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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
July 1, 2019 Issue #783
* Major Environmental Priorities Not Addressed In FY 2019-20 State Budget, Shell Game Continues

The Senate and House finalized all the pieces of the FY 2019-20 state budget including the Fiscal Code bill, the Tax Code bill, the Administrative Code bill and the General Fund budget bill and they were all signed by the Governor--

* Growing Greener Coalition: Cuts Made To Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Funding Could Have Planted 32,000 Acres of Stream Buffers

The Growing Greener Coalition issued this wrap up of changes-- mostly bad-- in the FY 2019-20 state budget, itemized the missed opportunities and extended a big THANK YOU to all who acted to protect environmental and community project funding--

* CBF: PA Elected Leaders Failed To Show The Will, Leadership To Restore Pennsylvania's Rivers And Streams

On June 28, Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, issued this statement about the $34 billion General Fund budget for 2019-20, negotiated by the legislature and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. 

* Senate Republicans Pass Pretend Solution To Reducing Nutrient Pollution In Chesapeake Bay Watershed Guaranteeing Taxpayers Fund Higher Cost Practices

On June 26, Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill 575 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) establishing a taxpayer funded procurement program for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reductions needed to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed pollution reduction goals in all or part of 43 counties in the state.

* Pre-Qualification For DCNR, PennVEST Multifunction Riparian Buffer Grants Begins July 1

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority will start pre-qualifying applicants for Multifunctional Riparian Buffer Grants on July 1.

* Applications Now Being Accepted For Clean Water Fund Grants In Lancaster County

The Lancaster County Community Foundation is now accepting applications for Clean Water Fund Grants.  The deadline for applications is July 26.

* Senate Republicans Pass Senate Bill 619 Fundamentally Changing Definition Of Water Pollution Effectively Making Spills And Discharges To Streams No Longer Pollution

On June 26, Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill 619 ( Yaw-R-Lycoming) making fundamental changes to the definition of water pollution under the state Clean Streams Law effectively making most spills and discharges to rivers and streams no longer pollution.

* CBF-PA Urges House Not To Act On Senate Bill 619 Redefining Water Pollution

On June 27, Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA issued this statement after the state Senate’s narrow vote to approve Senate Bill 619, which would redefine the term “pollution” in the Clean Streams Law, and potentially allow for certain spills and discharges to go unreported and unregulated.

* Column: Desire For Riches Often Comes At The Cost Of Natural Resources

By George Block, Sunday Outdoors Columnist, Observer-Reporter

* PUC Distributes Nearly $252 Million In Act 13 Drilling Impact Fee Revenue, Largest Amount To Date

On June 27, the Public Utility Commission posted detailed information about this year’s distribution of drilling impact fees on natural gas producers totaling $242,964,000 on the PUC’s Act 13 website.

* IFO Projecting Either $9.6 Million Increase In Drilling Impact Fee Revenue In 2019 Or $37.1 Million Decrease

On June 28, the Independent Fiscal Office issued its estimate of revenues for 2019 from the Act 13 drilling impact fees saying there could be a $9.6 million revenue  increase over this year or a $37.1 million decrease, depending on the price of natural gas.

* PUC Opens Comment Period On Enhancements To Pipeline Safety Regulations, Additional Financial Reporting

The Public Utility Commission published notice in the June 29 PA Bulletin opening a formal 60 public comment period on two separate rulemaking proposals related to pipeline operations in Pennsylvania addressing both pipeline safety regulations and periodic financial reporting by pipeline public utilities.

* And The 2019 Winners Of The Great American Cleanup Of PA Video Contest Are…

The votes are in on Keep PA Beautiful’s 2019 Great American Cleanup of PA Video Contest on Facebook and the winners are--

* PA Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp Presents Award To Ashley Wilmont

As part of the celebration of the PA Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp’s 25th anniversary, Ashley Wilmont of Bellefonte was awarded the 2019 Dr. Robert J. Behnke Award.

* PA Conservation Heritage Project Releases Online Story Map Exploring The History Of Pennsylvania’s Forests

On June 26, the Pennsylvania Conservation Heritage, in partnership with the PA Parks and Forests Foundation, the PA Forestry Association, and the Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University, released the latest story map, Forest Legacy Trail.

* Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

The following bills of interest saw action last week in the House and Senate--

* 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--

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced

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--

* Senate Republicans Pass Bills Misleading Public On Changes To Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program When Changes In Federal Law Needed

On June 25, the Senate passed a 5-bill package making changes to the state’s vehicle emissions inspection program, but the changes do not avoid the need to amend federal law to make the proposed changes. 

* PEC Opposes Bill Limiting Reporting On Environmental Impacts From Underground Coal Mining

On June 24, the PA Environmental Council wrote to members of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee expressing its opposition to Senate Bill 763 (Bartolotta-R- Washington) limiting reporting on environmental impacts from underground coal mining.

* Senate Environmental Committee OKs Bill To Make Report On Impacts Of Deep Coal Mining Optional, And Other Bills

On June 25, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out legislation making reports on impacts of deep coal mining options and other legislation.  The bills included --

* CBF: U.S. House Passes Increase In Federal Funding For Chesapeake Bay Program

On June 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget containing an increase in Chesapeake Bay Program funding from $73 to $85 million.

* EPA Approves Allegheny County Request To Permanently Eliminate Low-RVP Summer Gasoline Requirement

On June 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the request of the Allegheny County Health Department to permanently eliminate the low-RVP summer gasoline requirement that routinely increased gasoline prices in Western Pennsylvania by 10 to 15 cents.

* USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Releases SoilWeb 2.0 Soil Survey Data App

The Pennsylvania Office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service shared a recent announcement of the availability of the SoilWeb 2.0 App jointly developed between NRCS and the University of California at Davis Soil Resource Laboratory to access detailed digital soil survey data.

* DEP Holds July 17 Hearing On Consol's Bailey Mine Draft Water Quality Permit In Greene County

On June 27, Department of Environmental Protection’s District Mining Operations will hold a public hearing July 17 on a draft discharge permit for Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company’s Bailey Central Mine Complex in Morris Township, Greene County.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Project In Indiana County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 29 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Indiana County.

* DEP Invites Comments On TMDL Water Quality Plans For 5 Watersheds In Adams, Bedford, Lebanon, Mifflin, Snyder, Union Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notices in the June 29 PA Bulletin (pages 3380-3382) inviting comments on Total Maximum Daily Load Water Quality Plans for--

* Penn State Seed Grant Supports Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research

By Penn State News

* DEP Invites Comments On Annual Reports From Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 29 PA Bulletin inviting comments on annual reports submitted by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations under the PAG-12 Water Quality General Permit.

* DEP Awards $205,000 In Environmental Education Grants For 45 Projects

On June 28, the Department of Environmental Protection awarded $205,000 in Environmental Education Grants to 45 projects addressing environmental justice, climate change, and water quality.

* 2019 Seedlings For Schools Program Experiences Huge Response To New Pollinator Garden Option

In spring 2019, the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery introduced a new program for teachers in Pennsylvania-- mix of 25 native pollinator-friendly seedlings were packaged for teachers to order and plant a pollinator garden on their school premises, free of charge.

* Lacawac Sanctuary: Become A Pocono Lake Ecological Observatory Network Citizen Scientist In Wayne County

The Pocono Lake Ecological Observatory Network is a regional lake monitoring and education program run by Lacawac Sanctuary at Lake Ariel in Wayne County.

* Brodhead Watershed Association Annual River Ramble Will Tour Unique Sites On 2 Of Monroe County's Purest Creeks

The Brodhead Watershed Association will hold its Annual River Ramble on August 4 featuring an eco-tour of the Mill and Buck Hill creeks area near Mountainhome in Barrett Township, Monroe County.

* PA Resources Council Hosts 2 Pop Up Glass Recycling Collection Events In Allegheny County During July

In July, the PA Resources Council will host two pop-up glass recycling collection events in Allegheny County in response to the sudden removal of glass from many of the region’s residential curbside recycling programs.  The events will be held--

* DEP Holds Sept. 11 Hearing [If Needed] On RACT II Air Quality Plan For GenOn Northeast, Armstrong County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 29 PA Bulletin a hearing will be held September 11 [if needed] on the RACT II Air Quality Plan for the GenOn Northeast Management Company in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County. (PA Bulletin page 3342)

* Sept. 11 Hearing [If Needed] On DEP RACT II Air Quality Plan For FirstEnergy Bruce Mansfield Power Plant, Beaver County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 29 PA Bulletin a hearing will be held September 11 [if needed] on the RACT II Air Quality Plan for FirstEnergy Bruce Mansfield Power Plant in Beaver County. (PA Bulletin page 3347)

* DEP Hearing August 12 On Air Quality Plan Approval For Slate Belt Biosolids Heat Recovery Center, Northampton County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 29 PA Bulletin it will hold a hearing on August 12 on the draft Air Quality Plan Approval for the Slate Belt Biosolids Heat Recovery Center to be located at the Grand Central Sanitary Landfill in Plainfield Township, Northampton County. (PA Bulletin page 3348)

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Enters Into $18,500 Settlement With Sunoco Mariner East II Pipeline

On June 14, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission approved a settlement of $18,500 for water withdrawals without a permit by the Sunoco Mariner East II Pipeline. 

* PUC PA 1 Call Damage Prevention Committee Imposes $180,850 In Penalties For Violations

On June 26, the Public Utility Commission announced the PA 1 Call Damage Prevention Committee took 194 disciplinary actions and imposed $180,850 in penalties against 73 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners in the latest enforcement actions.

* PUC Offers Energy Saving, Cooling Tips As First Summer Hot Weather Alert Issued

On June 26, Public Utility Commission announced it is urging residents across the state to consider ways to conserve energy and stay cool as temperatures across the Mid-Atlantic Region are expected to climb above 90 degrees, combined with high humidity, through the weekend.

* City Of Reading Becomes 19th Community In PA To Commit To 100% Renewable Energy

On June 24, Reading City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution establishing a goal of powering the entire community with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050.

* Millersville University Is First In PA To Receive Zero Energy Building Designation

Millersville University in Lancaster County has the first building in Pennsylvania, the Samuel N. and Dena M. Lombardo Welcome Center, to be Zero Energy Certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

* Op-Ed: Legislature Should Take A Hard Look At Cap-And Invest Program To Use All Of Our Energy Options

By Jim Seif, Former Secretary Of DEP

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Become A Citizen Scientist To Help Us Understand, Find Solutions For Climate Change

About five percent of people working in the United States are scientists and engineers. Science is important because it is the most reliable way of learning about the world, both natural and artificial.

* July 14-Snorkeling In Cherry Creek For Kids; July 20-Cherry Valley Refuge Turtle Hike In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association announced it has two special outdoor education programs coming up in July.

* Foundation For Sustainable Forests Protects 436 Acres In Warren County

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests, a nonprofit land trust based in Spartansburg, Crawford County, announced 436 acres of working woodlands in Warren County’s Southwest and Eldred Townships have been conserved in perpetuity.  

* PALTA Publishes New Guides To Protecting Conservation Landowners From Personal Injury, Liability Loss

The PA Land Trust Association has published new and updated guidance on the protections provided to land trusts, local governments, and other landowners against claims of personal injury and loss of property by people using their land. PALTA developed substantial amendments to Pennsylvania's Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (RULWA) signed into law by Gov. Wolf in late 2018.

* Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy's Perki-Bay Expedition 2019 Now Underway! Follow Them On Facebook

On June 24, members of the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy’s Youth Conservation Corps began their five-day Perki-Bay Canoeing Expedition. The team, consisting of 22 students and leaders launched into the Perkiomen Creek at the Conservancy’s headquarters near Schwenksville, Montgomery County.

* Wildlands Conservancy Highlights July Education Programs, Activities

Lehigh Valley-based Wildlands Conservancy highlights July education programs and activities--

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: The Best Way to Explore PA Water Trails May Be By Canoe

Pennsylvania is home to many great hiking trails, but the opportunities for day trips and long-distance treks don’t stop at the waters edge.

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians - Austin Unruh & Multi-Functional Stream Buffers

Austin Unruh has a passion for stream buffers; and works to help build multi-functional riparian buffers with Crow and Berry land management.

* Lyme Timber, Three Rivers Forest Mgmt To Hold Public Meetings On Lyme’s Investment In Timber In Northcentral PA

The Lyme Timber Company and Three Rivers Forest Management will hold a Forestry Summer Series to educate the public on Lyme’s investments in timberland and related businesses, approaches to forest management, and conservation strategies in the Cameron, McKean and Potter counties region.

* Gifford Pinchot's Grey Towers Hosts 2019 Festival Of Wood August 3-4 In Pike County

A giant praying mantis made of wood. Unique henna art on wood. Jewelry, fountain pens and Christmas ornaments made from wood. All are additions to the returning wood craftsmen who will demonstrate, display and sell their specialty items at the 15th annual Festival of Wood, scheduled for August 3-4 at Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford, Pike County.

* June 26 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The June 26 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring these articles--

* Brodhead Watershed Assn: July 13 - How We Can Help Wildlife Withstand Climate Change, Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association will host a discussion on How We Can Help Wildlife Withstand Climate Change on July 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Brodhead Creek Heritage Center, 1539 Cherry Lane Road in East Stroudsburg, Monroe County.

* Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Awards $73,410 In Grants To 30 Wildlife Habitat, Hunting Projects In 44 PA Counties

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $73,410 in grants to fund 30 wildlife habitat and hunting heritage projects across 44 counties in Pennsylvania.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Streamlines Science Department With Promotions, New Hire

On June 25, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County announced it has revamped the Conservation Science Department with a series of internal promotions and an addition of a new research biologist to the team.

* Help Wanted: Allegheny Land Trust Land Manager

The Allegheny Land Trust is seeking qualified applicants to fill a Land Manager position.  The deadline for applications is July 15.

* 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.

* 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.

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

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

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* Sponsor: 2019 PA/National Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference

A Environment Digest is proud to be a sponsor of the 2019 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation and National Abandoned Mine Lands Program Conference to be held in Pittsburgh on September 8-11.

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