accelerate that process? They’ve only ever rejected less than 1% of permits, so why do they even bother pretending? Like I said, “regulation” is an outright joke.
The text below is from fracktoids.blogspot.com
This week, the House is expected to vote on legislation that would severely limit (or possibly eliminate) the role of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adequately review applications for pollution and other permits. House Bill 1659 sets very short deadlines for DEP to review permits, then declares that permits are approved if DEP can’t meet any of the deadlines.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly has been cutting DEP’s budget, hindering its ability to timely review permits. House Bill also requires DEP to develop a plan within 90 days to outsource permit reviews to non-DEP employees.
This will encourgage the Gas Industry to go Permit Review Shopping to find the “reviewer” with the fastest and cheapest rubber stamp. DEP opposes HB 1659, but Secretary Michael Krancer has been uncharacteristically timid in sharing his opinion of the bill with legislators.
HB-1659 will give the Natural Gas Industry yet another gift. No other industry in Pennsylvania enjoys such special considerations.
HB-1659 will turn the permitting process into a wink and a nod.
HB-1959 renders the entire notion of permits completely useless and fit only for use as toilet paper.
With Act 13 the Natural Gas Industry is free to frack where ever it wants and NOW the Natural Gas Industry wants to frack even faster with an EZ-Frack permitting process?
Of the 7,019 applications that DEP has processed since 2005, only 31 have been rejected – less than one-half of one percent. The Average time spent on reviewing a permit is 35 minutes. Aren’t we rubberstamping permits fast enough already?
HB-1659 will allow the Natural Gas Industry to go “reviewer shopping” and find the the cheapest and fastest rubberstamper in the state.
Lobbyists spent $1,300,000 just on the “impact fee bill”. This is approximately 1/3 of the amount spent for the entire previous year. How much are they paying for HB-1659? It seems in the best interest of public health and safety and the environment that this bill does not proceed to the senate. Please email your Representative and ask them to vote NO.