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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, June 26, 2017 Issue #678
(6/26/2017)
* PA Supreme Court Declares Law Diverting Oil & Gas Lease Funds To General Fund Unconstitutional

The PA Supreme Court Tuesday issued an opinion declaring the 2009 and 2010 Fiscal Code and other amendments diverting $478 million from DCNR’s Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund unconstitutional because there was no evidence the General Assembly considered the use of the funds in its role as public trustee for natural resources under the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution.

* DEP Authority To Regulate Impact Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wells On Public Resources Upheld By PA Supreme Court

The PA Supreme Court Tuesday issued a decision upholding a 2016 Commonwealth Court decision that found DEP can regulate conventional oil and gas operations under Section 3215(c) of Act 13 which requires DEP to take into account the impact of a well on public resources, including local, state and national parks, natural landmarks, habitats of rare and endangered species, historical and archaeological sites and sources of drinking water supply.

* Obligatory Article Saying State Budget Negotiations Are Coming Down To The Wire

Here we are again, just a mere five voting days away from the deadline to have a state budget in place, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said Wednesday, “How we close this out [budget] remains to be seen.

* Associated Press Calls DEP Wracked By Years Of Budget Cuts

In a statewide story about the state budget situation Sunday, the Associated Press said members of the General Assembly are bracing for what they call a “get-out-of-town budget” that does little to bring long-term balance to the state’s “tattered finances.”

* Post-Gazette: Court Decision Raises Questions On How Legislature Can Spend DCNR Drilling Proceeds

The Post-Gazette Friday published a story by Laura Legere on questions being raised by the PA Supreme Court decision this week declaring unconstitutional previous budget bills diverting proceeds from Shale gas drilling on DCNR forest land to the General Fund to balance the state’s budget.

* PA Parks & Forest Foundation: Stop The Attack On Our Parks, Forests & Environment, Act Now!

The following was provided by PA Parks and Forests Foundation President Marci Mowery--

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Gov’s Schedule/ Bills Introduced

Here are the Senate and House Calendars for the next voting session day and Committees scheduling action on bills of interest as well as a list of new environmental bills introduced--

* Bills On Governor's Desk

The following bills were given final approval by the Senate and House and are now on the Governor's desk for action--

* Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

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

* PA Attorney General, 13 Others Intervene In Lawsuit Against EPA On Reducing Oil & Gas Methane Emissions

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a coalition of 13 other attorneys general Wednesday announced they have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s actions to halt the regulation of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, and other harmful air pollutants.

* Senate Passes PA One Call Pipeline Safety Bill, With Shale Gas, Not Smaller Conventional Gathering Lines

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 242 (Baker-R-Luzerne) that extends the PA One Call utility safety program to 2024 and adds unconventional natural gas gathering pipelines to the program, but continues an exemption for conventional oil and gas gathering lines  (8 inches or less) serving small volume stripper wells.

* House Committee OKs Bills To Roll Back Environmental Standards For Mining

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Monday approved and reported out two bills rolling back environmental protection measures from surface and deep coal mining and legislation on certifying mine emergency responders.

* Senate Committee OKs Bills On State Funding For Lateral Water, Sewer Lines

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Monday approved several wastewater infrastructure bills and a bill to change the makeup of the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board with an amendment to fill a gap in funding for DEP’s Storage Tank Program.

* PUC Tells House Committee Microgrids Offer Many Benefits To Grid, Consumers

Gladys Brown, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission, told the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Monday microgrid systems offer many potential benefits to the electrical grid, including increased resiliency during large scale electric disruption, increased integration of highly efficient Distributed Energy Resources (like solar energy and combined heat and power systems) and potential cost savings for consumers, ratepayers and utilities.

* Shale Gas Industry Tells House Committee, We Don’t Want Regulatory Relief, We Want Permits On Time

The House State Government Committee held its third hearing Tuesday on the regulatory climate in Pennsylvania, this one focused on potential solutions to regulatory burdens.  However, they were told by the Shale gas industry they don’t want regulatory relief, they just want their permits on time.

* Sen. Alloway Bill Regulates Lawn Fertilizer Application To Reduce Nutrient Pollution

Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams), one of Pennsylvania’s representatives on the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission, introduced Senate Bill 792 Wednesday regulating the application of lawn fertilizer and requiring professional fertilizer applicators to be certified in fertilizer application techniques.

* June Environmental Synopsis From Joint Conservation Committee Features Oil & Gas Industry

The June edition of the Environmental Synopsis newsletter from the Joint legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee features articles on--

* House Committee Set To Do Recycling Fee Extension, Onlot Septic System Bills June 27

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet June 27 on legislation eliminating the sunset date on the $2 Recycling Fee in Act 101 and a bill to provide for alternative onlot septic system technologies in local sewage plans.

* Senate Lawn Fertilizer Application Bill To Be Considered By Committee June 26

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Adams) that would regulate the application of lawn fertilizer on June 26.

* Will The Senate Vote The Hellbender To Be State Amphibian? Stay Tuned!

The Senate has only five voting days left before they finish the budget and head home for the summer, but still no word on whether they plan to vote on Senate Bill 658 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) to designate the eastern hellbender Pennsylvania’s state amphibian.

* Don Welsh Elected Chair, James Sandoe Vice Chair Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council

The DEP Citizens Advisory County Tuesday elected Donald Welsh Chair of the Council. He succeeds William Fink who first became Chair in 2015.  James Sandoe was elected Vice Chair.

* CBF-PA: No Surprise, Pennsylvania Significantly Off Track In Meeting Chesapeake Bay Milestones

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Wednesday released its assessment of the progress made implementing Chesapeake Bay Watershed milestone commitments in 2016 and found Maryland and Virginia largely on track to meet commitments for reducing pollution and Pennsylvania falling significantly short in reducing nitrogen pollution.

* Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Leads MS4 Stormwater Effort To Save Communities More Than 50% In Compliance Costs

The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority has been providing wastewater treatment services for residents of Luzerne County since 1962. WVSA’s service area includes 35 municipalities from Harveys Lake to Pittston to Newport Township.

* Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Training July 24-25 In Lancaster

The City of Lancaster Green Infrastructure Program will host the 2017 Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) certification Level 1 training on July 24-25.

* Alliance For Chesapeake Bay Selling Stormwater Workshop July 17 In Dauphin County

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Capital Region Council of Governments and other partners are hosting a Selling Stormwater Workshop on July 17 at the Londonderry Township Building, 783 S. Geyers Church Road in Middletown, Dauphin County from 8:00 to 3:00.

* New EPA Guide To Green Infrastructure In Parks To Manage Stormwater Now Available

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a new guide, “Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement,” to help cities and towns increase green infrastructure in their local parks.

* Op-Ed: Under The Microscope: Science The Source Of Solutions

By Harry Campbell, PA Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

* Profile: Stroud Water Research Center 50 Years Of Fresh Water

The Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County has a simple mission, but one that’s hard to accomplish-- “To advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education and restoration.”

* June 19 Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available From Penn State Extension

The June 19 edition of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension features stories on--

* Deadline Extended For Northeast Environmental Partners Awards To July 19

The Northeast Environmental Partners Thursday announced the deadline for nominations for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards, including the Thomas P. Shelburne Award and the Emerging Environmental Leader Award, has been extended to July 19.

* Keep PA Beautiful Thanks Thousands Of Participants In 2017 Great American Cleanup Of PA

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Wednesday thanked the thousands of volunteers who made the 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA a success.

* Keep PA Beautiful Announces Winners Of Great American Cleanup of PA Video Contest

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Friday announced the first, second and third place winners of its Great American Cleanup of PA Video Contest on the KPB  Facebook page.

* 28 Fewer Illegal Dumpsites In Northeast PA Thanks To PEC, Partners & Many Volunteers

The PA Environmental Council’s Community Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program returned to action this spring, as nearly 200 local volunteers hauled away upwards of 46 tons of waste and debris from sites across northeastern Pennsylvania.

* DEP Recycling/Waste Advisory Committee To Discuss Forming Act 101 Changes Workgroup June 29

At the June 29 meeting of DEP’s DEP Solid Waste Advisory and Recycling Fund Advisory Committees, DEP plans to discuss the formation of an Act 101 Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act stakeholder group to take about potential changes to the Act.

* PRC Hosts Rain Barrel, Composting, Healthy Body & Healthy Home Workshops In Western PA

The PA Resources Council will host a series of workshops in Allegheny County this summer on using Rain Barrels, Backyard Composting and Healthy Body and Healthy Homes.

* DEP Held Meeting On Yard Waste/Organics Composting Facility In Dauphin County

Department of Environmental Protection held a public informational meeting June 22 on an application for a new yard waste and organics composting facility proposed to be located on Harrisburg School District property at 1850 Stanley Road in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County.

* Aramark Demonstrates Progress In Minimizing Food Waste

Philadelphia-based Aramark Monday announced the latest step demonstrating its commitment to environmental sustainability by reducing, reusing and recycling food waste through responsible practices, from the initial purchase to final waste disposal.

* Energy Efficiency, Job Training Newsletter From Energy Coordinating Agency

The summer edition of the energy efficiency and job training newsletter from the nonprofit Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia is now available featuring articles on--

* Southwest PA Launches CEOs For Sustainability To Advance Economic, Social Prosperity For Region

Recognizing the strong link between business sustainability performance, financial performance, and regional quality of life, corporate CEOs from throughout the Pittsburgh region Tuesday announced the formation of the CEOs for Sustainability executive council. 

* PennLive.com: Exelon Notifies NRC It Will Close TMI In September 2019

PennLive.com Friday published a story by Wallace McKelvey saying Exelon formally notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on June 20 it will close the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Station in Dauphin County in September 2019.

* U.S. Economic Development Administration Offers Coal Communities Assistance Grants

The U.S. Economic Development Administration Friday announced it is accepting applications for $30 million in Community Assistance Grants for communities in coal mining areas.

* DEP July 19 Public Conference On Bailey Mine Expansion Permit, Greene County

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it will hold an informal public conference on July 19 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Ryerson Station State Park Visitor Center, 361 Bristoria Road, Wind Ridge, PA 15380 to gather public feedback on a permit application from Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company LLC (Consol).

* DEP Issues Water Quality Permit For Shell Petrochemical Complex In Beaver County

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit amendment to Shell Chemical Appalachia for the proposed petrochemical complex in Beaver County.

* Babst Calland Report: Resurgence Of Appalachian Shale Gas Industry, Challenges Ahead

The law firm of Babst Calland Tuesday released its seventh annual energy industry report titled, "The 2017 Babst Calland Report – Upstream, Midstream and Downstream: Resurgence of the Appalachian Shale Industry; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and Midstream Operators." 

* West Nile Virus Program Announces Positive Mosquito Results In 5 More Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced positive mosquito results for West Nile Virus have been found in Brighton Township, Beaver County, Newtown Township, Bucks County, Darby Township, Delaware County, Hamilton Township, Franklin County and Manchester Township, York County.

* Agriculture Expands Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area In Berks, Bucks, Montgomery Counties

Department of Agriculture officials published notice in the June 24 PA Bulletin announcing the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine has been expanded in Berks, Bucks and Montgomery counties. (formal notice)

* PennDOT Announces PA’s First Nationally Designated Bike Route - Route 50

The Department of Transportation Wednesday announced the designation of Pennsylvania’s first nationally designated bicycle route - U.S. Bicycle Route 50.

* Updated PA Wilds Design Guide For Community Stewardship Now Available

The PA Wilds Center Friday released a new edition of the PA Wilds Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship, a popular free tool for communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds, is now available for download, and a national expert on sustainable development called it and the work it relates to one of the best rural development effort in the nation.

* Natural Lands Accepting Nominations For Growing Greener Communities Award In Montgomery County

Natural Lands and the Montgomery County Association of Township Officials are now accepting nominations for the Growing Greener Communities Award, which honors conservation-minded accomplishments by townships in Montgomery County.

* PA Horticultural Society Receives Grant To Create Farm For The City Program

The PA Horticultural Society Tuesday announced it has been awarded a $300,000 grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to spotlight healthy food access issues and invite the public to help solve these issues through urban gardening and farming.

* June 27-29 PA Horticultural Society Workshop To Teach Educators To Build School Gardens

The PA Horticultural Society will teach educators how to build a sustainable school garden and inspire children to get involved in gardening at a three-day workshop on June 27-29 at Tilden Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia.

* Big Spring Watershed Assn Unveils Native Plant Habitat Project In Cumberland County

The Big Spring Watershed Association recently completed the first phase of a Native Plant Habitat Improvement Project along the Big Spring Creek in Newville, Cumberland County. 

* Bayer Feed A Bee Program Announces Pollinator Forage Initiative Grants, 1 In PA

In the spirit of true National Pollinator Week celebration, Bayer Monday announced the first round of organizations that will receive Feed A Bee Program funding to establish forage for pollinators across the nation, including a grant to the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, Inc. in Westmoreland County.

* Applications Now Being Accepted For Wild Resource Conservation Program Grants

Applications are now being accepted for Wild Resources Conservation Program Grants to protect Pennsylvania's non-game animals, native plants and their habitat.  Applications are due August 15.

* Attention Weekly PA Environment Digest Subscribers!

Due to a change in policy at the website service hosting the weekly PA Environment Digest newsletter, the weekly Digest will be emailed out in segments of 1,198 subscriber emails starting Friday night and on Saturday morning.

* 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, however, the July 18 Environmental Quality Board meeting has been canceled. (formal notice)  The next scheduled EQB meeting is August 15.

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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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