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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 19, 2016 Issue #651
(12/19/2016)
* Wolf Locks Staff Levels At Dec. 2 Numbers Affecting Over 400 Positions At DEP, DCNR

The Associated Press reported Friday Gov. Wolf sent a memo to each agency Secretary under his jurisdiction saying he was locking state agency staff levels at what they were on December 2.

* Court Prevents DEP From Requiring Drillers To Plug Abandoned Wells Before Fracking

As a result of the legal challenge to DEP’s Chapter 78a Shale gas drilling regulations brought by the Marcellus Shale Coalition and court action following the initial filing, DEP cannot enforce the part of the regulations requiring operators to plug and monitor those wells they do not own or operate, including abandoned and orphan wells where they want to drill.

* DEP Extends Drought Warning To 4 More Counties For Total Of 8

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has placed four more counties in drought warning status following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force.

* DEP Takes First Steps In Process To Update State Water Plan

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday took the first steps in what it expects to be a 2-year process to update Pennsylvania’s State Water Plan adopted in 2009.

* PSU Survey Documents Farmer Efforts To Cleanup PA Water Going To Chesapeake Bay

Many Pennsylvania farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have voluntarily implemented, at their own expense, practices aimed at improving water quality, according to newly released survey research conducted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

* CBF-PA Applauds Voluntary Efforts By PA Chesapeake Bay Farmers To Reduce Pollution

Harry Campbell, Executive Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, issued this statement Friday on the findings of a survey documenting voluntary water pollution reduction efforts by farmers in the Commonwealth’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed--

* DEP To Start Stakeholder Process Soon For Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Plans

The Department of Environmental Protection recently posted its schedule for developing the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans over the next two years.

* DCNR: $45M In Community Conservation Partnership Grants, Next Round Opens Jan. 23

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday announced an investment of $45 million in 261 projects across Pennsylvania that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources and help revitalize local communities.

* Growing Greener Coalition Urges More State Investment In Green Infrastructure

The PA Growing Greener Coalition Thursday applauded the state for awarding $45 million in grants to support conservation and recreation projects across the Commonwealth.

* Year In Review: DEP Puts Miners To Work, Protects Air, Water, Boosts Energy Economy

Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell Tuesday announced the following accomplishments by the agency in 2016.

* 2016 Was A Challenging Year In Harrisburg For Budget, Environmental Initiatives

To say 2016 was a challenging year for the budget and environmental initiatives is very much an understatement, but there may be some unexpected opportunities in 2017.

* 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--

* Joint Budget/Finance Committee Approves New Study Of State Grant Effectiveness

The Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Thursday approved a motion to authorize a new study of the financial impact and effectiveness of state grants, in particular state grants for solar and wind energy projects were mentioned during the discussion.

* Senate, House Environmental, Energy Bills To Be Reintroduced In The New Session

On December 1 members of the Senate and House began circulating co-sponsor memos to their colleague announcing bills they plan to introduce and re-introduce in the new session.  Here’s a list of just a few of the 514 co-sponsor memos distributed so far related to environmental and energy issues--

* Trump Intends To Nominate Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry Secretary Of DOE

This is the formal statement of the Trump Transition Team released Wednesday naming Rick Perry as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy--

* Trump Intends To Nominate Cong. Ryan Zinke As Interior Secretary

This is the formal statement the Trump Transition Team released Thursday announcing the intent to nominate Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke As Secretary of the Interior

* DEP Publishes Schedule Of Advisory Committee, Board Meetings In 2017

The Department of Environmental Protection published the schedule of advisory committee and board meetings in 2017 in the December 17 PA Bulletin, page 7896.  The schedule also includes the name of the DEP staff contact for each group.

* Congress OKs Delaware River Conservation, Coal Waste, Flood, Water Infrastructure Act

By Madeline Urbish, Coalition For The Delaware River Watershed

* Brodhead TU Chapter Volunteers Contributed Over 1,600 Hours Across Monroe County

Streams across Monroe County are cleaner and healthier thanks to countless volunteers with Brodhead Chapter Trout Unlimited. In the past fiscal year-- from October 2015 through September 2016-- volunteers contributed more than 1,600 hours of service to the mission of this national conservation.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Approves Fee Restructuring

The Delaware River Basin Commission Wednesday approved several changes to its project review fee structure, including an annual, indexed inflation adjustment for most fees and water supply charges.

* B.R. Kreider & Son Recognized For Floodplain Restoration Project In Lancaster County

B.R. Kreider & Son, Inc., an excavating, paving and site management company based in Manheim, Lancaster County, recently received two awards from the Associated Builders & Contractors Keystone Chapter organization for the Logan Park – Rife Run Floodplain Restoration Project in Manheim.

* EPA Awards $900,000 To Pennsylvania To Protect Wetlands

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency December 8 announced it has awarded $900,000 to the Department of Environmental Protection for protecting wetlands and aquatic resources under its Wetland Program Development Grants Program.

* PA Ground Water Association Annual Conference Jan. 26-27 In Grantville

The PA Ground Water Association will hold its Annual Conference January 26-27 at the Harrisburg/Hershey Holiday Inn in Grantville, near Harrisburg.

* Keep PA Beautiful, Washington County Court Partner To Remove 330,435 Lbs. Of Trash

In 2011, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Washington County Court System Furlough Into Service Program formed a partnership with the goal of cleaning up as many illegal dumpsites as possible in the county.

* DEP Offers Free Help To Make Local Recycling Programs Self-Sustaining

The Department of Environmental Protection is urging local governments with recycling programs to take advantage of free help through its Recycling Technical Assistance Program to make their programs self-sustaining.

* Penn Waste Makes Commitment To Promote Recycling, Recycling Education

York County-based Penn Waste has made a real commitment to promoting recycling to the public and its commercial customers through billboards, videos and a Recycle More PA website.

* DEP Hearing On Proposed Chrin Landfill Expansion Jan. 17 In Northampton County

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a hearing on the proposed expansion of the Chrin Landfill in Williams Township, Northampton County on January 17. (formal notice, PA Bulletin page 7890)

* Reminder: EPA Brownfield Grants Deadline December 20

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be accepting applications for Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants until December 20.

* DEP Accepting Comments On Shell Ethane Plant Air, Water Permits Until Dec. 26

The Department of Environmental Protection will be accepting public comments on both the Department’s intent to issue a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit amendment as well as its intent to authorize a modification to the existing Air Plan Approval for the Shell Chemical Ethane Plant at 300 Frankfort Road in Monaca, Beaver County until December 16.

* DEP Issues Final Water Quality Cert. For Rover Pipeline, Washington County

The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice in the December 17 PA Bulletin announcing it has approved the final Water Quality Certification for the Rover - Burgettstown Lateral Pipeline Project in Smith and Hanover townships, Washington County (page 7892).

* DEP Invites Comments On Water Quality Cert. For Leach Xpress Pipeline, Greene County

The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice in the December 17 PA Bulletin announcing it has approved the proposed Water Quality Certification for the proposed Columbia Pipeline Group Leach Xpress Pipeline Project in Richhill township, Greene County (page 7892).

* Fish & Wildlife Service Invites Comments On EIS For Oil & Gas Habitat Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now taking public comments on how to do an Environmental Impact Statement on a request by 9 oil and gas companies to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan for bats covering any and all their potential development activities in three states over the next 50 years. (formal notice)

* Final EPA Report: Fracking Can Impact Drinking Water Under Some Circumstances

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday released its scientific report on the impacts from hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources, which provides states and others the scientific foundation to better protect drinking water resources in areas where hydraulic fracturing is occurring or being considered.

* DEP Invites Comments On Point Marion Lock & Dam Hydroelectric Project

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 17 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a proposed Water Quality Certification for a 5-megawatt hydroelectric power project at the Point Marion Lock and Dam on the Monongahela River in Fayette County (page 7893).

* PJM, Members Ready To Meet Winter Electricity Demand

PJM Interconnection, which manages the high-voltage power grid for 61 million consumers in 13 states and Washington, D.C., expects to have sufficient resources to meet forecasted demand for electricity this winter.

* Exelon Recognized For Transparency In Environmental Practices, Sustainability Programs

Global not-for-profit CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) recognized Exelon with high scores for disclosures in the three areas CDP measures – climate change, water use management and sustainable supply chain efforts.

* Philadelphia Releases Progress Report On Energy Efficiency Jobs Campaign

The Philadelphia Energy Authority Wednesday released the Philadelphia Energy Campaign Progress Report, detailing findings from a six-month initial planning period and outlining the path toward creating 10,000 jobs from local investment in energy efficiency and clean energy.

* Apply Now For PA Outdoor Corps For Youth Job Openings Feb. To Nov.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Wednesday joined Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino and Student Conservation Association representatives in announcing expansion of the highly successful PA Outdoor Corps to work in state parks and state forests across the state.

* PA State Parks, Forests Offer Visitors A Winter Playground

The calendar may say winter still is eight days away, but Pennsylvania's state forest and park systems again are rolling out the welcome mat for visitors intent on enjoying cold-weather outdoor fun, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

* Natural Lands Trust Names Ethan Kauffman, Director Of Stoneleigh Natural Garden

The Natural Lands Trust in Bucks County recently announced it has selected Ethan Kauffman as Director of Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden, the 42-acre Villanova property in Philadelphia the nonprofit acquired in April 2016 from the estate of the late John and Chara Haas.

* UPDATED: Help Wanted: DEP Citizens Advisory Council Executive Director

DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Executive Director.  The deadline for applications is January 20.

* Help Wanted: Keep PA Beautiful Enforcement Support Program Coordinator

Keep PA Beautiful is seeking qualified candidates for an Enforcement Support Program Coordinator to oversee KPB’s efforts to support local enforcement of litter laws through the surveillance camera program and other initiatives outlined at the Illegal Dump Free PA website.

* Help Wanted: 3 Rivers Wet Weather Program Coordinator

The 3 Rivers Wet Weather, a nonprofit group in Allegheny County dedicated to improving regional water quality by helping municipalities achieve a long-term regional solution to stormwater management and sewer overflows, is seeking qualified candidate to fill a Program Coordinator position.

* Help Wanted: Partnership For The Delaware Estuary Science Monitoring Fellow

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is seeking qualified individuals to fill a Science Monitoring Fellow to assist with field, lab and office tasks associated with diverse science and monitoring programs, such as in wetland assessments, living shorelines, and other.

* 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, however, the Department of Environmental Protection published its 2017 schedule of advisory committee and board meeting in the December 17 PA Bulletin, page 7896.

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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:  DHess@CrisciAssociates.com.

* 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 Unlimited.

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