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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, May 15, 2017 Issue #672
(5/15/2017)
* Will Gas Drilling Company Overturn The Way DEP Has Calculated Penalties For Nearly 40 Years? We’ll See

Sometime after June 12 the PA Supreme Court will schedule a hearing on one of the most important environmental cases in recent decades-- will EQT drilling be successful in overturning the way the Department of Environmental Protection has calculated penalties for nearly 40 years.

* Growing Greener Rally For Clean Water, Parks, Trails, Open Space, Family Farms Funding

Advocates for Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener Program Tuesday rallied on the steps of the state Capitol to call for increased funding to protect water, preserve open space and family farms, and ensure current and future generations continue to have access to community parks, trails and other recreational opportunities.

* EPA: PA Must Identify New Funding Needed To Meet Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Targets

David McGuigan, EPA Region III Associate Director Of Water Protection, told PA’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Planning Steering Committee Monday EPA expects the state to identify what he called the “significant new financial resources” needed to implement the Phase III Watershed Plans to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements.

* Registration Now Open For June 5 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Plan Listening Session

DEP is now accepting registrations for the June 5 Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan Kickoff and Listening Session to be held at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill, across the river from Harrisburg, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Senate Environmental Committee Endorses McDonnell’s Nomination As DEP Secretary

Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell Tuesday was unanimously reported from the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee with a favorable recommendation for confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

* Acting DEP Secretary McDonnell’s Opening Statement Before The Senate Committee

Here is the opening statement Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell made before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday at the hearing on his confirmation--

* 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-- 

* PUC’s Powelson To Be Nominated To Serve On Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

President Trump late Monday announced his intention to nominate the PUC’s Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee, an energy advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to fill vacancies  on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

* Senate Committee OKs Bill Requiring Legislative Vote On Regs Costing $1 Million+

The Senate Rules Committee Monday voted to approve and report out 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.

* Agriculture Expresses Concerns Over Potential Impacts Of PA House Republican Budget

Appearing before the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Wednesday outlined challenges and opportunities facing Pennsylvania’s food and fiber industries, but cautioned making progress on those issues could be jeopardized if the House-passed budget bill becomes law.

* House Committee OKs Bills To Allow Local Stormwater Management Fees

The House Local Government Committee Wednesday reported out a package of bills introduced by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) to allow towns, boroughs, first class townships and third class cities to adopt stormwater management fees to pay for improvements needed to reduce water pollution.

* House, Senate Recognize 50th Anniversary Of Chesapeake Bay Foundation

On Tuesday the House and Senate unanimously passed resolutions recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and commending the foundation for five decades of outstanding public service to the Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding region.

* PA Land Trust Assn. Honors Union County, Tom Kerr For Protecting Natural Resources

The PA Land Trust Association Saturday honored Union County with the 2017 Government Conservation Leadership Award for demonstrated leadership in the conservation of our special landscapes and critical natural resources and Tom Kerr, former President of the Wildlands Conservancy, with the Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award.

* EPA’s Patti Kay Wisniewski Honored With James McGirr Kelly Award

The National Association of Water Companies, PA Chapter Tuesday recognized Patti Kay Wisniewski, Drinking Water Security Coordinator in Region III of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with its James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence.

* PA Senior Environment Corps Honored With PAEP Walter Lyon Award

The PA Association of Environmental Professionals recently honored Nature Abound’s statewide Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps with the Walter Lyon Award.

* Stroud’s WikiWatershed Receives Governor’s Award For Environmental Excellence

WikiWatershed, an online toolkit featuring a watershed-modeling web app developed by Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County and partners, has new features to help individuals learn about and protect their watersheds.

* Schuylkill Action Network Recognizes Miquon School Students In Montgomery County

The Schuylkill Action Network Tuesday presented a Protecting Our Water Award to fifth and sixth grade students at The Miquon School in Montgomery County for their work protecting the river and drinking water in the Schuylkill River Valley.

* Frick Environmental Ed Center To Receive Green Building Alliance Leadership Award

By Natalie Stewart, Green Building Alliance

* Registration Open For PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 21-22

The 2017 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference is now accepting registrations.  This year the Conference will be held June 21-22 at the Best Western Plus Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre.

* NRCS-PA Chesapeake Bay Conservation Innovation Grant Workshop May 18 In Harrisburg

The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA Office is hosting a meeting and workshop on the PA Chesapeake Bay Conservation Innovation Grant Program on May 18 at the NRCS State Office, 359 East Park Drive in Harrisburg from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.

* DEP Developing New Erosion & Sedimentation General Permit To Cover 5 Acres Or Less, Low-Impact Projects

Lee McDonnell from DEP’s Bureau of Clean Water told the Water Resources Advisory Committee Wednesday his office is developing a new Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation General Permit for small, low impact projects of five acres or less that could cover a significant number of projects DEP now requires full permits for.

* Aqua America: Drinking Water Week Chance To Learn How To Protect From Lead

Aqua America, the American Water Works Association and the water community are celebrating Drinking Water Week, May 7-13, by recognizing the vital role water plays in daily lives and the ways in which consumers can take personal responsibility in caring for their tap water and water infrastructure at home and in the community.

* USGS: High Levels Of Radon Found In 14% Of Water Wells Surveyed In PA

A new U.S. Geological Survey study released Thursday has discovered high levels of radon in wells across certain areas of Pennsylvania.

* DEP Hosts June 29 Water, Wastewater Resilience Planning Workshop In Harrisburg

The Department of Environmental Protection is hosting a free hands-on training session for drinking water and wastewater utilities on EPA’s Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) and Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) initiatives on June 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at DEP’s Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave. in Harrisburg.

* Tulpehocken Creek Project Channels Cold Water Flow In Berks County

By Thomas Ham, Tulpehocken Creek Chapter of TU

* Sen. Yaw, CBF Student Leaders Support Bill To Save Hellbenders And Clean Water In PA

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a member of the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission, would like to introduce colleagues at the Capitol to his slippery, spongelike friends and students who care about them.

* May 8 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The May 8 edition of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring these articles--

* Keep PA Beautiful: Still Time To Be Part Of Great American Cleanup Of PA

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday reminded community groups and volunteers there is still time to be part of the Great American Cleanup of PA to clean up roadside litter, illegal dumps and to beautify your neighborhood.

* Keep PA Beautiful Receives Grant To Reduce Cigarette Litter In State Parks

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Tuesday announced they have received a $20,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful to continue their work with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to reduce cigarette litter in state parks.

* PAEP May 24 Workshop On PFAS 101, Fate And Remediation In Conshohocken

The PA Association of Environmental Professionals is hosting a Workshop on PFAS 101, Fate, Transport and Remediation on May 24  at AECOM, 625 West Ridge Pike, Suite E-100, Conshohocken, Montgomery County from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

* Delaware Riverkeeper Files Suit Against Sunoco Mariner East 2 Pipeline For Failing To Comply With Local Zoning

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network Wednesday, joined by directly impacted landowners, filed a lawsuit in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas against Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline claiming it has not complied with local zoning.

* Sunoco Spills Slurry In Delaware County While Drilling Under Chester Creek For Mariner East 2 Pipeline

The Middletown Coalition For Community Safety reported Friday on a May 3 spill of drilling slurry that occurred while Sunoco Logistics was drilling horizontally under Chester Creek in Brookhaven Borough, Delaware County as part of construction work associated with the Mariner East 2 Pipeline.

* DEP Proposes Section 401 Water Quality Cert. For H-125 Pipeline Project In Allegheny, Washington Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the May 13 PA Bulletin (page 2829) proposing to approve a Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the H-125 Upgrade Pipeline Project in Allegheny and Washington counties.

* Three Winners Announced For The 2017 Shale Gas Innovation Contest

On Tuesday in Pittsburgh during the 6th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest the following three companies each walked away with a winner’s check for $20,000:

* DEP Takes More Steps To Identify Abandoned, Leaking Oil & Gas Wells

With the results of a new study and development of an interactive mapping tool, the Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday said it has taken a major step toward identifying environmental impacts and addressing potential public safety concerns related to abandoned wells drilled over the past 150 years of oil and gas development in the state.

* DEP Blog: The Sun Is Rising On Solar Energy In Pennsylvania

It seemingly started on the roofs of homes and businesses. In the 1980s, you may have noticed flat panels that looked like unwatchable new-age TV screens. They didn’t exactly catch on.

* PJM Releases Summer Electric Reliability Assessment

The PJM Interconnection Monday said it has enough power to meet anticipated peak demand and keep the region's 65 million consumers cool this summer. That's good news, because meteorologists anticipate above-average temperatures this season.

* EIA: U.S. Nuclear Power Capacity Expected To Decline As Existing Generators Retire

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Friday reported that its 2017 Annual Energy Outlook assumes that about 25 percent of the nuclear capacity now operating that does not have announced retirement plans will be removed from service by 2050.

* Free Biomass Energy And Forest Management Workshop May 17 In Elk County

The PA Biomass Energy Association is hosting a Biomass Energy and Forestry Management Workshop May 17 at the Kane Experimental Forest in Wilcox, Elk County.

* S&T Bank Goes Green To Benefit Reforestation Effort At Flight 93 Memorial

Indiana County-based S&T Bank Tuesday pledged to donate a portion of the seedlings to be planted during Plant a Tree at Flight 93, for the second consecutive year. The two-day volunteer event will take place at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County on May 19 and 20.

* Annual Loving The Land Through Working Forests Conference May 20, Mercer County

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests, a land trust based in Crawford County, will be hosting its annual conference “Loving the Land Through Working Forests,” an in-the-field outreach event, on May 20.  

* 3 Young Peregrine Falcons Banded In Educational Event In Harrisburg

In an educational event attended by students and streamed live, officials from the Department of Environmental Protection and Game Commission Wednesday banded the three young peregrine falcons nesting on the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building.

* Go Native With Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Spring Native Plant Sale May 20-21

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host its annual Spring Native Plant Sale, displaying a wide variety of Pennsylvanian plants and flowers, on May 20 and 21.  It will take place in the Visitor Center parking lot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

* Spring Newsletter Available From PA Council Of Trout Unlimited

The Spring PA Trout newsletter is now available from the PA Council of Trout Unlimited featuring articles on--

* DEP Names Patrick Patterson Southeast Regional Office Director

Patrick Patterson will become Southeast Regional Director of the Department of Environmental Protection effective May 15.

* Help Wanted: Butler County Conservation District Manager

The Butler County Conservation District is hiring a full-time District Manager.  Requires a college degree and minimum of 2 years supervisory experience. Competitive salary and benefits offered.  Applications are due May 23.  Send email to: bccdjobs@gmail.com for a full job description. 

* 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 Environmental Quality Board published notice in the May 13 PA Bulletin of proposed Radiological Health, X-Ray Machine and Radon regulations changes for public comment.  The deadline for comments is June 26.  (PA Bulletin page 2722)

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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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