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August 6, 2012
(8/6/2012)
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* Pennsylvania Team Comes In 15th In International Envirothon Competition

Pennsylvania's five-member MMI Preparatory School from Luzerne County came in 15th during last week's international Canon Envirothon competition at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove.

* New Federal Law Reduces Mine Reclamation Funding To PA By $200 Million

On July 6 the the new federal Surface Transportation Bill (HR 4348) was signed into law.  Included in the bill within Section 100125 was an amendment sponsored by U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) which will reduce federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funding to Pennsylvania by $200 million over the next 10 years.

* Dents Run Mine Reclamation Project Wins National Reclamation Award

Pennsylvania's Dents Run abandoned mine reclamation project in Elk County was recognized this week as one of five winners of the 2012 federal Office of Surface Mining Mine Reclamation Awards.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule (New)

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

* July State Revenue Collections $100 Million Ahead Of July 2011

The Department of Revenue reported Wednesday Pennsylvania collected $1.8 billion in General Fund revenue in July, the first month of the 2012-13 fiscal year, which is $100 million more than the state collected in July 2011.

* Nominations Now Being Accepted For John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award

The Friends of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center are now accepting nominations for the John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award.  Nominations are due August 31.

* DEP Files Settlement To Close Little Blue Run Coal Ash Disposal Facility In Beaver

The Department of Environmental Protection filed a complaint and proposed consent decree July 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against First Energy Generating Corp. requiring the company to submit a plan to close the Little Blue Run coal waste impoundment in Beaver County.

* StateImpact PA: Tioga Commissionersí Meeting Dominated By Methane Questions

Scott Detrow of WITF's StateImpact PA reports the Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports a Tioga County Commissioner’s meet­ing was dom­i­nated by ques­tions about Shell’s Union Township methane migra­tion prob­lems, which StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia pro­vided an update on Monday.

* Opinion- Susquehanna Stream Gages Needed For Flood Mitigation And Drought Monitoring

By Paul O. Swartz, Executive Director, Susquehanna River Basin Commission

* Applications Now Being Accepted For Chesapeake Bay Environmental Education Grants

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is pleased to announce the creation of a new grant initiative, the Environmental Education Capacity Building Program.  Applications are due August 31.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Issues Statements Opposing U.S. House Farm Bill

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement Wednesday concerning a proposal by the leadership in the House of Representatives that would fund drought relief to ranchers at the expense of conservation funding nationally.

* Do You Use Middle Schuylkill River? Your Survey Answers Needed!

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is doing a survey of middle Schuylkill River recreation users as part of a feasibility study on forecasting river pathogens.  Click Here to take the survey.  Your results are needed by August 15.

* Officials Tour Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project In Schuylkill County

Local officials and project leaders gathered this morning to get a firsthand look at the results of a recently completed abandoned mine reclamation project in Reilly Township, Schuylkill County.

* DEP Reduces Mine Subsidence Insurance Premiums

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday it has reduced rates for Mine Subsidence Insurance which covers losses resulting from abandoned coal or clay mining and from damage caused by the sudden discharge of water that may be contained in a mine void.

* Energy A Focus At Penn State's Ag Progress Days August 14-16

Energy -- be it solar, wind, biofuels from plants or natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale -- again will be a focus at Ag Progress Days, August 14-16.

* PROP: Ruby's Recycling Ruckus Wins Top Video Contest Honors

A comical and inspirational video was voted as best entry to the 5th Annual PROP Recycling Film Festival held at the annual conference of the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania in Lancaster, PA on July 25th.

* E-Waste Collection Events Set For August 11, September 15 In Eastern PA

The PA Resources Council, E-Covanta and Materials Processing Corporation are sponsoring a series of electronic waste collection events in Eastern Pennsylvania-- August 11 in Quakertown and September 15 at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia.  For more information, visit PRC’s E-Waste webpage for Eastern PA or send an email to Jayne Young at: young@prc.org.

* PRC Sponsors Composting, Rain Barrel, Worm Composting Workshops In Western PA

The Pennsylvania Resources Council has scheduled a series of Backyard Composting, Worm Composting, Rain Barrel and Healthy Body, Healthy Home, Healthy Planet Workshops beginning on August 28.

* PUC Finalizes Next Steps For Energy Efficiency, Conservation Programs

The Public Utility Commission Thursday adopted a Final Implementation Order on the future of energy efficiency and conservation programs established under Act 129 of 2008.

* Implementation Of Distribution System Improvement Charge Finalized By PUC

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued a Final Order that implements portions of Act 11 of 2012, which among other things, provides for a distribution system improvement charge (DSIC) for electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities.

* Binding Poll On Default Service Programs For FirstEnergy Companies Held

The Public Utility Commission Thursday conducted a binding poll on the issues related to the default service programs for FirstEnergy companies including Metropolitan Edison Co., Pennsylvania Electric Co., Pennsylvania Power Co. and West Penn Power Co. (FirstEnergy).

* PPL Completes Final Solicitation For Solar Renewable Energy Credits

PPL Electric Utilities completed its third and final solicitation for solar renewable energy credits on July 16, 2012, which will help the company provide power from alternative energy sources for residential customers who elect to remain on the utility’s default electric supply.

* Chatham University Receives Grants To Support Sustainability Initiatives

Chatham University has received grants from the J.B. Finley Charitable Trust through the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee and the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation totaling $35,000 to support infrastructure initiatives relating to sustainable agriculture at Eden Hall Campus.

* Corbett Discusses Challenges Ahead For Shell Cracker Plant

Gov. Tom Corbett was joined Thursday by elected state officials and representatives of labor and business to highlight the importance of continued state efforts to bring a petrochemical complex to Pennsylvania.

* 2 PA Projects Awarded TogetherGreen Innovation Grants From Audubon, Toyota

Toyota and the National Audubon Society Wednesday awarded over $1 million in TogetherGreen Innovation Grants funding to 41 innovative environmental projects nationwide, including two grants in Pennsylvania.

* Emerald Ash Borer In 6 More Counties, Caution Urged In Moving Firewood

The Emerald Ash Borer beetle has been discovered in Bucks, Franklin, Jefferson, Perry, Snyder and Venango counties. With these new finds, 28 counties are now dealing with the invasive ash tree-killing pest.

* Invasive Plant Management Workshop Set For September 26 In Luzerne

The Pinchot Chapter Allegheny Society of American Foresters is sponsoring a one-day Invasive Plant Management Workshop on September 26 at Nescopeck State Park in Luzerne County.

* Online Video: Keep Your Home, Farm Safe From Wild Fires

Through iConservePA.org, Mike Kern from DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry and Smokey Bear give home and farm owners tips about how they can keep their property safe from wild fires.  Click Here to watch the video.

* DCNR, Partners Sponsor Statewide Tree Inventory Workshops In August

A registration deadline is approaching for a series of workshops—addressing street tree inventories and the latest computer tools available to effectively compile them—that are planned in the eastern and western sections of the state.

* 310 Acres Added To Delaware State Forest

The Trust for Public Land has permanently protected 310 acres of forest in the Township of Blooming Grove, Pike County. The property was transferred to DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry as an addition to the 80,267-acre Delaware State Forest.

* DCNR Joins In Dedication of Renovated North Philadelphia Park

Marking its longstanding commitment to recreational and open space improvements throughout Philadelphia, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will join city representatives and neighborhood groups August 4 in dedicating significant renovations at Fairhill Square Park in the city’s West Kensington section.

* Camping At A PA State Park Great Way To Bring Summer To A Close

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is reminding citizens that there is still time to try camping at a Pennsylvania state park before summer comes to a close.

* Video Now Available Of Ralph W. Abele Historic Marker Dedication

The Fish and Boat Commission just released a video of the July 17 unveiling of a Pennsylvania Historic Marker recognizing Ralph W. Abele, the former executive director of the Commission.  Click Here to view the video.

* Online Video: Quecreek Mine Rescue Celebrated As Triumph Of The American Spirit

The 10th Anniversary of the 2002 rescue of nine miners trapped in the Quecreek Mine in Somerset County was celebrated Saturday, July 28 with a special program featuring former Gov. Mark Schweiker, other state and federal mine rescue officials, private companies involved in the rescue and several of the rescued coal miners.

* PEMA: Fire Company & Volunteer Ambulance Services Grants Due October 19

The PA Emergency Management agency is now accepting applications for its Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Services Grant Program until October 19.  Written guidelines, instructions and applications for the grants will be available online no later than September 5. (formal notice)

* Two New Appointments Made To DEP Citizens Advisory Council

Two new members were appointed to DEPs Citizens Advisory Council this week: William Fink from Bedford County and the Environmental Management Specialist for Country View Family Farms and David Hess, former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

* DCNR Invitation To Bid On Projects In Bedford County

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published a notice inviting bides on State Park facilities in Bedford County.

* 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.

* Budget/Quecreek/Quick NewsClips

Here's a selection of NewClips on environmental topics from around the state--

* Marcellus Shale NewsClips

Here are NewsClips on topics related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling---

* Flooding/Watershed NewsClips

Here are NewsClips on watershed topics from around the state--

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

The Public Utility Commission formally published notice of its procedures for implementing the drilling impact fee under Act 13.

* Calendar Of Events

Upcoming legislative meetings, conferences, workshops, plus links to other online calendars.  Meetings are in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted.  NEW means new from last week.  Go to the online Calendar webpage

* Stories Invited

Send your stories, photos and links to videos about your project, environmental issues or programs for publication in the PA Environment Digest to:  DHess@CrisciAssociates.com.

* 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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