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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, April 28, 2014
(4/28/2014)
* In Memoriam: Sen. Ray Musto, Democratic Chair Senate Environmental Committee

Former Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne), long-time Democratic Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, passed away Thursday at the age of 85.  He retired from the Senate in 2010.

* Oil And Gas Industry, Business Concerned About Bipartisan Severance Tax Proposals

Representatives of the oil and gas industry and business Tuesday said they are concerned about bipartisan discussion in the General Assembly on the adoption of a severance tax on natural gas production as part of an effort to deal with the state’s budget shortfalls.

* Local Govts Missed Deadline To Report How $17.4 Million In Drilling Fees Were Spent

StateImpact Pennsylvania Friday reported nearly half the townships and a quarter of the counties receiving funds from the Act 13 drilling impact fee missed the April 15 deadline for reporting how they spent $17.4 million of last year’s money.  Reports were filed covering $81.8 million.

* Governor’s 2014 Environmental Excellence Award Winners Honored

On Tuesday the 23 organizations involved in 19 environmental projects from across the state were honored with the 2014 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

* DEP Reports 15,882 Miles Of Streams Impaired, Down Slightly From 2012

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice that its draft 2014 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report is available for public comment listing rivers, streams and lakes with impaired water quality. 

* CBF-PA Urges Governor, Attorney General To Act Now To Support Bay Cleanup Plans

Harry Campbell, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Friday  issued a statement to Gov. Tom Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane urging them to join with other Bay states in filing a amicus brief in court to support Chesapeake Bay cleanup plans.

* PEC Action Alert: Rare, Threatened, Endangered Species Again At Risk In House

The PA Environmental Council Wednesday sent out an action alert saying rare, threatened and endangered species are again at risk from a new bill to be introduced in the House which has many of the same fatal flaws as House Bill 1576 (Pyle-R-Armstrong).

* CBF Warns New House Bill Will Also Put Brook Trout, Other Species At Risk

When it comes to the environment and wildlife, we seem to be drawn to specific places and critters. Some of us are drawn to the ocean; others to the mountains. Similarly, some love watching birds while others are completely fascinated by turtles. And for many of us, there's no one favorite—we're simply fascinated by all of it.

* 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 DHess@CrisciAssociates.com, the email for the Digest Editor David Hess,  and let us join your Circle.

* 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--

* Sens. Scarnati, Hutchinson Bill To Create Special Rules For Conventional Oil, Gas Wells

Sens. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) circulated a co-sponsor memo Monday to members of the Senate announcing their intent to introduce legislation to direct the Environmental Quality Board to adopt special rules for conventional oil and gas wells and not regulate them like Marcellus Shale wells.

* Rep. Vitali Appeals DCNR Denial Of Right To Know Request On Drilling Plan

Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Tuesday appealed the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' denial of his Right-to-Know request seeking information about Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to raise $75 million through the additional leasing of state parks and forests for natural gas drilling.

* Senate Committee Hears Testimony Urging Adoption Of Anti-SLAPP Legislation

People and organizations that have been quieted by ongoing, frivolous lawsuits and mounting legal expenses Thursday urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to adopt Sen. Larry Farnese’s (D-Philadelphia) proposal-- Senate Bill 1095--  to curtail the unfair practice.

* Environmental Synopsis Newsletter Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

The April issue of the Environmental Synopsis newsletter is now available from the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee.

* Corbett Issues Proclamation Celebrating April 22 As Earth Day

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday issued a proclamation recognizing April 22, 2014 as “Earth Day” in Pennsylvania.  This year’s celebration marks the 44th anniversary of the first Earth Day, a movement which elevated the nation’s consciousness and awareness of environmental stewardship and civic duty.

* $41.7 Million In Water Infrastructure Project Funding Awarded By PennVEST

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced the investment of $41.7 million in 13 non-point source, drinking water and wastewater projects across 12 counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

* Glade Run Lake Restoration Starts With $2 Million In State Funds In Butler County

Gov. Tom Corbett Wednesday joined state and local officials to announce that he has committed $2 million in capital budget funds toward the restoration of Glade Run Lake in Valencia, Butler County.

* Voting Now Open In Chesapeake Bay Foundation Save The Bay Photo Contest

Hundreds of photos were reviewed, 10 semi-finalists have been selected and now it’s up to you to select the Viewers’ Choice Awards in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Save the Bay Photo Contest.  The deadline for voting is May 2 at 5:00 p.m.

* ARIPPA Offers Abandoned Mine Reclamation Grants

Now in its fifth year, the Western and Eastern Coalitions for Abandoned Mine Reclamation partnered with the Anthracite Region Independent Power Producer's Association to offer a competitive grants to watershed organizations working on Abandoned Mine Land and/or  Abandoned Mine Drainage remediation projects.

* ClearWater Conservancy Honored For River Cleanup Program

Centre County’s ClearWater Conservancy Riparian Conservation Program was named a winner of the 2014 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, hosted by Dominion and the PA Environmental Council.

* Volunteers Needed For Manada Conservancy’s Buffer Planting, Native Plant Sale

Manada Conservancy is holding a streamside buffer planting on April 26 at 10 a.m. at 109 North Hanover Street, in Hummelstown, Dauphin County.  The buffer planting is being held in combination with Hummelstown’s 11th Annual Arbor Day Celebration.

* Corbett Awards 111 Grants For Environmental Education And Stewardship

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced he is awarding $309,626 in environmental education grants to 111 schools, universities, non-profit organizations and conservation districts across Pennsylvania.

* DCNR Launches Kids In Nature To Engage Children In Learning, Playing Outdoors

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti at Nescopeck State Park Tuesday unveiled Kids in Nature, renewing a focus on getting Pennsylvania’s families to spend more time enjoying the outdoors.

* Lackawanna Environmental Education Center May, June Programs

The Lackawanna College Environmental Education Center in Lackawanna County has programs for all ages coming up in May and June, including ages 3-6, 5-6 to adults.  Click Here to find out more.

* Gray’s Woods, Park Forest Schools Win Centre Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge

Congratulations to Gray’s Woods & Park Forest Elementary Schools for winning the Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge sponsored by the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.

* PROP: Lackawanna Elementary School Winner Of GreenSylvania Award

On April 23 the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania and Waste Management, Inc. announced the Riverside Elementary School West, Lackawanna County, was the winner of the 2013 GreenSylvania Paper Recycling Competition.

* PA Resources Council Celebrates 75 Years Of Protecting The Environment

The Pennsylvania Resources Council, the stateside non-profit that a group of concerned citizens founded in 1939 as the Pennsylvania Roadside Council, is celebrating its 75th anniversary of protecting Pennsylvania's natural resources and scenic beauty.

* Weis Markets Awards Gift Cards In Support of KPB’s Great American Cleanup of PA

Weis Markets, Inc., the newest sponsor of the Keep PA Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup of PA, Wednesday announced the winners of their donated gift cards.

* Public Meeting, Hearing On Ridgway Landfill April 29 In Elk County

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it will hold a public meeting and formal hearing concerning the Ridgway Borough landfill site in Ridgway Township, Elk County, on April 29 at 6 p.m. at the Ridgway Borough building, 108 Main Street, Ridgway.

* DEP Revokes Waste Permit For Tire Recycling Operation In Franklin County

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has revoked Chambersburg Tire Recycling’s Waste Management Permit due to unresolved compliance issues and waste management violations at its Hamilton Township, Franklin County waste tire processing facility.

* Northcentral DEP Regional Citizens’ Roundtable Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Northcentral Regional Citizens’ Roundtable

* DEP Issues Air Monitoring Report On Chevron Well Fire Site, Greene County

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday issued a report concluding that no pollutants that would indicate a potential health concern for local residents or emergency responders were found as a result of the Greene County Chevron well fire incident.

* Marcellus Shale Coalition Recognizes Earth Day

In recognition of Earth Day, Dave Spigelmyer, President of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group representing the natural gas production industry, issued the following statement:

* Environmental Rights Amendment: Delaware Riverkeeper Challenges Sunoco Pipeline

On Monday the Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted a Petition to Intervene and a Comment Letter with the Public Utility Commission opposing Sunoco Pipeline L.P’s request for an exemption from the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code for the construction of a series of industrial valve control and pumping stations.

* PA American Water To Expand Natural Gas Fleet In Northeast PA

Pennsylvania American Water Monday announced plans to expand its fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its northeast Pennsylvania operations.

* DEP Now Accepting Applications For Clean Diesel Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for the Pennsylvania Clean Diesel Grant Program.  Applications are due June 10.  (formal notice)

* Corbett Announces Carbon Sequestration Partnership With Wyoming, Other Coal States

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced a new partnership with Wyoming Gov. Matthew H. Mead and governors of other major coal-producing states to address the need to effectively deal with carbon emissions from electric generating facilities by developing a test center, to be located at an operating coal-fired electric generation facility, to explore the potential of carbon capture and utilization.

* Exelon Meets Goal To Eliminate Carbon Emissions Years Ahead Of Schedule

Continuing its progress toward a clean energy future, Exelon announced Wednesday it reduced or avoided more than 18 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013, surpassing its goal of eliminating 17.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year by 2020.

* DEP Sets International Energy Conservation Code Workshop In Exton On May 15

The Department of Environmental Protection invites code enforcement officials, builders, contractors and designers to a May 15 training workshop in Exton, Chester County, on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

* CarCharging, Turnpike, DEP Partner To Provide Electric Vehicle Charging At 2 Plazas

Car Charging Group, Inc. Wednesday announced drivers along the Pennsylvania Turnpike can now recharge their electric cars at the service plazas located in Bowmansville and King of Prussia. 

* Scheetz Earns Gold LEED Certification For ShWellness Center

On April 22 Sheetz, Inc. will formally accept the gold certification (second-highest level attainable) from the USGBC's LEED program for the environmentally responsible design of its Sheetz Center for Shwellness in Claysburg, Blair County.  The program is kicking off a daylong Earth Day celebration for Sheetz employees.

* EPA Names Top 100 Organizations Using Renewable Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partnership Wednesday released an updated list of the Top 100 organizations that are choosing to use electricity from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar power.

* PUC Holds May 5 Hearing On Combined Heat, Power Technology

The Public Utility Commission will hold an en banc hearing on the use of combined heat and power (CHP) on May 5 in Philadelphia to explore current issues and discuss regulatory policies impacting greater adoption of CHP in the Commonwealth.

* FirstEnergy Waives Polar Vortex Surcharge For Residential Customers

FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. announced Friday a recently proposed surcharge associated with January's polar vortex will be waived for its residential customers.  The one-time, $5 to $15 per customer surcharge would have appeared on customers' May, June or July bills.

* Penn Township’s New Sustainability Park, Walking Path Open In Lancaster County

Environmental stewardship is behind the new Sustainability Park located at 306 Doe Run Road in Penn Township, Lancaster County.  Now open to the public, the four-acre park was developed with the cooperation of township officials, Northwestern Lancaster County Authorityand Kreider Farms.

* Groundbreaking For Bedford County Rail-Trail Project Held

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti Thursday joined state and local officials in celebrating the groundbreaking for a 2-mile stretch of the Huntingdon & Broad Top Rail Trail in Broad Top and Hopewell townships, Bedford County.

* 500 Expected To Run/Hike In Central PA Conservancy’s Ironmaster’s Challenge April 27

Hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy in partnership with the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club, the Fifth Annual Ironmaster’s Challenge trail race will take place on April 27, starting at the Furnace Stack Pavilion and ending at the Ironmaster’s Mansion, both within Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

* Upper Delaware River Basin Cold Water Fisheries Economic Impact— $414 Million

Delaware County Economic Development and Friends of the Upper Delaware River have completed a study of the economic impact of the cold water fishery that now exists on the Delaware River’s upper sections, including the East and West Branches.

* Fort Indiantown Gap Begins Prescribed Burns For Wildfire Prevention

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Forestry Department has begun its spring prescribed burns to reduce the risk of wildfire at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon 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 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 Independent Regulatory Review Commission published the comments it submitted to the Environmental Quality Board on DEP’s Chapter 78 drilling regulation changes (PA Bulletin page 2594).

* 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.

* 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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