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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 12, 2016 Issue #650
(12/12/2016)
* Analysis: 2017 PA Environmental Policy Initiatives In 140 Characters Or Less

Since major public policy decisions are now made in 140 characters-- or less, here are three Tweet-worthy environmental initiatives to suggest to Pennsylvania policymakers in 2017 under one 6-word theme-- Green Infrastructure, Multiple Benefits, One Investment--

* State Court Reimposes Stay On DEP Enforcement Of Certain Sections Of Drilling Regs

Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson Friday granted a motion by the Marcellus Shale Coalition to reimpose the temporary stay he imposed November 8 on enforcement of certain sections of DEP’s Chapter 78a drilling regulations challenged by the MSC.

* Auditor General: 24% Of Act 13 Fees Found To Be Misspent By Local Governments

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale Tuesday released the results of his performance audit of the Public Utility Commission’s collection and local government spending of the Act 13 drilling impact fees and found 24 percent of $85.6 million in fees sent to local governments in the 10 counties and 20 municipalities he audited were spent in ways that did not appear authorized by Act 13.

* DEP Fines Rice Energy Subsidiaries $3.5 Million At 10 Well Sites, 6 Pipeline Locations

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it has assessed civil penalties on Rice Energy subsidiaries for multiple violations of environmental laws at 10 well sites and 6 pipeline locations, with a total fine of over $3.5 million.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Gov’s Schedule

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

* Trump Nominates Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt As EPA Administrator

This is the full text of the Trump Transition Team announcement Wednesday of Scott Pruitt’s nomination as EPA Administrator—

* Trump Expected To Name Cong. Cathy McMorris Rodgers To Interior

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday President-elect Trump is expected to name Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) to lead the federal Department of Interior.

* Joint Meeting Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council, Environmental Justice Board Dec. 14

On December 14 DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council and Environmental Justice Advisory Board will hold a joint meeting to discuss the agency’s public engagement and public outreach policies and initiatives and moderated by Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission OKs Penalties On Natural Gas Power Plants

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission Thursday approved settlement agreements involving $97,000 in penalties related to three Panda Fund natural gas power plants-- the Hummel Plant, a coal to gas plant under construction in Snyder County, and the recently commissioned Patriot Plant in Lycoming County and the Liberty Plant in Bradford County.

* Harrisburg Unveils Draft Green Infrastructure Plan To Cleanup Water Pollution Dec. 15

Capital Region Water will unveil its draft Community Greening Plan, an approach to reducing water pollution stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows through developing green infrastructure, at a public meeting on December 15 in Harrisburg.

* Feature: Conowingo Dam No Longer Holds Back PA Nutrients Going To Chesapeake Bay

By Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* Smallmouth Bass Show Signs Of Improvement In Lower Susquehanna, Caution Advised

Following nearly a decade of poor recruitment due to disease affecting young-of-the-year, the smallmouth bass populations in the Susquehanna and lower Juniata rivers are showing signs of improvement, according to information released Thursday by the Fish and Boat Commission.

* High-Resolution Landscape Data Available In Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Webinars Set

The U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Tuesday announced the completion of the Chesapeake Bay High-Resolution Land Cover Project. The dataset will be introduced at a series of two webinars on December 12 and 14.

* Draft Plan To Reduce Phosphorus In Lake Erie Focus Of Dec. 12 Forum In Erie

The Department of Environmental Protection and PA Sea Grant invite interested members of the public to attend the third meeting of the PA Lake Erie Environmental Forum on December 12 featuring a discussion of the draft Action Plan to meet Lake Erie phosphorus reduction targets. 

* DEP: National Mine Land Reclamation Award To Amerikohl For Beaver County Quarry

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it has presented a National Association of State Land Reclamationists award for mine land reclamation to Amerikohl Aggregates for their work to remediate and reclaim land at their McMillen Limestone Quarry in Vanport, Beaver County.

* Call For Presenters - 2017 PA Groundwater Symposium May 3 In State College

The Penn State Extension’s Master Well Owner Network and the Department of Environmental Protection invite you to submit abstracts for the 2017 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium to be held May 3 at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in State College.

* Penn State Extension Releases New LearnNow Video On Protecting Water Wells

The Penn State Extension Water Resources Team has released a new “LearnNow” video on Protecting Your Water Well.

* Archived Webinar: Helping Delaware River Communities Prepare For Climate Change

The Penn State Water Resources Extension team recently hosted a webinar entitled Helping Coastal Delaware River Communities Prepare for Flooding and Future Climate by Ann Faulds from Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

* Nominate Your Water System For The AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award

The American Water Works Association is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Exemplary Source Water Protection Award which recognizes up to three water systems every year for their outstanding source water protection programs, with consideration for their size and resources.

* Dec. 5 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The December 5 edition of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring articles on--

* Growing PA’s Organic Farms Conference, Proven Organic Growing Techniques Dec. 13-14

Pennsylvania will host organic farmers from throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to learn from internationally renowned organic and sustainable agriculture experts at the 3rd Annual Growing Pennsylvania’s Organic Farms Conference December 13-14 in Harrisburg

* Keep PA Beautiful Reports 43% Cigarette Litter Reduction In 5 State Parks

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Tuesday reported a 43 percent combined reduction in cigarette litter in five state parks receiving a grant as a result of the 2016 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.

* PROP Begins Work On Reauthorizing Act 101 Recycling Fee To Expire In 2020

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania has begun work on an initiative to reauthorize the $2/ton Act 101 recycling fee due expire in 2020.

* Dec. 20 Webinar: Environmental Justice Issues For Recycling Facility Projects

The PA Recycling Markets Center and the National Recycling Coalition will host a webinar on December 20 on Environmental Justice Issues for Recycling Facility Development Projects from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

* PA Resources Council Accepting Nominations For Zero Waste Awards In Western PA

The PA Resources Council is now accepting nominations for Zero Waste Awards in Western Pennsylvania as part of the Zero Waste In PA Program.  The deadline for nominations is February 10.

* December Newsletter Now Available From The PA Resources Council

The December edition of the PA Resources Council newsletter is now available featuring stories on--

* SBA: How Nonprofits Can Apply For Flood Disaster Assistance In 4 Midstate Counties

The U.S. Small Business Administration Wednesday announced certain private nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania that do not provide critical services of a governmental nature may be eligible to apply for low-interest rate disaster loans in Bradford, Centre, Lycoming and Sullivan counties.

* DEP To Continue Investigation Into PFC Contamination On Easton Road, Bucks County

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it is continuing to investigate possible perfluorinated compound (PFC) contamination in public water supplies and private wells in parts of Doylestown, Plumstead, and Buckingham townships in Bucks County.

* PennTAP Facility Operations Workshop On Energy Efficiency March 14 In State College

The PA Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) and the Department of Environmental Protection are hosting a Facility Operations Workshop on Energy Efficiency March 14 at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center in State College.

* Dec. 13 Webinar: You Can Help Develop The National Energy Efficiency Registry

The Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance and DEP will host a webinar on December 13 to introduce businesses, nonprofits and other stakeholders to help develop the National Energy Efficiency Registry to track energy efficiency initiatives and their cost savings and climate benefits. 

* PUC Marks 20th Anniversary Of Electric Competition, 14 Consecutive Months Of Growth

The Public Utility Commission Thursday commemorated the 20th Anniversary of The Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1996, which for the first time gave the Commonwealth’s residential and business customers the ability to choose who supplies their electric generation. 

* Proposed Great American Power Marketing Settlement OK’d By PUC For Comment

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued for comment a proposed settlement agreement with Great American Power LLC following an informal investigation into Great American’s marketing and sales practices as a licensed electric generation supplier in Pennsylvania.

* New Report On Economic, Carbon Emission Benefits Of PA’s 5 Nuclear Power Plants

A new report by The Brattle Group says Pennsylvania’s 5 operating nuclear power plants contribute nearly $2 billion to the state’s economy, pay more than $400 million in state and federal taxes and avoid the emission of 37 million tons of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions annually.

* EDF: PA Takes First Step To Reduce Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Operations

DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee Thursday discussed new draft general permits to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  They are the first state standards that directly address oil and gas methane pollution in Pennsylvania.

* Penn State Extension Webinars: Natural Gas Power Generation; Shale Fluids Trends

Penn State Extension will host a webinar on December 15 on Natural Gas Power Generation -  Reliability, Value and Market Coordination from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and a second webinar January 19 on Shale Energy Fluids Management Trends.

* Penn State: Big Data Approach To Water Quality Applied At Shale Gas Drilling Sites

A computer program is diving deep into water quality data from Pennsylvania, helping scientists detect potential environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

* More Bakken Crude Oil Expected To Move By Rail Because Of Dakota Pipeline Decision

As a result of last week’s decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit for the construction of a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Bakken crude earmarked for the pipeline will now have to be shipped by other means of transport, including by rail.

* Apply Now For 2017 Ben Franklin Shale Gas Tech Innovation Contest

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center is now accepting entries for its 2017 Shale Gas Innovation Contest which this year is offering a total of $60,000 in cash prizes for the three best shale energy oriented innovations.

* EPA Awards $1.3 Million In Small Business Green Tech Grants, 1 In Pennsylvania

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced $1.3 million to 13 small businesses nationwide to develop and commercialize technologies to help solve current environmental issues under the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

* DEP Wins 2016 PA Excellence In Technology Award For Network Innovations

The Department of Environmental Protection has won a 2016 Pennsylvania Excellence in Technology Award for innovations leading to improved network operations and cost savings.

* December 8 DEP News Now Available

The December 8 edition of the DEP News is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--

* EPA Accepting Applications For P3 Student Sustainability Design Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting nominations for the 14th Annual P3 National Student Design Competition Grant Program for sustainability focusing on people, prosperity and the planet.  Nominations are due February 3.

* Pennsylvania Envirothon Seeks Information From Alumni

The Pennsylvania Envirothon is now gathering information about the number of Envirothon alumni who are working for an environmental agency or organization in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

* Year in Review: DCNR Expands Economic Impact of State Forests, Parks

In a year marked by the renaming of major state forest and parklands in honor of three conservation icons, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn cited three initiatives -- creation of a task force to maximize forest-related jobs, a new online tool to improve customer service for reservations, and PA Outdoor Corps, an innovative new program putting young people to work in those forests -- as among the department’s distinguished accomplishments in 2016.

* Penn State Extension Webinar: TreeVitalize, Tree City USA Update Dec. 21

The Penn State Extension Urban and Community Forestry Program will host a webinar December 21 featuring an update from DCNR on the TreeVitalize and Tree City USA Programs from noon to 1:00 p.m.

* Register Now: PA Recreation & Park Society 2017 Conference March 26-29 In Hershey

The PA Recreation and Park Society is now accepting registrations for its 2017 and 70th Annual Conference to be held March 26-29 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.  Early registration discounts through December 21.

* Feature: Rx For Better Health: Get Outdoors! Special New Year’s Day Hikes On Tap

It’s that time of the year again when our waistlines get a little tighter from the food and festivities of the holiday season. For some, stress levels increase which also can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

* Participate In Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, Be A Citizen Scientist

Volunteers have always been important to conservation. If you participate as a citizen scientist in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count from December 14 to January 5, you’ll be adding to data collected for more than a century!

* Dec. 7 DCNR Resource Newsletter Now Available

The December 7 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* PA Horticultural Society GROW Magazine Now Available In Southeast

GROW, the award-winning quarterly magazine of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is now available in select retail stores in the Greater Philadelphia region.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Winter Eagle-Watching Events In January, February

Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and its partners for a series of eagle-watching events all winter long, including guided bus tours and Eagle Day on January 7 at the Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center in Hawley, Wayne County.

* Brodhead Chapter TU Fly Tying Classes Coming Up In January, February

The Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Monroe County is offering a six session Introduction to Fly Tying course in January and February of 2017.  The course will introduce students to the tools and techniques needed to enjoy this relaxing and fulfilling pastime. 

* George Hartenstein Named Acting DEP Deputy For Waste, Air, Radiation, Remediation

The Department of Environmental Protection recently named George Hartenstein, Acting Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation.

* Interns Wanted: Stroud Water Research Center Entomology Lab Assistants

The Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County is seeking qualified students with science and environmental education majors to fill paid entomology laboratory assistants for this coming summer.  The deadline for applications is March 1 or until the positions are filled.  Click Here for all the details.

* 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.

* 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.

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

No new regulations were published this week.  Pennsylvania Bulletin - December 10, 2016

* CLICK HERE To Print Entire PA Environment Digest

CLICK HERE to Print The Entire PA Environment Digest.

* 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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