Virtual Public Hearings
DEP hosts a number of public meetings and hearings throughout the year. These different types of events are often required by various regulations or can be requested by the public:
- Public Hearings: Public hearings are formal sessions designed to receive testimony from the public on a specific action such as a proposed permit decision. Hearings do not offer two-way communication; transcribed comments are considered by DEP after the hearing and responded to at a later time in a Comment and Response document. While some hearings may be required by regulations, others may be held at DEP's discretion.
- Public Meetings: These are informal sessions designed to answer questions about a permit application or potential action by DEP. These sessions allow for two-way conversation and may include a brief presentation by the applicant. Due to staff and technology limitations, public meetings continue to be suspended at this time.
Typically, these events would be held in person at an accessible community location near the proposed project; however, in accordance with the Governor’s guidance on COVID-19, these in-person events have been suspended until further notice.
In an effort to move forward with our regulatory responsibilities, DEP will hold virtual public hearings and IPCs as needed. All events will be hosted on WebEx unless otherwise announced and will include a telephone-only option that does not require Internet access. While nothing replaces gathering in-person, these virtual events will still allow those who wish to present comments verbally to do so by phone or computer. DEP also accepts written comments regarding any matters in which public hearings are held, and equal consideration is given to all comments regardless of the manner in which they are received.
Registration for Virtual Public Hearings and IPCS
Registration for virtual public hearings occurs in two steps:
- If you wish to present testimony, you must first contact the person listed in the notice at least 24-hours prior to the hearing to indicate your intention to speak, and then register at the unique link provided below for each hearing.
- If you wish to listen only, you only need to register at the unique link provided below for each hearing.
It is imperative that you follow this two-step process if you wish to present comments. There will be not an option to request to speak during the hearing if you have not already done so.
Ground Rules for Virtual Public Hearings
- All public hearings will be recorded by a stenographer and become part of the official public record relevant to the specific project.
- Due to the nature of these formal proceedings, DEP staff will not be able to address questions about the proposed action during the hearing.
- Organizations are asked to designate one commenter to present on its behalf.
- Time may not be shared or relinquished to others.
- All participants will be muted until it is their time to provide public comments. Commenters will be called upon and unmuted in the order in which they registered to speak.
- Please state your name, city, state, and affiliation, if any, for the record prior to presenting testimony. Please spell any words not generally familiar to assist the stenographer.
- Testimony will be limited to 3-5 minutes for each commenter, which will be noted in the notice for each hearing. Please note that written and spoken testimony are considered equally by DEP.
- Video demonstrations and screen sharing by commenters will not be permitted; only spoken comments will be recorded in the transcript.
- If an individual provides inappropriate or threatening commentary, a warning will be issued. If the behavior continues, the commenter will be disconnected from the WebEx.
- Your mic will be re-muted at the end of your designated time. Should you run out of time, you may submit additional comments in writing.
Upcoming Virtual Public Hearings
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DEP has scheduled a virtual formal public hearing for Wednesday, January 13, 2021 to begin at 6:00 PM. The hearing will end at 9:00 PM or earlier if no additional commenters are present. During this time, DEP will receive comments concerning the permit applications covering Phase 1 only. A separate public hearing will be scheduled for Phase 2 at a future date for portions of the project extending between Northampton and Bucks Counties.
Individuals who wish to observe or present testimony at the formal virtual public hearing must contact Colleen Connolly at 570-826-2035 or email@example.com, a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the hearing to reserve time to present testimony. All comments, whether delivered orally during the virtual hearing or submitted in writing to RA-EPPENNEAST@pa.gov carry equal weight and consideration with DEP. Written comments will be accepted until close of business on January 20, 2021.
Verbal testimony is limited to 3 minutes for each witness. Video demonstrations and screen sharing by witnesses will not be permitted. DEP asks that each organization designate one speaker per group and reminds those presenting that time may not be shared or relinquished to others.
Public Hearing: PennEast Pipeline Permit Phase 1 Application