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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, May 22, 2017 Issue #673
* EQB OKs Proposed Fees To Improve Safe Drinking Water Oversight For Public Comment

The Environmental Quality Board Wednesday unanimously voted to send a proposed $7.5 million Safe Drinking Water fee increase regulation out for public comment.

* PennLive Editorial: Pennsylvanians Can’t Wait For Clean Water, State Must Act Now

On Friday, PennLive posted this editorial entitled, “Pennsylvanians Can’t Wait For Clean Water, State Must Act Now,” about significant funding gaps in DEP’s Safe Drinking Water Program and the ramifications on clean water and public health.  The text of the editorial follows—

* Senate Committee Votes May 22 On Controversial Bill To Retroactively Change Protection For Streams Affected By Coal Mining

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet May 22 on controversial legislation to retroactively change the protection streams receive under Act 54 from underground coal mining-- Senate Bill 624 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson).

* PEC Expresses Opposition To Bill Retroactively Changing Protection For Streams Affected By Deep Coal Mining

The PA Environmental Council Thursday wrote a letter to the members of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee expressing its opposition to Senate Bill 624 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) that would retroactively change the rules for protecting streams affected by underground coal mining under Act 54.

* Observer-Reporter: Consol Agrees Not To Mine Near Kent Run, Ryerson Station State Park

The Washington County Observer-Reporter reported Thursday Consol has agreed not to mine within 100 feet of Kent Run near Ryerson Station State Park in Greene County in order to retain permission to mine beneath the state park.  From the Observer-Reporter’s story--

* Help Develop Plan To Improve Water Quality In PA’s Part Of Chesapeake Bay Watershed June 5

Pennsylvanians are invited to share their views on how the Commonwealth can best achieve federally mandated water pollution reductions in counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed at a public event hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection on June 5.

* Times Leader: Wilkes-Barre, Kingston Fined $37,000 By EPA For Not Complying With MS4 Stormwater Program

The Times Leader reported Friday the City of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston Borough were fined a total of $37,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not complying with EPA’s program to reduce water pollution from stormwater runoff in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* 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--

* Mehoopany Creek Watershed Assn To EPA: It’s Not What Regs Aren’t Needed, It’s What Regs ARE Needed

On May 14 the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association in Wyoming County submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the review required by President Trump’s Executive Order to identify EPA regulations that are not needed or overly burdensome. (EPA Docket: EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190)

* Trump’s Final 2018 EPA Budget Recommendations Offer No Relief From Drastic Cuts

Reports Friday about the Trump Administration’s final recommendations for the FY 2018 federal budget offer states and the public little or no relief from the drastic cuts proposed in the Administration’s proposed budget blueprint in March.

* House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing On Natural Gas Severance Tax May 22

The House Democratic Policy Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a possible severance tax on natural gas production on May 22 in Harrisburg.  The hearing will feature comments by—

* May 22 Environmental Issues Forum On Pollinators To Be Webcast Live

The May 22 Environmental Issues Forum hosted by the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee will feature a presentation on the decline of pollinator populations in Pennsylvania.

* May Environmental Synopsis Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

The May issue of the Environmental Synopsis newsletter is now available from the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee featuring stories on --

* DEP: Drought Indicators Return To Normal In Pennsylvania

Following a meeting Tuesday of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, the Department of Environmental Protection  announced that 19 counties have moved out of drought watch into normal status.

* PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Features Walking Tour & Film Festival June 21

The 2017 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference this year features a unique Walking Tour & Film Festival option to be held on the first day of the Conference-- June 21 in Wilkes-Barre.

* Volunteer Tree Planting Effort In Pinchot Forest Reclaims Avondale Abandoned Mine Site

A large tree planting project took place on April 21 and 22 on a 10-acre tract in Avondale in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County.

* Penn State To Launch Undergraduate Ag Stewardship & Conservation Certificate

A new undergraduate certificate program offered by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will give students interested in agricultural stewardship an opportunity for classroom and hands-on learning in the sustainability of agricultural soil and water resources.

* Delaware Riverkeeper Petitions EQB For Drinking Water Standard For Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted a rulemaking petition to the Environmental Quality Board on May 8 requesting the Department of Environmental Protection set a statewide maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA).

* AWWA ACE17 Annual Water Conference & Exposition June 11-14 In Philadelphia

The American Water Works Association ACE17 Annual Conference & Exposition will be held June 11-14 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.  The deadline for registrations is May 31.

* Keep Chester Beautiful, Delaware County, Becomes Newest Keep America Beautiful Affiliate

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Monday announced that on May 2, Keep Chester Beautiful in Delaware County became a Keep America Beautiful affiliate as a result of a public-private-civic partnership process that began in 2014.

* Keep PA Beautiful, Westmoreland County Land Bank Partner On Community Greening In Latrobe

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, in partnership with the Westmoreland County Land Bank, will provide $2,000 in seed money to Adelphoi USA for the development of a pocket park on Ligonier Street in Latrobe.

* Union County-Based Pik Rite Receives National Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award

The National Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs has recognized Pik Rite, Inc. as the 2017 winner of its Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award. The company, based in Lewisburg, Union County was chosen by the SBEAP’s National Steering Committee. 

* DEP Seeks Input On Use Of $118M Volkswagen Settlement Fund To Reduce Air Pollution

The Wolf Administration Thursday released its draft plan, and is encouraging public input, for the use of $118 million from the Volkswagen settlement fund to pay for projects to reduce air pollution in Pennsylvania.  (formal notice)

* DEP Hearings June 22 On RACT II Air Pollution Controls For 4 Facilities In Southeast PA

The Department of Environmental Protection is scheduled to will hold hearings June 22 on a proposed State Air Quality Implementation Plan amendments for RACT II controls for 4 facilities in Southeast Pennsylvania relating to nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compound emissions. (formal notice, PA Bulletin beginning on page 2939)

* PUC To Study 3rd-Party Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Seeks Public Input

The Public Utility Commission Thursday approved a motion by Chairman Gladys M. Brown to explore issues related to the operation of third-party electric vehicle charging stations.

* Court: Jefferson Hills Borough Cannot Block EQT Natural Gas Drilling Pad

Commonwealth Court Thursday declined to reverse an Allegheny County Court decision that said the Borough of Jefferson Bills cannot deny a conditional use application by EQT drilling company to operate a natural gas drilling pad within the Borough.

* DEP Issues Air Permit For Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant in Archbald, Lackawanna County

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it has issued an air quality plan approval to Archbald Energy Partners, LLC, to construct and operate a 485-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Archbald, Lackawanna County.

* DEP: Conventional Oil & Gas Well Violations Up Nearly 80 Percent In 2016

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday reported violations by conventional oil and gas operations rose nearly 80 percent in 2016 and fines and penalties collected from both conventional and unconventional (Marcellus Shale) well operators nearly tripled to over $9.6 million.

* PUC Judge Hears Conflicting Views On Reversing Laurel Pipeline Flow

A Public Utility Commission administrative law judge Tuesday heard conflicting views on the impact of reversing the flow of the Laurel Pipeline from Pittsburgh to Altoona allowing petroleum products from midwest refineries to be sold in the midstate at the same time cutting off access of Philadelphia refineries to Western Pennsylvania.

* PUC Formally Starts Review Of Energy Conservation, Assistance Program Effectiveness

The Public Utility Commission published notice in the May 20 PA Bulletin formally beginning its review of energy conservation and assistance programs aimed at low-income electric and natural gas customers.

* FirstEnergy CEO Addresses Potential Closure Of Nuclear Power Plants In Ohio, PA

At FirstEnergy’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, President and CEO Chuck Jones addressed the issue of the contributions nuclear power plants make to generating carbon-free electricity and the potential impact if those plants close.

* Is Pumped Storage Hydro The Next Wave Of Energy Development In PA? One Company Submits 17 Applications To FERC

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission now has 37 permit applications in its system for pumped storage hydroelectric projects across the county, 17 of those are in Pennsylvania, all from one company-- Merchant Hydro Developers, LLC based in Doylestown, Bucks County.

* Green Building Alliance Integrative Design Workshop With 7group June 7

The Green Building Alliance and 7group will host an Integrative Design Workshop on June 7 in Pittsburgh on integrating the design of natural systems into building design.  This is a special chance to learn from 7group’s John Boecker, an internationally recognized integrative design consultant. 

* DCNR: Penn’s Parks For All - Planning For The State Parks Of Tomorrow Initiative

Pennsylvania’s award-winning system of 121 state parks is now well into its second century of service. With a state park within 25 miles of nearly every Pennsylvanian, there is a remarkable variety of types and sizes of parks located throughout the Commonwealth.

* DCNR, Local Partners, Dedicate Key Shikellamy State Park Land Acquisitions In Union County

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday joined local and other state officials, and supporters of Shikellamy State Park in the dedication of two key park acquisitions preserving a scenic overlook along the Susquehanna River.

* Cherry Springs State Park Moves To Enhance Visitors’ Dark Sky Experience

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Friday announced it continues to implement changes at the park designed to preserve the "dark sky" experience while improving visitors' satisfaction and safety at Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County.

* Bike To Work Week: State Officials Discuss Bike Safety, Benefits, Improvements For Cyclists

With the start of Bike to Work Week Monday, the Wolf Administration announced a series of improvements for bicyclists during an event featuring an executive bike ride around Harrisburg by several cabinet members, other officials, and staff.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Receives International Accessibility Award For Silhouette Trail

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County received the Trail Accessibility Award for its ADA-approved Silhouette Trail from the American Trails National and International Trails Awards Program during the 2017 International Trails Symposium on May 9.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Publishes New Children’s Book: Percy The Victorious Vulture

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary staff and interns have published a new children's book, entitled Percy the Victorious Vulture, which is based on the true and inspirational story of a flightless black vulture in Kempton, Berks County.

* May 17 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The May 17 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* April American Chestnut Tree Planting In Allegheny National Forest

By Lelia Pinchot, Research Ecologist, U.S. Forest Service

* American Chestnut Foundation 2017 Chestnut Photo Contest Now Accepting Entries

The American Chestnut Foundation is now accepting entries to its 2017 Chestnut Photo Contest.  The deadline for entries is September 1.

* DCNR: Protecting Yourself From Lyme Disease With These Tick Tips

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. During this month and throughout the year, it’s critical that you protect yourself by learning about the disease and ways to prevent it -- especially in Pennsylvania.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Native Plants Walk June 24 In Pike County

Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy for a Native Plants Walk on June 24 at Camp Speers YMCA in Dingmans Ferry, Pike County from 9 a.m. - Noon. Renowned author and botanist Dr. Ann Rhoads will lead the walk and answer your questions about native plants and their habitats.

* Fish & Boat Commission: May 28 Marks PA’s First Fish-for-Free Day

Families and friends visiting Pennsylvania’s popular outdoor spots over the Memorial Day holiday weekend can enjoy a day of free fishing, thanks to the Fish and Boat Commission.

* Game Commission Alert: Do NOT Disturb Young Wildlife

Whether in their backyards or high on a mountain, it’s almost certain Pennsylvanians will encounter young wildlife this time of year.

* Help DCNR, PA Biological Survey Determine The Status Of Northern Goshawks In PA

The Pennsylvania Biological Survey, through the Pennsylvania Goshawk Project, is working to determine the status of Northern Goshawks in Pennsylvania.

* Gov. Pinchot’s Grey Towers Opens Memorial Day For 2017 Season

Springtime rains brought beautiful blooms to the landscape and gardens at Gov. Gifford Pinchot’s Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, Pike County, and regular tours of the historic mansion are set to begin Memorial Day, May 27.

* 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 - May 20, 2017

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