Public participation is an important part of DEP’s regulatory and oversight responsibilities. There are many ways that the public can have a role in DEP’s decision-making processes.
Pennsylvania residents can voice their opinions proposed regulations, some types of permits, and other issues. The most common way to do this is during public comment periods, when DEP is accepting feedback on a regulation or permit application. Written comments or comments accepted at public hearings are the most common forms of feedback. DEP treats all comments received equally.
The regulatory process can be a confusing one, and there are many steps before a regulation is implemented by DEP. See DEP’s guide to the Environmental Regulatory Process in Pennsylvania:
There are other ways to be informed and participate in the decision-making process at DEP.
The Environmental Quality Board is a 20-member independent board that adopts all of the Department of Environmental Protection's regulations and considers petitions from residents to change regulations.
The Citizen’s Advisory Council is made up of 18 volunteer members and the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary to review and provide recommendations for environmental laws and regulations.
DEP Advisory Committees consist of experts in relevant fields to provide insight and policy recommendations to DEP. These committees review and provide feedback on proposed regulations.
The Office of Environmental Justice was established as a point of contact for Pennsylvania residents in low income areas and areas with a higher number of minorities. Its primary goal is to increase communities' environmental awareness and involvement in the DEP permitting process.
To see current, upcoming, and recently closed statewide comment periods, or to submit comments on open comment periods, please visit DEP’s eComment system.
Twice each year, DEP publishes an agenda of regulations under development or consideration – see the Regulatory Agenda.