Guidance Regarding the Government Exemption from Fees for PNDI Receipts Generated Through the PA Conservation Explorer
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) published a “Policy for the Imposition of Fees for PNDI Receipts Generated Through the PA Conservation Explorer” in the PA Bulletin, on September 19th 2015 (45 Pa. B. 5688), which includes a provision for a fee exemption for federal, state, county and municipal agencies or municipal authorities, and any employee of the 14 universities that are part of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education or the state-related universities including Penn State University, Temple University, Lincoln University and the University of Pittsburgh that are performing a governmental function in the normal course of business, including, but not limited to permitting, planning, grants, or land management. The purpose of this document is to provide additional guidance on the application of the fee exemption.
Exemption applies when:
- A PNDI receipt is required in the course of a government employee performing their normal agency-specific job duties;
- A receipt is generated by contract staff embedded in a government agency and performing job duties on behalf of that agency.
Examples of when the exemption would apply:
- DEP staff reviewing and evaluating environmental permit applications
- PennDOT staff evaluating environmental impacts of proposed highway projects
- Municipal planners evaluating placement of public parks and recreational areas
- Conservation Districts evaluating environmental permit applications or evaluating lands for enrollment in various programs
- Government employees performing searches and generating PNDI receipts on the behalf of another government agency (e.g., Conservation District performing a search and generating a receipt for a municipality)
- DCNR Service Foresters addressing threatened and endangered species concerns as part of private land forest stewardship plan development.
Examples of when the exemption would not apply:
- Private individuals, businesses, and other non-governmental organizations performing PNDI searches and generating PNDI receipts
- Government employees performing PNDI searches and generating receipts as a convenience for private individuals, businesses, and other non-governmental organizations.
Note: Exemption does not apply when a PNDI Receipt is required for activities by private individuals, non-governmental organizations and businesses or for any other purpose not defined above. A fee is not required for projects submitted directly by mail (manual submission) to each of the four agencies (Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service) for environmental review. Instructions for manual submission can be found on the PA Conservation Explorer website.
Requesting Fee Exemption
Government employees or embedded contract staff working on the behalf of government agencies must request the exemption using the online PNDI Fee Exemption Application Form (see below). The form requests information pertaining to an applicant’s qualifications and need for generating PNDI Receipts as part of their normal job duties. In general, this may include, but is not limited to, staff engaged in activities such as planning, project design, environmental regulation compliance, permitting, certain grants related to conservation, land acquisition, and land management. A requestor’s supervisors may be contacted to verify employment and the need for the exemption. Violation of this guidance may result in the restriction of the user’s account.
If you have any concerns or questions about fee exemptions, please contact RA-HeritageReview@pa.gov.