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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 16, 2013
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* Senate Confirms Abruzzo For DEP, Ferretti At DCNR

The Senate Tuesday voted unanimously to confirm Ellen Ferretti as Secretary for Conservation and Natural Resources and 42-8 to confirm Christopher Abruzzo as Secretary for Environmental Protection.

* EQB-DEP Open Comment Period For Oil & Gas Regulation Changes

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Quality Board announced Thursday the public comment period for the proposed Chapter 78 regulations setting updated environmental protection performance standards for oil and gas drilling operations will be open from December 14 when they are published in the PA Bulletin through February 12.  (PA Bulletin, page 7377)

* Analysis: Mid-Year Budget Briefing Next Week Will Shape Future Decisions

On December 18 the Governor’s Budget Office will hold its mid-year budget briefing to provide a snapshot of where revenues and expenditures are for FY 2013-14 and offer a glimpse of the year ahead.

* Add Us To Your Google+ Circle

PA Environment Digest now has a Google+ Circle called Green Works In PA.  Just go to your Google+ page and search for, the email for the Digest Editor David Hess, and let us join your Circle.

* 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--

* 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, House Send Bill To Governor To Promote Open Space Preservation

Senate unanimously passed and sent to the Governor House Bill 1523 (Toepel-R-Montgomery) to provide clarity to Pennsylvania municipalities regarding the type of projects that can be funded by the local option tax levy.

* House Democrats To Hold Climate Change Hearing Dec. 16

The House Democratic Policy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing December 16 on steps Pennsylvania can take to address climate change issues.  On the agenda are--

* DEP Dec. 20 Webinar Covers Proposed Changes To GP-8 Stream Crossings

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a webinar on December 20 starting at 10:00 a.m. to provide information on proposed changes to the GP-8 covering temporary stream crossings, environmental testing and monitoring activities.

* Keystone Coldwater Conference Set For February 21-22, New Student Poster Contest

The 2014 Keystone Coldwater Conference will be held on February 21-22 at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in State College.

* Call For Presenters 2014 PA Groundwater Symposium May 7

In celebration of National Drinking Water Week, Penn State Extension’s Master Well Owner Network, the Department of Environmental Protection and the PA Ground Water Association along with numerous other sponsors are organizing the 2014 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in State College, PA on May 7, 2014.

* PA American Water: Winners Of Community Investment Grants

Pennsylvania American Water Wednesday announced the winners of its “Community Investment Challenge,” a contest where voters on the company’s Facebook page determined grant awards to support environmental projects and community improvement programs.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Urges Full Funding For Farm Bill Conservation Programs

Harry Campbell, PA Office Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Friday wrote to Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn Thompson urging him to support full funding for conservation programs in the federal Farm Bill now the subject of conference committee negotiations between the Senate and House.

* AFT: Survey Of Farmers Demonstrates Congress Needs To Pass New Farm Bill

A recent survey of farmers and ranchers by American Farmland Trust and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows the need for Congress to pass the Farm Bill, according to Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO of AFT.  AFT and the University surveyed farmers and ranchers who have benefitted from the bill’s Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program.

* American Farmland Trust Opposes New Federal Conservation Fee On Farmers

Congress is about to impose a new conservation fee on farmers and ranchers who volunteer to help the environment as part of the Senate-House budget agreement, according to Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO of American Farmland Trust.

* Transportation Funding Bill Improves Dirt And Gravel Roads Across PA

Dirt and gravel roads across Pennsylvania will see environmentally and economically sustainable improvements through a $30 million funding boost as part of comprehensive transportation legislation signed by Gov. Corbett.

* Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers For 2013

Each year Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides an opportunity for their statewide affiliates to recognize the outstanding efforts of their local volunteers.  Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s 2013 Affiliate Volunteers of the Year award winners are:

* Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup Volunteers Clean Up 25 Miles of Shoreline

The numbers are in for the September Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup. On September 21, volunteers picked up 2,484 pounds of trash along 24.75 miles of Lake Erie shoreline and waterways within the county.

* Annual PA Brownfields Conference A Success

Attendees at this week’s annual Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference held in King of Prussia, Montgomery County, expressed optimism about the state’s economy and improving business climate.

* Presidential Innovation Award For Environmental Educators Now Accepting Nominations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is currently accepting applications until February 28 for the third annual Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.

* EPA Seeks Environmental Education Grant Applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for environmental education projects under the agency’s Environmental Education Grant Program.  Applications are due February 4.

* Middle School Students Vie For National Recognition Jan. 25 In Future City Regional Finals

As global urban populations rise, energy and climate change issues are increasingly prevalent. Thus, the demand for creating transportation solutions that are quick, safe, reliable and sustainable has never been more urgent.

* Opinion: Legal Experts Support Attorney General’s Action Against XTO Energy

While legal spectators expected the criminal charges brought against XTO Energy to be met with disdain, the company’s ability to play the victim caught many by surprise. It’s not every day that a subsidiary of the largest company on the planet, ExxonMobil, gets to argue that they’re the David in a legal David vs. Goliath battle. 

* Scott Roy Elected Chair Of Marcellus Shale Coalition Board

Range Resources Corporation vice president of government and regulatory affairs, K. Scott Roy, has been elected as the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s next chairman by the organization’s board of directors. Mr. Roy previously served as the MSC’s vice chairman and treasurer.

* Corbett Urges EPA To Take Action To Protect Pennsylvania Air Quality

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced Pennsylvania has signed a petition with eight other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to require upwind states to reduce ozone emissions.

* Final Title V Air Quality Permit Fee Increases Now In Effect

The final regulation increasing Air Quality Title V emission fees from $57.50 per ton of emissions to $85 per ton were published in the December 14 PA Bulletin.

* Aqua Pennsylvania Among Finalists For Platts Global Energy Award

Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. was named a finalist for the Platts 2013 Global Energy Awards in the “Energy Efficiency – Commercial End-User” category for its efforts to reduce electricity use during periods when the electric grid is at maximum capacity.

* December 12 Issue Of DEP News Now Available

The December 12 issue of DEP News features articles on Chris Abruzzo’s swearing in as DEP Secretary after his confirmation by the Senate this week, the opening of the comment period on proposed changes to oil and gas regulations and a review of this week’s PA Brownfields Conference.  Click Here to sign up and get your own copy by email.

* Pennsylvania Adds 4,000 Acres To Farmland Preservation Program

Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board Thursday safeguarded 4,181 additional acres on 41 farms in 21 counties through the state’s nationally renowned Farmland Preservation Program.

* DCNR Schedules Community Conservation Partnership Grant Workshops In February

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will start accepting Community Conservation Partnership Grant applications on January 15 and has scheduled workshops in February to walk applicants through the process and provide information on other DCNR grant opportunities.  The deadline for applications is April 16.

* State Parks, Forests Offer Visitors A Winter Playground

The calendar may say winter is 10 days away, but Pennsylvania’s state forest and park systems again are rolling out the welcome mat for visitors intent on enjoying cold-weather outdoor fun.

* Lackawanna River Heritage Trail Opens

A three-mile segment of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Archbald Borough, Lackawanna County, opened December 5, helping to piece together more segments in a large regional trail network in northeastern Pennsylvania.

* Friends Of The Wissahickon Offer Trail Ambassador Walks, Talks In January

Trail Ambassadors for the Friends of the Wissahickon in Montgomery County are offering free hikes and lectures at Cedars House in Wissahickon Valley Park during the month of January.  Click Here for a schedule of upcoming activities.

* DCNR Offers Holiday Gift Ideas That Support State Parks, Forests

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has several holiday gift-giving ideas perfect for those who want to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources and enjoy state parks and forests.

* Wild Resource Conservation Program, State Park Calendars Now Available

A free 2014 Calendar is now available from the Wild Resource Conservation Program.  Since 1982, the program has studied and worked to conserve Pennsylvania’s rare species and habitats.

* Pennsylvania Parks And Forests Foundation Elects New Board Members

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Thursday announced the appointment of María Montero and Lenwood Sloan to its Board of Directors. Montero serves as executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women and the Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.

* In Memorium: William M. Heenan, Former Steel Recycling Institute President, KPB Chair

On December 6 William M. Heenan, Jr., the former President of the Pittsburgh-base Steel Recycling Institute and a chair of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, passed away at the age of 65. 

* 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 Department of Environmental Protection published proposed changes to Chapter 78 drilling regulations required by Act 13 (PA Bulletin page 7377) and  published final regulations setting revised permit fees under the Title V Air Quality Program.

* 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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