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COVID-19 Relief from PADEP Regulations or Permit Conditions

In accordance with Governor Wolf’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency of March 6, 2020 and the Governor’s powers pursuant to the Emergency Management Code, 35 Pa.C.S. §7301, the Governor has authority to suspend regulatory obligations and other legal obligations within his jurisdiction where strict compliance will prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the COVID-19 emergency.  As a result, PADEP has developed a form ("COVID-19 Emergency Request to Temporarily Suspend Regulatory Requirements and/or Permit Conditions") which facilities can complete to request relief from state environmental/permitting regulatory obligations and federal obligations over which the state has been delegated primary enforcement authority.*  The facility must specifically identify the regulation or obligation for which relief is requested, explain how COVID-19 prevents/hampers compliance, examine compliance alternatives identify the period where relief is requested (as far out as June 30, 2020), and identify any increased pollution or public health risks and/or pollution and public health benefits that would result from the requested relief.

To request a temporary suspension of regulatory requirements and/or permit conditions, fill out this form and submit it to RA-EPCOVID19SuspReq@pa.gov.  Note that you may also be able to include additional arguments for relief if there is specific force majeure language listed in the relevant regulations, permits or Consent Orders & Agreements under which you are operating.  We anticipate the Department will be receiving a large number of requests with varying merit.  For this reason, it is important to specify exactly what risks and complications would result from compliance in the middle of the crisis and to highlight any environmental, health and safety benefits arising from the waiver or delay of the obligations.  Facilities should also show how any potential environmental harm is being mitigated or avoided.

*If you are requesting suspension of a Federal requirement, under only Federal authority, please contact US EPA Region III and refer to the US EPA March 26, 2020 Memorandum (COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program) referenced in an earlier Client Alert.