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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 26, 2016 Issue #652
* Over 1,160 Stories On Thousands Of PA Environmental Stewards, 160 In 2016

Since June of 2004, the PA Environment Digest has printed over 1,160 stories about thousands of businesses, farmers, schools, local governments, students of all ages, nonprofit groups, organizations and individuals just like you recognized for doing great things to protect and restore Pennsylvania’s environment in every corner of the Commonwealth.

* Analysis: Wolf Will Cut His Way To A Balanced Budget Proposal For Next Year

Gov. Tom Wolf told the Associated Press Wednesday he will propose a FY 2017-18 budget that is balanced using funding cuts and steps to make government more efficient, rather than ask Senate and House Republicans for an income or sales tax increase to cope with an estimated deficit of over $2.2 billion.

* 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--

* Part II: Environmental, Energy Bills To Be Introduced In January

On December 1 members of the Senate and House began circulating co-sponsor memos to their colleague announcing bills they plan to introduce or re-introduce in the new session. 

* December Environmental Synopsis Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

The December edition of the Environmental Synopsis newsletter is now available from the Joint Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee featuring articles on--

* LancasterOnline: Lancaster Farmland Provides $676M In Annual Environmental Benefits’s Ad Crable reported Friday Lancaster County’s farmland provides environmental benefits worth more than $676 million annually and that’s not counting  agricultural products they produce, according to a new study commissioned by the Lancaster County Agricultural Council.

* PA Farm Bureau: Survey Confirms Efforts To Improve Chesapeake Bay Water Quality

The PA Farm Bureau Monday said a Penn State survey, which identifies best management practices (BMPs) paid for entirely by farmers, confirms that farmers have done much more than they have ever been given credit for in implementing measures that improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* NRCS-PA: Remote Sensing Multiplies Evidence Of On-Farm Conservation Practices

The saying “everything flows downstream” is especially important in a place like Pennsylvania, where the land-management decisions of farmers and forest landowners are helping send cleaner water downstream to the Chesapeake Bay, according to Denise Coleman, PA NRCS State Conservationist.

* USDA Announces $396K Conservation Partnership Grant For 3 Chesapeake Bay Counties

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced 88 high-impact projects across the country will receive $225 million in federal funding as part of the USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program, including one grant in Pennsylvania.

* 2017 Pennsylvania Farm Show Set To Run January 7-14 In Harrisburg

The most often question asked this time of year?  When’s the Pennsylvania Farm Show?  This year’s Show will run from January 7 to 14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex off Cameron Street in Harrisburg.

* Greening The Lower Susquehanna Celebrates Another Successful Year

The Greening the Lower Susquehanna volunteer corps, organized by Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center had another successful 2016 filled with tree plantings, litter pickups, maintenance days, and other exciting volunteer events.

* Interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission Meets Jan. 5-6 In Annapolis

The interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission will hold its next meeting in Annapolis on January 5-6 to hear a presentation on the Bay and climate change, positive signs of change in Bay water quality and the importance of continuing federal involvement in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

* Partnership For Delaware Estuary Sets Workshops On New Conservation Plan In PA

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is in the middle of a series of public workshops to solicit ideas from stakeholders on what should be in an updated Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for the Estuary

* NRCS-PA Now Accepting Applications To Protect Wetlands Within Delaware Watershed

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA is now accepting applications from Pennsylvania landowners and groups interested in protecting wetlands in selected watersheds through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in parts of the Delaware River Watershed.

* The Academy Of Natural Sciences’ December Stream Samples Newsletter Now Available

The December edition of the Stream Samples newsletter from the Delaware Watershed Initiative is now available from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

* Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program 2016 Successes In 13 Counties

The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program was established to help address nonpoint source pollution, which remains one of the biggest challenges facing surface water quality in Pennsylvania.

* Elk County Headwaters Charitable Trust Accepting Volunteer Service Award Nominations

Do you know an outstanding volunteer in the community that deserves recognition? It is about that time of year again to nominate individuals for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.  The deadline for nominations is January 15.

* Green Infrastructure: Managing Stormwater Naturally With Green Parks

We think of our community park as a great place to take a walk, be active, or enjoy nature, but with a few key features they also can help manage the runoff and flooding that occurs when it rains or when snow melts.

* National Healthy Watersheds Consortium Accepting Applications For 2017 Grants

The Healthy Watersheds Consortium is now accepting proposals for the 2017 Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. The deadline for proposals is February 1.

* River Network Seeking Nominations For National River Hero Award

The River Network is now seeking nominations for its national River Hero Award to recognize and celebrate people whose efforts to protect and restore their local waters have been extraordinary in scope, scale, impact and heart.   The deadline for nominations is January 20.

* CBF-PA: Need A New Year’s Resolution? Try These For Cleaner Water

With the new year, come resolutions to be healthier by losing weight, quitting smoking, or getting real face-time with family and friends. In the spirit of the season, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA offers resolution suggestions to help manage stormwater on the homefront and improve the health of local waters.

* How Clean Or Dirty Are Streams In Your County? Check Here And Find Out

As part of the statewide Clean Water Counts In Pennsylvania campaign by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, county maps of streams with impaired water quality were posted online.

* Dec. 19 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The Dec. 19 edition of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring articles on--

* Court OKs Agreement Ending Untreated Sewage Discharge Into Youghiogheny River

The U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania approved a settlement between PennFuture, the Department of Environmental Protection and Confluence Borough Municipal Authority in Somerset County on December 16 to end the discharge of untreated sewage into the Youghiogheny River and prevent future pollution.

* Proposed $7.5M Fee Increase On DEP Water Systems Advisory Committee Agenda Jan. 5

The DEP Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Center Board is scheduled to meet on January 5 in Harrisburg to discuss a proposed $7.5 million increase in drinking water permit and annual administration fees to help deal with cuts in state General Fund support for this program.

* Call For Abstracts: PA Section American Water Works Assn Conference April 25-27

The PA Section of the American Water Works Association has issued a call for abstracts for its 2017 Annual Conference to be held on April 25-27 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey.

* $125,000 In State Funding Announced To Temporarily Fix Solomon Creek Flood Wall

Gov. Tom Wolf, Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) Thursday announced the state would commit $125,000 for a temporary fix to the Solomon Creek flood wall in Wilkes-Barre to try to prevent further erosion until a full repair can be made.

* Federal Office Of Surface Mining Releases Final Coal Mining Stream Protection Rule

The U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Monday released final regulations to prevent or minimize impacts to surface water and groundwater from coal mining.

* Greenwire: EPA Regulatory Status Report To Trump Transition Now Available

Greenwire Friday made available the 76-page Regulatory Transition Report given to the Trump Transition Team detailing the current status of environmental regulations and an overview of the agency’s organization and staff.

* DCNR: Spring Environmental Education Workshops For Teachers

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of State Parks has updated its schedule of Environmental Education Workshops for Teachers at state parks providing Act 48 credits.  Among the new workshops are—

* Getting New Electronic Devices For Christmas? Don’t Forget To Recycle The Old Ones

Santa Claus is likely to bring good little girls and boys lots of new electronic devices and peripherals-- bigger screen TVs, computers, tablets, phones, printers, scanners and more.

* DEP Sets January 17 Hearing On Chrin Landfill Expansion In Northampton County

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it will host a public hearing on January 17 on the permit application to expand the Chrin Landfill in Williams Township, Northampton County.

* Philadelphia Sets 2035 Zero Waste Goal, Creates Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Tuesday signed an Executive Order creating the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, charged with creating a comprehensive plan for waste reduction and litter prevention.

* December 22 DEP News Now Available

The December 22 edition of DEP News is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring stories on--

* 10,000 Friends Of PA Honors SEPTA, Philadelphia Water Department, Drexel Jan. 24

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania will honor the Southeast PA Transportation Authority and the Philadelphia Water Department with its annual Commonwealth Award and Drexel University with its inaugural Joanne Denworth Founders Award for Institutional Excellence at a special awards program January 24 in Philadelphia.

* DEP OKs Water Quality Cert. For Dominion Leidy Compressor Stations In 3 Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 24 PA Bulletin (page 8095) it has approved Section 401 Water Quality Certification for Dominion Transmission’s Leidy South Project to upgrade pipeline compressor stations in Centre, Clinton and Franklin Counties.

* PG PowerSource: PA To Get $110M From VW Settlement To Reduce Air Pollution

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette PowerSource’s Laura Legere reported Saturday Pennsylvania will receive $110 million to reduce air pollution from the $2.7 billion EPA settlement with Volkswagon over the company’s diesel emissions-cheating scandal.

* PUC: Fewer Households Without Heat, Consumers Urged To Call For Heating Aid

The Public Utility Commission Thursday released the results of its annual Cold Weather Survey, which showed that more than 22,000 households across the state are entering the winter season without heat-related utility service or using unsafe heating sources. 

* Proposed Rules To Speed Natural Gas Supplier Switching To Be Published By PUC

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on new regulations designed to reduce the time it takes customers to change natural gas suppliers (NGSs), and further align rules and procedures for the state’s NGSs with electric generation suppliers (EGSs).

* Kleinman Center Study: Electric Competition Driving Down Prices, Increasing Reliability

By Coleen P. Engvall, Joint Conservation Committee

* NRG Completes Conversions Of 2 Power Plants In PA From Coal To Natural Gas

NRG Energy, Inc. Monday announced it has completed the coal-to-gas projects at four power plants across NRG’s fleet, including 2 plants in Pennsylvania-- Shawville, Clearfield County, and New Castle, Lawrence County.

* NJR Clean Energy Ventures Completes 39.9MW Wind Farm In Somerset County

NJR Clean Energy Ventures Tuesday announced the completion of the Ringer Hill Wind Farm located in Somerset County.

* EPA Will Not Issue Final Model Rules For Implementing Clean Power Climate Plan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Janet McCabe Monday announced her agency would not finalize the model rules intended to help states implement the Clean Power Climate Plan, but will rather make them available as working drafts.

* 170 University Presidents Urge Support For Paris Climate Agreement, 12 From PA

Presidents and Chancellors from more than 170 Colleges and Universities, including 12 from Pennsylvania, joined together Monday to urge president-elect Trump and the incoming congressional representatives to accelerate progress towards a clean energy future.

* Westmoreland County CleanWays Encourages Christmas Tree Recycling

Westmoreland County Cleanways and Recycling would like to encourage everyone to continue the spirit of giving by recycling your live Christmas tree.

* DCNR/PA Urban & Community Forestry Council Award TreeVitalize Grants Statewide

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Urban and Community Forestry Council, Tuesday announced grant funding for 21 TreeVitalize tree planting and innovative projects throughout the state.

* Nominations Now Being Accepted For DCNR/PRPS Green Parks Award

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Recreation and Park Society are now accepting nominations for the Green Parks Award.  Nominations are due January 27.

* State Park First Day Hikes Offer Invigorating Start To New Year

To promote a healthy start to the new year, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn will join hikers January 1 at Pine Grove Furnace State Park as her department again sponsors free, guided hikes in 28 state parks on New Year's Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.

* Denton Hill State Park Master Planning Effort Gains Momentum In Potter County

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials Tuesday announced the department has secured a contractor to facilitate the master planning and redesign of Denton Hill State Park, Potter County.

* Dec. 21 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The December 21 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* PEC, Partners Open New Section Of Delaware & Lehigh Trail In Bucks County

The PA Environmental Council joined with its partners in the Greater Philadelphia Circuit Trails initiative to celebrate the opening of a new section of the Delaware & Lehigh Trail in Bristol Township, Bucks County December 16.

* FAW: Allegheny National Forest’s Lump Of Coal For Tracy Ridge Wilderness Area

The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness announced the Allegheny National Forest released the Environmental Assessment for the proposed Tracy Ridge Mountain Biking On Hiking Trails Project late Friday afternoon.

* Take Five Fridays With Pam, And Guest-- PA Parks & Forests Foundation

This week's edition of Take Five Fridays With Pam from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation features a photo too good to be true, but it is. 

* Wildfires Burned 12,067 Acres, Causing $3.5M In Damage, 1 Fatality, 12 Injuries In 2016

The PA Forest Heritage Association reported in its Winter quarterly newsletter Saturday 12,067  acres were burned in 836 wildfires in Pennsylvania to December causing $3.5 million in damage, 1 fatality and 12 injuries.

* NRCS, US Forest Service Commit $1M To Conserve Oak Ecosystems In Northcentral PA

Denise Coleman, State Conservationist for Pennsylvania NRCS announced Thursday the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service will invest $1,074,030 in financial assistance in 2017 to improve and protect the health and resiliency of Oak ecosystems in Northcentral Pennsylvania.

* Western PA Conservancy Protects 171 Acres Along French Creek In Crawford County

The Western PA Conservancy Thursday announced a forested property located in Hayfield and Vernon townships, Crawford County was permanently protected and became available for recreational use.

* Foundation For Sustainable Forests Protects 128-Acre Woodland In Mercer County

A 128-acre woodland in Otter Creek Township, Mercer County, has been permanently protected by the Foundation for Sustainable Forests through a charitable bargain sale.

* PA Forest Heritage Assn. Quarterly Newsletter Now Available

The PA Forest Heritage Association’s Winter edition of the Burning Issues newsletter is now available featuring articles on--

* Wildlands Conservancy Highlights Education Programs In January

The Wildlands Conservancy in the Lehigh Valley Wednesday highlighted its schedule of educational programs coming up in January, including--

* New Members Join PA Parks & Forests Foundation Board

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Wednesday announced the appointment of Nancy Ball (retired, Lafayette College), Jae Ellison (Director of Outdoor Leadership & Education, Lycoming College), and Senator Guy Reschenthaler (State Senate), to its Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2017.

* Hawk Mountain Fall Hawk Watch Tally 6% Below 10-Year Average, Eagles Set Record

In autumn 2016, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County tallied 17,548 hawks in 1,106 hours of effort. The overall total was 6 percent below the 10-year average, but a 2010 record for bald eagle sightings was broken.

* Amidea Daniel Focuses On Youth, Women’s Programs At Fish & Boat Commission

A love of the outdoors was instilled at an early age for Amidea Daniel, who grew up fishing, hunting, camping and exploring the natural world around her.

* PA Outdoor Writers Assn. Fall Newsletter Now Available

The Fall edition of the PowWow newsletter from the PA Outdoor Writers Association is now available featuring stories on--

* PUC Appoints Kelly Monaghan Director of Bureau Of Audits

The Public Utility Commission Thursday announced the appointment of Kelly Monaghan of Lancaster County as the Director of the Bureau of Audits. Monaghan’s appointment is effective January 1, 2017.

* DEP Opportunity To Bid On Mine Reclamation Project In Allegheny County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Allegheny County in the December 24 PA Bulletin.

* 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: Wildlands Conservancy Aquatic Ecologist

The Wildlands Conservancy in the Lehigh Valley is seeking qualified applicants for a full-time Aquatic Ecologist to be responsible for implementing water quality monitoring programs in the Lehigh River watershed and assisting with a variety of habitat restoration projects.

* Help Wanted: Manada Conservancy Stewardship, Development, Office Manager Positions

The Dauphin County-based Manada Conservancy is seeking qualified candidates to fill three positions: Stewardship Director, Development Director and Office Manager.  The deadline for applications is January 31.

* 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 - December 24, 2016

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