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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Feb. 29, 2016 Issue #609
* Budget: DEP Does Not Have Enough Staff To Meet Needs In Any Of Its Programs

DEP Secretary John Quigley was very direct in telling the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday that his agency does not have enough staff to meet the needs of any of its programs because of persistent and continuous budget cuts over the last decade.

* DEP Secretary John Quigley’s Written Budget Testimony

The following is the text of DEP Secretary John Quigley’s written testimony submitted to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees which outlines DEP’s accomplishments in the first year of the Wolf Administration, efficiencies the agency is implementing and DEP’s budget needs for FY 2016-17--

* PA Faces Losing Control Of Environmental Programs Due To DEP Funding, Staff Cuts

The PA Environmental Council and Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA wrote to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday to raise concerns about the risk of losing control of key environmental regulatory programs to the federal government and courts because of the cuts in funding and staff at the Department of Environmental Protection over the past decade.

* Governor’s Office Latest Regulatory Agenda: DEP Permit Fee Increases For 6 Programs

The Governor’s Office published its semiannual Regulatory Agenda showing regulation changes in process and being developed in the coming year in the February 27 PA Bulletin starting on page 1119.  The Agenda provides an agency-by-agency listing of regulations.

* PUC Asks For Increased Funding For More Rail, Pipeline Inspectors

Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday, Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown said the PUC’s FY 2016-17 budget request includes the hiring of two additional rail safety inspectors and two additional pipeline inspectors, but not an increase in overall PUC complement.

* Budget: DCNR-- No Drilling Rigs Now On State Forest Land

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday to answer questions about the Governor’s proposed FY 2016-17 budget request for more than two and one-half hours.

* DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Written Budget Testimony-Full Text

The following is the text of DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn submitted to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees outlining DCNR’s accomplishments in the first year of the Wolf Administration, efficiencies the agency is implementing and DCNR’s budget needs for FY 2016-17--

* 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/Gov’s Schedule

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--

* House Committees To Hold Information Meeting On Chesapeake Bay Strategy Feb. 29

The House Environmental Resources and Energy and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees will hold an informational meeting on the Wolf Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Reboot Strategy on February 29.

* Joint Conservation Committee Environmental Issues Forum On Heritage Areas March 14

The Joint House-Senate Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee will hold its next Environmental Issues Forum on March 14 on DCNR’s Heritage Areas Program.

* House Environmental Committee Info. Meeting March 15 On Gas Lease Royalty Bill

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold an information meeting on March 15 on House Bill 1391 (Everett-R-Lycoming) providing for a guaranteed minimum royalty on oil and gas leases (sponsor summary).

* Joint Conservation Committee March 21 Hearing On Collapse Of E-Waste Recycling

The Joint House-Senate Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing March 21 on the collapse of Pennsylvania’s Electronic Waste Recycling Program created by the Covered Device Recycling Act.

* House Dem Policy Committee March 21 Hearing On Incentivizing Use Of Natural Gas

The House Democratic Policy Committee will conduct a public hearing at March 21 in Harrisburg to discuss if Pennsylvania should incentivize natural gas. The issue will be examined from a climate change, economic, and health perspective.

* Game, Fish & Boat Commissions Presented Annual Reports To General Assembly

The Game and Fish and Boat Commissions presented their annual reports to the House Game and Fisheries Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Click Here for the Game Commission’s 2015 Report.  Click Here for the Fish and Boat Commission’s 2015 Report.

* PA Business Groups Back Legal Effort To Overturn EPA Clean Power Climate Plan

The PA Chamber of Business and Industry, Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Texas Association of Business Wednesday filed a joint amicus brief with 166 chambers of commerce and business groups from 40 states in support of a lawsuit by states and industry to overturn EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.”

* DEP Climate Change Action Plan Update Comments Due March 30

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting public comments on the update to the Pennsylvania Climate Change Action Plan.  Comments are due March 30. (January 30 formal notice)

* Chesapeake Bay Programs Try To Increase Diversity

The federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program is developing a comprehensive strategy for increasing diversity in its leadership, decision-making, in implementation of conservation and restoration activities and is creating meaningful opportunities to recruit and engage diverse stakeholders in the Bay Program efforts.

* USDA, Partners Urge Farmers To Fill Out 3 Surveys To Evaluate Conservation Practices

There are several surveys currently underway and coming soon that will help USDA and partners assess the benefits of voluntary conservation and identify conservation needs throughout Pennsylvania and in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* Feb. 23 Chesapeake Bay Journal News Now Available

The February 23 Chesapeake Bay Journal News is now available featuring articles on--

* Berks Conservation District Manure Management Workshops March 19, April 6, 8

The Berks County Conservation District will hold Manure Management Workshops on March 19 and April 6 and 8.

* Elk County March 29 Workshop To Focus On Stream Protection, Water Quality Issues

Landowners, municipal officials, watershed organizations, farmers and contractors are encouraged to attend a March 29 workshop at the Elk County Visitor Center in Benezette to learn the latest on stream protection, best management practices and forest buffers.

* DEP OKs Coudersport Water Well Use After Contamination By Drilling Pad Spill

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it has granted approval to the Coudersport Borough Authority to begin using two drinking water wells that had been out of service since September due to a surfactant spill at a JKLM Energy well pad in Sweden Township, Potter County.

* Lebanon Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Earns National Recognition

Gannett Fleming of Camp Hill, Cumberland County, has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 49th annual Engineering Excellence Awards for the City of Lebanon Authority’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

* PRC Honors 8 Organizations With Zero Waste Awards In Pittsburgh

At a reception held on Thursday at its western headquarters building in Pittsburgh, the PA Resources Council presented its inaugural “Zero Waste” awards to eight environmental leaders in recognition of their commitment to adopting sustainable environmental practices and minimizing the amount of solid waste sent to area landfills.

* Allegheny County Office Building Triples Waste Diversion Rate In One Year

Working in partnership with the PA Resources Council, Allegheny County was able to triple its waste diversion at the Allegheny County Office Building during a one-year period.

* PROP: Apply For Recycling Partnership Grants By April 15

The Professional Recyclers Of PA announced Monday there is an opportunity open to apply for a Recycling Partnership Grant from The Recycling Partnership.   Applications are due April 15.

* Volunteers Needed For Statewide Cleanup, Beautification Effort Beginning March 1

The departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection are seeking volunteers for this year’s Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania that begins March 1 and runs through May 31.

* Keep PA Beautiful Accepting Entries For Great American Cleanup Of PA Video Contest

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is now accepting entries for its annual Great American Cleanup of PA Video Contest.  The deadline for entries is June 3.

* Schuylkill Action Network Kicks Off Schuylkill Scrub Cleanup Events

The Schuylkill Action Network leads the Schuylkill Scrub to connect people with litter cleanups, and to foster new ones. Events span the entire Schuylkill River Valley from March 1 to May 31.

* Professional Recyclers Of PA To Be Managed By Wanner Management Group

Friday, the staff of the nonprofit Professional Recyclers of PA notified friends, colleagues and partner organizations that Monday, February 29 will be the final day of their employment by PROP.

* Applications For EPA Environmental Education Grants Due April 8

The Professional Recyclers Of PA announced Monday applications are now being accepted by the EPA Environmental Education Grants Program. Applications are due April 8.

* Feb. 22 EE Resources From PA Environmental Educators

The February 22 EE Resources newsletter from the PA Association of Environmental Educators is now available featuring articles on--

* The Outdoor Classroom Upcoming Environmental Ed Workshops In Pittsburgh

The Outdoor Classroom in Pittsburgh has a variety of Act 48 Environmental Education Workshops available for teachers in the coming months.  Here’s a sampling--

* Game Commission Seedlings For Schools Programs Begins Accepting Orders Feb. 29

The Game Commission once again is helping students learn about the vital role trees play in the environment through the Seedlings for Schools Program that provides tree seedlings to classrooms so students can plant them as part of projects to improve wildlife habitat.

* DEP: March 21 Public Meeting On Chrin Landfill Expansion In Northampton County

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it has scheduled a public meeting on March 21 to answer questions regarding Chrin Landfill’s permit application to expand its existing facility in Williams Township, Northampton County.

* DEP: March 3 Hearing On Cleanup Of Dry Cleaner Site In Chester County

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it will host a public hearing on March 3 regarding the prompt interim response cleanup actions taken by DEP at the former Quality Service Cleaners site in Oxford Borough, Chester County.

* No Radioactive Contamination Detected Outside Beaver Falls Scrapyard

On Thursday the Department of Environmental Protection said it was notified on February 23 that recycle scrap contaminated with radioactive material was shipped from a PSC Metals, Inc. facility in Beaver Falls, PA, to two facilities in Ohio.

* EPA Now Accepting Applications For $26 Million In Clean Diesel Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday announced the availability of $26 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation's existing fleet of diesel engines.

* PUC Proposes Policy Statement On Combined Heat And Power

The Public Utility Commission Thursday approved a joint motion proposing a Policy Statement related to combined heat and power (CHP) technology and increasing development among Pennsylvania’s regulated electric and natural gas distribution companies.

* West Penn Power Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Tracing its roots to a collection of companies that once generated power to illuminate downtown streetlights and operate electric passenger railways, West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary, marks its 100th anniversary on March 1.

* Wolf Asks For Federal Disaster Help For January Snowstorm To Cover $55.4M In Costs

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday requested President Barack Obama to declare a major disaster in Pennsylvania, in order to provide financial reimbursement to municipalities in 31 counties for costs associated with the historic snowstorm that impacted the state January 22-23.

* Federal Forest Legacy Funding Available For Landowners In Upper Delaware Region

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy Monday announced the federal Forest Legacy Program has allocated funding for the purposes of protecting private forestlands.

* Penn State Extension Offers Tree Tenders Training April 15 In Scranton

Penn State Extension and DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry are offering Tree Tenders training designed to increase tree canopy cover in communities.

* DCNR Secretary Extends Invitation To Visit New Moshannon State Forest Lands

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams-Dunn Wednesday extended an invitation to residents of Clearfield County and beyond to visit the almost 600-acre tract that became the latest addition to Moshannon State Forest following official county action late last year.

* PA Environmental Council Launches River Town Program Along Allegheny Riverfront

The PA Environmental Council continues its work to strengthen communities through their connections to rivers and riverfronts. In this ongoing effort, PEC is happy to partner again with Millvale, Etna, and Blawnox as part of the Allegheny River Town Program.

* PEC Blog: Groupthink At Its Best At Northeast Pennsylvania Trail Forum

The quarterly Northeast Pennsylvania Trail Forum was hosted by the PA Environmental Council and held February 12 at the Bear Creek Reserve, just southwest of Wilkes-Barre.

* Fort Washington State Park Seeking Volunteers For April 2 Work Day

The Friends of Fort Washington State Park in Montgomery County is seeking volunteers to help with mulching around recently planted trees, trash cleanup, raking leaves and other Springtime projects on April 2.

* March Programs Offered By The Wildlands Conservancy

The Lehigh Valley-based Wildlands Conservancy has a rich variety of programs coming up in March including: Maple Sugaring & Pancake, Wild Sci Girls, Wild Eggs (Not Your Average Egg Hunt) and You & Me: Hop, Hop, Hooray!  Click Here for an overview of March events.  Click Here for a complete list of programs for all ages.

* Hawk Mountain Trainee From Spain Shares Video Of His Experiences In PA

Pablo Santonya, a Hawk Mountain Sanctuary from Spain, recently posted a short video of his experience in Pennsylvania.  Click Here to watch the video.  Every once in a while, it’s nice to see the rich diversity of Pennsylvania’s environment through someone else’s eyes.

* 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

The Environmental Quality Board published notice of proposed changes to regulations on handling and use of explosives in the February 27 PA Bulletin (page 996).  Comments are due March 28.

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