The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is scaling back its plan to increase environmental permit fees for some livestock farms.
The change is a win for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which pushed back against the original proposal calling for hiking fees by thousands of dollars. DEP’s revised plan calls for much lower fees, resulting in significant savings to farmers over the initial plan.
The proposal affects farms that are considered concentrated animal feeding operations—or CAFOs—that operate under individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Last year, PFB successfully pushed DEP to scale back a similar plan to increase fees for CAFOs operating under Pennsylvania’s general NPDES permit. The newly revised plan brings the fee structure for CAFOs with individual permits more in line with the fees for CAFOs operating under the general permit.
While CAFO operators with individual permits will still see some new and/or increased fees with the new proposal, the hikes are significantly less than the original plan. Over a the five-year permit term, the revised plan reduces new and existing fees by 72 percent and 67 percent, respectively, compared to the original. Changes in the revised plan include:
- Setting the application fee for new permits at $500, a $1,000 cut from the current fee and $2,500 less than what had been proposed.
- Eliminating a proposed $750 permit renewal fee.
- Setting the application fee for major amendments to the permit at $500, a $250 cut from the current fee and $1,000 less than what was proposed.
- Reducing a new fee for permit transfers to $200, a $300 decrease from the original plan.
- Reducing a new annual permit fee to $500, a $1,000 decrease from the original plan.
The plan must be approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committees before being finalized.