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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Oct. 21, 2013
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* DEP Secretary Takes Steps To End 10-Year Information Drought

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced a new public participation and education initiative to improve its outreach to the public and more actively engage citizens and the regulated community in the development of policies and regulations.

* Agencies, Industry Spar Over Endangered Species Bill At DEP Citizens Advisory Council

All four agencies with a role in listing and considering rare, threatened and endangered species in environmental permit reviews participated in a panel discussion on legislation-- House Bill 1576 (Pyle-R-Armstrong) and Senate Bill 1047 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson)-- which would fundamentally change this process process for designating species at Tuesday’s DEP Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting.

* PA’s Biggest Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Challenge: 609 Million Pounds Of Sediment

Kelly Heffner, DEP Deputy for Water Management, told DEP’s Citizen’s Advisory Council Tuesday Pennsylvania’s biggest challenge in meeting its obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup milestones is reducing sediment going into our rivers and streams by another 609 million pounds by 2025.

* PA Municipal Authorities Assn. Joins Chesapeake Bay Foundation In Opposing SB 994

The PA Municipal Authorities Association this week wrote to members of the Senate expressing its opposition to the Senate Bill 994 (Vogel-R-Beaver) nutrient reduction proposal saying it does not have a funding source to make the program work.

* DEP Monthly Report Provides Update On Agency Activities

The October Monthly Report submitted by the Department of Environmental Protection to the Citizen’s Advisory Council provides a concise update on major program activities within the agency and highlights new initiatives every month.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session 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--

* Bills On Governor's Desk

The following bills were given final approval by the Senate and House and are now on the Governor's desk for action--

* Senate/House Bills Moving

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

* Senate Committee Hears Update On Downtown Location Law

Testifiers praised recent changes to the Downtown Location Law during a Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee hearing on Wednesday.

* Senate, House Reduce Borrowing For Capital Budget Projects By $600 Million

House Bill 493 (Gabler-R-Clearfield), which changes the process for the review and approval of Capital Budget projects and reduces the overall borrowing limit by $600 million, was passed by the Senate and concurred in by the House Wednesday and sent to the Governor for his action.

* House Majority Leader Promises Vote On Transportation Funding Plan

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said he plans to bring a transportation funding proposal to the full House for a vote next week, but he’s not saying which one.

* Environment Erie Recognized By Friends Of Tom Ridge Environmental Center

Environment Erie, a non-profit environmental education group, has been recognized with the John C. Oliver Award from the Friends of Tom Ridge Environmental Center.

* Indiana County P&N Coal Project Wins National Coal Mine Reclamation Award

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced P&N Coal Company Inc. of Punxsutawney, Indiana County, recently received the nation’s best coal mine reclamation project award from the National Association of State Land Reclamationists, following a nomination submitted by the department.

* Jennings Environmental Center Mine Drainage Treatment System Celebration A Success

The Jennings Environmental Education Center, Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition and Stream Restoration, Inc. held a celebration of the rehabilitation of the Jennings Passive Treatment System on October 7 in Butler County attracting over 40 people involved one way or another in the project over the last 15 years.

* WVIA Film WaterWise Series On Preserving PA Watersheds Begins To Air

The WVIA-TV Original Documentary Film Series, "WaterWise" produced in partnership with The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, takes viewers to some of Pennsylvania's most beautiful natural environments, to see how common people are combating the consequences of freshwater pollution.

* Penn State Extension: Train To Be A 4-H Stream Team Volunteer

Adults throughout Pennsylvania have the opportunity to become volunteers for the 4-H Stream Teams Program. A free, online training will be held by Penn State Extension to teach interested adults how to form and guide youth in the 4-H Stream Teams Program.

* Friends Of Wissahickon Fall Planting Days Are Here! Trail Ambassador Hikes Set

The Friends of the Wissahickon in Montgomery County invite you to participate in the upcoming Fall Planting Day events in several areas of the watershed.  Click Here for details.

* DEP Awards Coastal Zone Restoration, Protection Grants, New Applications Due

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday awarded more than $800,000 in annual coastal zone management grants to organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving Pennsylvania’s coastal zones along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.

* PA American Water Urges Customers To Take Advantage Of Drug Take-Back Days

Pennsylvania American Water is encouraging customers to protect themselves and the environment by disposing of unused medications at local collection sites on October 26 as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

* Stroud Water Research Center Honors NOAA Scientists For Freshwater Excellence

Jane Lubchenco, former Under Secretary of Commerce for the National Oceans and Atmosphere Administration and Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator received the 2013 the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence for their commitment to stewardship of freshwater.

* PUC Seeks Comments On Drilling Impact Fee Regulations

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued for comment a proposed rulemaking on the collection and disbursement of the impact fee for unconventional natural gas well drilling.

* DCNR Releases Drilling Company’s Plan For Loyalsock Forest

WITF’s StateImpact reported Wednesday the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources released the drilling plan proposed by Anadarko Petroleum for the Loyalsock State Forest in Lycoming and Sullivan counties. 

* Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases New Video On PA Natural Gas Development

At its fourth annual membership meeting this week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition released its year-in-review video focused on the dramatic and positive shift in energy security, environmental benefits, and economic growth across our region and the nation, bolstered by safe shale production.

* Ultra-Poly Corporation Honored By PA Recycling Markets Center

The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center, Inc. has awarded Ultra-Poly Corporation, located north of the Lehigh Valley, with the 2013 William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award for its innovation and commitment to developing new market opportunities for hard-to-recycle plastics in Pennsylvania.

* SW Air Quality Partnership 4th Annual Let's Clear The Air Poster Challenge

Students in southwest Pennsylvania schools have the opportunity to show how they’d make a difference in the area’s air quality by participating in the 4th Annual Let’s Clear the Air Poster Challenge, sponsored by the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, Inc. and Pennsylvania Resources Council, Inc..

* PUC Reminds Utility Customers To Prepare Now For Winter Heating Season

As the Public Utility Commission marks the 11th year of its “Prepare Now” initiative, today it reminded electric and natural gas utilities to take extra steps to help consumers – especially those on limited and fixed incomes, to “Prepare Now” for winter heating costs.

* PPL E-PowerWise Program Helps Families Save Electricity, Water

Income-qualified families in Harrisburg are learning how to save big on their utility bills while conserving energy and water, thanks to PPL Electric Utilities’ E-PowerWise Program.

* Smart, Sustainable Business Choices Workshop Set In Pittsburgh October 23

Corporate, engineering, and community leaders are invited to Pittsburgh at the offices of the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania on October 23 for the “Smart, Sustainable Choices for Operations, Transportation, and Facilities” workshop.

* EPA Reschedules Philadelphia Listening Session On Reducing Carbon Pollution To Nov. 8

The federal shutdown forced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rescheduled the 11 public listening sessions it had scheduled across the country, including one in Philadelphia, to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.

* State Agencies Save More Than $400 Million Thru Innovation, EHB Project Highlighted

Gov. Tom Corbett Thursday announced the Governor's Innovation Office has worked with state agencies to achieve more than $400 million in cost savings and productivity gains. 

* Environmental Groups Intend To File Lawsuit Over Bellefonte Fish Hatchery Discharges

On Thursday PennEnvironment and attorneys from the Environmental Integrity Project announced their notice of intent to sue the Fish and Boat Commission for ongoing Clean Water Act violations at the agency’s Bellefonte State Fish Hatchery

* Audubon PA Offers Backyard Stewardship Workshop Oct. 19 In Emmaus

Audubon Pennsylvania will hold a Backyard Stewardship Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on October 19 at the Wildlands Conservancy Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, 3710 Orchard Place in Emmaus, Lehigh County.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Could Be Your Cup Of Tea

Fans of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests can now support their local green spaces with the purchase of fair trade, organic teas, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation announced Wednesday.

* PHMC Calls For Historical Marker Nominations

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission invites individuals, public agencies and private organizations to nominate historic properties or locations with statewide or national significance for PHMC's State Historical Marker Program.

* DCNR Opportunity To Bid On Underwater Diving Consultant Contract

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice of an opportunity to submit proposals in response to a request for underwater diving consultants for the purpose of inspection, maintenance and repairs to agency-owned dams (PA Bulletin page 6235).

* PA Native Justin Stockdale To Head PA Resources Council Western Office

The Pennsylvania Resources Council announced Friday Justin Stockdale has been named Western Regional Director.  Justin will join the PRC Western Regional Office on December 1 and will take over the Regional Director's reins on January 1, 2014.

* Help Wanted: Stroud Water Research Center Seeks Director Of Communications

The Stroud Water Research Center is seeking candidates for the position of Director of Communications.  Click Here for details and how to apply.

* 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 NewsClips

Here's a selection of NewsClips 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 published notice of proposed long-term infrastructure improvement planning requirements for water, wastewater, electric and natural gas utilities under the Distribution System Improvement Charge Program (PA Bulletin 6206).

* 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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