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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Feb. 8, 2016 Issue #606
* Updated: Wolf Shrinks DEP’s Staff By 200 Positions, Even Though DEP Has More Money

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported late Tuesday the Governor’s Budget Office has imposed what it said was a temporary freeze on filling 200 vacant positions within the Department of Environmental Protection, including filling any of its 24 vacant positions within the Oil and Gas Program.

* What’s In Wolf’s Budget Address For The Environment? 5 Things To Watch For Feb. 9

The FY 2015-16 state budget isn’t finished yet, but Gov. Wolf will be talking about his second set of budget recommendations on February 9.  How will they be different?  How will they be the same?

* Op-Ed: Pennsylvania Must Invest In Its New Clean Water Plan

By Harry Campbell, PA Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

* EQB Overwhelmingly Approves Final Chapter 78, 78a Drilling Regulations

The Environmental Quality Board Wednesday voted overwhelmingly (15 to 4) to approve DEP’s Chapter 78 (conventional) and 78A (unconventional) drilling regulations, after voting down 17 amendments to the regulation by three of the legislative members of the Board.

* Challenge To Use Of Oil & Gas Fund Monies To Be Heard By PA Supreme Court March 9

On March 9 the PA Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a 2015 Commonwealth Court decision upholding the right of the General Assembly and the governor to transfer monies from DCNR’s Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund and the use of those funds for DCNR State Park and State Forest Operations.

* CFA Accepting Applications For Water-Related, Recreation Grants Starting March 1

The Commonwealth Financing Authority will be accepting the next round of applications for grants funded by Act 13 for watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphan or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities and flood mitigation programs starting March 1.  The deadline for applications is June 30.

* PA Environment Digest Google+ Circle, Blogs, Twitter Feeds

PA Environment Digest now has a Google+ Circle called Green Works In PA.  Let us join your Circle.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Gov's Schedule/Bills Introduced

Here are the Senate and House Calendars and Committee meetings showing bills of interest as well as a list of new environmental bills introduced--

* Bills On Governor's Desk

The following bills were given final approval by the Senate and House and are now on the Governor's desk for action--

* House Budget Hearing For DEP Changed To March 1

The House Appropriations Committee has rescheduled the budget hearing for the Department of Environmental Protection To March 1 at 9:30 a.m.  It had been scheduled for March 8.  Other environmental budget hearings will be held—

* Sen. Stefano Introduces Resolution To Delay PA Clean Power Plan 2 Years

Citing concerns about the potential economic impact on Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette) has introduced Senate Resolution 277 urging the Department of Environmental Protection to delay implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection’s Clean Power Climate Rule for two years.

* House Environmental Committee Informational Meeting On 2 Severance Tax Bills Feb. 8

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold an informational meeting on February 8 on two bills that would impose a severance tax on natural gas production.  The bills on the agenda include--

* Wolf Administration Highlights Steps To Reduce Lead Exposure

The departments of Health and Environmental Protection Thursday released this overview of how Pennsylvania address the issue of lead exposure in the wake of events in Flint, Michigan over the last several weeks--

* Penn State Extension Presents Feb. 10 Webinars On Lead In Drinking Water

In response to the increased attention that lead in drinking water has received over the past few weeks in Flint, Michigan, Penn State Extension will provide an educational water webinar entitled, “Lead in Drinking Water from Private Wells, Springs and Cisterns – What You Should Know” on February 10 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. and repeated from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m..

* Op-Ed: Pennsylvania Needs Water Well Standards To Protect Public Health

By: Larry J. Schweiger, PennFuture President and CEO

* Congressmen Want $1 Billion From AML Fund For Struggling Coal Communities

A new bill introduced Wednesday in Congress aims to take $1 billion in funding in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AML) Fund to give to coal communities hardest hit by the downturn of the coal industry.

* WPCAMR Testified In Congress On Bill Promoting Coal Waste To Generate Electricity

Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation President, Denny Beck, testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Wednesday in support of H.R. 3797, the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act

* U.S. Senator Casey Urges Obama Administration To Support Chesapeake Bay Programs

Wednesday U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) urged the Obama Administration to strongly support agricultural conservation programs to ensure a clean Chesapeake Bay in its FY 2017 federal budget.

* EPA Restores $3 Million In DEP Chesapeake Bay Funding Based On New Strategy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has restored $3 million in program funding to the Department of Environmental Protection based on the new strategies Commonwealth agencies announced on January 21.

* CBF-PA Welcomes Restored Funding For Chesapeake Bay Watershed Cleanup In PA

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Tuesday welcomed the news the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency restored $3 million in program funding to the Department of Environmental Protection, and sees it as another step to get the Commonwealth back on track toward its clean water commitments.

* Alliance For Chesapeake Bay Launches New Businesses For The Bay Partnership

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and members of the business community announce the official launch of Businesses for the Bay. This new and innovative business association is welcoming New Members and Sponsors.

* Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Program Will Have $3.1B Economic Benefit

A report released Monday by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia concluded Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Program will have a $3.1 billion economic benefit to the community for an investment of $1.2 billion over 25 years.

* CRC Watersheds Assn Backyard Solutions For Healthy Streams Program Feb. 28

The Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association in Chester and Delaware counties and Penn State University-Brandywine invite area residents to join them on February 28 for “Backyard Solutions for Healthy Streams: Lessons from Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Program.”

* Apps Now Being Accepted For PA American Water Environmental Grant Program

PA American Water is now accepting applications for its 2016 Environmental Grant Program from groups within its service territory.  The deadline for applications is April 1.

* Penn State Extension Water Resources Monthly Webinars In 2016

The Penn State Water Resources Extension Team Monday released its initial schedule of monthly webinars on emerging water resources for 2016.

* Sign Up For Montgomery County Master Watershed Stewards, Or In 12 Other Counties

The Montgomery County Conservation District is now accepting applications for its 2016 Master Watershed Stewards training class.

* Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Offers Ed Programs For All Ages

The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties is offering several watershed and environmental education programs in the coming weeks.  They include--

* PA American Water Accepting Entries For Protect Our Watershed Student Art Contest

PA American Water announced Tuesday it is now accepting entries for its 14th Annual “Protect Our Watersheds” Student Art Contest.  The deadline for entries is March 30.

* Reading Water Authority Plant Completes 3rd Phase Partnership For Safe Water

The Reading Area Water Authority’s Maidencreek water treatment plant in Berks County, recently completed the third phase of the Partnership for Safe Water Program, a voluntary effort to provide safe drinking water. 

* Feb. 1 Watershed Winds Newsletter From Penn State Extension Now Available

The February 1 Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring articles on--

* Feb. 2 Chesapeake Bay Journal News Now Available

The February 2 Chesapeake Bay Journal News is now available featuring articles on--

* Insurance Commissioner: Private Flood Insurance May Offer Substantial Savings

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller Tuesday said Pennsylvania homeowners, who may be facing steeply rising premiums under the federal government's flood insurance program, may be unaware they can get private market flood coverage, in many cases at substantial savings as compared to the federal government coverage.

* Best Buy No Longer Accepting TVs, Computer Monitors In PA For Recycling

Best Buy, the electronics retailer, announced Monday it would no longer be accepting TVs or computer monitors for recycling in their stores in Pennsylvania because the state’s electronics waste recycling law does not allow the stores from charging fees for recycling these items.  From the company announcement--

* Keep PA Beautiful: PA Could See Record-Breaking Dumping Of Electronics Waste

In a letter to all House and Senate members Thursday, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful said 2016 could be a “record-breaking year for abandoned and dumped electronics” if Pennsylvania’s electronics recycling law isn’t fixed.

* 2015 Winners Of Lens On Litter Photo Contest Announced By PA Resources Council

The PA Resources Council announced the winners of the 2015 Lens on Litter Photo Contest and began accepting entries for the 2016 contest.  New entries are due October 31.

* KPB Recognizes Volunteers In Allegheny, Blair, McKean, Mifflin, Philadelphia Counties

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday announced ocal volunteers in Allegheny, Blair, McKean, Mifflin, Philadelphia were recognized for their outstanding efforts in beautifying and cleaning up their communities.

* PA Resources Council February Newsletter Now Available

The February newsletter from the PA Resources Council is now available featuring articles on--

* DEP Publishes Update To Agenda Of Technical Guidance In Development

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the February 6 PA Bulletin (page 726) saying an update to the agency’s Non-Regulatory Agenda is now available on DEP’s website. 

* February 4 DEP News Now Available

The February 4 DEP News is now available featuring stories on--

* Green Schools-Blue Waters STEM For Sustainable Schools Teacher Program In February

Lebanon Valley College and the Green Schools-Blue Waters Program are sponsoring three more credit graduate course designed to provide educators in grades 3 to 12 with activities and resources to support STEM Investigations For Sustainable Schools.

* PUC To Host Sustainable Energy Board Annual Meeting Feb. 11

The PA Sustainable Energy Board, in conjunction with the Public Utility Commission, will hold its annual meeting at 11 a.m., February 11 in Hearing Room 4 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North St., Harrisburg.

* NJR Clean Energy Ventures Announces New 39.9 MW Wind Farm In Somerset County

NJR Clean Energy Ventures Wednesday announced its fourth onshore wind project— the Ringer Hill Wind Farm is located along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, approximately 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

* Feature: German Energiewende: Informing Pennsylvania’s Clean Energy Policy

By Lindsay Baxter, PEC Program Manager For Energy & Climate

* Reminder: DEP Climate Change Action Plan Update Comments Due March 30

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 30 PA Bulletin saying the next update to the Pennsylvania Climate Change Action Plan is now available for public review.  Comments are due March 30.

* CFA Accepting Applications For Alternative, Clean Energy Grants Starting Feb. 1

The Commonwealth Financing Authority will be accepting applications for its Alternative and Clean Energy Grant Program starting February 1.  Applications are due April 1.

* CFA Accepting Applications For Green Building, Renewable Energy Grants

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is now accepting applications for its High Performance Building and Renewable Energy Grant Programs throughout 2016.  Here’s a quick rundown on the programs--

* Important Meetings On DEP Coal, Non-Coal Mining Permit Fee Increases Coming Up

At the February 18 Aggregate Advisory Board and February 23 Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board meetings, will hold important discussions on finalizing their recommendations on proposals by the Department of Environmental Protection to increase permit review and administration fees.

* PSU: Method Of Extracting Rare-Earth Elements From Coal Found By Researchers

The U.S. could soon decrease its dependence on importing valuable rare-earth elements that are widely used in many industries, according to a team of Penn State and U.S. Department of Energy researchers who found a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to extract these metals from coal byproducts.

* Air Quality Advisory Committee To Get 1st Look At Methane Reduction Program Feb. 11

The DEP Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee meets February 11 and will give its members and the public the first look at some of the concepts DEP will use to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

* DEP Holds Hearing On Proposed Clearfield County Injection Disposal Well Feb. 16

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on a proposed Windfall Oil and Gas injection disposal well in Brady Township, Clearfield County on February 16 starting at 6:00.

* PA Environmental Council: In Case You Missed It For January

The PA Environmental Council’s In Case You Missed It newsletter is now available featuring a summary of PEC activities in January--

* Duquesne Eco-Theologist Explores One Planet, Many Religions, Shared Cosmic Good

We share one globe that Pope Francis, the United Nations, world leaders, scientists and climate change activists each appeal that we protect better.   But in our world of different religious beliefs, how do the special qualities of our planet play out?

* Zika Virus Prompts PA Health Alert For Pregnant Women Traveling To Affected Areas

The Department of Health Friday said it is increasing its efforts to monitor and identify potential Zika virus cases in the Commonwealth. No cases of Zika virus have been reported in Pennsylvania. Testing of individuals who have travelled to affected areas and have experienced symptoms is ongoing.

* Apps For Mini-Grants In Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Now Being Accepted

The National Road Heritage Corridor announced a Mini-Grant Opportunity for nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and friends groups of state parks/forests who are located along the Historic National Road or in the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape region (Somerset, Westmoreland, Fayette, and portions of Cambria and Bedford counties).

* Washington Crossing Historic Park Added To PA State Park System

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday  announced Pennsylvania now has 121 state parks with the addition of Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County.

* DCNR Increasing Some Park Facilities Fees Effective Feb. 16

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice in the February 6 PA Bulletin it is increasing State Park fees for shooting ranges, clarifying swimming pool family passes and implementing a nonrefundable transaction fee for all State Park and other reservations made through its reservation system effective February 16.  Click Here for current DCNR fees.

* Groundbreaking Research Presented At Bureau Of Forestry’s Annual Conference

Black Cherry and adapting to change highlighted DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry’s annual Winter Management Conference held last month in State College. Attendees were treated to a wide range of presenters that covered many current and key issues in forest management.

* Feb. 3 DCNR Resource Newsletter Now Available

The February 3 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Runners, Walkers Sought For Grey Towers’ 8K April 23 In Pike County

Registration is now open for participants in the Grey Towers Heritage Association 8K Run/Walk planned for April 23 in Pike County. Participants at all levels of expertise are encouraged to take part in this annual springtime season kick-off.

* Game Commission Receives $14.6 Million From New Natural Gas Leases

An agreement approved Tuesday by the Board of Game Commissioners solidifies more than $14.6 million in revenue that had been anticipated in the budget for the current fiscal year.

* Peregrine Falcon Nesting Season To Begin Mid-Feb

Around mid-February, the peregrine falcon adults nesting on the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg will fittingly renew their pair bond and spend more time together at the nest ledge.

* Diakon Wilderness School: Planting For Wildlife, Teaching For Change

Kim Patten directs the Wilderness Greenhouse & Native Plant Nursery, a program of the Diakon Wilderness School located just outside of Boiling Springs in Cumberland County.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary To Host Kestrel Webcam Teacher Workshop March 25

Want to add a bit of nature into your classroom? Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host a professional educator workshop designed for Pennsylvania elementary and middle school teachers on how to use its live kestrel webcam as a learning tool.

* Beat Cabin Fever, Come To Hawk Mountain Feb. 13 For Bird Feeder Frenzy

Tired of being cooped up? Head outside to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County on February 13 for a day-long event focused on feeding birds during the long winter months.

* Help Wanted: Western PA Conservancy Land Stewardship Coordinator

The Western PA Conservancy is seeking qualified candidates to fill a Land Stewardship Coordinator position serving the Pittsburgh Region and Northwest PA.  Applications are due February 26.  Click Here for all the details.

* Help Wanted: Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay PA Program Manager

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay seeks an enthusiastic and creative person to join the Pennsylvania staff to lead program development and project management in its efforts to Engage Local Communities, Connect People, and Heal the Land and Water in Central Pennsylvania and throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* Public Participation Opportunities/Calendar Of Events

This section lists House and Senate Committee meetings, DEP and other public hearings and meetings and other interesting environmental events.

* Grants & Awards

This section gives you a heads up on upcoming deadlines for awards and grants and other recognition programs.  NEW means new from last week.

* Environmental NewsClips - All Topics

Here are NewsClips from around the state on all environmental topics, including General Environment, Budget, Marcellus Shale, Watershed Protection and much more--

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

The Public Utility Commission published notices in the February 6 PA Bulletin of proposed Electric Safety and Steam Heat Distribution System safety regulations.

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* 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 UnlimitedSponsor: 2016 Keystone Coldwater Conference, State College, Feb. 26-27.

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