Monday, November 19, 2007

Some Things Are Going Just Fine

The headline reads Allegheny County improves air pollution permit system. (P-G, Don Hopey)

We expected an article about:

1) Dan Onorato!! We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

2) We are continuing to become more business-friendly by means of not actually reading permit applications prior to approval.

We were so wrong!

The state statistics and federal program assessment run contrary to industry and development agency complaints that it takes too long to get an industrial installation permit in the county.

Emphasis the Comet's.

Those complaints have prompted county Chief Executive Dan Onorato to explore ending the 50-year-old county program and turning its permitting, monitoring and enforcement duties over to the state.

By all means, explore.

"There is not any meaningful contrast in issuing permits between the county and the DEP, either in terms of timeliness or quality," said David Campbell, chief of permits and technical assessment at EPA's regional office in Philadelphia.

Does anybody have a problem with David Campbell?

"Allegheny County does have a more complex set of sources, with coke, steel and chemical plants. It would naturally take longer to issue air permits there than in other areas," he said. "And it's not unusual for industry to complain. Everyone complains. But I've received no formal complaints about the timeliness of permitting there."

We have no problem with David Campbell.

"Responsiveness on permit applications will determine if Allegheny County manufacturers will be nimble in the global economy," said Ms. Klaber. "What we care about is that economic development and industries where there are exciting, new, clean projects are held up for no good reason, but because of red tape."

Nimble! Exciting! New! Clean! Red tape! The Allegheny Conference is having a real banner week.

"We've always maintained that our permitting times are compatible with other agencies, including the DEP," said Dr. Bruce Dixon, executive director of the county Health Department. "We continue to try to do what we need to do in the most expeditious fashion, but some of our industries are very large and their permits are very complicated.

You go ahead and take all the time you need, Bruce Dixon. You run that Allegheny County Health Department.

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