Gov. Tom Corbett issued an executive order on Tuesday, directing state environmental officials to revamp their procedures for ensuring that permit applications are processed efficiently.
His directive rescinded an executive order from 1995, which created a money-back guarantee if the state Department of Environmental Protection did not decide on a permit within certain deadlines.
The new program instead will aim to improve the department's processing periods so that refunds are not required, said DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday. That will involve crafting new agency guidelines, which will be released for public comment later this summer.
In a news release, Mr. Corbett said he has received numerous complaints about the time required for DEP officials to complete permit requests, sparking the administrative action.
Mr. Sunday said he did not have figures on how many permit reviews have exceeded the agency's deadlines, and that DEP is working to calculate such a figure.
The governor's order also directs DEP to coordinate its reviews when a project involves multiple permits, establish performance standards for permit reviews, and develop and improve electronic permitting tools.