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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 14, 2015 Issue #598
* Budget Bills Kill Drilling Regs, Cut Growing Greener Funding, Delay Climate Plan

The Senate amended and passed a series of bills in the supposedly agreed-to budget package Wednesday night and Thursday, one of which would kill the conventional drilling regulations and force DEP to start the process over, reduce Growing Greener watershed restoration and related funding by $15 million next fiscal year and expands the time the General Assembly has to review any plan DEP develops to meet EPA’s Clean Power Climate Rule under Act 175 of 2014.

* PA Environmental Council Opposes Budget Bill Killing Conventional Drilling Regulations

The Senate Republicans again added a provision to the Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 1327 (Peifer-R-Pike) -- to invalidate the regulations DEP proposed to ensure conventional oil and gas wells protect the environment and make DEP start the regulatory process over.

* PA Environmental Council Opposes New Hurdles To Complying With Clean Power Plan

The Senate Republicans added a provision to the Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 1327 (Peifer-R-Pike) passed by the Senate-- expanding the General Assembly’s review of any plan DEP develops to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Climate Rule.

* Environmental Groups Urge Rejection Of Backroom Deal In Budget Bill

A Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 1327 (Peifer-R-Pike)-- approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday night would gut environmental regulations, subvert the public input process for clean air standards, and give handouts to the oil and gas industry.

* Wolf Veto Of Bill Killing Drilling Regs, Delaying Climate Plan A Possibility reported late Thursday Gov. Wolf opposes loading up the Fiscal Code to gut oil and gas regulations or slow implementation of the EPA Clean Power Climate Plan, according to his spokesperson Jeff Sheridan.

* Op-Ed: The Budget & Protecting The Public Trust

By Davitt Woodwell, President & CEO, PA Environmental Council

* DEP Accepting Applications For 2016 Governor’s Award For Environmental Excellence

The Department of Environmental Protection invites Pennsylvania businesses, farms, government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and individuals to apply for the 2016 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

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

PA Environment Digest now has a Google+ Circle called Green Works In PA.  Let us join your Circle.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule [Updated] /Gov’s 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--

* Senate Environmental Committee Hears Need For Changing Sewage Facilities Act

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday held a hearing on issues and changes needed in the 1966 Sewage Facilities Act.  (Click Here to watch a video of the hearing.)

* DEP Issues Air Quality Action Day Alert For Dec. 12, 13 In Multiple Areas Of PA

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships forecast a Code Orange air quality action day for particle pollution on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, for Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, and York counties, and for Saturday, December 12 for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.

* CBF Responds To Brief Seeking To Overturn The Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Program

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement Thursday concerning a brief filed by 22 state attorneys general asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

* Dec. 14 Webinar On Smallmouth Bass Populations In The Susquehanna River

The Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Boat Commission will be holding a webinar on December 14 starting at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the findings of a multi-year study investigating the causes of population decline among smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River.

* Berks Conservation District Receives Grant To Help Landowners Protect Streams

The Berks County Conservation District was recently awarded $2,500 to work with landowners to prevent pollution in our local streams, lakes, and rivers.

* New Penn State Ag/Environment Center Citizen Science Program For Stream Restoration

Looking for a new way to engage community members in streamside restoration efforts? The Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center and Penn State Extension have worked to develop a citizen science monitoring protocol that can easily and quickly show volunteers the good that comes from installing best management practices.

* Delaware River Clear Choices, Clean Water Educational, Interactive Website Launched

Residents and visitors to the Upper Delaware River region have a new online educational resource-- Clear Choices, Clean Water: My Delaware River--  to learn more about water conservation and to pledge to take action to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams from pollution.

* Stroud Center, Christina Basin: Do-It-Yourself Environmental Science & Monitoring

The EnviroDIY-- Do-It-Yourself Environmental Science and Monitoring website is a collaboration of the Stroud Water Research Center and the Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory.

* DCNR Watershed Education Program Has New Website, Water Quality Database

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday announced improvements are being made to its Watershed Education Program intended to give children in grades 6-12 a knowledge base on water-related issues in the hope they will become future community leaders.

* SRBC Approves Water Withdrawal Requests, Adopts Final Permit Transfer Regulations

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission meet December 4 and among its actions, SRBC:

* Delaware River Basin Commission 2014 Annual Report Now Available

The 2014 Annual Report from the Delaware River Basin Commission is now available highlighting accomplishments from last year.  Click Here for a copy of the report.

* Dec. 7 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The December 7 Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring articles on--

* Keep PA Beautiful: Surveillance Cameras In Michaux State Forest Fight Illegal Dumping

Michaux State Forest in Adams, Cumberland and Franklin counties, has recently increased efforts to catch and identify illegal dumpers and hold them accountable.

* PEC TV: Illegal Dumpsite Cleanups Discussed On Environmental Focus Now Online

Despite years of progress in recycling and reducing municipal waste, there are still more than 6,500 illegal dumpsites in Pennsylvania, the topic of November’s “Environmental Focus” from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.  The program is now available online.

* Study: Pennsylvania’s Recycling Rate Up 22 Percent In 5 Years

Pennsylvania has seen a 22 percent increase in collection of recyclables in five years - from 4.8 million tons to 5.85 million tons, according to a study by PA Waste Industries Association.

* December Connecting Professional Recyclers Newsletter From PROP Now Available

The December issue of Connecting Professional Recyclers newsletter is now available from the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania featuring articles on--

* York County Extends Operating Contract With Covanta Thru 2035

The York County Solid Waste and Refuse Authority, owner of the York County Resource Recovery Center, and Covanta York Renewable Energy Systems, LLC, operator of the RRC, Thursday announced the extension of their long-term operation and maintenance contract until 2035 for the Waste-to-Energy facility located in Manchester Township, PA.

* Partners For Places Now Accepting Applications For 2016 Sustainability Grants

The Partners for Places Program is now accepting applications for its 2016 grant round.  The Program creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations.

* December 10 DEP News Now Available

The December 10 edition of the DEP News is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--

* AG Seeks Millions In Restitution From Chesapeake Energy For Underpaid Lease Royalties

The Office of indicted Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Wednesday announced it has filed a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy Corp., the country's second-largest producer of natural gas, and its affiliates amid allegations the companies underpaid landowners' royalties associated with fracking.

* PUC Releases Winter Reliability Reports From Natural Gas Distribution Companies

The Public Utility Commission Thursday released 2015 Winter Reliability Overview reports from the state’s major natural gas distribution companies along with a related Readiness Reports from the regional electric transmission organization, PJM Interconnection, and the Energy Association of Pennsylvania.

* DEP: Climate Action Plan Update Broader Than Meeting EPA Clean Power Climate Rule

On January 12 DEP’s Climate Change Advisory Committee will meet for the second time on a draft update to Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan mandated by Act 70 of 2008.

* DEP: Alternative Fuels Program Vehicle Rebates Still Available

The Department of Environmental Protection last Saturday announced rebates are still available to help individuals with purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle under the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate Program(formal notice)

* DEP Committee OKs Moving Ahead With Repealing Low-RVP Gasoline In Pittsburgh

On December 10, DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee recommended DEP take the proposed regulation repealing the low-RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) gasoline requirement in the seven county Pittsburgh Region to the Environmental Quality Board for adoption.

* PA Environmental Council Expresses Concerns With PA Construction Code Bill

The PA Environmental Council Monday wrote a letter to all members of the House Labor and Industry Committee expressing its concerns with House Bill 635 (Evankovich-R-Allegheny)  which would make changes to the way the PA Construction Code is changed, including its provisions related to energy conservation standards.  The text of the letter follows—

* November PA Environmental Council’s In Case You Missed It

The November edition of the PA Environmental Council’s In Case You Missed It is now available featuring activities, policy discussions and events PEC was involved in during the past month--

* Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation Center Annual Contest Will Award $80K In Prizes

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center announced that this year’s Fifth Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest will award a total of $80,000 in cash prizes.

* 33 Farms, 2,652 Acres Protected By State Farmland Preservation Program

High-quality farmland in 18 Pennsylvania counties will remain in agricultural production thanks to the state’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board. During Thursday’s meeting, the board took action to safeguard 2,652 additional acres on 33 farms through the state’s nation-leading farmland preservation program.

* Fish & Boat Commission Now Accepting Applications For State Wildlife Grants

The Fish and Boat Commission Tuesday announced an invitation for project applications to the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.  Applications are due January 29.

* DEP’s Richard Morrison To Retire December 24

DEP Secretary John Quigley Thursday announced Richard Morrison, Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations will retire from state service December 24.

* Help Wanted: Department Of Environmental Protection, Various Positions

The Department of Environmental Protection recently announced numerous vacancies throughout the Commonwealth.   Opportunities include:   

* Help Wanted: Delaware River Basin Commission Water Resource Engineer

The Delaware River Basin Commission is seeking candidates to fill a Water Resource Engineer position.  Submissions must be made by January 15.  Click Here for all the details.

* 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.

* Environmental NewsClips - All Topics

Here are NewsClips from around the state on all environmental topics, including General Environment, Budget, Marcellus Shale, Watershed Protection and much more--

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

No new regulations published this week. Pennsylvania Bulletin - December 12, 2015

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* 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:

* 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 UnlimitedSponsor: 2016 Keystone Coldwater Conference, State College, Feb. 26-27.

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