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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Feb. 18, 2013
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* Senate, House Break For Budget Hearings Where BIG Issues At Stake

Over the next three weeks the Senate and House will hold hearings on Gov. Corbett’s FY 2013-14 General Fund budget. 

* DEP Major Permitting Efficiency Improvements-- Stunning

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday released the results of the first of four quarterly reports detailing progress under the new Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee policy.

* Dam Safety & Encroachment Permit Fees Now Final

On February 16 the Environmental Quality Board published final fee increases for permits under the Dam Safety and Encroachment Program which will generate $3,641,012 in new revenue for these programs; from $452,450 under the old fee structure to an estimated $4,093,462 under the new fees. (PA Bulletin page 967)

* 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 Approves Harper Green Building Legislation

The House Monday approved Rep. Kate Harper’s (R-Montgomery) House Bill 34 to make Pennsylvania a leader in energy-efficient construction.

* House Passes Capital Budget Reform Bill

House Bill 493 (Gabler-R-Clearfield) designed to reform a much-abused state funding program was passed by the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) announced.

* Senate Environmental Committee OKs Mine Water Reuse, Natural Gas Use 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 and a resolution to study natural gas infrastructure expansion.  The bills include--

* Sen. Kasunic’s Mine Water Reuse Bill Approved By Senate Committee

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 411 (Kasunic-D-Somerset) that would encourage the use of mine water for Marcellus shale well development and industrial use.

* Bill Would Increase PA Renewable Energy Mandates

Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Friday introduced House Bill 100 which would increase the amount of electricity companies such as PECO and PPL must obtain from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

* SRBC Issues State Of Susquehanna Report, Flood Gage Funding In Doubt

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission Wednesday issued a State of the Susquehanna report showing trends in water use, drinking water, stormwater, aquatic habitat and other key water resource indicators.

* Coldwater Heritage Partnership Announces $70,000 In Grant Awards

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership recently announced that over $70,000 in grants have been awarded to local organizations to protect and conserve Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams.

* Spotlight: Amish Farm Model For Conservation Practices

By Kelly Donaldson, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Office

* Infill Philadelphia Soak It Up Design Awards Program March 7

The Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition challenged designers, engineers, and other sustainability professionals to show how green stormwater infrastructure can transform Philadelphia's neighborhoods.

* Sponsors Invited For 2013 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference

Are you interested in becoming a part of the longest running Statewide Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation as we forge ahead into the future of reclamation in Pennsylvania on August 8-10?

* Winter Estuary News Now Online From Partnership For Delaware Estuary

The winter issue of Estuary News is now available from the Partnership for the Delaware EstuaryClick Here to read this edition.

* Spring Into Science Education Expo March 4 In Philadelphia

The GreenTreks’ Environmental Education Program is hosting a free event for teachers on March 4 called Spring Into Science Education.  The workshop will be held in the lobby of the United Way Building, 1709 Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.

* Recycling Industries Congress Underscores Economic Importance Of Recycling

The East Wing Rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol was crowded with two dozen displays January 22 that told an innovative story of how recycling is making a major beneficial impact on the state’s economy.

* DEP Releases Marcellus Drilling Emissions Inventory Data, Webinar Feb. 21

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday it has released emissions data for the unconventional drilling industry and will discuss the results in an upcoming web-based presentation on February 21 at 2 p.m.

* Aqua America Recognized By EPA For Green Power Purchase

Aqua America, Inc. announced Monday the volume of its green power purchases have qualified it for membership in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. The company is now using nearly 13 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 4 percent of the organization’s electricity use and qualify it as a Green Power Partner.

* Regional Energy Conservation Code Workshop Feb. 21 In Bethlehem

The Department of Environmental Protection invites code enforcement officials, builders, contractors and designers to a February 21 training workshop in Bethlehem, Northampton County on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

* PUC Marks 2 Million Electric Customers Shopping

With 2 million Pennsylvania electric customers using a competitive electric supplier, the Public Utility Commission celebrated the milestone while stressing that more work needs to be done to ensure the robust competitive market continues.

* PUC Finalizes Rules For Default Electric Service

The Public Utility Commission Thursday finalized default service program recommendations designed to ensure that the state’s regulatory framework is one that encourages a market where consumers have continued choices for electric supply.

* EPA Invites Communities To Apply for Smart Growth Assistance

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday is inviting applications from communities interested in exploring barriers to smart growth and testing innovative strategies that can create healthier, more sustainable places to live, work, and play.

* 1,400 Acres Of Additional Farmland Preserved

Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board Thursday safeguarded 1,445 additional acres on 21 farms through the state’s nationally renowned farmland preservation program.

* Nominations Invited For Champions Of PA Wilds Awards

The Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team wants to recognize individuals, groups, organizations or businesses that have done outstanding work in the last year to help grow and sustainably develop the outdoor recreation economy in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

* Explore The Wissahickon With FOW Trail Ambassador Scott Quitel March 2

Friends of the Wissahickon Trail Ambassador Scott Quitel is leading a free hike in Wissahickon Valley Park on March 2 from 9 a.m. to noon in Montgomery County. Park near and meet at the trailhead near the intersection of Park Line Drive and Hortter Street.

* 3 Workshops On Enhancing Tree Canopy In Communities Set In Allegheny County

Workshops are being held around Allegheny County to offer guidance creating municipal tree programs resulting in a successful tree planting program for your community.

* Mayor Announces Tree Giveaway In Philadelphia

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Wells Fargo & Company, announced that registration for the spring 2013 TreePhilly giveaway is now open.

* DEP Turns On New High-Definition Falcon Cam In Time For Mating Season

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday launched its annual live, 24-hour webcast of a nesting pair of peregrine falcons who live on a ledge on the Market Street side of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.

* GreenLifePA: Create A Backyard Habitat says get inspired by kids who turned their school yard into backyard bird habitat through the help of the Audubon at Home ProgramClick Here to watch a GreenLife PA video on how you can create simple bird habitat for the birds and you to enjoy.  Click Here for more GreenLifePA videos.

* Help Wanted: Hawk Mountain Seasonal Educator

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County is seeking candidates for a seasonal educator position which will last from April 1 to May 31.  Applications are due March 15.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Project In Clinton County

The Department of Environmental Protection published an invitation to bid on a mine reclamation project in Clinton County.

* 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 final regulations amending Chapter 105 relating to permit fees under the Dam Safety and Waterway Management program (PA Bulletin page 967).

* 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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