Proposed permit fee schedule increases expected to put Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Program on sound financial footing are one step closer to final approval. During the Allegheny County Council meeting Tuesday afternoon, the measure was referred to the committee on health and human services.
GASP has long championed the revised fee schedule, which mostly mirrors those approved by the state that went into effect this past January. The Allegheny County Board of Health in March voted to push the changes forward to county council.
When finally approved, the fee schedule would increase application fees for plan approvals, operation permits, and the annual administration fees charged to operating permit holders that were based on a schedule set all the way back in the 1990s and last increased 14 years ago.
The proposed fee schedule is tiered. The first set of increases going into effect 60 days after final adoption through 2025. The fees then increase in 2026 and then again in 2031. If finally approved, the plan would for the first time impose fees on major and minor sources of air pollution seeking:
revisions to plant-wide applicability limits;
ambient air impact modeling completed in connection with certain plan approval applications;
risk assessments; and
requests for determination
GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini was among those who submitted public comments in support of the proposed changes.
“It’s important to understand that the Clean Air Act requires that the fees imposed on Title V sources in Allegheny County be ‘sufficient to cover all reasonable (direct and indirect) costs required to develop and administer’ the health department’s Title V permit program,” she explained. “Because ACHD’s Air Quality Program receives little or no funding from Allegheny County itself, that means the fees paid by non-Title V sources in the County must also generate sufficient revenue to fund the non-Title V side of the Program – making these changes absolutely imperative.”
You can read her full comments here.
If you haven’t already signed our petition urging council to approve the fee schedule changes when it comes up for a final vote, you can – and should – do so now. Here’s more info for those who’d like more background.