Metcalfe blasts DEP over Petition

CRANBERRY TWP — A local representative admonished the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday for failing to notify the Environmental Quality Board of its decision to accept a rule-making petition from the Clean Air Council for consideration.

In a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-12th, blasted the agency for failing to notify the Environmental Quality Board within 30 days since the department ruled that a petition for rule-making filed by the Clean Air Council meets established criteria as set forth in the law.

The petition, filed by CAC along with numerous other organizations and individuals, requests that the DEP enact a cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse gas emission and fossil fuel use through the introduction of economic incentives.

The CAC filed Nov. 27, and by Dec. 26, the DEP sent back an acceptance letter saying that the petition met the required guidelines.

At this point, the DEP was obligated to notify the Environmental Quality Board within 30 days of issuing that acceptance, but failed to do so.

Only after inquiries were sent to the department about the petition did the DEP send an email, notifying the board of its decision, Metcalfe said in the letter.

“I find this failure concerning, especially when EQB Members have been asking for updates on the CAC Petition since the department received it and have continuously requested updates on the CAC Petition as recently as last week,” the letter read. “What is even more alarming is that the department assured the EQB Members that the members would be notified when the department completed its determination. This lack in transparency is disrespectful to all the EQB Members as well as the public.”

Once a petition is accepted by the DEP, it goes to the EQB members to vote on whether to accept it.

“It is my hope that this violation was not the result of an intentional decision to catch the EQB Members off-guard in the hopes we would be unprepared,” the letter said. “Regardless, I believe that as a result of this failure, the department should notify the petitioner that as a result of the department's failure to comply with 25 Pa. Code Chapter 23, the department must notify the petitioner that it needs to resubmit the CAC Petition for the department's determination.”

DEP officials could not be reached for comment.

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