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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Feb. 20, 2017 Issue #660
* DEP Approves Environmental Permits For Mariner East 2 Pipeline

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Monday it has approved the permit applications from Sunoco Pipeline LP for the Mariner East 2 Pipeline Project. DEP considered 17 Chp. 105 (Water Obstruction and Encroachment) permits and 3 Chp. 102 (Erosion and Sediment Control) permits for the project.

* EHB Denies Supercedeas In Appeal Of Mariner East 2 Pipeline Permits, Hearing March 1

The Environmental Hearing Board Friday denied a request for a supercedeas by environmental advocacy groups appealing DEP’s issuance of permits for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline.

* PennEast Pipeline Receives DEP Water Quality Certification

PennEast Pipeline Company announced Monday it has received notice from the Department of Environmental Protection the Company’s request for Water Quality Certification, as required by section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act, has been granted, marking receipt of a significant state permit.

* DEP Documents Connection Between Fracking, Earthquakes In Lawrence County

Seismic events that occurred in western Lawrence County on April 25, 2016, were likely correlated to natural gas hydraulic fracturing by Hilcorp Energy Company, according to a report issued by the Department of Environmental Protection Friday.

* 3 Senate Leaders Question Authority For DEP’s Proposed Methane Emission Limits

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) and Sen. Gene Yaw, Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, submitted a letter to DEP dated February 6 raising significant concerns with the proposed methane emission limits on oil and gas operations.

* Senate, House Begin Agency-By-Agency Budget Hearings Next Week

The Senate and House begin agency-by-agency hearings on Gov. Wolf’s $32.3 billion FY 2017-18 budget request Tuesday.  The hearings run through March 9.

* 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-- 

* Funding Shortfall Means 40% Of Game Commission Districts Will Be Vacant

Matthew Hough, Executive Director of the Game Commission, told the House Game and Fisheries Committee Tuesday up to 40 percent of the Wildlife Conservation Officer Districts in the state will be vacant by 2019 due to the lack of funding to support the Commission.

* Fish & Boat Commission Faces Drastic Program Cuts Due To Pension, Health Care Costs

John Arway, Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, told the House Game and Fisheries Committee Wednesday rising pension and health care costs, without any revenue relief, will force the Commission to drastically cut programs by FY 2018-19.

* February Environmental Synopsis Available From Joint Conservation Committee

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

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Holds Online Only Meeting February 21

The DEP Citizens Advisory Council is scheduled to hold an online-only meeting February 21 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. to hear an update on agency activities from DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

* DEP: Drought Declarations Change For 17 Counties In Pennsylvania

Following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force Tuesday, the Department of Environmental Protection announced two counties remain in drought warning status, six improve from warning to watch status, and 11 improve from watch to normal status.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Holds March 9 Business Meeting

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is scheduled to hold its next business meeting on March 9 in Scranton. (formal notice & agenda)

* Coldwater Heritage Partnership Announces $72,000 In Grant Awards

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership Thursday announced over $72,000 in grants have been awarded to local organizations to protect and conserve Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams.

* Penn State Extension: Time To Start Planning Stream Restoration Projects For This Year

On February 2 our local celebrity groundhog reminded us that there are just six more weeks left to winter. Warm weather may feel like it’s a long time away, but now is the time to start planning the earliest of this year’s planting and stream restoration activities.

* Learn How To Be A Watershed Monitor Training In Butler County During March

The Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition in Butler County is currently looking for several new volunteers to help with the Coalition’s Adopt-a-Passive-Treatment-System Program and basic watershed monitoring using data loggers.

* 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! 

* Philly Green City, Clean Waters Student Art Contest Accepting Entries Until March 17

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and the Philadelphia Water Department are now accepting entries to the 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Student Art Contest.  The deadline for entries is March 17.

* Schuylkill Student Street Art Contest Accepting Entries Until March 31

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and the Philadelphia Water Department are now accepting entries to the Schuylkill Street Art Contest.  The deadline for entries is March 31.

* Volunteers Needed To Document Features Along PennEast Pipeline Route, Training Feb. 25

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is recruiting interested volunteer naturalists who can help identify, map and document natural and unique features and habitats along the proposed PennEast gas pipeline route

* 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. 

* CBF-PA Names Emily Thorpe Student Leadership Coordinator In PA

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Wednesday announced Emily Thorpe has been named as its Student Leadership Coordinator in Pennsylvania.

* Fairmount Water Works Shows Off Its Mussels In First City-Owned Hatchery In Philadelphia

Experts unveiled the world’s first city-owned hatchery for freshwater mussels on February 16. This attraction is part of a new exhibit at the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia, which is free to visit.

* Forests For The Bay Feb. 16 Newsletter Now Available

The February 16 edition of the Forests for the (Chesapeake) Bay newsletter is now available featuring stories about--

* February Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

The February issue of The Catalyst newsletter is now available from the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition in Butler County featuring articles on--

* Feb. 13 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The February 13 Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring articles on--

* Auditor General To Do Performance Audit Of Pittsburgh Water Authority

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale Thursday announced he directed his staff to begin a performance audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to shed light on what led to the recent series of water problems for city residents and businesses because of a possible breakdown in the governance of the authority.

* Keep PA Beautiful: 171,576 Volunteers Removed Over 5.5 Million Pounds Of Trash In 2016

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, its local affiliates and partners held community improvement events in 2016 resulting in engaging over 171,000 volunteers to pick up and properly dispose of over 5.5 million pounds of trash, 1.6 million pounds of electronics waste and over 42,000 tires.

* DEP OKs Water Quality Certification For Maxwell Locks & Dam Hydro Project

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the February 18 PA Bulletin of its approval of the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Maxwell Locks and Dam 13-megawatt hydroelectric project on the Monongahela River in Washington and Fayette counties (page 1054).

* Penn State: New Method To Predict Ozone Pollution Levels Provides 48-Hour Heads-Up

A novel air quality model will help air quality forecasters predict surface ozone levels up to 48-hours in advance and with fewer resources, according to a team of Penn State meteorologists.

* PA Envirothon Provides Winter Update On Activities

The Winter Update is now available from PA Envirothon featuring articles on--

* State Adds 26 Farms, 2,369 Acres To Nation-Leading Farmland Preservation Program

Pennsylvania strengthened its nation-leading farmland preservation program Thursday by safeguarding 2,369 more acres on 26 farms across the state.

* Manada Conservancy: State Of The Swatara Greenway March 9 In Dauphin County

The Manada Conservancy will host a special State of the Swatara Greenway on March 9 at The Perking Point, 257 Hershey Road, Hummelstown, Dauphin County starting at 7:00 p.m.

* Harrisburg Falcons Begin 17th Courtship Season On Rachel Carson Building

For the 17th consecutive year, Harrisburg peregrine falcons continue to use the 15th-floor ledge of the Rachel Carson State Office Building as a nest site that provides shelter, ready food sources and the doting attention of admirers around the world.

* Nature Conservancy Awards 4 Nature Works Everyone Grants To Schools In PA

The Nature Conservancy has awarded Nature Works Everywhere Grants to 4 schools in Pennsylvania. 

* 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

The Public Utility Commission published notice in the February 18 PA Bulletin of proposed regulations setting standards and billing practices for residential public utility service for public comment (page 965

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