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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 23, 2020 Issue #821
* NEW UPDATE: On Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Information For Pennsylvania

On March 23, Gov. Wolf issued a Stay-At-Home order for residents in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Monroe counties, 75 percent of the state’s population. Read more here.

* ALL DEP Offices Statewide Are Closed Until March 31

On March 16, the Department of Environmental Protection posted notice on its website that ALL of its offices statewide will be closed for at least the next 14 days (March 31).

* DEP Cancels Hearings On Land Recycling Cleanup Standard Changes, Including PFAS, Lead; Comments Can Be Submitted Online

On March 16, due to coronavirus concerns, the Department of Environmental Protection canceled three public hearings to gather public input on proposed rulemaking that would amend state regulation to establish groundwater and soil cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lead at contaminated properties

* April DEP Hearings CANCELED On Mariner East II Pipeline Erosion, Water Encroachment Permits In Chester, Delaware Counties

On March 17, the Department of Environmental Protection canceled three hearings to accept comments on changes to the Mariner East II Pipeline Chapter 102 (Erosion) and Chapter 105 (Water Encroachment) permits related to construction at three locations in Chester and Delaware counties.

* April 2 DEP Hearing On Air Permits For Sunoco Terminal In Delaware County CANCELED

On March 17, the Department of Environmental canceled an April 2 hearing to gather public input regarding its intent to issue two draft Air Quality Plan Approvals to Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, L.P. (SPMT) for the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Marcus Hook Borough, Delaware County.

* DEP Expands Use Of Online Tools, Conference Calls To Hold Public Meetings, Hearings

The Department of Environmental Protection is now holding more of its advisory committee meetings, hearings and day-to-day business online or through conference calls, adapting to the social distancing requirements imposed as a result of the coronavirus.

* PA Municipal Authorities Assn. Provides Coronavirus Guidance To Members To Keep Essential Water, Wastewater Facilities Operating

On March 18, the PA Municipal Authorities Association provided guidance to its members on the COVID-19 pandemic to help them keep their customers and employees safe and keep essential services like drinking water, wastewater, and trash disposal operating.

* Penn State Extension: Why Drinking Water Is Considered Safe From Coronavirus Pandemic

By Danielle Rhea, Extension Educator

* Be Careful What You Flush: Avoid Toilet Paper Alternatives With Onlot Septic Systems

By Susan Boser, Extension Renewable Natural Resources Educator

* PA American Water Warns Against Flushing Sanitizing, Flushable Wipes

On March 21, Pennsylvania American Water is telling customers not to flush sanitizing wipes and “flushable” wipes down the toilet.

* UPDATED: DCNR Closes State Park, Forest Facilities, Cancels Activities Until April 30, Open Spaces Will Remain Accessible

On March 23, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced all facilities at state parks and forests in Pennsylvania will be closed until April 30 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

* DCNR Continues To Accept Recreation & Conservation, Snowmobile/ATV Grant Applications, Same Deadlines

On March 18, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said staff is following Gov. Wolf’s directive to telework until Monday, March 30 related to the coronavirus. All Bureau of Recreation and Conservation regional staff and most central office staff are working remotely.

* DCNR: COVID-19 Resources For Local Park And Recreation Providers

The PA Recreation and Parks Society has established a new Recreation and Parks COVID-19 Resources webpage to offer relevant and practical resources to help park and recreation providers best serve their constituents and communities during this unprecedented time

* DCNR: Coronavirus Precautions For Outdoor Recreation

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has these recommendations if you are outdoors for recreation--

* March 18 Resource Newsletter Outlines Coronavirus-Related Actions Taken By DCNR So Far

The March 18 Resource newsletter is now available outlining the precautions taken so far by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources related to the coronavirus.  They include--

* Cameron County Chamber Of Commerce Cancels Sinnemahone Canoe & Kayak Classic

On March 19, the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce announced the cancellation of the Sinnemahone Canoe and Kayak Classic on Saturday April 4. 

* Penn State Extension Has Canceled All Public Education Programs, Events Statewide Thru May 15

Due to coronavirus concerns, Penn State Extension has canceled all programs and public educational events through May 15, pending further developments.

* Fish & Boat Commission Sets Single, Statewide Opening Day For Trout Season For April 18, Eliminates Volunteer Role In Stocking

On March 16, the Fish and Boat Commission announced there will be a single, statewide opening day for trout season-- April 18-- instead of two regional opening days, in response to Coronavirus concerns.

* Dept. Of Agriculture Directs Families To Emergency Food Assistance

On March 17, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding issued guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

* Dept. Of Agriculture: Guidance To Food Industry For Safe, Reliable Food Supply

On March 17, the Department of Agriculture issued guidance for the agriculture industry on essential businesses and how those businesses can mitigate against COVID-19 while maintaining essential operations to ensure access to food.

* Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants/Shops: Stay Safe, Eat Smart, Shop Smart, Support Your Neighbors

The health and safety of our community are always important values to us here at Sustainable Pittsburgh.

* Dept. Of Agriculture Guidance For Animal Shelters, Boarding Facilities, Advice For Pet Owners

In recognition of the critical role boarding kennels, doggie daycares, shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues play in ensuring essential workers and at-risk individuals have a safe place to house dogs and the need for continued care for Pennsylvania's strays, the Department of Agriculture issued guidance for protecting staff and volunteers of such facilities.

* PA National Guard Troops Assist 38 Residents Returning From Quarantine In Georgia

Over 50 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen have been placed on state active duty to provide assistance to state partner agencies in their response to COVID-19 as passengers from a Grand Princess Cruise returned home March 17.

* PUC Suspends Door-To-Door, In-Person Marketing By Energy Suppliers During Coronavirus Emergency

On March 16, the Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille announced she signed an emergency order suspending all door-to-door, in-person and public event sales activities by agents of competitive electric and natural gas suppliers in the Commonwealth’s retail energy markets.

* PUC Issues Emergency Order Changing Administrative Deadlines, Filing And Service Requirements

On March 20, the Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille signed an emergency order permitting the modification of regulatory and statutory deadlines and procedural rules affecting filing and service requirements with the PUC as well as time periods established for the Commission to take final action on matters before it.

* PUC To Conduct March 26 Meeting Telephonically

In response to the ongoing threat to public health posed by the COVID-19 virus, the Public Utility Commission announced its upcoming public meeting-- scheduled for March 26-- will be conducted telephonically.

* Delaware RiverKeeper Urges Public Agencies To Extend Public Comment Periods, Delay Decisions On Key Projects

On March 20, the Delaware RiverKeeper wrote to the Governors of Delaware, News Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania as well as key federal agencies urging them to extend public comment periods and delay decision making on permits, dockets, projects, permits, regulations, and legislation that could impact the Delaware River Watershed in light of the COVID-19 health emergency.

* Cong. Cartwright Asks Congressional Leaders To Reject Coal Industry Call To Suspend Federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fee, Black Lung Tax

On March 20, Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) wrote to the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House urging them not to go along with a National Coal Association recommendation to suspend or reduce the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation fee and cut the tax supporting victims of black lung disease.

* PA Assn. Of Environmental Educators Opens Online Teaching Environmental Ed At Home Resource Page

On March 20, the PA Association of Environmental Educators opened a special Teaching Environmental Ed At Home resource webpage to help parents, grandparents, teachers and school officials provide an EE learning experience while their students are home.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Parks, Forests Important To Physical, Emotional Health; At-Home Environmental Ed Ideas

The March 20 Take Five Fridays With Pam from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation is dedicated to helping people through the coronavirus outbreak with suggestions for using parks to help with our physical, mental and emotional health.

* Game Commission State Ornithologist To Answer Questions March 23 On PA Farm Country Bald Eagle Cam Webpage

Game Commission State Ornithologist Sean Murphy and Endangered Bird Specialist Patti Barber will be answering your questions LIVE in a chat feature on March 23 at 1:00 p.m. from the PA Farm Country Bald Eagle Livestream webpage.

* Western PA Conservancy/Natural Areas Assn. Host Webinar On Landscapes & Biodiversity Of Penn's Woods March 24

Charles Bier, Senior Director of Conservation Science at the Western PA Conservancy, will present an overview of Pennsylvania's Landscapes and Biodiversity during a webinar on March 24 from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

* POSTPONED -DEP Citizens Advisory Council, Air Quality Advisory Committee Hold Online Meeting April 2 On RGGI Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal

POSTPONED - DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council and the Air Quality Advisory Committee are scheduled at this time to hold an online information meeting April 2 starting at 1:00 p.m. on the proposed initiative to reduce carbon pollution from power plants (RGGI).

* PA Capitol Report: Senate, House Adopt Rules To Allow Remote Voting, Meetings; Senate Promises Transparency

The coronavirus threw a wrench into Senate and House schedules and actions this week-- like it did everyone else-- as they struggled to find a way to continue operating with the coronavirus social distancing restrictions now in place.

* 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 [Updated]

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--

* HB 1100 Subsidy Bill For Using Natural Gas In Manufacturing Goes To Governor

On March 18, the Senate sent House Bill 1100 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne) establishing a subsidy program for the use of natural gas in manufacturing to the Governor for his action.  Gov. Wolf previously said he would veto the bill because he said he wanted to broaden the program.

* NRCS-PA Accepting Regional Conservation Partnership Proposals

On March 18, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it is accepting proposals from partners through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to address natural resource concerns at local, regional, and landscape scales through May 18.

* Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership: When It Comes To Protecting Streams, What's In A Name Matters

By Derek Eberly, PA Field Representative

* Bay Journal: Decline Of Ruffed Grouse Linked To Loss Of Young Forest Habitat

By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* Bay Journal: Smart Ponds Creating A Splash In Field Of Green Stormwater Control

By Timothy B. Wheeler, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* Don’t Let The Changing Season Spring Your Riparian Buffer Out Of The Ground; Growing Great Buffers Video Series

By Jennifer R. Fetter, Water Resources Educator

* Master Watershed Stewards Participate In Delaware Watershed Stream Monitoring

By Jacquline Wolf Tice & Simon Molloy, Penn State Master Watershed Stewards

* Penn State Extension: Cover Crops, Double Crops And Cost Considerations

By Lisa A. Holden, Associate Professor Of Dairy Science

* Celebrate Water At Home! Fix A Leak, Plant A Tree!

By Jennifer R. Fetter, Extension Water Resources Educator

* Penn State Extension: Rain Barrels For Water Conservation, Reducing Stormwater

By Diane Oleson, Penn State Master Watershed Steward

* Latest Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The latest Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring these articles--

* 2020 Chesapeake Watershed Forum Call For Presentation Proposals

The 2020 Chesapeake Watershed Forum Planning Committee is now accepting submissions for both classroom sessions and intensive seminars.  The deadline for proposals is May 8.

* Stream Restoration, Inc. Makes Mining & Reclamation Presentation At St. Luke Lutheran School, Butler County

On March 13, students in Mrs. Melissa Busler’s 7th grade science class at St. Luke Lutheran School in Cabot, Butler County  were treated to a presentation by guest speaker Shaun Busler, biologist and GIS Professional from Stream Restoration Incorporated and Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition volunteer.

* March Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

The March issue of the Catalyst newsletter is now available from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition featuring Articles on--

* DEP Posts Final General Permit For Beneficial Use Of Post-Consumer Oyster Shells In Delaware Estuary

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 21 PA Bulletin of a availability for a final General Permit (WMGM064) to authorize the processing and beneficial use (by shell planting, reef construction and living shoreline stabilization/enhancement) of post-consumer oyster shells for natural habitat restoration projects in the Delaware Estuary or other shoreline and subtidal areas.

* Final Changes To Low Flow Management Practices Adopted By Susquehanna River Basin Commission

On March 18, The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has adopted Resolution No. 2020-02  that enhances its low flow management practices and modifies how it collects and applies its water use fee.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Adopts Final Consumptive Use Rule, Mitigation Policy

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has adopted a final rule to amend its regulations on consumptive use and consumptive use mitigation. These rules are designed to enhance and improve the Commission's existing authorities to manage the water resources of the basin. 

* Summary Of Actions From March 13 Susquehanna River Basin Commission Meeting

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission held its quarterly business meeting in Harrisburg on March 13.  Among its actions, the Commission:

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Issues 2019 Annual Report

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s 2019 Annual Report is now available highlighting its efforts to ensure water availability, for flood warning, assessing stream health, restoring abandoned mine lands and enhancing ecosystems.

* SEEDS Hosts Resilient Regional Economies Program With Sustainable Business Entrepreneur Judy Wicks September 15 In Wayne County

SEEDS (Sustainable Energy and Education Development Support) has rescheduled the Resilient Regional Economies presentation by renowned entrepreneur, author, and acclaimed speaker, Judy Wicks for September 15, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at The Cooperage Project, 1030 Main Street in Honesdale, Wayne County

* Game Commission: Hunters Posted Highest Overall Deer Harvest In 15 Years - 389,431 Deer

On March 19, the Game Commission announced Pennsylvania hunters posted their highest overall deer harvest in 15 years when they took 389,431 deer during the state’s 2019-20 hunting seasons, which closed in January.

* Governor's Hunting, Fishing, Conservation Council Seeking Member

The Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation is seeking a qualified candidate to represent District 8 on the Game Commission’s board of directors.   The deadline for applications is April 17.

* Intern Wanted: PA Forestry Association Conservation Heritage Intern

The PA Forestry Association’s Forest Heritage Discovery Center located in the Caledonia State Park near Fayetteville, Franklin County is seeking interns to help staff the Discovery Center on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend (May 23rd) to Labor Day (September 7th).

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

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* 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.

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* PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 24-25 In State College

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 24-25 in State College.  Registration Now Open! 

* 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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