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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Jan. 30, 2017 Issue #657
* Gov. Wolf Resubmits Nomination Of Patrick McDonnell As Secretary of DEP

On January 3, the first day of the new legislative session, Gov. Tom Wolf resubmitted the nomination of Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell to serve permanently in that role, pending approval by the Pennsylvania Senate.

* PA Chesapeake Bay Commission Members Spotlight Need For Clean Water Fund In PA

The bipartisan Pennsylvania members Pennsylvania of the Chesapeake Bay Commission Tuesday wrote to all members of the Senate and House to outline the need to address the state’s water pollution cleanup problems and propose a potential solution - a dedicated Clean Water Fund for Pennsylvania.

* CBF-PA Supports Equitable Water Use Fee To Help Cleanup PA’s Rivers & Streams

Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, issued this statement Friday in support of the concept of a water use fee that would go toward reducing pollution in the Commonwealth’s rivers and streams.

* Natural Gas Impact Fee Revenue Shrinks Another $13.1 Million For 2016

The Independent Fiscal Office Monday said the Act 13 drilling impact fee will being in $13.1 million less than last year for a total of $174.6 million.  That’s down $61.2 million from its high in 2013 of $225.7 million-- a 27 percent reduction.

* Severance Tax Proposals So Far Offer Nothing For The Environment

None of the natural gas severance tax proposals introduced so far in the new legislative session or those announced have any additional funding for environmental programs.  Keep that in mind as groups and Gov. Wolf talk about the necessity to enact a severance tax.

* IFO: State Budget Deficit Legislators Need To Make Up Could Be As High As $3 Billion

The Independent Fiscal Office late Wednesday released its revised revenue estimate which says state legislators and Gov. Wolf may need to deal with a deficit of as much as $2.9 billion in the current and next fiscal year.

* CFA To Accept Apps For Act 13 Water-Related, Recreation Grants Feb. 1 To May 31

The Commonwealth Financing Authority will be accepting the next round of applications for grants funded by Act 13 for watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphan or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities and flood mitigation programs starting February 1.  The deadline for applications is May 31.

* Montour Trail Named Pennsylvania's 2017 Trail Of The Year

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday announced the Montour Trail in Allegheny and Washington counties has been named the state's 2017 Trail of the Year.

* 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-- 

* Senate/House Bills Moving

The following bills of interest saw action this week in the House and Senate--

* Senate Environmental Committee Reports Out Bills On Natural Gas Royalty Reform

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday reported out two bills introduced by Majority Chair Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) to reform the way oil and natural gas royalties consider post-production costs.  The bills include--

* House Names Members Of Standing Committees

The House Monday named members of each of its standing committees.  Here’s a rundown on some key committee rosters--

* Legislators Form House-Senate Climate Caucus

Citing the very real threat posed by climate change, Rep. Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery), was joined Wednesday by legislators and advocacy groups to announce the formation of the bicameral Climate Caucus.

* Senate Bill Would Make State Methane Limits No More Stringent Than Feds

Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) this week introduced Senate Bill 175 which would prohibit DEP from adopting methane emission regulations for the oil and gas industry or any source that are more stringent than federal standards.

* Sen. Baker Tries Again To Add Natural Gas Gathering Lines To One Call Safety Program

Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) Thursday introduced legislation-- Senate Bill 242-- to add natural gas gathering lines to the PA One Call utility construction safety program so they can be identified and mapped for emergency services.

* Rep. Barrar Plans Bill To Consolidate DCNR, PA Historical & Museum Commission

Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-Delaware) circulated a co-sponsor memo to his colleagues Thursday announcing plans to introduce legislation to combined the PA Historic and Museum Commission and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in hopes of saving money.

* Gov. Wolf To Combine Health, Aging, Drug & Alcohol, Human Services Into Super Agency

The Associated Press reported late Friday Gov. Wolf will announce a plan Monday to consolidates the departments of Health, Aging, Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Human Services into one super agency called the Department of Health and Human Services.

* New Session, New Bills, Catch Up On Legislation, Regulations On PEC Bill Tracker

Visit the PA Environmental Council’s Bill Tracker feature to provide quick, easy-to-understand information on the status of new legislation introduced, House and Senate Committee meetings related to environmental issues and DEP and other advisory committee meetings having an impact on the development of environmental regulations.

* Growing Partnerships With Farmers Key To Restoring Octoraro Watershed In Lancaster, Chester Counties

The Chesapeake region is fortunate to have a variety of organizations that are interested in creating innovative partnerships to address local needs for clean water.

* NRCS Seeking Applications For Regional Conservation Partnership Program

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is now seeking applications for new partnership projects to help improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

* DCNR Awards 13 Grants To Plant Trees Along Streams To Improve Water Quality

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday announced an investment of $790,000 for 13 grants to plant trees along streams in Pennsylvania to improve water quality.

* PennVEST OKs $81.9 Million In Water Infrastructure Projects In 12 Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday announced the investment of $81.9 million for 16 drinking water, wastewater and nonpoint source projects across 12 counties through the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority.

* Schuylkill Water Stewards Seeking Volunteer Water Monitors For Spring Training Class

The French, Hay, and Pickering Creeks of northern Chester County and southern Berks County are vital tributaries to the Schuylkill River. Join the effort to study them and keep them beautiful as a Schuylkill Water Steward volunteer! 

* Stormwater Best Management Practices Workshop Feb. 23 In Chester County

The Green Valleys Watershed Association will host a Stormwater Best Management Practices Evaluation and Management Workshop for up to 50 participants at their headquarters at the Welkinweir Arboretum, Pottstown, Chester County on February 23, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. 

* PA Lake Management Society Annual Conference March 1-2 In State College

The PA Lake Management Society 2017 Conference will be held March 1-2 at the Ramada Conference Center in State College.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Hearing Feb. 2 On Water Withdrawal Requests

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission Wednesday announced it will receive public comment at a hearing on February 2. The subjects covered by the hearing include applications for several water withdrawal and consumptive use projects.

* Keep PA Beautiful Affiliates From 5 Counties Attend National Conference

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and their affiliates; Keep Erie County Beautiful, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling, Keep York Beautiful and Chester Environmental Partnership currently in process of forming a local affiliate, attended the Keep America Beautiful National Conference in Washington D.C. this week.

* DEP Meeting/Hearing Jan. 27 On Oak Hall Quarry Permit In State College

Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it will hold a public meeting and hearing on January 27 to solicit comments regarding Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania LLC’s request to modify the surface mining permit at its Oak Hall Quarry.

* PA American Water Accepting Stream Of Learning Scholarship Program Applications

PA American Water Tuesday announced that applications are being accepted for its 2017 Stream of Learning Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to high school seniors who are planning to pursue careers in the water and wastewater industry.

* PPL Accepting Apps For Education, Workforce & Community Revitalization Grants

The PPL Foundation Thursday announced it is now accepting applications for its 2017 Sustaining Grant Program from organizations focused on education, workforce development and community revitalization.

* Pennsylvania Green & Healthy Schools Forum Feb. 17 In Harrisburg

Join the Pennsylvania Green & Healthy Schools Partnership and the National Wildlife Federation for the first PA Green Schools Stakeholder Forum on February 17 at PaTTAN Harrisburg, 6340 Flank Drive, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

* PA Institute For Conservation Education Changes Name To Wildlife Leadership Academy

The PA Institute for Conservation Education has changed the organization’s name to Wildlife Leadership Academy.  For the last four years, the primary focus of the Institute has been on its youth program – the Wildlife Leadership Academy.

* Wildlands Conservancy Highlights February Programs, Summer Camp Registration

The Lehigh Valley-based Wildlands Conservancy February newsletter highlights upcoming education program and encourages early registration for its summer camp programs.  Other programs include--

* PUC Report: Drop In Utility Consumer Complaints, Requests For Payment Arrangements

The Public Utility Commission Thursday released its latest Utility Consumer Activities Report and Evaluation (UCARE Report), which shows overall consumer complaints about utilities and payment arrangement requests decreased during 2015, and the majority of customers contacting the PUC for assistance rated it as a positive experience.

* $1 Million CFA Pipeline Investment Program Grant In Elk County For Domtar Paper

The Commonwealth Financing Authority Tuesday approved a $1 million Pipeline Investment Program Grant for Domtar Paper Company’s installation of a 3 mile pipeline to their facility in Elk County, according to Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

* Trump Issues Memorandums On Environmental Reviews, Pipelines, Infrastructure

President Trump Tuesday signed a series of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda in keeping with his promise to reduce the burden of regulations and expedite high priority energy and infrastructure projects that will create jobs and increase national security--

* EHB Stops Longwall Mining Under Ryerson State Park Until Appeal Can Be Heard

The Center for Coalfield Justice Tuesday announced the Environmental Hearing Board has granted the Center’s petition for a supersedeas stopping any longwall mining under Ryerson Station State Park in Greene County until the Center’s appeal of Consol’s mining permit can be heard.

* DEP OKs Water Quality Certification For Emsworth, Montgomery Locks Hydro Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 28 PA Bulletin approving the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for a 12-megawatt hydroelectric facility at the Emsworth back channel dam (photo) on the Ohio River in Allegheny County (PA Bulletin page 501).

* CFA Accepting Applications For Green Building, Renewable Energy Grants

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is now accepting applications for its High Performance Building and Renewable Energy Grant Programs throughout 2017.  Here’s a quick rundown on the programs--

* Making PA A Model For Deep Decarbonization Conference March 15-16 In Pittsburgh

National speakers and Pennsylvania-based experts will discuss “deep decarbonization” of Pennsylvania’s electricity sector at an upcoming conference hosted by the PA Environmental Council.

* Building A Resilient, Smart & Sustainable Pittsburgh: The Energy-Water Nexus Feb. 16

CMU’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and other partners will host the Building A Resilient, Smart and Sustainable Pittsburgh: The Energy-Water Nexus program February 16 at Carnegie Mellon University.

* PHMC Now Accepting Applications For Historic Preservation Grants

The PA Historical and Museum Commission is now accepting applications for its Keystone Historic Preservation Project Grant Program.  The deadline for applications is March 1.

* POWR Accepting Applications For 2017 River Sojourn Grants

The PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers is now accepting applications for 2017 PA River Sojourns Grants.  The deadline for applications is February 24.

* DCNR PA Trails Advisory Committee To Hold Public Forums Feb. 9, June 7

The DCNR PA Trails Advisory Committee will host several public forums around the state for the trail community to share and discuss opportunities, concerns, and recommendations for development, improvement, and management of the statewide trail network.

* Statewide Greenways & Trails Summit Sept. 24-26 In Reading, Call For Presentations

The 2017 Statewide Greenways and Trails Summit will be held September 24-26 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Reading, Berks County.

* Agriculture Expands Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area In Bucks, Chester

Department of Agriculture officials published notice in the January 28 PA Bulletin announcing the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine has been expanded to 25 additional municipalities and has added a municipality in Northampton County to the quarantine area. (formal notice)

* Penn State Extension, DCNR Woods In Your Backyard Workshops Feb. 25, April 1, 8

Penn State Extension, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and their partners are sponsoring a series of three workshops designed to help owners of small patch woodlands improve their land.

* January 25 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The January 25 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Make a Difference in Bird Conservation By Counting Your Backyard Birds

Love birdwatching? Consider participating in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count! This free and fun citizen science program takes place February 17–20.

* DCNR’s Lauren Imgrund To Lead National Outdoor Recreation Grants Program

Lauren Imgrund, DCNR’s Deputy Secretary for Conservation and Technical Services, has been elected at President of the National Association of Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers.

* Help Wanted: Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay - PA Program Coordinator

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Program Coordinator in Pennsylvania.  The deadline for applications is February 15.

* Help Wanted: Brandywine Conservancy Senior Planner-Land Conservation

The Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art in Delaware County is seeking an experienced conservation professional for its Land Conservation Program to provide land conservation planning services to private landowners with emphasis on conservation easements and land acquisitions.  Resumes are due by February 24.

* Help Wanted: Wildlife Leadership Academy Seeks Summer Field School Adult Mentors

The Wildlife Leadership Academy in Lewisburg, Union County is seeking adult mentors for its 2017 summer field schools from June 12 through August 5.

* 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 - January 28, 2017

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