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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, April 18, 2016 Issue #616
(4/18/2016)
* Commonwealth Court Denies Challenge To DEP’s Drilling Regulations

Commonwealth Court Judge James Gardner Colins Friday denied a request by groups representing conventional oil and gas drillers to invalidate DEP’s final Chapter 78 (conventional) and 78a (unconventional, Marcellus Shale) drilling regulations updates because they violated the provisions of a 2014 amendment to the Fiscal Code.

* Senate, House Environmental Committees Disapprove DEP’s Drilling Regulations

The Senate and House Environmental Resources and Energy Committees Tuesday voted largely along party lines to notify the Independent Regulatory Review Commission they disapprove DEP’s Chapter 78 (conventional) and 78a (unconventional, Marcellus Shale) drilling regulations updates.

* COGENT Calls Committee Action To Disapprove DEP Drilling Regs A Travesty

The Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier had this reaction to Tuesday’s action by the Senate and House Environmental Committees recommending the Independent Regulatory Review Commission disapprove DEP’s Chapter 78 (conventional) and Chapter 78a (unconventional, Marcellus Shale) drilling regulations update—

* IRRC To Consider Final DEP Drilling Regs April 21, Meeting To Be Streamed Live

The Independent Regulatory Review Commission will consider DEP’s Chapter 78 (conventional) and 78a (unconventional, Marcellus Shale) drilling regulations updates at its April 21 meeting in Harrisburg.

* Analysis: Senate Panel Ignores Obvious: Deep Cuts In DEP Budget Reduces Service

The Senate Republican and Democratic Policy Committees Monday held a hearing on whether DEP’s ability to process permits has had an impact on economic development in Pennsylvania.  There is no question the answer is yes, to some extent, but the cause of DEP’s slowdown in processing permits was in doubt to some on the panel.

* New Fiscal Code Bill On Wolf’s Desk Cuts Growing Greener, Green Building Program

The Senate, followed by the House Wednesday put a new Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 1589 (Causer-R- Cameron)-- on the Governor’s desk by veto-proof margins.  The bill contains a new formula to distribute basic education funding, cuts Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) funding by $15 million and takes $12 million from CFA’s High Performance Buildings Program and transfers it to fund a new program to expand natural gas infrastructure.

* Philly.com: DEP’s Quigley: Budget Cuts Leave DEP Ill-Equipped To Monitor Pipelines

Philly.com reported Friday evening DEP Secretary John Quigley told a Villanova University law school symposium “years of relentless budget cuts” have left DEP ill-equipped for its role to monitor the tens of thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines to be build in Pennsylvania over the next decade.

* DEP Mining & Reclamation Advisory Board Meets April 25 On Permit Fee Increases

DEP’s Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board is scheduled to meet on April 25 to discuss proposed increases in coal mining permit fees to offset expected shortfalls in state General Fund appropriations to DEP and revenue from the existing permit fees.  (formal notice)

* DEP: Electronics Waste Recycling Programs Can Now Charge Fees For Recycling

In a March 30 letter, the Department of Environmental Protection announced a change in policy that will allow local electronics waste recycling programs to charge consumers for e-waste they bring in for recycling, if the collection event is not part of an electronics manufacturers’ recycling program funded under the state’s Covered Device Recycling Act.

* Major CRT Recycler In Ohio, Arizona Near Collapse, Subject Of Enforcement Action

Resource Recycling reported Thursday Closed Loop Refining and Recovery, a major recycler of CRT televisions and monitors collected by electronics waste programs, including many in Pennsylvania, is “on the brink of closing and leaving more than 90 million pounds of stockpiled CRT material in its wake.”

* Bipartisanship Doesn’t Describe How Medical Marijuana Passed, It’s More Than That

It was a political odd couple that introduced the “Compassionate Use Of Medical Cannabis Act” in 2013 that lead, three years later, to its final passage Wednesday.

* 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/ 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--

* Hearing: Energy Efficiency Promoted As Cheapest, Cleanest, Safest Form Of Energy

At a hearing of the House Democratic Policy Committee Monday, Liz Robinson, Executive Director of the nonprofit Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia, promoted energy efficiency as the cheapest, cleanest and safest form of energy that eliminate building energy waste and creates more jobs.

* Senate Committee OKs Bills To Kill Conventional Drilling Regs, Delay Clean Power Plan

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out bills to delay Pennsylvania’s response to EPA Clean Power Climate Plan requirements and kill DEP’s Chapter 78 (conventional) drilling regulations and make the agency start the rulemaking over. 

* Dams On Susquehanna Are Undoing Progress In Reducing Pollution To Chesapeake Bay

The head of the U.S. Geologic Survey’s Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program Tuesday said water quality is improving in the Pennsylvania portion of the Bay watershed because of the steps being taken to reduce pollution, but some of the progress is being undone, particularly in sediment and phosphorous loadings, because the reservoirs behind three dams in the lower Susquehanna are about filled with sediment.

* Coalition Emerges To Support Farmers In Effort To Clean Up Chesapeake Bay

As Pennsylvania renews efforts to clean the state's waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is helping to craft a strategy in which farmers spearhead clean-water initiatives.

* American Rivers Puts Susquehanna Back On Most Endangered Rivers List

The Susquehanna River is the third most endangered river in the United States, according to the national America’s Rivers organization.

* First Annual Chesapeake Bay Watershed Awareness Week To Be Celebrated June 4-12

The first annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week will be celebrated from June 4-12 in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

* 28 Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Grants Awarded By PA Conservation Districts

The PA Association of Conservation Districts recently awarded more than $52,000 for 28 projects in 24 counties through the Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Mini Grant Program.

* DEP Announces Settlement To Resolve Violations At York County Farm + $20,000 Fine

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it has entered into a consent order and agreement with the Gutman Family cattle businesses located in York and Adams counties, to correct various environmental violations of the Clean Streams Law.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Hearing May 4 On Variety Of Issues

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing May 4 on individual water withdrawal requests as well as proposed changes to guidance dealing with fee schedules, expiring project approvals, terminating the review of project applications and the Comprehensive Plan for the Susquehanna River Basin. (formal notice & agenda)

* Chesapeake Bay Journal April 11 News Now Available

The April 11 Chesapeake Bay Journal News is now available featuring articles on--

* Stroud Water Research Center April UpStream Newsletter Now Available

The April edition of the UpStream newsletter from the Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County is how available featuring articles on--

* April 11 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The April 11 edition of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring articles on--

* Register Now! May 10-12 PA Chapter American Water Works Assn Annual Conference

There’s still time to register for the May 10-12 PA Chapter American Water Works Association Annual Conference before the April 25 deadline.  Click Here to register or for more information.

* Wissahickon Watershed Creek Cleanup April 30, Philadelphia, Montgomery Counties

The Friends of the Wissahickon and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association are once again joining forces to clean the Wissahickon Creek on April 30 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  

* Keep PA Beautiful’s Annual Report On 2015 Activities Now Available

The Keep PA Beautiful’s annual Beautiful newsletter highlighting 2015 program accomplishments and initiatives.  In her cover letter, Shannon Reiter, President of KPB, said--

* KPB Affiliate Collection Events For Butler, Cambria, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s local affiliates will hold special waste collection events for Butler, Cambria, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington counties this spring, sponsored in part by the Department of Environmental Protection’s HHW/Small Business Hazardous Waste Collection Program.

* Westmoreland Cleanways & Recycling Earth Day Festival April 23

Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling is hosting the 14th annual Westmoreland Earth Day Festival and Outdoor Adventure Fest on April 23 at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

* DEP Assesses $25,898 Penalty Against Brunner Island For January Fish Kill

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced Brunner Island LLC has signed a consent assessment of civil penalty, the result of a January fish kill at its coal-fired electric generating station on the Susquehanna River in York County.

* PRC: Let’s Clear The Air Poster Contest Winners Chosen, Vote 4 People’s Choice

Western Pennsylvania’s celebration of Earth Day 2016 will include a display of award-winning artwork created by local students who entered the 6th annual Let’s Clear the Air Poster Challenge sponsored by the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership and the PA Resources Council.

* DEP Begins Helicopter Spraying To Control Black Flies

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it has begun aerial spraying on more than 1,600 stream miles in 39 Pennsylvania counties to control black flies, also referred to as gnats.

* PA Health Alerts Public Of Confirmed Link Between Zika Virus, Serious Birth Defects

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy Friday advised Commonwealth residents that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the link between Zika Virus disease in pregnant women and microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

* April 14 DEP News Now Available

The April 14 edition of the DEP News is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--

* PEC TV: Methane Emissions Topic Of April 17 PCN Environmental Focus Program

Methane emissions, the main component of natural gas and a highly potent greenhouse gas — and their consequences for Pennsylvania in the natural gas age — are the topic of April’s “Environmental Focus.”

* SolarCity Launches Solar Service To Homeowners In Western PA, Staff Needed

SolarCity is making its popular solar service available to homeowners in Western Pennsylvania for the first time.  It is also in need of staff to implement its program.

* FirstEnergy Launches Switch2Green4Free Offer For First 1,000 Customers

Starting April 15, the first 1,000 residential customers in Ohio and Pennsylvania can help celebrate Earth Day by signing up with FirstEnergy Solutions to receive 100 percent wind energy at the same price as its standard energy offer.

* Business Council For Sustainable Energy: PA Halfway To Meeting Clean Power Plan Rule

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance this week released its 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook showing Pennsylvania is well-positioned to accelerate its clean energy deployment, is a leader in energy efficiency and receives significant economic benefits from these investments.

* PUC Invites Comments On Combined Heat And Power Policy Statement

The Public Utility Commission published notice of an opportunity to comment on a proposed policy statement on Combined Heat and Power in the April 16 PA Bulletin. 

* PA Adds 32 Farms, 1,792 Acres To Farmland Preservation Program

During the April meeting of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board, an additional 1,792 acres on 32 farms in 14 counties were safeguarded through the state’s nation-leading farmland preservation program.

* Permit Applicants Given Notice Of Changes To Endangered Species Review By DCNR

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published a formal notice in the April 16 PA Bulletin giving permit applicants formal notice of its update of its system for reviewing applications for impacts on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern.

* DCNR Honors Exemplary Volunteer Service At State Parks in Blair, Venango Counties

A Blair County resident dedicated to making Canoe Creek State Park a showplace of safe, enjoyable trails, and a Venango County-based group initiating innovative and widely popular events at Oil Creek State Park have been named recipients of annual Conservation Volunteer Awards by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

* Experiencing Your Environment Thru Conservation High School Science Camp June 20-23

Registration is now open for the Experiencing Your Environment Through Conservation summer science experience for students entering grades 10 to 12 at the Jennings Environmental Education Center in Butler County.

* Penn State Students Plant 200 Trees In Rothrock State Forest, Other Earth Day Activities

Adam Larson and Tyler Farnan pile on the last scoops of soil around the new ash trees they just planted in Rothrock State Forest [in Centre County], their footprints still fresh in the dirt. While their footprints will eventually disappear, the local footprint they and their student organization, Positive Energy, have made will endure far into the future.

* DCNR, Western PA Conservancy Tree Planting In Indiana County, Other Opportunities

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Wednesday  joined the Western PA Conservancy and volunteers in planting two acres of trees along the lake at Yellow Creek State Park in Indiana County to improve water quality.

* RES Donates 2,000 Trees To Cumberland Conservation District For April Seedling Sale

Resource Environmental Solutions, the nation’s leading supplier of ecological offsets for unavoidable project-related impacts to wetlands, streams and habitats, Thursday announced the donation of 2,000 trees to the Cumberland County Conservation District

* Western PA Conservancy: Pittsburgh Redbud Free Trees Project: April 16, 19, 23, May 12

The Western PA Conservancy Pittsburgh Redbud Project is distributing free redbud trees to City of Pittsburgh residents at these locations--

* Appalachian Trail Museum To Host Banquet, Hall Of Fame Ceremonies June 3

Five new members will be inducted into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame on June 3 at the sixth annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Cumberland County.

* Get Outdoors PA Webinar April 29 On National Get Outdoors Day

The Get Outdoors PA program will be hosting a webinar on April 29 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. The session will focus on the upcoming National Get Outdoors Day in June, and explore ways those interested and jump-start an event to help celebrate the day.

* DCNR Proposes Wild Areas In Centre, Clinton, Elk, Fayette, Mifflin, Pike, Potter Counties

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice soliciting public comments on 5 proposed State Forest Wild Areas designations in Centre, Clinton, Elk, Fayette, Mifflin, Pike and Potter counties in the April 16 PA Bulletin. 

* April 13 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The April 13 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Open Land Conservancy Of Chester County Hosts Climate Program April 19

The Open Land Conservancy of Chester County will host an April 19 program on Global Warming - What We Need To Know featuring Richard Whiteford who served as a delegate to the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.

* DCNR Warning Anglers, Others Of High Woodland Fire Danger

With the approach of Pennsylvania’s traditional statewide trout season opener on April 16, and weather conditions that keep firefighters busy responding to wildfires across much of the state, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wednesday urged anglers, property owners and others to take steps to prevent forest and brush fires.

* Activate Phoenixville Holds 3 Prescribe-A-Trail Events Thru April 30 In Chester County

Activate Phoenixville Area in Chester County will hold 3 Prescribe-A-Trail events along the Schuylkill River Trail between now and April 30.  Events will be held April 16, 20 and 30.

* Gifford Pinchot Grey Towers Fly Fishing Event May 7

A unique public program that will illustrate Gifford Pinchot’s enthusiasm for fly fishing is planned for May 7 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Pinchot’s former home, Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, Pike County.

* April/May Currents Newsletter Now Available From The Fish & Boat Commission

The April/May edition of the Currents newsletter from the Fish and Boat Commission is now available featuring articles on--

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Projects In Butler, Washington Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the April 16 PA Bulletin of the opportunity to bid on mine reclamation projects in Butler County and Washington County.

* 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 were published this week.  Pennsylvania Bulletin - April 16, 2016

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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.

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