Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (PA EHB)

In an Opinion and Order dated March 1, 2017, Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Judge Richard Mather questioned whether PADEP can allow a site developer to bring regulated fill material to a site for construction purposes for a project lasting over one year.

The case involved a township appealing PADEP’s decision to allow Coplay Aggregates to use regulated fill as construction material for a construction project in Whitehall Township.  In ruling against a motion for partial summary judgment, Judge Mather pointed to language in the PADEP’s relevant guidance document and the General Information Form for GP-096 which states that PADEP will not approve an application where fill placement extends beyond one year or construction is not proposed to start within the one-year time period.  Apparently, in response, PADEP said that the language in its own form was “in error” and that the one year limitation on fill placement is not really applicable.

Those of us who work on construction projects and use GP-096 would agree with PADEP that you can and should be able to use that GP to bring regulated fill to a site for the entire duration of the construction project, even if it lasts over one year.  Given Judge Mather’s questioning of that in the Whitehall case, it probably makes sense for PADEP to revise its form and provide clarification for site developers.  Otherwise, new projects using GP-096 may run into this same issue if those approvals are appealed.  If you have any questions, please contact Joel Bolstein at 215-918-3555.