This past week, the PA Chamber filed comments strongly supporting a proposal from the Department of Environmental Protection that resolves a regulatory snafu that would have significantly delayed new infrastructure, construction and remediation projects across the state. The Chamber also filed comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission supporting the finalization of a key clearance for Williams’ proposed Regional Energy Access Project.
DEP in recent years amended the soil and groundwater standards that developers must meet in order to secure relief of liability under the state’s Act 2 Land Recycling Act, which provides a pathway to encourage remediation of brownfields sites across the state and has been a national model for industrial reuse. The standards are also used by reference for the purpose of determining whether soils and other materials are considered a regulated waste. However, the updates were finalized with revisions to the standard for vanadium that was below background for much of the state – with the result being significant delay for new road, bridge, infrastructure, utility and other economic development projects. After prolonged engagement with the Department by the Chamber and other stakeholders, the agency published an interim fix (through an interim final technical guidance) while a formal revision to the regulatory standards is completed this year. As the Chamber notes in its comments last week, “This approach will facilitate the development of much-needed infrastructure projects across the state as the Commonwealth deploys state and federal funds.”
With respect to the Regional Energy Access Project, the PA Chamber continued its support for infrastructure build-out as a means to provide expanded opportunity for the state, continued progress on emissions, and bolstered national energy security. The Chamber’s comment letter highlighted that “will be constructed and operated in such a way as to accommodate the use and delivery of alternative fuels, including sustainably produced hydrogen and renewable natural gas” and that the use of the delivered gas to households and industrial and power generation facilities will result in continued progress towards attainment of federal air quality standards in the region. The project also promises to provide thousands of jobs in the state and hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s GDP. Pending regulatory approvals, the project is expected to be completed in 2024.