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February 18, 2008
(2/15/2008)
PDF Version - PA Environment Digest 2/18/08
* Watershed Groups Concerned About Use of Federal AML Funding, DEP Responds
Watershed groups across the state expressed concern this week about whether or not the Department of Environmental Protection will provide them with funding to cleanup abandoned mine drainage from the recently revitalized federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund.
* DEP Grants Extensions for Meeting Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, But No Money
The Department of Environmental Protection announced it would be giving municipalities more time to upgrade their sewage treatment plants to meet new restrictions needed to help implement the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy, but no increased funding from the state is being proposed.
* On the Senate/House Agenda/Bills Introduced
The Senate and House will return to voting session the week of March 10. The Senate and House will hold hearings on Gov. Rendell’s proposed budget in the interim.
* Senate/House Bills Moving
These environmental bills of interest were considered by the Senate and House this week—
* Senate Approves Comprehensive Deep Mine Safety Bill, Now Moves to House
The Senate this week approved Senate Bill 949 (Kasunic-D-Somerset) that provides for the first rewrite of the Bituminous Coal Mine Safety Act in 45 years, in-part based on recommendations made after the 2002 Quecreek Mine Rescue.
* Senate OKs Resolution on Study of Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy Costs
The Senate this week unanimously approved Senate Resolution 224 (Vance-R-Cumberland) that requires a third-party study of the costs for sewage treatment facilities to fulfill the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy
* Bill Requiring Energy Conservation, Use Reduction Approved by House
The House this week passed House Bill 2200 (George-D-Clearfield) that would require electric utilities to reduce overall electric usage by 2.5 percent and peak demand by 4 percent through energy conservation programs and the installation of smart electric meters.
* House Considers Amendments to Governor’s $850 Million Energy Plan
The House in Special Energy Session considered amendments to Special Session House Bill 1 (DePasquale-D-York) that establishes Gov. Rendell’s $850 million bond-funded Energy Independence Plan to support clean and renewable energy resources and energy conservation programs.
* House Environmental Committee Takes Comments on Extending Electric Rate Caps
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a hearing on Special Session House Bill 54 (George-D-Clearfield) that would extend the existing rate caps on electricity prices from 2010 to 2013.
* Rep. Brooks Bill to Encourage Bioenergy on Mine Reclamation Sites
To help further the efforts of private industry to invest in the bioenergy field, Rep. Michele Brooks (R-Lawrence) is sponsoring Special Session House Bill 55 to encourage the planting of switchgrass and other bioenergy crops on reclaimed mine lands through tax credits.
* Senate GOP Policy Committee to Hold Hearing on Cost of Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
The Senate Republican Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on the cost of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Chesapeake Bay cleanup strategy on February 21 in Harrisburg.
* State Treasurer Makes Investments in Solving Environmental Problems
State Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann announced she has invested $15 million in publicly traded funds that hold stocks of companies that provide solutions for environmental problems or operate in a responsible manner with respect to the environment.
* Gov. Rendell Urges Congress to Consider PA's Priorities in Farm Bill
Gov. Rendell this week announced Pennsylvania's latest recommendations to Congress for the Farm Bill, a key piece of federal legislation that will guide agriculture conservation and nutrition programs for the next five years.
* Delaware River Watershed Education Youth Eco-Leadership Summit April 20-22
The 15th Annual Delaware River Watershed Education Youth Eco-Leadership Summit will be held April 20-22 at the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pa.
* Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference, Shad Symposium Set for March 28
The Wildlands Conservancy, Lehigh County Conservation District, Fish and Boat Commission and other partners will hold the 2008 Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference and Shad Symposium on March 28 at the Holiday Inn in Fogelsville, Pa.
* Teachers Invited to Workshop on Acid Mine Drainage in PA
Middle and high school teachers are invited to a three-day program to learn about the issues, causes and effects of abandoned mine drainage in Pennsylvania at the Jennings Environmental Education Center in Slippery Rock, Pa on March 29, April 12 and May 17.
* DEP Lifts Drought Watch in All Pennsylvania Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection this week lifted the drought watch declaration for the last 20 counties meaning all of Pennsylvania is now considered to have normal ground and surface water levels.
* PA CleanWays Coastal Cleanups in 2007 Net Over 9 Tons of Junk
PA CleanWays and its partners participated in the International Coastal Cleanups in September 2007 that resulted in collecting over 9 tons of illegally dumped items in the Delaware Estuary.
* PA AWWA Sponsors The Chlorine Security Summit March 19
The PA Chapter American Waterworks Association will sponsor The Chlorine Security Summit on March 19 in Hamarville, near Pittsburgh.
* Children, Nature, Wellness: Open the Door to Learning Conference Call for Papers
The Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children is now inviting proposals for presentations at the October 25 Conference – “Children, Nature and Wellness: Open the Door to Learning.” Proposals are due March 31.
* Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Comes to Allentown on March 2
Join Wildlands Conservancy when the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour brings the spirit of outdoor adventure to the Lehigh Valley, at the auditorium at Parkland Senior High School on March 2 at 6 p.m.
* Commonwealth Honored With National Award From Travel Writers
Gov. Rendell this week said the Commonwealth is honored that the Pennsylvania Wilds initiative is receiving the national Phoenix Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.
* Game Commission’s Howard Nursery Offers Trees to Improve Wildlife Habitat
Landowners seeking to plant trees beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to begin making plans now and the Game Commission can help through the Howard Nursery Seedling Program.
* Wildlife For Everyone Foundation Donates Berks County Land
The Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation announced that Boyd and Sheila Sponaugle of Lancaster, Pa, have generously donated 20.14 acres of land in Upper Tulpehocken Township, Berks County to the Foundation.
* Farmland Preservation Board OKs $74.2 Million Preservation Investment
Pennsylvania will continue to be the national leader in farmland preservation thanks to a joint state and county investment of $15.1 million to preserve 5,391 acres of farmland in 23 counties.
* Guidebook to PA Environmental Laws and Regulations Now Available
The 2008-09 Guidebook to Pennsylvania Environmental Laws and Regulations is now available from the PA Chamber of Business and Industry.
* BioEnergy International Breaks Ground on PA's 1st Ethanol Plant in Clearfield
BioEnergy International this week broke ground for the Bionol Clearfield LLC, 100 million gallon per year corn ethanol biorefinery in Clearfield, Pa.
* Ground Broken on $100 Million Solar Manufacturing Project in Bucks County
AE Polysilicon this week broke ground at the Bucks County’s Keystone International Port Complex for a $100 million plant that will manufacture high-purity polysilicon used in the solar power industry.
* Pennsylvania Has 103 Buildings Meeting EPA's Energy Star Standards
Pennsylvania now has 103 Energy Star-qualified buildings represent approximately 15.7 million square feet of space that save an estimated $1.5 billion annually in lower energy bills, while meeting industry standards for comfort and indoor air quality.
* Help Wanted: PRC Environmental Education Coordinator
The Pennsylvania Resources Council is seeking a full/part-time Environmental Education Coordinator to lead PRC’s team of environmental educators at its Newtown Square facility, near Philadelphia.
* Spotlight - Effects of Nitrate Deposition on Wildlife and Humans
By Judith Y. Aker
* Feature - New Online Guide to PA's Forbes Trail Features History, Outdoor Recreation
A new website takes visitors into the world of young George Washington and the 1758 Forbes Expedition, then provides them with tools to experience that world today, its history and recreational opportunities, on the Forbes Trail that stretches from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.
* Grants & Awards
This section gives you a heads up on upcoming deadlines for grants and financial assistance as well as nominations for awards and other recognition programs. NEW means from last week—
* Quick Clips
Here’s a selection of NewsClips on environmental topics from around the state
* Watershed NewsClips
Read a sampling of NewsClips on watershed topics from around Pennsylvania.
* Regulations
Department of Environmental Protection published an updated list of certified radon contractors (Pa Bulletin page 938).
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The State Conservation Commission published notice of its conservation district fund allocation policy.
* Calendar of Events
Upcoming conferences, meetings, workshops, plus links to other online calendars. Meetings are in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted. NEW indicates new from last week. Go To: PA Environment Digest Calendar Page
* Stories Invited
Send your stories about environmental issues, programs and positive actions to PA Environment Digest - DHess@CrisciAssociates.com or go to www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com .
* Supporting Member PA Outdoor Writers Association
PA Environment Digest is a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.

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