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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
May 31, 2021 Issue #883
(5/30/2021)
* 17 New Stories - REAL Environmental & Conservation Leadership In PA

There are 17 new stories in this week’s PA Environment Digest about devoting a career to environmental education, volunteers restoring water quality, permanently protecting sensitive lands, working with lawmakers to support mine reclamation projects, cleaning up neighborhoods, companies saving energy using renewable energy, fighting childhood asthma, restoring forests and more.

* PA Envirothon Executive Director Lorelle Steach To Retire After 30 Years Of Service To Envirothon Student Competitions

On May 25, the PA Association of Conservation Districts announced the retirement of Lorelle Steach as executive director of the Pennsylvania Envirothon where she administered the statewide Envirothon competition, which included working with state and national agency partners, county Envirothon coordinators, students, and teachers.

* The Conservation Fund Announces Addition Of 254 Acres To First State National Historic Park In Brandywine Watershed Delaware County

The Conservation Fund recently announced the addition of the 254-acre Beaver Valley property along Brandywine Creek to First State National Historical Park’s Brandywine Valley Unit in a portion of Delaware County

* DEP Highlights Local Water Quality Improvement Projects Cleaning Up Chesapeake Bay Watershed; Updates On Other County, Partner Accomplishments

The latest Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan newsletter from the Department of Environmental Protection as well as regular updates from county and other partners and recent accomplishments of the Chesapeake Bay Program in Pennsylvania.

* Lancaster County Clean Water Partners Highlight Local Work; Lancaster Water Week June 4-12

The May 28 newsletter from Lancaster Clean Water Partners highlights work being done in Lancaster County to improve water quality and all the exciting events that are part of Lancaster Water Week June 4-12.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Staff Teach Students About Aquatic Life In The Watershed

Susquehanna River Basin Commission scientist Ellyn Campbell recently shared information about aquatic organisms with seventy fourth-grade students at Silver Spring Elementary School in Cumberland County.

* Keep PA Beautiful, The GIANT Company, Community Groups Complete Improvement Projects In Dauphin County & Philadelphia

Through a partnership with The GIANT Company and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Tri County Community Action and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful completed three recent community improvement projects with the help of local volunteers and The GIANT Company’s team member engagement program. 

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary: Celebrate #BlackBirdersWeek May 30 to June 5

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County is celebrating Black Birders Week May 30 to June 5 with a special series of events to highlight Black nature Enthusiasts and to increase the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when engaging in outdoor activities.

* Game Commission Wildlife Futures Program Recognized By Fish & Wildlife Agency Association

The Northeast Wildlife Administrators Association of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in April honored the Game Commission for the agency’s forward-thinking in establishing its Wildlife Futures Program.

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 928 More Permit Reviews, 1,724 More Inspections Since Last Week

From March 16, 2020 to May 25, 2021 Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* Axios: Republican State Treasurer Garrity Threatens To Withdraw State Funds From Banks Not Lending To Coal & Natural Gas Companies

Axios reported on May 25, Republican State Treasurer Stacy Garrity joined a group of 14 other Republican state treasurers threatening to withdraw state funds from banks and financial institutions who do not lend money to coal, oil and natural gas companies as part of decarbonization efforts.

* DCNR Announces State Parks, Forests Expect High Visitation For The Summer Season

On May 26, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said Pennsylvania state parks and forests are open for the unofficial start of the summer season, and reminded Pennsylvanians of the guidelines in place so that all visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience.

* DCNR Issues Overcrowding Alerts For 14 State Parks, 2 State Forest Areas; Recommends Alternatives

On May 27, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources posted overcrowding alerts for 14 state parks and two state forest recreation areas and recommended alternatives.

* DCNR Preparing For Start Of Swimming Season On Memorial Day Weekend; Free Sunscreen Available At Many State Parks

On May 25, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn noted that state park swimming pools and beaches will be open this holiday weekend to welcome visitors for the outdoor activities that have been so critical to our well-being during the pandemic. 

* Agriculture: Spraying Begins To Control Spotted Lanternfly Along Transportation Rights-Of-Way With Pesticide Known To Be Toxic To Fish, Pollinators

On May 28, the Department of Agriculture announced crews have begun to spray an insecticide that kills the insects on contact along railways, interstates and other transportation rights-of-way.

* Bay Journal: PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found In Mosquito Spray, PA DEP Orders Mosquito Programs To Stop Using Clarke’s Anvil 10+10 Pesticide

By Timothy B. Wheeler, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* UPDATED: PA Capitol & COVID Weekly Report: Biden Saves PA Republicans; Vague Emergency Resolution; June 28 Or 70% Vaccinated Whatever Comes First

[ Because In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] The Independent Fiscal Office issued its first revenue estimates for FY 2021-22 last week and if it wasn’t clear before it is very clear now-- the Biden Administration’s push to provide state and local governments with money to prop up their budgets has saved Pennsylvania Republicans.

* Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

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

* 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--

* House Republicans Pass Bill Legalizing Road Dumping Of Conventional Oil & Gas Well Wastewater, Rolling Back Environmental Protection Standards

On May 25, House Republicans voted to pass House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) that would not only roll back environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas wells generally, but would also specifically make road dumping of drilling wastewater legal again.

* 81 Groups, 3,342 Individuals Express Opposition To Bill Legalizing Road Dumping Of Conventional Drilling Wastewater

On May 26, 81 organizations, institutions, and businesses and more than 3,342 concerned citizens called on state senators to vote no on a bill--  House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron)-- that would roll back rules on conventional drillers, many that have been in place for decades.

* House Republicans Pass Bill Creating Office Of The Repealer Of Regulations

On May 24, Republicans in the House voted to pass  House Bill 939 (Klunk-R-York) creating a new bureaucracy-- the Independent Office of the Repealer-- to review existing regulations from all state agencies and make recommendations to the General Assembly and Governor for the repeal or revision. 

* Senate Republicans Pass Bills To Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing, Require Private Review Of Permits, Not Tell Public Why Regulations Changes Being Proposed

On May 25 and 26, Republicans in the Senate passed legislation to kill regulations by doing nothing, require private review of permit applications, not tell the public why regulations are being proposed and more.

* Senate Committee Approves Bill Promoted By Privately-Owned Water Companies To Set Up Publicly-Owned Water/Wastewater Systems For Takeovers

On May 25, the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee reported out legislation pushed by privately-owned water/wastewater companies to set up publicly-owned water and wastewater systems for easier takeover by private systems.

* Senate Committees Hear New, Proposed Utility Scale Solar Electric Generation Capacity In PA Is Outpacing Natural Gas Generation By Nearly 3 to 1

On May 25, the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Local Government Committees held a joint hearing on local government issues related to the development of utility scale energy facilities in Pennsylvania.

* Senate Democrats, AG Shapiro Announce Legislation To Address Issues Raised In Grand Jury Report On Natural Gas Fracking

On May 25, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and members of the Senate Democratic Caucus announced a package of bills aimed at increasing transparency, oversight and the overall safe management of gas drilling operations in the fracking industry.

* Sen. Bartolotta Reintroduces Bill Narrowing Grounds For Citizen Appeals Of DEP Permit Decisions

On May 28, Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) reintroduced legislation-- Senate Bill 717-- which would create a new standard for the review for appeals of DEP permit actions before the Environmental Hearing Board by limiting parties appealing permit decisions-- a company or a citizens group-- to issues raised in and information contained in a record of decision of a permit prepared by DEP.

* Biden's First Budget Makes Significant Investments In Abandoned Coal Mine Reclamation, Community Economic Development Efforts

On May 28, the Biden administration submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2022, including $312 million for the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation, which features $165 million to address coal mine reclamation and economic development efforts.

* U.S. House Committee OKs Bipartisan Bills To Prevent Expiration Of Federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, Expand Economic Development Opportunities

On May 26, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee reported out two bipartisan bills to prevent the expiration of the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program and expand mine reclamation efforts, according to the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

* Proposed Biden Budget Makes Historic Investments In EPA Programs To Support States, Environmental Justice, Science, Reverses Years Of Declining Budgets

On May 28, the Biden Administration's proposed BY 2022 budget request advances key EPA priorities, including tackling climate change, advancing environmental justice, protecting public health, improving infrastructure, creating jobs, and supporting and rebuilding the EPA workforce.

* National Conservation Districts Applaud Proposed Conservation Funding Increases In Biden Budget Proposal

On May 28, the National Association of Conservation Districts applauded the additional funding for conservation efforts in President Biden's proposed FY 2022 federal budget.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Praises Biden Proposed Budget Giving Chesapeake Bay Program Full Funding

On May 28, President Biden released a fiscal year 2022 budget request that would boost funding for the federal Chesapeake Bay Program to $90.5 million from its current level of $87.5 million. This $3 million increase, if enacted, would result in full funding for the Program. 

* PA Receives $3.9 Million EPA Grant For Water Quality Improvement Projects In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

On May 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced six states and the District of Columbia will share $7.25 million for actions to improve local rivers and streams in locations most beneficial to the downstream Chesapeake Bay.

* National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Accepting Applications For Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is now accepting applications for the Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program.  The deadline to apply is July 15.

* EPA Kicks Off Series Of 10 Roundtable Discussions On Lead In Drinking Water June 3 In Pittsburgh

On May 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the ten communities that have been selected for virtual roundtable discussions on EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) Revisions.

* EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Recognizes Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia With First Asthma Community Champion Award

On May 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Region’s Asthma Program announced the selection of the first-ever Asthma Community Champion-- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Community Asthma Prevention Plus Program (CAPP+).

* DCNR Highlights Many Benefits Of Streamside Buffers In Visit To Geisinger Health System In Montour County

On May 26, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund, State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger, and officials from Geisinger Health System toured a streamside buffer at Geisinger Woodbine Lane in Danville that demonstrates how property owners can include pollinator habit and recreation opportunities in projects that help reduce water pollution.

* Lancaster County Clean Water Partners Hold June 1 Growing Greener, 319, Clean Water Fund Grant Applicant Workshop

Lancaster Clean Water Partners will host a workshop for partners interested in applying for Growing Greener, Section 319 and Clean Water Fund grants on June 1 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.  There are both in-person and online options available.

* Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Program Offers 1-Day Stormwater BMP Training June 29 In Lancaster County; Scholarships Available

The Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Program is offering a one-day, in-person Stormwater BMP Training Workshop on June 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 in Lititz, Lancaster County.

* DEP Invites Comments On TMDL Water Quality Plan For Laurel Hill Creek Watershed, Somerset County

The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice in the May 29 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a proposed Total Maximum Daily Load Plan for the Laurel Hill Creek subwatershed in Somerset County.  (PA Bulletin, page 3056).

* City Of Lancaster Residents Can Pick Up Bee Better Kit To Support Pollinators June 26

Do you live in or around the City of Lancaster and have an interest in native plants and supporting pollinators?

* Cumberland County Penn State Master Gardeners Offering Pollinator Container Garden Kits To Go June 26

Celebrate National Pollinator Week June 21-27, 2021 with the Penn State Master Gardeners of Cumberland County!

* Dept. Of Agriculture Accepting Agriculture Research Project Grant Applications On Spotted Lanternflies, Pollinators, Water Quality Improvement, Climate Resiliency, Other Topics

The Department of Agriculture announced it is now accepting applications for Agriculture Research Project Grants until June 25.  (formal notice)

* PA Resources Council To Host Household Chemical Collection Events In Fayette, Washington Counties In June

The PA Resources Council will host Household Chemical Collection events in Fayette and Washington counties to provide an opportunity for residents to conveniently dispose of materials such as cleaners, paints, stains and varnishes, batteries, motor oil and pesticides. 

* PA Resources Council To Host 5 Backyard Composting, Rain Barrel Online Conservation Workshops In June

Want to learn new skills and protect the environment?  Take one of the PA Resources Council conservation workshops in June on backyard composting and rain barrel installation.

* Environmental Groups Appeal DEP Air Quality Permit For Proposed Natural Gas Power Plant In Clinton County

On May 27, Clean Air Council, PennFuture, and the Center for Biological Diversity announced they filed an appeal of the air quality permit the Department of Environmental Protection issued for the Renovo Energy Center, a large gas-fired power plant proposed for the town of Renovo in Clinton County

* IFO: PA Quarterly Natural Gas Production Continues Steady Increase; PA Price Of Gas Increases 64.4%

On May 24, the Independent Fiscal Office reported natural gas production in Pennsylvania continued to increase in the first quarter of 2021-- January to March-- increasing 5.4 percent from the first quarter of 2020.

* PUC: Utilities Encouraged To Use Cybersecurity Best Practices Following Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Cyber Attack

On May 26, the Public Utility Commission issued a Cybersecurity Advisory to public utilities across Pennsylvania highlighting cybersecurity best practices following a recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline Company – which disrupted fuel supplies along the East Coast.

* PUC PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee Imposes $34,750 In Penalties For Violations

On May 25, the Public Utility Commission announced the PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee took a total of 102 disciplinary actions, including imposing $34,750 in administrative penalties against 52 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners in its latest enforcement actions at its May meeting.

* Pittsburgh 2030 District Partners Purchased Over 196,000 MWh Of Renewable Energy In 2020

The Pittsburgh 2030 District recently issued its 2020 Annual Report showing the accomplishments of the more than 550 buildings and 1,200 partners participating in the initiative to reduce energy and water use by 50 percent by 2030.

* Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance Hosts June 11 Women+ In Green Steadfast & Strong Breakfast

The Pittsburgh-based Green Building Alliance will host an online Women+ In Green Steadfast and Strong Breakfast Program June 11 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

* WeConservePA: Utility Scale Solar - Environmental & Siting Considerations Webinar Series In August

WeConservePA will host a series of four webinars on Utility Scale Solar - Environmental and Siting Considerations in August.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Releases Schedule Of Summer Hikes, Volunteer & Education Events In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association is planning events for the rest of 2021, including the popular Get Outdoors Poconos series of events, supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, kicks off the summer.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy: Launches Drinks For The Delaware - Local Businesses Supporting Conservation

On May 27, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced the relaunch of a program to benefit the Upper Delaware River region-- Drinks for the Delaware.

* DCNR Blog: Restoring A Forest Devastated By Lymantria dispar (Gypsy Moth)

By Ryan Reed, Natural Resource Program Specialist, Bureau of Forestry

* DCNR Proposes Land Exchange With Erdenheim Farm In Chester, Montgomery Counties

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice in the May 29 PA Bulletin of a proposed land exchange with the Erdenheim Farm in Chester and Montgomery counties.

* May 28 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The May 28 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks & Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Delaware RiverKeeper Network Hosting June 5-6 Women's Camping Adventure

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is hosting a women's overnight camping trip at French Creek State Park in Berks and Chester counties on June 5-6th.

* Call For Proposals PA Recreation & Park Society 2022 Annual Conference & Expo March 29 - April 1

The PA Recreation and Park Society is now accepting proposals for educational sessions to be presented at the 2022 Annual Conference & Expo.  The deadline for submissions is August 27.

* Audubon Mid-Atlantic Releases RFP For Consultant To Prepare Conservation Plan For Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape Region

Audubon Mid-Atlantic invites qualified firms to respond to a Request for Proposals for facilitating and drafting a Conservation Plan for the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape Region.  Responses are due June 30.

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

Click Here: Week’s Worth Of PA Environment & Energy NewsClips

* 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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