It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ for permitting reform in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) — Like Bill Murray’s Phil Connors character in “Groundhog Day” repeating his day in Punxsutawney, the Senate’s budget hearings with the Department of Environment Protection center on permitting reform year after year after year.

“Ever since I’ve been in the Senate, the delay in permitting and how permits are issued in Pennsylvania has been an issue,” said Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Williamsport, who was first elected in 2008.

Indeed, last year’s hearings had then-DEP Secretary Richard Negrin saying his department carried the responsibility for deficient permits and the slow processing times.

Yaw argued the problem for business growth wasn’t tied to environmental hurdles, but bureaucratic ones.

“Several years ago, there was a company that told me ‘we can deal with any environmental issues,” he said. “‘What we can’t deal with is delay.’ Pennsylvania should be embarrassed about delay.”

Gov. Shapiro has made much of his push for permitting reform across state agencies. However,
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