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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, May 8, 2017 Issue #671
* Senate Environmental Committee To Consider Nomination Of Patrick McDonnell To Be DEP Secretary May 9

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Thursday announced the Committee will hold a confirmation hearing May 9 to consider the nomination of Patrick McDonnell to serve as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

* EPA Still Concerned About DEP Drinking Water Program, Urges Temporary Funding To Hire Staff Sooner

In a letter dated April 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded to DEP’s plan to correct deficiencies in the state’s Safe Drinking Program by saying it is “encouraged” by the plan, but said they remain concerned about the ability of DEP to hire staff quickly enough to meet minimum federal inspection and other standards.

* EQB To Consider Safe Drinking Water Fee Increases At May 17 Meeting

The Environmental Quality Board is scheduled to take the first step in adopting the Safe Drinking Water Program fee increases on May 17 when it considers putting a proposed regulation out for public comment.

* Bill On Senate Calendar Would Prevent Funding Crisis In Recycling Program

Legislation now on the Senate Calendar for action when it returns May 8-- Senate Bill 646 (Killion-R-Delaware)-- would prevent a funding crisis in the state’s Recycling Program by eliminating the expiration date for the Act 101 $2 per ton recycling fee on waste disposed in Pennsylvania.

* Senate Bill Would Fill Funding Gap In DEP’s Underground Storage Tank Program

Legislation introduced last week by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee-- Senate Bill 649-- would fill an urgent funding gap in DEP’s Underground Storage Tank Program by authorizing the transfer of an additional $4 million from the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund to pay for administrative expenses.

* Growing Greener Coalition Holds Capitol Rally May 9 To Support More Investments In Green Infrastructure

The Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in Pennsylvania, will hold a rally May 9 at 10:00 a.m. on the Capitol steps to support additional investments in the state’s land conservation, recreation, environmental protection and restoration programs.

* PA House Republican Budget Deals Crippling Blow To DCNR Budget, Leads To Layoffs

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn told members of the House and Senate Environmental Committees Monday the House-passed Republican budget-- House Bill 218 (Saylor-R-York)-- would deal “a crippling blow” to the agency and lead to layoffs.

* State Budget Deficit For Current Year Now Tops $1.2 Billion

The Department of Revenue Monday reported state revenues for the current FY 2016-17 fiscal year fell $537 million below estimates in April bringing the year-to-date state deficit to over $1.2 billion, worse than projected earlier.  The best estimate now is the deficit-- current and next year-- will total at least $3 billion.

* Sen. Martin Proposes Bill To Impose The Public Costs Of Protests Against Pipelines On The Protesters

Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) Friday announced he will be introducing legislation to impose any public costs for dealing with pipeline or other protests entirely on the individuals doing the protesting or is hosting the protest and convicted of rioting or creating a public nuisance.

* Senate Committee To Consider Bill Requiring Vote On Regs Costing $1 Million+ May 8

The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to meet May 8 to consider Senate Bill 561 (Disanto-R-Dauphin) which requires an up or down vote by the General Assembly on every final regulation approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission if that regulation has a fiscal impact of $1 million or more.

* 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--

* Lawmakers, State Agencies, Industry Discuss Forest Products Industry Opportunities

More than two dozen lawmakers and industry leaders gathered at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, McKean County, Wednesday to discuss the importance of the forest products industry to the local and statewide economies, as well as how to maximize the opportunities it offers.

* House Bill Rolls Back Protections From Mine Operators Temporarily Suspending Operations

Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield) again introduced legislation this week-- House Bill 1333 (Gabler-R-Clearfield)-- that would eliminate the current DEP limit on temporarily ceasing surface coal mining operations of 180 days and replace it with the less stringent federal requirement that has no specific time frames.

* Senate Resolution Urges Gov. Wolf To End Gas Leasing Moratorium On DCNR Lands

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) introduced Senate Resolution 104 Thursday urging Gov. Wolf to end the moratorium on new natural gas leases on Department of Conservation and Natural Resource lands and authorize the agency to again enter into leases in order to address the state’s growing budget deficit.

* Proposed Senate Bill Would Distribute Volkswagen Diesel Testing Settlement Funds

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) circulated a co-sponsor memo this week asking colleagues to sign on to legislation that would ensure what she called an equitable distributions of funds Pennsylvania receives from the federal Volkswagen diesel testing settlement.

* PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Plan Implementation Steering Committee Meets May 8

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Planning Steering Committee meets for the second time on May 8 to continue discussing Pennsylvania’s plans for developing Phase III Watershed Plans to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements.

* Inspectors Find Most PA Farms Trying To Comply With Conservation Regs, But Not All

By Donna Morelli, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* CBF Thanks Congress For Bipartisan Action To Protect 2017 Chesapeake Bay Funding

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker Wednesday issued this statement after the U.S. House of Representatives approved funding in support of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts for the remainder of the federal 2017 fiscal year.

* Students Invited To Paddle CBF-PA’s Susquehanna River Canoe Classic In York County May 27

Area high school students are invited to paddle for fun and prizes when the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council hosts its second annual Canoe Classic on the Susquehanna River on May 27, from noon to 5 p.m.

* Green Infrastructure: Managing Stormwater Runoff At The Municipal Level

If left unchecked, stormwater can add pollutants like soil, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), and pathogens into our streams and rivers. This may lead to health impacts, unsightly and unpleasantly smelling waterways, and a degraded environment.

* Brubaker Run Floodplain Restoration Public-Private Project In Lancaster County

Oak Tree Development Group, a Lancaster-based real estate development company, is partnering with East Hempfield Township in Lancaster County on an expansive water quality initiative located within the proposed 98-acre Lime Spring Square commercial development project.

* Call For Abstracts: Joint Stormwater Management Summit Nov. 13-14

The PA Water Environment Association, the PA Section of the American Water Works Association, and PA Municipal Authorities Association has issued a call for abstracts for presentations at the Joint Stormwater Management Summit in State College on November 13-14. The deadline for proposals is May 19.

* Adopt-A-Passive Treatment System Volunteer Training A Success At Slippery Rock

On March 26, a brand new group of volunteers were provided training for the Adopt-A-Passive Treatment System Program. Twenty-one volunteers participated in the training event. About fifteen of the volunteers were students from Slippery Rock University in Butler County.

* April Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

The April edition of The Catalyst newsletter is now available from the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition in Butler County featuring stories on--

* Penn State Extension May 16 Webinar: Green Infrastructure-Designer’s Perspective

Penn State Extension Community Forestry Management will host a webinar on May 16 on Green Infrastructure - The Designer’s Mission Perspective from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

* May Newsletter Now Available From LandStudies

The May newsletter is now available from Lititz-based LandStudies is now available featuring articles on--

* Delaware River Basin Commission Hearing May 17, Business Meeting June 14

The Delaware River Basin Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing on its draft budget for FY 2018 and water withdrawal requests on May 17.  DRBC’s next business meeting will be held on June 14

* PA Section American Water Works Assn. Highlights Upcoming Training Courses

The PA Section of the American Water Works Association Tuesday highlighted a series of upcoming training opportunities, including--

* Op-Ed: Let’s Raise The Respect And Understanding Of Science For Everyone

By Harry Campbell, PA Office Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

* Keep PA Beautiful, Local Affiliates Recognize Outstanding Volunteers, Groups

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its local affiliates recently recognized volunteers and groups across the Commonwealth for their dedication, commitment and exceptional contributions to keeping Pennsylvania beautiful.

* Keep PA Beautiful Report On Partner, Affiliate Accomplishments In 2016

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Wednesday issued its annual newsletter summarizing the accomplishments of its partners and network of affiliates around the state in 2016.  Highlighted were--

* 64,000 Pounds Collected In Centre County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event

The Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on April 28-29 took in 64,000 pounds of material from 1,066 households and 1,014 vehicles.

* PRC Launches 2017 Hard-To-Recycle Collection Events In Allegheny County May 13

The PA Resources Council and its partners will host the first of its five 2017 Hard-To-Recycle Collection Events in Allegheny County on May 13 from 9:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, Frazer Township.

* May Newsletter Now Available From PA Resources Council

The May newsletter is now available from the PA Resources Council featuring articles on--

* DEP To Host May 23 Meeting On Landfill Expansion In Northampton County

Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it will host a public meeting to answer residents’ questions regarding IESI Landfill’s permit application to expand its facility on Applebutter Road in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County.

* Wolf, DEP Announce $2 Million+ In Mosquito Control Grants To 30 Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced the award of more than $2 million in grants to Pennsylvania counties to survey and control mosquitoes that carry West Nile or Zika virus.

* Gov. Wolf Requests Federal Disaster Aid In 9 Counties For March Snowstorm

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday sent a letter to President Trump requesting federal disaster aid for Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Northumberland, Pike, Wayne and Montour counties to help offset the financial burden of a record-breaking snowstorm that crippled much of the northeastern part of the state in March.

* U.S. Dept. Of Education Names Green Ribbon Schools, 2 In PA

The U.S. Department of Education Thursday released the names of the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, including Coebourn Elementary School in Brookhaven, Delaware County and the School District of Philadelphia.

* Weis Markets Sunbury Hosts PAEP’s P2E2 Roundtable Meeting May 18

The PA Association of Environmental Professionals’ P2E2 Roundtable will have its May 18 meeting at Weis Markets headquarters in Sunbury to learn about the company’s sustainability programs and do a walking tour of a Weis store and the Grind2Energy System.

* SustainPHL Seeking Nominations For 2017 Sustainability Awards

SustainPHL is now accepting nominations for its 2017 Sustainability Awards to recognize individuals, groups, projects, non-profit, civic or government entity or for-profit business that are advancing sustainability, including social impact or civic causes.  Nominations are due May 12.

* State Fire Commissioner: Emergency Response Grants Available Related To Gas Wells

State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay Wednesday announced it is now accepting applications for the Unconventional Gas Well Drilling Grant Program.  Applications are due June 30.

* DEP Water Resources Committee Reviews Pipeline Water Quality Cert. Policy May 10

On May 10, DEP’s Water Resources Advisory Committee meets to discuss a new, draft policy on how the agency will review Section 401 Water Quality Certifications for natural gas pipeline projects regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

* Opponents Of Mariner East 2 Pipeline File Lawsuit Against Sunoco To Enforce Delaware County Twp. Ordinance

Six Middletown, Delaware County residents on Friday filed a complaint in Delaware County Court of Common Pleas against Sunoco's Mariner East 2 Pipeline seeking enforcement of a section of The Middletown Township Code which provides in part that “in no case shall there be a distance of less than 75 feet between a dwelling unit and a petroleum or petroleum products transmission line.”

* Penn State: Shale Gas Threat To Forests Can Be Eased By Consolidating Infrastructure

By Jeff Mulhollem, College of Agricultural Sciences

* Reminder: 2 PUC Hearings May 16 On App To Change Direction Of Laurel Pipeline

The Public Utility Commission Monday issued a reminder it will hold two “Smart Hearings” on May 16 to gather public comment on an application by Laurel Pipe Line Company, L.P. for approval to change direction of petroleum products transportation service to delivery points west of the Altoona area.

* 3rd Annual PA Solar Summit May 9, Solar Advocacy Day May 10 In Harrisburg

The PA Solar Energy industries Association, Solar Unified Network of Western PA and Environmental Entrepreneurs-E2 will host the 3rd Annual Pennsylvania Solar Summit on May 9 at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, 1110 N. Third Street in Harrisburg.

* Wolf, 11 Other Governors Urge Trump To Stay In Paris Climate Agreement reported Wednesday, Gov. Wolf was one of a dozen governors to sign on to a letter to President Trump urging him to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.  The text of the letter says in part--

* Videos, Materials Available From PEC Deep Decarbonization Conference

Videos of presentations and other materials are now available from the Deep Decarbonization Conference held by the PA Environmental Council in March.

* PA Environmental Council April In Case You Missed It

The April In Case You Missed It from the PA Environmental Council is now available featuring articles on--

* DEP: New GIS Open Data Site Puts Environmental Information At Public’s Fingertips

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has put a trove of environmental data at the public’s fingertips with a geographic information system (GIS) open data map site.

* DCNR To Begin Spraying Forests In Gypsy Moth Suppression Effort In 16 Counties

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry will soon begin aerial spraying of forestlands to combat gypsy moth populations poised for spring outbreaks in the eastern and central portions of Pennsylvania, according to DCNR officials.

* Game Commission Begins Spraying For Gypsy Moths To Protect Game Lands Habitat

In an effort to protect wildlife habitat, the Game Commission announced Thursday it will spray for gypsy moths on more than 23,907 acres of state game lands beginning next week.

* DCNR Designates Dead Man’s Hollow In Allegheny County As Wild Plant Sanctuary

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Friday announced the designation of a new Wild Plant Sanctuary in the boroughs of Liberty and Lincoln, Allegheny County.

* Brandywine Conservancy, Partners Purchase Historic Beaver Valley Property In Delaware County

The Conservation Fund, in partnership with Mt. Cuba Center and the Brandywine Conservancy, Monday announced its purchase of the historic Beaver Valley property in Concord Township, Delaware County.

* PA’s National Heritage Areas Are Stewards Of American History

The Trump Administration has proposed eliminating funding for the National Heritage Area Program for FY 2018.  Here is just a few of the contributions the five Heritage Areas in Pennsylvania make to the Commonwealth’s economy.

* PHMC Anthracite Heritage Conference May 13 In Scranton

The PA Anthracite Heritage Museum will host the 2017 Anthracite Heritage Conference on May 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

* Intro To Backpacking In Tracy Ridge Wilderness Allegheny National Forest June 17-18

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness are hosting an Introduction to Backpacking in the proposed Tracy Ridge Wilderness Area in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County on June 17-18.

* Share Your Opinions - Take Get Outdoors PA Usage Survey

Here’s your chance to provide suggestions and feedback on recreation opportunities in Pennsylvania by taking the Get Outdoors PA Usage Survey.  The deadline for responses is May 14.

* May 3 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The May 3 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Hawk Mountain Ornithologist Dr. Keith Bildstein Publishes New Book On Raptors

Dr. Keith L. Bildstein, Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County, has published a new book, Raptors: The Curious Nature of Diurnal Birds of Prey.

* Penn State: If Hemlock Trees Can Hang On, Birds That Need Them May Be OK

By Jeff Mulhollem, College of Agricultural Sciences

* AG Shapiro Appoints Steve Santarsiero Chief Deputy For Environmental Protection

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Thursday announced the appointment of former House member Steve Santarsiero, Esq. a lawyer with strong experience supporting Pennsylvania’s environment and natural resources, as Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Environmental Protection Section.

* DEP Opportunity To Bid On Water Supply Distribution System Project In Lancaster

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the May 6 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a water supply distribution system in Leacock Township, Lancaster County in connection with a Hazardous Site Cleanup Project.

* 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 formally published notice of proposed changes to its Chapter 59 regulations regarding standards for changing a customer’s natural gas supplier for public comment (page 2614)

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