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The state Department of Environmental Protection announced a new online permit application tool that will help permit applicants submit their permit applications electronically.

The new tool, OnBase-DEP Upload Form, will allow applicants to submit applications for all DEP authorizations.

“Online permit applications will allow for faster processing and more focus on parts of the permit application that relate to the environment and public health,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Paper applications will still be accepted, but applicants are strongly encouraged to use this new electronic permit application submission tool to improve the efficiency of the permit application submission and review processes as DEP employees continue to telework to help control the spread of COVID-19.”

DEP had previously developed several online permit applications in its e-Permitting system under the Wolf administration and has reduced the backlog of permits under review by nearly 90 percent. Payment for application fees is not a part of the tool, and applicants will still need to submit payment under separate cover. Applications for permits that are included in DEP’s e-Permitting system should only be submitted in the e-Permitting system.

“As we begin to recover from the impacts that COVID-19 has had on Pennsylvania, improving the permit application process will help businesses get back on their feet and people back to work,” said McDonnell. “Electronic permitting is an important new tool for applications, and will continue to allow DEP staff still under telework orders to efficiently review applications.”

Benefits of the online tool include:

• Lower costs for DEP and applicants – no paper and mailing envelopes

• Better efficiency for DEP staff; applications can more easily be moved between staff to prevent backlog

• Allows DEP staff to continue to process applications without going into an office, ensuring continued operations through pandemic conditions

“These applications will still be scrutinized for impacts to the environment and public health — but we can cut down on needless back and forth letters between DEP and applicants over missing information or incorrectly submitted applications,” McDonnell said.

More information on the online permitting tool can be found at https://www.dep.pa.gov/DataandTools/Pages/Application-Form-Upload.aspx

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