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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, June 9, 2014
(6/9/2014)
* PEC: Any Severance Tax Should Go First To Environmental Restoration, Protection

Davitt Woodwell, Executive Vice President for PA Environmental Council, issued the following statement Monday on state budget negotiations and the potential for a severance tax on natural gas development.

* Growing Greener Coalition Says Include The Environment In Any Severance Tax

The PA Growing Greener Coalition Tuesday urged state legislators to include funding for environmental programs and initiatives in any legislation that would enact a severance tax on natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania.

* Wolf Urges Action On Severance Tax Now, His Has No $$$ For Environmental Restoration

Democratic candidate for Governor Tom Wolf Tuesday urged members of the General Assembly and Gov. Corbett to enact a five percent natural gas severance tax to help address the state’s budget deficit this year. 

* Gas Drillers Pay $225.7 Million In Impact Fees For 2013, 11.5% More Than 2012

The Tribune Review reported Monday afternoon the Public Utility Commission collected 11.5 percent more in drilling impact fees for 2013 than it did in 2012.

* Marcellus Shale Coalition On Drilling Impact Fee Tax Disbursements

Marcellus Shale Coalition president Dave Spigelmyer issued the following statement Tuesday regarding the Public Utility Commission’s disbursement of 2013’s nearly $225 million in shale impact “fee tax” revenues for local governments:

* Court Told DCNR Did Not Recommend Additional Natural Gas Leasing On State Land

StateImpact, the Post-Gazette and the Patriot-News Wednesday reported Dan Devlin, DCNR Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forests, said DCNR did not recommend leasing additional State Park and Forest land for natural gas drilling, but added “as long as there is no surface disturbance, and we have control of the lease,” he was comfortable with the Corbett plan.

* Poll: PA Supports Drilling 58-33%, Opposes Drilling In State Parks, Forests 57-36%, But

Citing economic benefits over environmental concerns, Pennsylvania voters support 58-33 percent drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday.

* House GOP Preparing Bare-Bones Budget, Including Keystone Fund Transfer Option

The Morning Call reported Thursday House Republicans are putting together a “bare-bones” $28.6 billion General Fund budget which would match expenditures with expected revenues and deal with an estimated $1.6 billion budget deficit.

* 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/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--

* House Democrats Hear Concerns About Additional Drilling On State Lands

The House Democratic Policy Committee Monday heard concerns about Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to expand gas drilling in state parks and forests to raise an additional $75 million to balance the budget.

* House Environmental Committee Reports Nuclear Plant Fees Bill

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Wednesday amended and reported out House Bill 2264 (Miller-R-York) increasing nuclear power plant fees.  The bill was then referred to the House Rules Committee as all bills are this time of year.

* Senate Environmental Committee Moves Nuclear Plant Fees, Heritage Area Bills

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday reported out legislation to increase nuclear power plant fees, establishing the Heritage Areas Program in law and to fund private lateral sewage line repairs.  The bills include--

* House Environmental Committee Considers Royalty, Heritage Area Bills June 9

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet June 9 to consider oil and gas well royalty bills, legislation to establish the Heritage Area Program in law and a resolution on EPA’s carbon emission limits on existing power plants.  The bills include--

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Considers Comments On Longwall Mining Report June 17

On June 17 the DEP Citizens Advisory Council will discuss proposed comments on a draft of DEP’s Act 54 longwall mining impact report and hear presentations on Chesapeake Bay milestones, agricultural best management practices and the regional agricultural watershed assessment program.

* Groups Call For Study Of Gas Drilling Impacts In Susquehanna River Watershed

Environmental groups in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York Thursday called for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to undertake a comprehensive study of environmental impacts from shale gas operations on the water quality of the Susquehanna River Basin.

* DEP Awards More Than $1 Million For 2 Mine Reclamation Projects In Centre County

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it has awarded $819,444 for the Coaldale abandoned mine reclamation project in Rush Township and $321,718 for the Moshannon Far North project in Snow Shoe Township. Both projects are in Centre County.

* SRBC Approves 13 Projects, Makes Changes To Service Fees

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission Thursday held its quarterly business meeting in Entriken, Pa. Among its actions, SRBC:

* iConservePA.org Features Penn State Green Roofs Video

The June SEEDS email from iConservePA.org this month features a video from Penn State’s Plant Science Center for Green Roof Research

* PRC Water Camp Registration Now Open In Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania American Water, PA Resources Council and the Outdoor Classroom, will offer its 8th annual Wonderful World of Water Day Camp. This fun-filled week of outdoor adventure will be held July 14 through July 18 at The Outdoor Classroom in the Boyce Mayview Park in Upper St. Clair, Allegheny County.

* Winners Announced In Let’s Clear the Air Student Poster Challenge In Southwest

Spring is in the air, and unfortunately so are a lot of nasty pollutants that affect air quality.  Promoting ways to help change this is the focus of the 4th annual "Let's Clear the Air" Poster Challenge sponsored by the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership and the PA Resources Council

* International Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Mgmt. Conference In Philly Aug. 5-6

The PA Section American Water Works Association is co-sponsoring the first International Water/ Wastewater Infrastructure Management Conference on August 5-6 in Philadelphia.  Click Here for more information.

* Federal Disaster Assistance Now Available For Victims Of Flooding In Elk County

Gov. Tom Corbett Thursday announced the U.S. Small Business Administration approved his request to declare Elk County a disaster area after severe storms and flooding caused significant damage to homes and businesses on May 21 and 22.

* AG: Minutemen Drilling Waste Hauler, Others Face Environmental Crimes Charges

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Friday announced her office's investigation into environmental crimes allegedly committed by Minuteman and its owner Brian Bolus also revealed multiple conspiracies among Bolus, his mother, two siblings, his father and his father's fiancée to commit insurance fraud, resulting in multiple charges.

* Federal Court: Agencies Must Consider The Full Impact Of Segmented Pipeline Projects

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Friday ruled federal agencies must consider the full impact of segmented pipeline projects in their environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

* PUC: Summer Heat Means Higher Electric Bills, Time To Conserve Energy

With the start of summer heat, the Public Utility Commission reminds consumers that now is the time to take control of your electric bill by implementing energy conservation measures and double checking your electric supply pricing and contract.

* PUC Appoints Office Of Competitive Market Oversight Managers

As part of its ongoing efforts to bolster retail competition and strengthen consumer protection in the state’s electric and natural gas markets, the Public Utility Commission Thursday appointed H. Kirk House, Esq., of Cumberland County as the Director of its Office of Competitive Market Oversight.

* DEP Certifies Exelon Muddy Run Hydropower Project In Lancaster County

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it has issued a water quality  certification for the continued operation and maintenance of Exelon’s Muddy Run hydroelectric project in Martic and Drumore townships, Lancaster County. 

* Fish & Boat Commission To Receive $800,000 From Muddy Run Hydro Plant Certification

The Fish and Boat Commission Friday said the $800,000 it will receive as a result of a water quality certification of Exelon’s Muddy Run hydroelectric plant in Lancaster County will be used specifically to remove small dams within York and Lancaster counties.

* Ben Franklin-Southeast Solicits Alternative, Clean Energy Proposals

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA Tuesday issued a Request for Proposals for funding awards of up to $750,000 for companies with commercializing technologies in energy generation, conservation, and/or transportation.

* Phipps Conservatory Opens Multisensory Biophilic Art Exhibit

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh has unveiled its Biophilia Enhanced Through Art Project at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the greenest buildings on Earth.

* Corbett Expresses Concerns About New EPA Carbon Emission Regulations

Gov. Tom Corbett released the following statement regarding new regulations issued Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding carbon emissions.

* PA Coal Alliance Cites Cost, Reliability Concerns With Proposed EPA Carbon Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’'s proposed emission standards for existing coal-fired power plants would drive up electricity costs and threaten the reliability of the power supply while failing to curb global greenhouse gasses, the PA Coal Alliance said Monday.

* Hershey Company Recognized For Sustainability Efforts In Newsweek Green Rankings

The Hershey Company was recognized Friday for its continuing commitment to environmental stewardship by Newsweek in its 2014 Green Rankings. Out of the top U.S. 500 companies named, Hershey placed 46, moving up 210 spots from the last ranking, in 2012.

* ReuseFest Returns In Allegheny County June 28

Did you finish your spring cleaning and realize you have a ton of stuff that you no longer need?  Wondering what in the world to do with it?  Well the PA Resources Council has the answer:  come to the 3rd Annual ReuseFest inn Allegheny County.

* Pennsylvania’s Bats Are Counting On You

Game Commission biologists are seeking assistance from residents in a regional monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer.

* Fort Indiantown Gap Offers Guided Tours of Rare Regal Fritillary Butterfly Habitat

This July visitors are invited to see the only population of rare Regal Fritillary butterflies in Pennsylvania at Fort Indiantown Gap, near Annville, Lebanon County.

* Pennsylvania Trails In The Spotlight For National Trails Day June 7

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti is inviting all Pennsylvanians to discover, celebrate and learn about trails throughout the state on National Trails Day, June 7.

* Emerald View Park BioBlitz At Mount Washington, Pittsburgh June 6-7

Help scientists and nature enthusiasts identify a diverse population of plant and animal species living in an urban park on June 6-7 at Emerald View Park on Mount Washington in Pittsburgh.

* PA Horticultural Society Gardening And Community Greening Contest

The PA Horticultural Society is inviting backyard gardeners, community gardeners and anyone passionate about greening public spaces to enter its Gardening and Greening Contest.  The deadline for entries is June 30.  Click Here for all the details.

* Penn’s Woods Newsletter Now Available From PA Chapter, The Nature Conservancy

The Spring/Summer issue of Penn’s Woods newsletter is now available from the PA Chapter of The Nature ConservancyClick Here to ready a copy.

* Wildlands Conservancy 2013 Annual Report Now Available

The Wildlands Conservancy’s Annual Report is now available detailing its accomplishments in 2013 and over 40 years of conservation.

* Western PA Conservancy June Water, Land, Life Newsletter Now Available

The June issue of the Water, Land, Life newsletter is now available from the Western PA ConservancyClick Here to read your copy.

* Opportunity To Bid On DCNR, DEP Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of an opportunity to bid on a well plugging project in Bradford 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 Public Utility Commission published notice of proposed rulemaking on automatic adjustment clauses related to electric default service.

* 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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