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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, March 2, 2015
* Analysis: 5 Things To Look For In Gov. Wolf’s Budget Address Next Week

When Gov. Tom Wolf presents his first budget to the General Assembly March 3, environmental advocates will be looking to see if he will at least make a downpayment on reversing the 12 year almost steady decline in state environmental funding which has so far claimed over $2.4 billion.

* IFO Estimates Act 13 Drilling Fee Revenue Down In 2014 To $220.4 Million

The Independent Fiscal Office this week released an update on the Act 13 drilling impact fee revenue saying in 2014 the fee is estimated to generate $220.5 million, down slightly from $225.7 million in 2013.  IFO said that equates to a 2.1 percent effective tax rate.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Hearing March 27 On Act 54 Mining Impact Report

The Citizens Advisory Council to the Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday it will hold an additional public hearing to accept testimony on the 2008-2013 Underground Coal Mining Impact Report required by the state’s Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (Act 54).

* PA Environment Digest Google+ Circle, Blogs, Twitter Feeds

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.

* Governor's Schedule

Gov. Tom Wolf's work calendar will be posted each Friday and his public schedule for the day will be posted each morning.   Click Here to view Gov. Wolf’s Weekly Calendar and Public Appearances.

* 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--

* Senate/House Bills Moving

The following bills of interest saw action this week in the House and Senate--

* Marcellus Shale Health Panel Bill Advances In Senate

Senate Bill 375 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson), creating a Health Advisory Panel on Shale Gas Extraction was reported out of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

* Senate Environmental Committee OKs Bill To Expand Natural Gas Service

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved legislation Tuesday to extend natural gas service into unserved or underserved areas, on sewer lateral funding and an independent counsel for the Environmental Quality Board.  The bills include--

* Legislative Audit Shows House, Senate Have $132.6 Million Surplus

The bicameral, bipartisan Legislative Audit Advisory Commission, chaired by Rep. Mark Keller (R-Perry), Monday voted to accept the audit report of the General Assembly’s finances for the 2013-14 fiscal year as conducted by an independent certified public accounting firm.

* Sen. Hutchinson To Introduce Bills Supporting PA Timber Industry

Citing the important role that timber operations play in the Commonwealth’s economy, Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) is introducing a bill and a resolution that will protect and promote the state’s forest areas and the thousands of family-sustaining jobs provided by the wood harvesting industry.

* Rep. Conklin Introduces 2 Natural Gas Severance Tax Proposals

Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre) introduced not one but two natural gas severance tax proposals this week--

* House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing March 2 On Climate Change

The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a hearing on March 2 starting at 10:00 on what Pennsylvania can do to achieve carbon neutrality.

* Senate Hearing March 3 On Opportunities Created By Act 13 Drilling Fees

The Senate Local Government and  Environmental Resources and Energy Committees are scheduled to hold a joint hearing March 3 on the opportunities created by the Act 13 drilling impact fee for counties, municipalities, conservation districts and local economic development agencies. 

* CBF, Stroud Water Center Applaud Introduction Of New Stream Buffer Bill

On Wednesday, Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) introduced Senate Bill 560 which would authorize municipalities to adopt regulations requiring riparian buffers and the Department of Environmental Protection to enforce a 100 foot stream buffer requirement.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Meeting March 5 In Hershey

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is conducting its next business meeting March 5 at 9:00 a.m., Hershey Lodge, Convention Center Entrance, Crystal A Room (Confection Hall Level), 325 University Drive, Hershey, Pa. 17033. The meeting is open to the public.

* Capital Region Water Board Rejects Sale Of Clarks Valley Land

Capital Region Water’s Board of Directors voted 3-1 Wednesday to reject the proposed Agreement of Sale for 384 acres of property in Clarks Valley in Dauphin County at their February meeting. This decision comes after almost 24 months of discussions, a two month public comment period, and two public hearings.

* DEP: Newport Borough Water Authority Agrees To Address Drinking Water Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced the Newport Borough Water Authority in Newport, Perry County, has signed a consent order and agreement (COA) to address drinking water treatment, monitoring and reporting violations that occurred in 2013 and 2014.

* WPCAMR: Film About Operation Scarlift Mine Reclamation Program Now Online

The Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation made available at film on YouTube produced by the Department of Environmental Resources in 1970 to describe the impact of Operation Scarlift in cleaning up Pennsylvania’s abandoned mines, putting out mine fires and deal with mine subsidence damage.

* PROP Recycling Film Festival Now Accepting Entries

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania's Eighth Annual Recycling Film Festival will be held in Conjunction with PROP's Annual Recycling & Organics Conference in Harrisburg July 29 - 31.  The deadline for entries is July 10.

* 25th Recycling & Organics Conference July 29-31 In Harrisburg

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania will hold its 25th annual Recycling and Organics Conference July 29-31 at the Best Western Premier in Harrisburg.

* Wolf Sends Obama Letter Asking For Federal Action To Prevent Oil Train Accidents

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday wrote a letter to President Barack Obama to express concern and call for action to improve the safety of transportation of crude oil by rail in Pennsylvania.  Each week, roughly sixty to seventy trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region travel through the Commonwealth destined for Philadelphia or another East Coast refinery.

* Allegheny Institute Policy Brief: Governor Pitches Severance Tax Proposal

While stumping for the governorship, the current Governor made a Marcellus Shale severance tax a key campaign promise.  And true to his promise, now that he occupies the seat, he has officially proposed a five percent severance tax on the value of natural gas coming from the Marcellus Shale formation. 

* Wall Street Journal: DEP Reviewing Oil & Gas Well Bonding To Prevent Orphan Wells

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday the Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing oil and gas well bonding amounts to determine whether they are adequate to prevent orphan wells that would be the responsibility of state taxpayers to properly plug, according to a DEP spokesperson.

* PEC Blog: Avoiding Future Pollution Legacies

An article in the Wall Street Journal this week underscored the reality that any boom in natural resource development – including natural gas – ultimately recedes. Too frequently, the end of the boom results in tremendous environmental and financial burdens for states.

* Center For Sustainable Shale Development Expands Wastewater Treatment Standard

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development, a collaboration of environmental organizations and energy companies to encourage prudent and responsible development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region, announced Friday it has expanded its wastewater Performance Standard 1 to address the treatment of shale wastewater at permitted facilities.  

* FracTracker Introduces Interactive Map Showing Drilling On Public Lands

The FracTracker Alliance has created a unique GIS map that enables the public to investigate how shale gas development is changing the face of our public lands.  The map shows, in one place:

* Inaugural Meeting Of DEP Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee March 26

The first meeting of DEP’s Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee will be held on March 26 in Room 105 Rachel Carson Building starting at 10:00. (formal notice)

* UGI Expanded Conservation Requests In Specific Areas

Another wave of extreme cold temperatures is expected to impact the UGI service territory tonight and through last Tuesday morning, and UGI is again asking natural gas customers in specific communities to practice voluntary conservation during this period by lowering their thermostats to 65 degrees or lower beginning tonight and continuing through 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

* PUC Reminds Consumers They Can Switch Electric Suppliers In 3 Days

With more bitter cold temperatures in the forecast and winter heating bills on the way, the Public Utility Commission Wednesday reminded consumers that, in most of the state, they are now able to switch suppliers in as few as three business days if they wish to make a change to their electric supply rate or contract.

* April 23 DEP Hearing On Proposed PPL West Pocono-North Pocono Transmission Line

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a public hearing on April 23 on water obstruction and encroachment permits for the proposed PPL West Pocono-North Pocono 230kV electric transmission line in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.  (PA Bulletin page 1023)

* Energy Policy At A Crossroads: Why 2015 Is Pivotal March 3 In Pittsburgh

Conservation Consultants, Inc. and other partners will host a Critical Decisions That Are Shaping Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy And Rates Program March 3 from 4 to 6 in Bayer Hall at the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

* DEP Now Accepting Applications For Clean Diesel Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice it is now accepting applications for Clean Diesel Grants until March 31.

* March 31 Hearing On Air Permit For Perdue Grain, Oil Seed Facility In Lancaster

The Department of Environmental Protection will host a public hearing on March 31 to accept comments on a draft air quality plan approval for Perdue Grain and Oil Seed LLC for the installation of a grain elevator and a soybean oil extraction facility in Conoy Township, Lancaster County.

* The Shawnee Inn And Golf Resort New Green Lodging Partner In Delaware Highlands

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is pleased to welcome the historic Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in Monroe County to the Green Lodging Partnership—an initiative that allows visitors to our region to invest in land conservation through a voluntary $2-per-stay donation at participating lodgings.

* PA Parks & Forests Award Winners Announced, Awards Banquet May 5

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Thursday recognized the outstanding service, programs and exemplary work being done in state parks and forests with the announcement of its 2015 award winners.

* South Mountain Speakers Series To Focus On Conservation Leaders, Past And Present

Leadership in the conservation movement will be the topic of the first lecture in the 2015 South Mountain Speakers Series on March 10 at the Carlisle Theater, Carlisle.

* Women And Their Woods Educational Workshop April 25-26 Pike County

Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and Women And Their Woods graduates, friends and professionals for presentations, networking opportunities and hands-on field demonstrations on April 25 and 26, 2015, in Milford, Pike County.

* Susquehanna Greenways: Apply Now For River Access Grants From NPS-Chesapeake

Is your community seeking to create new public river access for kayaks and canoes, or interested in improving swimming access, fishing access and/or, viewing access for water, wildlife, and shoreline areas?  Check out this great source of funding and project ideas.

* Friends Of The Wissahickon Schedules Repairs On Two Park Trails This Spring

Friends of the Wissahickon in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties will be closing two sections of the Yellow Trail in the Wissahickon Valley Park this spring and summer to make improvements to the trail.

* Explore The World Of Salamanders, Frogs With The Nature Conservancy March 20-21

The Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy is offering three public walks at The Forest Pools Preserve at Kings Gap Environmental Center in Cumberland County to celebrate the first days of spring and to explore forested vernal pools – nurseries for amphibians – to catch a glimpse of salamanders and frogs as they emerge from their subterranean slumber to lay their eggs.

* Volunteers Needed To Be A Susquehanna Greenway Ambassador

Here is a great way to meet new people and learn about the Susquehanna Greenway!  The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is looking for volunteers to help us spread the word about the  organization at outreach booths at locations  Shifts are available for the following events:

* Resources For River Towns: Parks And Trails Toolkit

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership: Kids need 60 minutes of daily physical activity to maintain good health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 30 percent of youth achieve this goal. Additionally, more than 25 percent of adults report no leisure-time physical activity.

* Educational Paddle Trips Coming Up On The Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership has put together a schedule of educational paddle trips on the Susquehanna River by friends and partners with the organizations coming up in June, July and September.

* February eConnections Available From Susquehanna Greenway Partnership

The February issue of the eConnections newsletter is now available from the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership featuring articles on--

* Wildlands Conservancy March Special Events Calendar Available

The Wildlands Conservancy in the Lehigh Valley has just updated its March special events calendar featuring programs for adults and students.  Click Here to see what’s coming.

* Mini-Grants Available For Snowmobile Trail Improvements

Applications are being accepted until March 6 by the PA State Snowmobile Association for equipment related to grooming and improving snowmobile trails that are open for public use. 

* Sign Up For The Get Outdoors PAthfinder!

Learn about new trends in outdoor activities; hear about unique events happening all across Pennsylvania; get to know more about the wonderful Get Outdoors PA partners bringing outdoor recreation to your much more.

* Feb. 25 DCNR Resource Newsletter Now Available

The February 25 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Hawk Mountain To Host Guided Hike On March 7

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Berks County, will host a fully-guided two-mile winter hike on March 7 starting at 10 a.m. at the Sanctuary Visitor Center. 

* Feature: Volunteer Cited For Work With Bluebirds At Bald Eagle State Park

When Robert Zelinski eased out of the world of New Jersey-based chemical manufacturing and into the retirement world, he bucked the trend among many fellow Garden State retirees. Turning his back on the salt life, the coastal towns and all they have to afford, he headed inland—far inland—to the hardwoods of Pennsylvania’s Centre County.

* Dana Aunkst Named DEP Field Operations Deputy Secretary

Dana Aunkst has been named Deputy Secretary for Field Operations which oversees the operations of DEP’s six major regional offices.  He had been Acting DEP Secretary and Executive Deputy for Programs and also responsible for Field Operations.

* Help Wanted: Monroe Conservation District Head Resource Conservationist

The Monroe County Conservation District is seeking an individual to supervise the District’s Technical Section. A great opportunity for someone interested in sustainable development and planning for the future of Monroe County’s unique natural resources. Click Here for a more detailed job description.  Click Here for an application.

* Public Participation Opportunities/Calendar Of Events

This section lists House and Senate Committee meetings, DEP and other public hearings and meetings and other interesting environmental events.

* 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 - February 28, 2015

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