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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, June 23, 2014
(6/23/2014)
* Commonwealth Sues Major Oil Companies To Recover MTBE Damage, Cleanup Costs

Attorneys representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania filed separate lawsuits in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Thursday, seeking relief for the widespread pollution and harm done to Pennsylvania's waters caused by gasoline containing the additive known as MTBE, and reimbursement for misuse of the PA Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund (USTIF).

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Commends Gov. Corbett For Signing New Bay Agreement

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Monday thanked Gov. Tom Corbett for recommitting the Commonwealth to the effort to restore Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.

* DEP CAC Told PA Must Reduce Nitrogen By Over 10 Million Pounds By 2017

Andy Zemba, Director of DEP’s Interstate Waters Office, told the DEP Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday Pennsylvania must reduce its nitrogen load going into our rivers and streams by over 10 million pounds, our sediment load by nearly 212 million pounds and our phosphorus pollution by 141,000 pounds if we are to meet our 2017 Chesapeake Bay cleanup milestones.

* Video: DEP Citizens Advisory Council Visits Dairy Farm To See BMPs First-Hand

Members of the DEP Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday visited the Dennis Garman Farm in Cumberland County to see first-hand how a working dairy farm incorporates best management practices into its operations to not only reduce their environmental footprint, but to improve profitability.

* Gov. Corbett Gives Pension, Liquor Ultimatum, Does Not Rule Out Severance Tax

Gov. Corbett this week made a “request” that the Senate and House do meaningful pension reform and liquor reform first before he will talk about what to do with the state budget or enacting revenue measures like a natural gas severance tax.  But he didn’t rule out enactment of a severance tax.

* CBF-PA: Any Severance Tax Should Help PA Meet Clean Water Commitments

On Tuesday, Harry Campbell, Director of the PA Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, wrote to members of the House and Senate urging them to remember the commitments Pennsylvania has made to cleaning up its rivers and streams if they enact a natural gas severance tax.  The text of the letter follows--

* Rep. DiGirolamo Introduces 4.9 Percent Natural Gas Severance Tax Proposal

Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) Thursday introduced House Bill 2358 (DiGirolamo-R-Bucks) providing for the imposition of a 4.9 percent natural gas severance tax to replace the drilling impact fees-- sponsor summary.

* Environmental Groups Urge Senate, House To Stop Cuts, Protect Our Land And Water

The Growing Greener Coalition, PA Land Trust Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Western PA Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy-PA Chapter,  Lancaster Farmland Trust, Preservation Pennsylvania, HeritagePA and dozens of other environmental and conservation groups Thursday urged members of the Senate and House to oppose budget cuts that reduce or eliminate General Fund appropriations to program that protect land, water and Pennsylvania’s heritage.

* DEP To Webcast Oil & Gas Advisory Board Meeting Live June 26

DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board is scheduled to meet on June 26 to consider a summary of comments on the Chapter 78 drilling regulation changes and a conceptual overview of new, draft changes for a new regulation package covering well drilling standards, operations, plugging and underground gas storage.

* Add Us To Your Google+ Circle

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* 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--

* Rep. Snyder: Bill Would Require Legislative OK Of Plan To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Fayette) Monday announced the introduction of House Bill 2354 (Snyder-D-Fayette) that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to submit any plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants to the General Assembly for approval before sending it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

* Lyme Disease Awareness, Prevention Bill Goes To Governor

Senate Bill 177 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery), legislation creating a task force within the Department of Health to educate the public about Lyme disease and conduct a tick surveillance program across the Commonwealth was given final approval by the House and Senate this week and now goes to the Governor for his action.

* House Environmental Committee OKs States Rights Carbon Limit Resolution

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Wednesday reported out House Resolution 815 (Snyder-D-Fayette) urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to development guidelines regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants that respect the primacy of the Commonwealth and take into account unique policies, energy needs and resources mix and economic priorities of Pennsylvania- sponsor summary.

* Senate Environmental Committee Hearing June 27 On EPA Carbon Reduction Reg.

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas reduction requirements for existing power plants on June 27 and its potential impacts on energy generation in Pennsylvania.

* UPDATED: House Environmental Committee Meets On Carbon Emissions Plan Approval, Conventional Well Bills

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet on June 25 to consider House Bill 2354 (Snyder-D-Fayette) requiring the approval of the General Assembly of any plan submitted by DEP to comply with EPA greenhouse emission reduction requirements- sponsor summary

* UPDATED: Senate Environmental Committee Schedules Bill Setting New Conventional Well Standards For June 25

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has now scheduled a meeting for June 25 to consider Senate Bill 1378 (Scarnati-R- Jefferson) that would set different environmental standards for conventional oil and gas wells- sponsor summary.

* PennVEST, DEP: Results Of Nutrient Credit Trading Auction, Next Auction Sept. 10

The PA Infrastructure Investment Authority and the Department of Environmental Protection, along with financial information services company Markit, announced Wednesday they have held the second “forward” auction in 2014 for the sale and purchase of nutrient credits in Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* TreeVitalize Watershed Grants Available In Southeast PA For Watershed Tree Plantings

The PA Horticultural Society announced Thursday it will begin accepting applications for Southeast TreeVitalize Watershed Grants to encourage tree plantings in stream corridors and watersheds in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

* Penn State: 2014 Groundwater Symposium Presentations Posted

Groundwater professionals from across Pennsylvania gathered on May 7 at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in State College for the 2014 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium.

* Penn State Extension Offers Tips For Healthier Ponds In June 25 Webinar

The Penn State Water Resources Extension team will provide a live, one hour webinar from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on June 25 on Five Steps to a Healthier Pond.

* Coalport Borough, Clearfield County Receives Flood Control Funding

Gov. Tom Corbett Monday announced the Department of Community and Economic Development awarded Clearfield County $180,000 in Keystone Communities grants to support public improvements that address flood protection issues and community redevelopment projects.

* DEP Fines Carrizo Marcellus LLC $192,044 For Well Control Incident, Spill

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it has fined Carrizo Marcellus LLC of Houston, Texas, $192,044 for a well control incident and a production water spill at gas well pads in Washington Township, Wyoming County, in March and April 2013.

* DCNR Files Court Appeal On Request For State Parks, Forest Drilling Information

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Thursday appealed to Commonwealth Court a decision by the PA Office of Open Records directing his administration to turn over information on his plan to raise $75 million through the additional leasing of mineral rights in state parks and forests for natural gas drilling.

* Keep PA Beautiful: Winners Of Great American Cleanup Of PA Video Contest

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday announced a video by Clean and Green Harrisburg with Tri County Community Action in Dauphin County is the winner of the 2014 Great American Cleanup of PA Video Contest.

* Sen. Solobay Congratulates Keep PA Beautiful, FITS Program For Cleanup Efforts

Sen. Tim Solobay (D-Washington) Wednesday recognized key leaders in the fight against illegal dumping in Washington County on June 13 at an illegal dumpsite along South Sunset Beach Road in East Finley Township that was recently cleaned through the partnership between Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Washington County Court System Furlough Into Service (FITS) Program.

* River Sweep Volunteers Needed For June 21 Cleanup In Western PA

Volunteers are needed for the 24th Annual River Sweep this June 21, from 8 a.m. to noon to help clean up stream and riverbanks in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.

* Attorney General Files PUC Appeal On Variable Rate Electric Supply Contracts

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Friday announced the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Office of Consumer Advocate have filed joint complaints against five out-of-state electric generation suppliers before the Public Utility Commission, after some consumers complained their electricity costs increased by as much as 300 percent.

* PPL Electric Utilities Customers Will Have The Power They Need This Summer

With the arrival of summer this weekend, PPL Electric Utilities customers will have reliable power to stay cool and comfortable during the hot and stormy months ahead.

* DEP Climate Change Advisory Committee To Consider Work Schedule June 24

DEP’s Climate Change Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on June 24 and will review a proposed schedule for developing the next Climate Change Impact Assessment report and the 2015 Climate Change Action Plan. 

* Sign Up Now For the 20th Delaware River Sojourn June 22 To 28

2014 marks the 20th year of the Delaware River Sojourn, one of the longest, continuously running PA River Sojourns - a true milestone! Themed Sharing the Journey for 20 Years, the sojourn will be held from June 22 to 28.

* Friends Of Wissahickon Volunteers Restore Orange Trail

Friends of the Wissahickon volunteers helped mark National Trails Day on June 7 by working to restore a section of the Wissahickon’s Orange Trail in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia near Kitchens Lane.  The volunteers helped with water diversion techniques, erosion control and helped build stone structures along the trail.

* Paddle Without Pollution Premieres Water Trail Film In Erie June 27

Paddle Without Pollution Tuesday announced The Making of the Presque Isle Water Trail film would debut at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie on June 27 at a premiere launch party.

* Heritage Conservancy: Green Futures: Connecting Students And Communities July 30-31

The Heritage Conservancy, Bucks County Conservation District and DCNR are teaming up to present a workshop and field trip with the theme Green Futures: Connecting Students and Communities July 30-31 at the Conservancy’s Aldie Mansion in Doylestown.

* Governor’s Office Responds To Post-Gazette Article On Allegheny Forest Insect Plan

Patrick Henderson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Corbett, responded to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 14 alleging a conspiracy to open the Allegheny National Forest to more logging by using provisions in the new federal Farm Bill.  The text of the response follows--

* High School Students Participate In PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative Training

A new partnership between the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, Clinton County allows students enrolled in the school’s Natural Resources Management Program to participate in the state’s premier logger training program at no cost to the students or the school.

* Pennsylvania Logger Wins National Logging Competition In Vermont

Ron L. Andrus of Galeton, Potter County won the National Game of Logging Championship and Soren Eriksson Cup at the 2014 Game of Logging National Competition in Essex Junction, Vermont on May 10.

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness Sponsor Film On 50th Anniversary Of Wilderness Act

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, Allegheny Outfitters, Allegheny National Forest, Chapman State Park, and Conewango Creek Watershed Association are teaming up to co-present a film at the outdoor amphitheatre at Chapman State Park in Warren County on the evening of July 25th at 9:00 p.m. in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, free of charge to the public.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Projects In Clearfield, Elk Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of the opportunity to bid on mine reclamation projects in Clearfield County and Elk County.

* Help Wanted: Partnership For Delaware Estuary Grant Coordinator

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is seeking qualified candidates for the full-time position of coordinator of grants. Resume and references due July 14.

* Help Wanted: Professional Recyclers Of PA Seeks Executive Director

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, currently headquartered in Harrisburg, seeks a creative, service-oriented individual to lead our non-profit organization.

* 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 NewsClps

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

No new regulations were published this week.  Pennsylvania Bulletin - June 21, 2014

* UPDATED: 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.

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