Last Wednesday, the PA Chamber hosted its DEP Winter Quarterly meeting, convening to hear policy updates from Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell and Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille.
Secretary McDonnell outlined the agency’s plans to implement the federal bipartisan infrastructure funding legislation, including PFAS remediation, plugging orphaned oil and gas wells, remediating abandoned mine lands and deploying electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The agency intends to work with the legislature to fund additional Chesapeake Bay programs through federal stimulus dollars this year to meet its remaining obligations to improve water quality in the watershed.
The Secretary also noted that Kurt Klapkowski has been named acting deputy secretary for oil and gas management.
Chairman Dutrieuille discussed her role, along with Chairman Jason Stanek of the Maryland Public Service Commission, on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s electric transmission siting task force, which is working to resolve disputes over the cost of siting new electric transmission lines. She also provided an overview of electric and gas markets, an update on retail shopping, and the Commission’s efforts to streamline telecommunications service regulations and modernize infrastructure throughout gas, water, and electric systems.
Maria Schumack with DEP’s NPDES Permitting Division presented updates on proposed revisions to PAG-03, the industrial stormwater general permit. The PA Chamber submitted comments, expressing support for some provisions and requesting flexibility and clarity on others. Schumack also noted that the EPA filed objections at the close of the comment period regarding some benchmark values and the need to reduce discharges and runoff to address Chesapeake Bay issues. He indicated the general permit might need to go back out for comment later this year to address EPA’s concerns.
Dustin Shull from DEP’s Water Quality Assessment Division presented the agency’s draft Integrated Waters report, which qualitatively assesses the health of the state’s waterways and lakes. It is out for comment through March 1.
The PA Chamber thanks Presenting Sponsor GZA GeoEnvironmental and Gold Sponsor Eckert Seamans.