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New DEP Fee Schedule Expected to Put Air Quality Program on ‘Sound Financial Footing’

We’ve got some good news to report: The revised fee schedule for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Program officially went into effect this past weekend – a move that will allow it to adequately administer and enforce air pollution laws in the 65 of the state’s 67 counties (excluding Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties) for which it is responsible.  

That’s because the Air Quality Program is funded by the fees that it charges rather than by general tax revenues.

“The new proposed fee schedule should put the Air Quality Program on sound financial footing for at least the next five years,” GASP senior attorney John Baillie said. “The new schedule will also impose fees for the first time on a number of the determinations DEP routinely makes for facilities, a welcome revision that will make the companies that use the most of the department’s resources pay a larger share of the cost of providing them.” 

GASP previously blogged and submitted formal comments regarding the latest revised fee schedule, which faced some opposition from elements of the General Assembly.

“That opposition seems to have evaporated during the fall and winter,” Baillie explained. 

 For those interested, the new fee schedule is available here.  

How will this impact fees collected by Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Program? 

“ACHD has already revised the structure of the fee schedule for the Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Bureau to match the structure of DEP’s proposed revisions,” Baillie explained.  

GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini added:

“We expect that ACHD will finalize its new fee schedule in the near future, and that the fees charged to facilities in Allegheny County will be similar, if not the same as, DEP’s new fees.”

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