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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 21, 2005
(3/18/2005)
PDF Version - PA Environment Digest 3/21/05
* Budget Train is Coming, Growing Greener Moves Into Position
Appropriations Chairman Rep. Brett Feese (R-Lycoming) announced this week the House would take up Gov. Rendell’s budget proposal on April 11, giving members until April 4 to get their amendments together.
* Senate Moves House Green PA Plan Vehicle Into Position for Action
The Senate moved House Bill 2, the legislation containing the ballot question for the $800 million Green PA Plan proposed by House Republicans, into, out of and then back to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee without changes this week.
* Preston Offers Breaks for Environmentally Friendly Cars
Rep. Preston (D-Allegheny) introduced two pieces of legislation to provide incentives to consumers who purchase a hybrid electric, zero-emission or electric vehicles.
* Joint Conservation Committee Hears How to Covert Coal to Jet Fuel
The Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee heard a presentation from Dr. Harold Schobert, Director of the Energy Institute at Penn State University, on a project the Institute has underway to demonstrate the feasibility of turning bituminous coal into jet fuel.
* Quick Update on Bills Moving
Here’s a quick update on other environmental bills moving: Infrastructure Security, Watershed-based Zoning, Conservation Eeasements, Open Space, Supporting Watershed Groups and Ecoterrorism.
* 2004 Winners of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award
The Department of Environmental Protection this week announced the 11 winners of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards for 2004.
* Environmental Advisory Councils Win Recognition at Annual Conference
More than 70 local Environmental Advisory Councils were represented at their eighth annual conference at The American College last week.
* Local Government Groups Layout Priorities for Environmental Spending
The Local Government Conference this week issued what they called a Statement of Principles for the consideration of the Senate, House and Rendell Administration as they discuss proposals for additional environmental spending.
* Cherokee Investments Looking for Brownfields Projects
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty asked counties across the state this week to help identify potential brownfields redevelopment projects that private investment firms, like Cherokee Investments could help finance.
* More Brownfield Projects Approved Under Business In Our Sites
The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) approved five planning grants, totaling $875,000, through the Business in Our Sites (BOS) program to create shovel-ready sites for businesses through land acquisition, construction and feasibility studies.
* Grant Funds Coming to Reduce Pollution From School Buses
The U.S. Congress has allocated $7.5 million in funding for the 2005 fiscal year to the Clean School Bus USA Program for cost-shared grants to school districts to reduce pollution from their diesel bus fleets.
* EPA Proposes Rule to Reduce Mercury from Power Plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week finalized a Clean Air Mercury Rule the agency says will significantly reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country, the first mercury restriction ever adopted in the U.S..
* Auto Recyclers Invited to Salvage Mercury Switches
DEP Invites Auto Recyclers to Recycle Mercury Switches
* First Energy to Spend $1.1 Billion, Reduce Pollution 212,500 tons In Settlement
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency this week announced a settlement with Ohio Edison Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., that will mean a reduction of 212,000 tons per year in air pollution from power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
* EPA Extends Sign-Up Period for Air Quality Plans for Farms
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau this week applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to extend the period for comments and the time for farmers to sign up for the Air Quality Consent Agreement.
* PennVest Offers Workshops on How to Apply for Infrastructure Financing
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority is offering a series of 10 “How to Apply Sessions” around the Commonwealth this spring to give potential applicants the opportunity to meet one-on-one with agency and learn how to apply for funding using PENNVEST’s on-line funding application.
* New Watershed Academy for Boroughs
Register Now for Watershed Academy for Boroughs
* Nature Tourism Workshop at Juniata College Lake Raystown – April 14
The Wild Resources Conservation Program and the DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program are sponsoring a Nature Tourism Workshop at the Juniata College Lake Raystown Field Station April 14.
* Grants Available to Support Rural Firefighting Efforts
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources opened its application period for grants to help rural communities better guard against the threat of fires in forested, undeveloped and unprotected areas.
* EPA Issues Energy Star Challenge: Make U.S. Buildings More Energy Efficient
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week challenged commercial and institutional building owners to improve energy efficiency by 10 percent or more to conserve energy, save money and protect the environment.
* 3 Rivers Wet Weather Project Receives $2.5 Million Grant
While Allegheny County communities continue to clean, assess and repair their sewer collection systems under a consent order from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they can look to a small non-profit organization based in Lawrenceville for some financial assistance.
* First Meeting of the PA No-Till Alliance A Success, Next Meeting April 7
Eighty-five people attended the first meeting of the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance in Centre County on March 4. The group included farmers, conservation district staff, farm organizations, supporting state, federal and local agencies, educational institutions and private-sector businesses supporting no-till agricultural practices.
* TreeVitalize Partnership Planting 450 Trees in Southeast
Spring is the time for planting, and TreeVitalize volunteers and community groups will be doing just that over the next several days in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
* Black Bass Workshop on Habitat Management, Angling
The Fish and Boat Commission and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced that registration has begun for the 5th Pennsylvania Black Bass Workshop, April 22-23 at Blue Spruce County Park, near Ernest, Indiana County.
* Historic Commission Workshop on Rural Landscapes, Barn Preservation
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will co- sponsor a one-day workshop on the preservation of barns and agricultural landscapes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 5 in Gettysburg.
* Court Eliminates $4 Growing Greener Fee from Alternative Daily Cover
Commonwealth Court this week issued a decision saying the $4/ton Growing Greener fee does not apply to alternative daily cover used by landfills. The case involved a challenge to the fee by Joseph J. Brunner, Inc. which owns a municipal waste landfill in Beaver County, and its use of foundry sand as daily cover.
* Intern Help Wanted
Riverbend Environmental Ed Center in Montgomery County is looking for interns and summer employees to staff its summer programs. Job descriptions for the various positions are available online.
* Quick Clips
A sampling of NewsClips on a variety of environmental issues from around the state.
* Watershed NewsClips
NewsClips on watershed issues from around Pennsylvania
* Regulations
The Department of Environmental Protection published a correction to regulations relating to approved analytical methods and detection limits related to water quality standards originally published February 12, 2005. (PaB 1761)
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of final guidance on underground mine maps, air quality violations and drinking water sampling.
* Calendar of Events
Upcoming meetings, conferences and workshops, plus links to other calendars
* Contributions Invited
Send your stories about environmental issues, programs and positive actions to PA Environment Digest - DHess@crisciassociates.com or go to www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com .

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