Scrapbook Photo 04/05/20 - Pennsylvania Could See $4 Billion+ COVID-19 Budget Deficit: https://bit.ly/3aKvwLH
Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
April 6, 2020 Issue #823
(4/6/2020)
* State Won’t Pay 9,000 Employees After April 10 To Reduce State Spending

On April 3, Spotlight PA reported the Wolf Administration told nearly 9,000 employees-- more than 12 percent of the state’s workforce-- it will stop paying them on April 10 in order to reduce state spending in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown.

* DCNR Places Over 700 Seasonal Wage Employees In State Parks, Forests On Leave Without Pay

On March 31, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said it has placed over 700 of its 958 State Parks and Forests seasonal wage employees on leave without pay in response to Gov. Wolf’s call to reduce state government costs.

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Report: PA Could See $4 Billion+ Deficit; Revenue Down $294.6M In March

Pennsylvania could see a $4 billion+ budget deficit this year as a result of the coronavirus shutdown and rising expenses, according to Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Majority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Allentown Morning Call(We told you as much last week.)

* PA National Guard Continues Helping In COVID-19 Outbreak

As of April 2, approximately 850 Pennsylvania National Guard members are involved in supporting the state’s  response to COVID-19. Some are actively conducting missions while others are preparing in anticipation of additional tasks with our interagency partners.

* PA Land Trust Assn: Federal COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program For Nonprofits, Small Businesses

The PA Land Trust Association posted this important information on their News webpage for nonprofits and small businesses owners--

* PASA April 6 Webinar On COVID-19 Financial Assistance For Farms & Small Businesses

The PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture will host an April 6 webinar from Noon to 1:30 p.m. on COVID-19 Financial Assistance Available for Farms and Small Business.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Spread Out And Leave No Trace

During this time of significant changes to our daily routines, it’s clear that our need for and appreciation of nature is greater than ever.

* Keep PA Beautiful Urges Residents To Take Pride In Pennsylvania-- A Pandemic Is No Reason To Litter

On April 1, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful joins with others in encouraging residents to walk outside and enjoy the beauty their communities have to offer.

* Our Parks And Greenspaces Matter More Than Ever - PA Parks & Forests Foundation/PA Recreation & Park Society

In these times of mental, physical and economic distresses, our direct access to nature and its proven restorative properties is more important to us, and more worthy of safeguarding than ever.

* DCNR: Wildfire Vigilance Especially Needed During Spring Season

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources  statistics show nearly 85 percent of Pennsylvania’s wildfires occur in March, April, and May, before greening of state woodlands and brushy areas.

* PA Envirothon Cancels 2020 Pennsylvania State Envirothon Competition; Working On Natural Challenges

The Pennsylvania Envirothon Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the State Competition scheduled to be held May 19-20 due to concerns about COVID-19.

* DCNR Cancels Summer Youth PA Outdoor Corp Program For 2020

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced all summer crew applicants for DCNR’s highly successful Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program are being informed that the 2020 six-week summer youth crews program (for youth ages of 15-18) has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

* Game Commission Cancels 2020 Seedling Sales Programs

On March 31, the Game Commission announced its Howard Nursery will not distribute seedlings as a result of mandatory closings and delays caused by COVID-19.

* DEP Developing Guidance On Case-By-Case Enforcement Waivers; Urges Citizens To Report Environmental Problems

StateImpact’s Susan Phillips reported the Department of Environmental Protection is developing guidance to evaluate requests from companies to waive permit conditions or other requirements when it is necessary for a response to the COVID-19 outbreak during the current emergency.

* DEP Reports Conducting 1,750 Inspections, Investigations From March 16-31

On April 1, the Department of Environmental Protection reported it conducted 1,750 inspections and investigations from March 16 to 31 on critical infrastructure and in response to complaints from citizens during the COVID-19 shutdown.

* Allegheny County Health Dept. Air Pollution Enforcement Not Impact By Temporary EPA Enforcement Policy

On March 30, the Allegheny County Health Department announced its enforcement of the county’s air pollution control regulations will not be impacted by a temporary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement discretion policy announced last week.

* Post-Gazette: PA Faces New Wave Of Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Wells

On April 3, Post-Gazette reporters Laura Legere and Anya Litvack wrote an in-depth article on how Pennsylvania faces a new wave of abandoned conventional oil and gas wells in the oil patch

* PUC Urges Extra Caution With Spring Projects, Increased Awareness Of Home Electric Safety

On April 2, the Public Utility Commission urged homeowners and contractors to use extra caution for potential electrical hazards while at home or at work, while also avoiding the possibility of accidents, injuries and service disruptions.

* The Nature Conservancy-PA Hosting TNC Coffee Series On Conservation Topics Every Wednesday At 10:00 a.m.

The Nature Conservancy-PA is now hosting a new TNC Coffee Series on conservation topics live every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. online.

* Entries Now Being Accepted For The Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators Student Poster Contest

The National Association of Conservation Districts is holding a Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators Poster Contest for students grades k-12.

* Jennings Environmental Ed Center Offering At-Home Nature Detective Activities, Virtual Art & Science Festival

Kids and curious adults can tune in to the Jennings Environmental Ed Center Facebook page each week for posts to help explore the outside world around your home.

* Western PA Conservancy Offers Ideas To Connect Kids To Nature

The latest newsletter from the Western PA Conservancy offers a variety of environmental education activities to connect kids with nature.  Try some of these--

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Offers Virtual Education, Stewardship Programs Online

The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County is committed to bringing you information about our ongoing scientific research, education and stewardship, as well as educational content about a variety of topics.

* Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Assn. Creates Online Explorer Guide To Creek

The Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association in Cumberland County has created a special online Conodoguinet Creek Explorer Guide to embark on a virtual journey through the watershed.

* Earth Day 50: Pittsburgh Earth Week Coalition Teach-In Goes VIRTUAL April 19

On April 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., the more than 50 organizations of the Pittsburgh Earth Week Coalition will hold a virtual Teach-In live on YouTube to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

* Penn State Extension Offers FREE Online Courses On A Variety Of Environmental, Farm, Stewardship Subjects

Penn State Extension is now offering more than 50 of its online courses for FREE through the month of April.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule

Here are the Senate and House Calendars for the next voting session day and Committees scheduling action on bills of interest as well as a list of new environmental bills introduced--

* House Committee Meets April 6 On Bill To Give Regulated Entities Control Of Agency Actions On Permits, Policy Guidance; Already Violating COVID-19 Only Legislation Intent

On April 6, the House State Government Committee is scheduled to meet on legislation giving regulated entities sweeping new power to control DEP permit and technical guidance with no opportunity for public involvement or higher review.

* Senate Environmental Committee Postpones April 8 & 14 Hearings On Potential Impact Of Joining Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has postponed the April 8 and April 14 hearings scheduled to receive comments on the potential impacts of joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce carbon pollution from power plants due to concerns about COVID-19.

* IFO To Issue First Estimates Of COVID-19 Impact On State Revenues April 8

On April 1, the Independent Fiscal Office reported as much as $200 million in state revenue declines during March were the result of actions taken to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

* NRCS-PA Invites Proposals For 2020 Conservation Innovation Grants

On April 3, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Pennsylvania announced it is now accepting proposals for the Conservation Innovation Grants Program. Proposals are due by June 15.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Weighing All Options To Oppose Weakened Federal Vehicle Emission Standards

On March 31, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA announced it is considering all options to oppose the final rule weakening vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards the Trump administration unveiled March 31.

* NRCS-PA: USDA Seeks Public Comment On National Handbook Of Conservation Practices

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service published notice in the Federal Register it is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to the National Handbook Of Conservation Practices for the NRCS.  The comment period closes April 23, 2020.

* Agriculture, Conservation, Wildlife Groups Unite To Advocate For Federal Conservation Funding Support

On April 2, 76 leading farm, conservation and wildlife groups delivered a letter to Congress requesting full funding for federal conservation programs and technical assistance in fiscal year 2021 appropriations.

* Natural Systems In Lebanon County Return $925 Million In Economic Benefits To The Community Every Year

A new Return On Environment study reports natural systems-- farmland, open space, forested areas and stream buffers-- contribute over $925 million annually to Lebanon County’s economy by filtering water, cleaning the air, controlling flooding and sustaining wildlife.

* Call For Presentations: CitiesAlive Green Infrastructure Conference Nov. 15-18, Philadelphia

CitiesAlive is now accepting proposals for presentations at its CitiesAlive Green Infrastructure and Water In A Changing Climate Conference in Philadelphia November 15-18.  Proposals are due April 19.

* Dept. Of Agriculture Extends Deadline For Farm Vitality Planning Grant Applications

The Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline to apply for Farm Vitality Planning Grants to June 30. (formal notice)

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Videos Highlight Efforts On Mine Drainage Treatment, Aquatic Life Restoration In Watershed

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission recently released two online interviews highlighting the efforts in the watershed to restore aquatic life and treat drainage from abandoned mines.

* Stroud Water Research Center Hosts April 8 Webinar On Salt In The Water, Action On The Ground

The Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County will host a webinar on April 8 from Noon until 1:00 p.m. on the issue of salt runoff into our rivers and streams.

* Deadline Extended To Apply For DEP Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant

The Department of Environmental Protection has extended the deadline to apply for a Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant to June 26.  (formal notice)

* DEP Sets Virtual Hearing April 17 [If Needed] On Proposed Air Quality Infrastructure Plan Revisions

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a virtual public hearing on April 17 at 10:00 a.m. [if needed] to accept comments on proposed revisions to the Air Quality Infrastructure State Implementation Plan.  (formal notice)

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets April 21 On Act 54 Report On Damage Caused By Underground Coal Mining

The DEP Citizens Advisory Council will hold a virtual meeting on April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon on the latest Act 54 Report on damage caused by underground coal mining.

* DEP: Emergency Work To Stabilize Hillside Affecting Abandoned Mine Land In Allegheny County To Begin

On March 31, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has authorized an emergency contract to stabilize a hillside threatening a home in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County.

* 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Will Now Be Held Oct. 28-29 In State College

The organizers of the 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference have announced they are moving the Conference to October 28-19 due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus.

* Delaware RiverKeeper, Groups Submit Report To FERC Saying Up To 3,000 New Gas Wells Needed To Feed PennEast, Adelphia Pipelines

On March 30, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Clean Air Council and PennFuture released a report from Synapse Energy Economics, LLC saying between 1,913 and 3,061 new Shale gas wells would be needed to support the PennEast and Adelphia Gateway pipeline projects now pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

* PUC PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee Takes 51 Enforcement Actions For Violations

On March 30, the PUC’s Damage Prevention Committee approved 51 disciplinary actions, including $12,750 in penalties, against 20 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners

* Sustainability Institute At Penn State Hosts April 7 Online Solve Climate By 2030 Teach-In

On April 7, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., the Sustainability Institute at Penn State will host the online Pennsylvania session of "Solve Climate by 2030," a nationwide, university-hosted, virtual teach-in on climate solutions and justice.

* Penn State EarthTalks Online Seminar April 6 On Improving Science Of Climate Risk Management

The Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State will host an April 6 online 2020 EarthTalks Series presentation on Improving Science Of Climate Risk Management starting at 4:00 p.m.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn Hosts May 2 Webinar On Learning How To Garden For Clean Water

April showers bring May flowers, and on May 2, Brodhead Watershed Association in Monroe County will host a webinar on how to keep your water clean and the garden growing all summer long as part of the new Greening Mountainhome series.

* Partnership For Delaware Estuary Perennial Pages Newsletter For Habitat Owners & Caretakers Now Available

The latest edition of Perennial Pages - Gardens For Clean Water is now available for habitat owners and caretakers from the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.  It features articles on--

* Manada Conservancy Preserves Property In Dauphin County Along Kittatinny Corridor

PA Land Trust Association member Manada Conservancy recently announced they successfully protected a property located in the Kittatinny Corridor in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County. Here’s Manada Conservancy’s story as told by their stewardship director, Mark Vibbert--

* PA Land Trust Assn. Offers Development Assistance; More Training Webinars

The PA Land Trust Association is now offering fundraising and membership development assistance to Pennsylvania land trusts.

* Susquehanna Greenway 2020 Photo Contest Now Accepting Entries

The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is now accepting entries to the 2020 Susquehanna Greenway Photo Contest.  Entries are due June 30.

* April 1 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The April 1 issue of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* April 3 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The April 3 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* The Nature Conservancy-PA/DE Names Lori Brennan New Executive Director

On April 2, The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware announced Lori Brennan has been named the new executive director.

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

Click Here: Week’s Worth Of PA Environment & Energy NewsClips - Support Local Journalism

* Public Participation Opportunities/Calendar Of Events

Click Here for a list of public participation opportunities and a calendar of events.

* Grants & Awards

Click Here for grants, awards, recognition programs and contest deadlines.

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

Here are highlights of actions taken by agencies on environmental regulations, technical guidance and permits.

* CLICK HERE To View Or Print Entire PA Environment Digest

CLICK HERE to View or Print the 82 page PA Environment Digest.

* Stories Invited - About PA Environment Digest

Send your stories, photos and links to videos about your project, environmental issues or programs for publication in the PA Environment Digest to: PaEnviroDigest@gmail.com.

* NEW Date! PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Oct. 28-29 In State College

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference will now be held on October 28-29 in State College.

* Supporting Member PA Outdoor Writers Assn./PA Trout Unlimited

PA Environment Digest is a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, Pennsylvania Council Trout Unlimited and the Doc Fritchey Chapter Trout Unlimited.

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