Welcome to the Pennsylvania Citizens’ Toolkit Resources.
With the ever expanding oil and gas operations in western Pennsylvania, citizens, advocacy groups and elected officials seem to have more questions than answers. And, because so much of this industrial development is new to most communities, finding facts on the operations and the permitting approval processes can seem daunting. In an effort to help educate, inform and guide citizens through the basic components of the process, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is developing a Citizens’ Toolkit. This informational toolkit provides descriptions of key portions the public notification and participation requirements, as well as provides fact sheets and example templates, so that citizens and decision makers can better prepare themselves.
In the coming weeks and months, EIP will be introducing educational resources into our Citizens’ Toolkit. The resource materials will include:
- Act 14 Municipal Notification Letter Tool: important notifications that signal oil and gas development may be coming to your community
- What the letters are – how they are received – timelines associated with them
- How to ensure local government officials and citizens understand the importance of these notification letters
- Template language local officials can use to open lines of communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP)
- PA Right to Know Law tool:
- Public access to documents submitted by oil and gas companies
- How to submit a Right to Know request (local, county and state)
- What records are considered “public”
- What to do if citizens have questions or concerns
- Public Meetings/Public Hearings tool:
- The rules for each
- Instructions on how best to participate
- Some important things to listen and watch for as concerned citizens
- How and when to present comments on the record
- Some example template language as guidance
- PA Sunshine Law tool:
- What it means for public notification, public meetings and public participation
- What it means for citizens’ rights to attend, participate and record meetings
- What it means for public officials and how governmental procedures are to be conducted
- The PA Municipal Planning Code tool:
- What it is – how it affects local government’s procedures
- Some key provisions that could be helpful to citizens and advocacy groups
The initial version of the Citizens’ Toolkit will be the start of important resources, designed to help level the playing field for those hoping to become engaged in the application, review and permitting processes for the oil and gas operations. EIP will update the tools and resources, as warranted. It is our hope these tools will provide some clarity and a roadmap, of sorts, in an effort to ensure more public transparency, fact-checking and participation.
We look forward to working with you as, together, we seek accountability and transparency.
Companies applying for permit approval from the state must send letters to the host municipality announcing plans to submit an application to PA DEP for permitting operations. The following letters give you an idea of what you may find in the letters and also include tips on what to look for.