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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 15, 2014
(12/15/2014)
* Wolf Announces Transition Agency Review Leaders For DEP, DCNR, Other Agencies

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf Thursday announced the individuals tasked with reviewing state agencies, commissions, and various issue areas. These individuals will work with the outgoing administration to better understand the issues and challenges that face the executive branch.

* Gov.-Elect Wolf Names Former DEP Secretary John Hanger Secretary Of Policy

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf Wednesday announced key staff that will join him in the Office of the Governor. Wolf announced that John Hanger will serve as secretary of planning and policy, Mary Isenhour will serve as secretary of legislative affairs, and Obra S. Kernodle IV will serve as deputy chief of staff and director, Office of Public Liaison.

* John Dawes Recognized With Federal Office Of Surface Mining ECHO Award

If Pennsylvania has a patron saint when it comes to abandoned mine reclamation, it would be John Dawes, the executive director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

* PA Budget Policy Center: Severance Tax Would Bring In At Least 3x Drilling Impact Fee

A severance tax on natural gas, which every other major gas-producing state already has in place, will generate significantly more revenue for Pennsylvania than the current impact fee, even at lower gas prices, according to an updated analysis by the PA Budget and Policy Center.

* Allegheny Institute: Assessing The Impact Of A Severance Tax For PA

The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Pittsburgh Friday released another in a series of public policy briefs, this one entitled, “Assessing The Impact Of A Severance Tax For PA.”  The policy brief is reprinted below--

* 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 (Updated)

Here are the Senate and House Calendars and Committee meetings showing bills of interest as well as a list of new environmental bills introduced--

* House Republican Staff Changes Reflects New Leadership Team

Capitolwire Thursday reported House Republican Leadership staff changes, including the naming of Todd Brysiak, formerly with the PA Chamber of Business and Industry, to be Majority Leader David Reed’s chief of staff, replacing Krystjan Callahan who held that position for Rep. Mike Turzai.

* SRBC OKs Water Withdrawal Rule Changes For Drilling Operations

On December 5, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission held its quarterly business meeting in Annapolis, Md adopted changes to its regulations covering water withdrawals by drilling operations and a resolution urging the President and Congress to provide full funding for the National Streamflow Information Program, thereby supporting the Susquehanna Flood Forecast & Warning System.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Hears Testimony On PennEast Pipeline Project

At its first meeting since making the decision to exercise jurisdiction over the PennEast Pipeline Project, the Delaware River Basin Commission Commissioners Tuesday heard testimony from the public regarding anticipated impacts to the water resources of the Delaware River Watershed.

* DEP Orders XTO To Cease And Desist Earth Disturbance In Butler County

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday ordered XTO Energy, Inc. to cease and desist all earth disturbance activities associated with the Cratty Unit Project in Franklin Township, Butler County.

* CBF: Chesapeake Bay Program Receives Slight Increase In Federal Funding

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Vice President Kim Coble issued this statement Wednesday concerning the release of the federal appropriations bill:

* Crawford County Stream Improvements Help Threatened Species, Endangered Mussels

Much-needed stream restoration on Muddy Run in Athens Township, Crawford County, is providing improved habitats for several aquatic species, including one designated as threatened by Pennsylvania officials.

* DEP Fines Fredericksburg Authority, Contractors $75,000 For Environmental Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced a settlement agreement with the Fredericksburg Sewer and Water Authority, Joao and Bradley Construction Company, and Steckbeck Engineering and Surveying, Inc. to resolve multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act that occurred during the construction of the Fredericksburg Sewer Main Project in Bethel Township, Lebanon County.

* Settlement Of Threatened Lawsuit Results In $110,500 Penalty Against Tredyffrin Twp.

The threat of a pending Clean Water Act lawsuit by PennEnvironment and the Valley Forge Chapter of Trout Unlimited against Tredyffrin Township in Chester County compelled state environmental regulators to take their own legal action against the Township, and to forge a legally binding plan to fix and replace an aging, failure-prone sewage pipeline.

* DEP Proposes Changes To Guidelines For Beneficial Use Of Coal Ash At Coal Mines

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of an opportunity to comment on a draft technical guidance related to the beneficial use of coal ash at coal mines in the December 13 PA Bulletin.  Comments are due January 13.

* Register Now For PA-AWWA Annual Conference, Deadline For Papers Extended

There is still time to register for the PA Section of the American Water Works Association annual Conference April 21-23 in Hershey.  The deadline for submitting Conference papers has been extended to January 9Click Here for all the details.

* Chesapeake Bay Program Seeking Technical Assistance Support Service Provider

Pennsylvania entities experienced in various aspects of fisheries, watershed science and policy, watershed stewardship, local leadership, wetlands, toxics, and other watershed issues are encouraged to submit proposals for consultant services technical assistance to support the federal Chesapeake Bay Program.

* 12,809 Volunteers Keep PA Beautiful During 2014 International Coastal Cleanup

This year 12,809 volunteers from 50 counties across Pennsylvania canvassed their communities to remove 646,210 pounds of trash and debris from Pennsylvania’s waterways and coastal regions during the 2014 International Coastal Cleanup event, according to Keep PA Beautiful.

* Pick It Up, PA Public Service Announcement Wins National Award

Pennsylvania's public service announcement promoting the annual Great American Cleanup of PA initiative has won the "Best Statewide Promotion" award from Keep America Beautiful.

* Host Municipal Waste Inspector Grant Applications Due March 31

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 13 PA Bulletin announcing applications for reimbursement under the Host Municipality Inspector Program are due March 31.  For more information, visit DEP’s Host Municipality Programs webpage.

* FirstEnergy Awards Science Education Grants To 21 Teachers In PA Service Areas

FirstEnergy Tuesday announced the award of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) grants to 21 teachers in its Penelec, Met-Ed and West Penn Power service areas in Pennsylvania.  The grants will be used for a variety of hands-on projects, workshops and teacher development programs throughout the school year.

* Apply Soon For Wildlife Leadership Academy Field Schools, Students & Mentors

The PA Wildlife Leadership Academy will begin accepting applications from students and adult mentors to be part of the 2015 field schools on January 1.  Applications are due April 1.

* PA Environmental Professionals Assn. Offer College Scholarships

The PA Association of Environmental Professionals is again offering $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate or graduate college students pursuing a degree in environmental science or a related major.  The deadline for applications is February 15.  Click Here for more information on how to apply.

* Hundreds Attend Lehigh County Radon Information Meeting

Several hundred residents from the Center Valley/Coopersburg region of Lehigh County attended a December 4 information meeting about record high levels of radon detected in the area hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection.

* DEP Solicits Comments On Proposed Lead Nonattainment Area In Berks County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 13 PA Bulletin it will hold a hearing January 12 on proposed changes to the state Air Quality Implementation Plan related to the Lyons Nonattainment Area in Berks County for compliance with the federal National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead.

* Natural Gas, Coal Bed Methane Operations Must Report 2014 Emissions To DEP

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 13 PA Bulletin notifying owners of natural gas and coal bed methane operations they must report their 2014 air emissions to the agency by March 1.  For more information, visit DEP’s Natural/Coal Bed Methane Operations webpage.

* Dec. 11 DEP News Now Available

The December 11 issue of DEP News is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on-

* PA Oil Franchise Tax To Increase In 2015: 9.8 Cents For Gasoline, 13.2 Cents For Diesel

The Department of Revenue published notice in the December 13 PA Bulletin the state Oil Franchise Tax on gasoline and diesel fuel will be increasing again in 2015 to pay for the transportation improvement program enacted in 2012.

* Report: Wind Energy Can Cut Carbon Pollution By More Than 3.6 Million Cars In PA

Wind power is on track to cut as much carbon pollution in Pennsylvania as four coal-fired power plants, or 3,689,000 cars produce in a year by 2030, according to a new analysis by the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center.

* Nominate A White House Champion Of Change For Climate Education, Literacy

The White House is now accepting nominations for Champions of Change for Climate Education and Literacy-- educators, students, business people, scientists and others in organizations working to educate communities about climate issues.  Nominations are due December 23.

* Pennsylvania Adds 28 Farms, Nearly 2,700 Acres To Preservation Program

Agriculture Secretary George Greig commended members of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board Thursday for protecting 2,678 additional acres on 28 farms, noting the continued support for the nation-leading program that expanded on the state’s half-millionth acre preserved at the board’s last meeting.

* Groups Urge Gov.-Elect Wolf To Reinstate Moratorium On Drilling More DCNR Lands

PennEnvironment Thursday released a new study which showed what it said is the far-reaching threat that gas drilling poses to parks, forests and public lands across Pennsylvania.

* Enhance Penn’s Woods Initiative Adds 971 Acres To State Forests

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti Wednesday announced the department is adding 971 acres to Pennsylvania’s state forest system by adding seven separate tracts to Bald Eagle, Gallitzin, Lackawanna, Rothrock, Tiadaghton and Tuscarora state forests.

* PA State Parks, Forests Offer Visitors A Winter Playground

The calendar may say winter still is weeks 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.

* DCNR Reopening ATV Trail In Delaware State Forest, Monroe County

When winter ATV riding on state forestlands resumes December 14, riders will be able to return to the Dixon Miller ATV Trail in Monroe County after a two-year closure, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced Monday.

* Dec. 10 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The December 10 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Fort Indiantown Gap Begins Firewood, Wood Chip Sales In Lebanon County

Fort Indiantown Gap has implemented a new firewood and wood chip sales program offering an opportunity for the general public to purchase firewood and wood chips for an economical price from the installation.

* Wilderness Society Comments On U.S. Forest Service Commercial Filming Rule

The Wilderness Society is urging the U.S. Forest Service to modify a rule to allow for commercial filming in wilderness in certain situations.

* iConservePA.org: Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Begins December 14

Here’s your chance to take part in a more-than-a-century-old holiday tradition that doesn’t involve calories, gifts or singing from iConservePA.org.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Announces Winter Eagle-Watching Events

Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and their partners for a series of eagle-watching events all winter long in Pennsylvania and New York, including guided bus tours, the second annual Eagle Day at the Lake Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center, and live music and live birds of prey with “Little Sparrow and the Eagles.”

* iConservePA.org Video: Black Bear Plays In Vernal Poll

As a holiday treat, iConservePA.org this week made available a video of a black bear playing in a vernal pool in the Tuscarora State Forest.  Does anyone have a rubber duck or loofah?  Click Here to see up for the monthly Seeds newsletter from iConservePA.org.

* Opportunity To Bid On DCNR Projects In Bedford, Bucks, Westmoreland Counties

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice of an opportunity to bid on projects in Bedford, Bucks and Westmoreland counties.

* Help Wanted: Trout Unlimited Habitat Project Coordinator

Trout Unlimited is seeking candidates for a Habitat Project Coordinator for its PA Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative.  The position will be based in Northcentral PA and will focus initially in the West Branch Susquehanna River basin.  Applications are due January 12.  Click Here for all the details.

* Public Participation Opportunities/Calendar Of Events

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.  It also gives you a heads-up on House and Senate Committee meetings, conferences and other interesting events.  Meetings are in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted.

* 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.

* General Environmental/Budget 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---

* Watershed/Flooding NewsClips

Here are NewsClips on watershed topics from around the state--

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

No new regulations were published this week.  Pennsylvania Bulletin - December 13, 2014

* 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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