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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Feb. 11, 2013
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* Corbett Proposes $10 Million Increase In Farmland Preservation, More DEP Staff Cuts

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday proposed an FY 2013-14 budget which increases farmland preservation by $10 million to $35 million, but would eliminate an additional 40 positions from the Department of Environmental Protection.

* $1.8 Billion Cut/Diverted From Environmental Programs Over Last 11 Years

With the proposed FY 2013-14 General Fund budget announced Tuesday, we now know $1.8 billion has been cut or diverted from environmental programs over the last 11 years, starting with the record budget and staff cuts by Gov. Rendell in each year of his administration.

* Conservation Districts Ask For Funds To Be Restored

Gov. Tom Corbett announced his proposed FY 2013-14 state budget to members of the legislature. Part of his budget includes a 100 percent decrease in line item funding to the state’s 66 conservation districts through the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.

* DEP, DCNR Secretary Respond To Concerns About Budget Cuts

On Tuesday DEP Secretary Michael Krancer and DCNR Secretary Richard Allan sent a letter to PA Environment Digest responding to an article entitled, “Growing Leaner: Shrinking Commitment to the Environment Over Last 10 Years.”

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced

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

* Senate/House Bills Moving

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

* House Committee Moves Bill Setting Green Standards For State Buildings

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Monday amended and reported out House Bill 34 (Harper-R-Montgomery) requiring the design, construction and renovation of certain state-owned or state-leased buildings comply with energy and high-performance building standards.

* Bill Would Add Funding To Solar Grant Program

Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee,  Friday introduced House Bill 200 (not yet online) which he said would save the PA Sunshine Solar Program, which has helped homeowners and small businesses install solar systems.

* Senate Environmental Committee To Consider Mine Water Reuse, Mineral Rights Bills

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets February 12 to consider legislation to encourage the reuse of mine drainage water as drilling fluids, providing for abandoned mineral rights and natural gas infrastructure expansion.  The bills include--

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets Feb. 19 On Public Participation Policy, More

The Citizens Advisory Council to the Department of Environmental Protection will meet on February 19 starting at 11:00 to hear what DEP has planned for updating its permit review public participation policy and a presentation on water testing.

* Spotlight: Citizen Petitions To Change Or Adopt New Environmental Regulations

Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not have a way for citizens to petition the government to change state laws through referendums.  But anyone, a citizen, business or group, can petition the state’s Environmental Quality Board to change or adopt new environmental regulations.

* Public Urged To Contact Congress And EPA Over Susquehanna River Impairment

The Fish and Boat Commission is urging anglers and boaters throughout the Susquehanna River watershed to contact their members of Congress to demand action to fix the Susquehanna River.

* SRBC: March 1 Stream Gages Shutdown Will Risk Lives From Flooding

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is urging New York’s U.S. senators and congressmen to help secure federal funds to avert the March 1 shut-down of 18 stream gages and 16 rain gages in the southern tier. The gages generate data used by NOAA’s National Weather Service to predict when flooding will occur.

* DRBC Announces New 2-Day Format For March 5-6 Meeting

The Delaware River Basin Commission Tuesday announced it will use a new, two-day format for its next business meeting and public hearing on March 5 and 6.

* REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit Demand Still Strong After 6 Years

The Resources Enhancement and Protection Farm Conservation Tax Credit Program is still attracting strong use by farmers interested in funding nutrient and sediment reduction best management practices on their farms.

* PA Borough News Features Article On Tioga Source Water Protection Coalition

The January/February issue of the PA Borough News features an article on the Tioga Source Water Protection Coalition helped by a grant from the PA League of Women Voters Water Resources Education Network.

* Free Datashed Training Workshops Available To Watershed Groups

Stream Restoration, Inc. and its many partners are hosting a series of free workings on Datashed, the watershed information tool designed to give provide a space for posting and analyzing water quality data from a variety of mine drainage and watershed restoration projects.

* Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy Hosts Stream Cleanup Event April 20

Join the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy on April 20 from 9 a.m. to Noon for a stream cleanup event at several sites in Berks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.

* Penn State: Registration Open For PA Groundwater Symposium In May

In celebration of National Drinking Water Week, Penn State Extension and the Department of Environmental Protection along with numerous other sponsors invite you to attend the 2013 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium at Penn State University in University Park on May 8.

* Register Now For Trout Unlimited River Researchers Teen Camp August 4-8

Trout Unlimited’s Eastern Abandoned Mine Program would like to share with you an exciting new opportunity for students ages 14-17.

* DCNR Invites Students To Apply For Summer Environmental Careers Camp

Young Pennsylvanians interested in pursuing environmental careers are invited to apply by April 15 for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ summer residential camp in July.

* Chesapeake Bay Program Report On Environmental Effects Of Marcellus Shale

The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee has just released "Exploring the Environmental Effects of Shale Gas Development in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed," based on an April 2012 workshop designed to engaged scientists from across the nation to review the state-of-the science regarding shale gas development on the Bay.

* DEP Response To PennFuture On Disposing Of Waste At Drilling Sites

On January 31 PennFuture published an article alleging the Department of Environmental Protection was “very likely” allowing Marcellus Shale drilling operators to dispose of any residual waste at oil and gas well sites across Pennsylvania.

* Keep PA Beautiful Brings Home Gold At National Conference

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful received top honors for Best Statewide Activation of the Great American Cleanup of PA during KAB’s recent 60th anniversary National Conference in Washington, D.C.

* Communities Report Prolonged Success in Reducing Cigarette Butt Litter

Keep America Beautiful reports an average 55 percent reduction of cigarette litter in the communities implementing KAB’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program during 2012.

* $1 Million National Lowe's Grant Could Help PA Communities

Keep America Beautiful and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation announced a major $1 million gift in support of the national nonprofit’s mission to build and sustain vibrant communities.

* DEP Awards $17.8 Million In Grants For Recycling Programs

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday it has awarded $17.8 million in recycling grants to 131 municipalities and counties for developing and implementing recycling programs.

* PA Chamber Environmental & Energy Conference/Trade Show April 17

The PA Chamber of Business and Industry will hold its annual Environmental and Energy Conference and Trade Show on April 17 at the Eden Resort Inn & Suites in Lancaster.

* FirstEnergy Feb. 13 Webinar On Evaluating LED Lighting Solutions

FirstEnergy will host a free webinar on February 13 starting at Noon on Comparing and Evaluating LED Lighting Solutions.

* Op-Ed: The Benefit Of Gas Drilling In Pennsylvania

By Patrick Henderson, Governor's Energy Executive

* PUC Sets Marcellus Shale Drilling Fees For Calendar 2012

As required by the Act 13 drilling law, the Public Utility Commission published a notice in the February 9 PA Bulletin setting the number of wells and the price of natural gas for purposes of calculating the drilling fees due for calendar year 2012.

* PA Wilds Planning To Create New Oil & Gas Design Guide

Stakeholders involved in growing the outdoor recreation industry in the Pennsylvania Wilds region announced this week they are teaming up with oil and gas officials to create a set of voluntary design standards for communities interested in minimizing negative visual effects of drilling on their rural landscapes.

* Nominate Your Keystone Fund Project To Celebrate 20 Years Of Recreation Funding

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, conservation groups are asking for sponsors of Keystone Fund projects to submit nominations for special recognition at a ceremony on March 18 in the Capitol Building, Harrisburg.

* Big Trees Of The Allegheny Island Wilderness Program Feb. 16 In Warren

The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness and its partners will host a presentation on the Trees and Forests of the Allegheny River Islands Wilderness on February 16 at 11:00 a.m. at Allegheny Outfitters, 430 Pennsylvania Ave. West, Warren, Pa.

* Registration Now Open For Ohio River Regional Trail Symposium March 8

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council announced Tuesday registration is now open for the 2013 Forks of the Ohio River Regional Trail Symposium to be held on March 8 at the Pittsburgh Marriott North, 100 Cranberry Woods Dr., Cranberry Township.

* Susquehanna Greenway Multi-Agency Grants Workshop Feb. 19 Sunbury

The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is hosting a multi-agency grants workshop on February 19 from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Degenstein Community Library, 40 South 5th St., Sunbury.  The registration deadline is February 15.

* FERC Approves Holtwood Land Transfer For Conservation

PPL Holtwood’s plan to transfer up to 1,260 additional acres of land to the Lancaster County Conservancy for preservation and public use has moved one step closer to reality.

* South Mountain Speaker Series to Feature Four Lectures In 2013

The South Mountain Partnership will host its fourth season of an innovative series of speakers will begin February 28, at Messiah College with a talk on a unique feature that dots the landscape in the South Mountain region: seasonal wetlands, known as vernal pools.

* Hawk Mountain Hosts Feed The Birds Program Feb. 16

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary will host a full-day "Feed the Birds" program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., February 16. The event will include kids activities from noon to 2 p.m., a guided winter bird walk at 1 p.m., two live raptor programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., free information on birdfeeders and bird seed, and a naturalist on hand to point out and identify birds at the feeder windows.

* DEP Opportunity To Bid On Clearfield, Somerset Counties Mine Reclamation Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice inviting bidders on mine reclamation projects in Clearfield County and Somerset County (PA Bulletin page 936-937).

* Help Wanted: Riverbend Environmental Ed Center

The Riverbend Environmental Education Center in Montgomery County is looking for candidates to fill summer educator and other positions.  Click Here to explore these opportunities.

* Your 2 Cents: Issues On Advisory Committee Agendas

This section gives you a continuously updated thumbnail sketch of issues to be considered in upcoming advisory committee meetings where the agendas have been released

* 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/Quick Clips

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 Environmental Quality Board published notice of final regulations setting sulfur limits for commercial fuel oil.

* 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:

* 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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