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Permit Reform Initiative

On January 26, 2018, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the administration's plan to reduce permit backlogs, modernize permitting processes, and better utilize technology to improve both oversight and efficiency. The action is a result of a yearlong effort to identify and implement strategies that will help DEP meet the goals of the Permit Decision Guarantee, while continuing to issue strong permits with strict environmental protections.


Permits, Licensing & Certifications

Welcome to the Permits, Licensing and Certifications Center. On this page is information on the pre-application information tool, the permit review process and permit decision guarantee, information on permit and authorization packages, and instructions on how to find and track permit applications.

Permit Application Consultation Tool (PACT)

As part of its continuing effort to create a more efficient permit application procedure, DEP has developed an online Permit Application Consultation Tool. It's designed to quickly and easily assist potential applicants in determining which environmental permits, authorizations or notifications would be needed for specific projects. Based on the user's responses to a series of simple questions, PACT provides information on permits and other information an applicant should consider. This information will serve as the foundation for a pre-application conference where both the applicant and the department can discuss the applicable requirements, and plan for a thorough and efficient review process.

To use the tool or learn more, click here.

Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee

Executive Order 2012-11 was signed into law on July 24, 2012, charging DEP with developing and implementing a policy that results in more timely permitting decisions, provides clear expectations for applicants to improve the quality of permit applications, establishes performance measures for DEP's permit review staff, and implements electronic permitting tools to enhance internal operations.

In response, DEP issued the "Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee Policy" and the "Permit Coordination Policy." To learn more, click here.

Permit/Authorization Packages

Information on DEP permit/authorization packages can be found through DEP's Online Library (eLibrary) in the following manner: those that are department-wide; those that are program specific; and those certifications that are program specific.

The Department-Wide Permit/Authorization Packages section of eLibrary contains forms and information (e.g., General Information Form, contacts, maps, policies, etc.) that are used by multiple programs throughout DEP. Also found within this section is information on the DEP's Land Use Policy as well as Act 46.

The department's land use policy, which was revised on August 19, 2009, lists the applications affected by the policy, outlines the requirements for applicants and lays out DEP's review process for these applications. To learn more, click here.

The Program-Specific Permit/Authorization Packages section of eLibrary contains forms and information that are specific to a DEP program (e.g., Air Quality, Mining, Water Management, etc.). This includes information related to individual permits, general permits, licensing, and the application forms and instructions needed to apply for that permit/authorization.

At this time, information on those certifications that are program specific can be found on the programs webpage. For example, information regarding Certification of Water and Wastewater Operators can be found by clicking here.

Submission and Tracking of Permits

To find more information on permits received or to track the progress of a specific permit that information can be found through Pennsylvania's Environment Facility Application Compliance Tracking System (eFACTS). To learn more, click here.

Additionally, DEP's Electronic Notification System (eNOTICE) allows users to receive specific updates on selected items. Items that can be selected include: permit applications, draft technical documents, regulations and Land Recycling Act 2 Notices. To learn more, click here.

Coordination with PHMC

Pennsylvania’s History Code requires all Commonwealth agencies to cooperate with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in the preservation of historic resources in the Commonwealth. DEP has committed to this cooperation through coordination with PHMC as outlined in its policy titled Implementation of the Pennsylvania State History Code: Policy and Procedures for Applicants for DEP Permits and Plan Approvals. A permit applicant who seeks PHMC review will receive an official response from PHMC. When permit applications are received by DEP, and DEP reviews the application for administrative completeness, DEP will verify that the applicant has contacted PHMC and received an official response. DEP’s current policy clarifies the types of permits that are subject to this requirement.

To contact PHMC or find more information about the PHMC review process, please visit the online PA-SHARE portal, which includes online mapping tools and training videos. Early coordination with PHMC is strongly encouraged. PHMC review is limited to certain timeframes established by the History Code and cannot delay permit issuance by DEP beyond those timelines.

The PA-SHARE portal has replaced all previous forms used by PHMC, including the Cultural Resource Notice Form and the SHPO Project Review Form.