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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, July 3, 2017 Issue #679
* House, Senate, Governor Agree On $31.996B Spending Plan, Fails To Address ANY Environmental Funding Shortfalls

The Senate, House and Gov. Wolf reached a bipartisan agreement Thursday on a $31.996 billion General Fund budget-- House Bill 218 (Saylor-R-York)-- which the Senate (43-7) and House (173-27) passed Friday and sent to the Governor.

* Op-Ed: Staffing, State Funding Cuts Put Pennsylvania Water Quality At Risk

By Patrick McDonnell, Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection

* 34 Groups Urge General Assembly, Gov. Wolf To Invest In Clean Rivers, Streams For PA

34 local, state, regional and national organizations concerned about the health of the Susquehanna River and water resources across the state Wednesday sent a letter to members of the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf urging them to invest in clean water for Pennsylvania.

* CBF-PA Urges More State Investment In Farms And Clean Water Efforts

As a new state budget continues to take shape, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell Thursday issued the following statement urging continued investments in agricultural efforts that benefit clean water.

* PA Ag Secretary Briefs Congressional Delegation On Impact Of Proposed Federal Chesapeake Bay Program Cuts

PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Wednesday joined a panel of state officials and economic and environmental experts to brief members of the congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus on the destructive impact President Trump’s proposed budget cuts will have on efforts to clean up the bay watershed.

* Analysis: PA Already Has $65 Million A Year For Clean Water, Just Stop Giving Money To Folks Like Johnny Depp

While the political fight is running hot and heavy to adopt a new natural gas severance tax or new fees on this or that to fund programs, no one has noticed there is a $65 million a year solution to fund Pennsylvania’s environmental and clean water restoration projects right under their noses.

* PEDF Asks Court To Determine If $383 Million Transferred From Oil &Gas Lease Fund Remains In The Public Trust

As a follow up to the June 20 PA Supreme Court decision declaring the 2009 and 2010 Fiscal Code and other amendments diverting money from DCNR’s Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund unconstitutional, the PA Environmental Defense Foundation filed a motion Thursday with Commonwealth Court asking the Court to determine if $383 million in Shale gas upfront and lease payments remains in the public trust to be used only for conservation purposes.

* 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

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

* House Retroactively Rolls Back Protection For Streams From Underground Coal Mining

Senate Bill 624 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) was passed Monday by the House by a vote of 120 to 77.  The bill retroactively changes the protection streams receive under Act 54 from underground coal mining.

* House Passes Bill Extending Temporary Cessation Of Surface Coal Mine Operations For Years

The House Monday voted 163 to 33 to pass House Bill 1333 (Gabler-R-Clearfield) eliminating the current DEP limit on how long surface mine operators can temporarily cease mining operations from 180 days to the federal standard of what could be up to five years.

* Senate Lawn Fertilizer Application Bill Unanimously Approved By Committee

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Monday unanimously reported out Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Adams) that would regulate the application of lawn fertilizer on June 26.

* House Environmental Committee OKs 1 Year Extension Of Recycling Fee

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Thursday reported out two bills, one bill to extend the $2 Recycling Fee in Act 101, but only after amending the bill to extend the fee for one year.  The bills included--

* Joint Budget & Finance Committee Releases Report On Beneficial Use Of Biosolids

The Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Tuesday released a report on PA’s Program for the Beneficial Use Of Biosolids (Sewage Sludge) by Land Application done pursuant to House Resolution 60 (Emrick-R-Northampton) adopted in 2016.

* Sen. Alloway Introduces Bill To Totally Revamp PA Electronics Waste Recycling Program

Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin) Thursday introduced Senate Bill 800 to create a new Waste Electronic Equipment Recovery Act to replace the 2010 Covered Device Recycling Act that provides for the collection and recycling of electronics waste.

* Gov. Wolf Vetoes Bill Banning Communities From Adopting Plastic Bag Bans, Fees

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday vetoed House Bill 1071 (Farry-R-Bucks) which would have prohibited local governments from adopting bans or fees on plastic bags used at grocery and other retail stores. 

* U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Reports Out RECLAIM Mine Reclamation Initiative

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Tuesday amended and reported out H.R. 1731, the RECLAIM (Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities By Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More) Act mine reclamation and economic development initiative to the full House, according to Robert Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation Coalition.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Reacts To EPA Waters Of U.S. Rule Repeal

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Vice President Kim Coble issued this statement Tuesday following EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announcement they are proposing a rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and revert to a previous definition of "waters of the United States."

* State Environmental Secretaries Hope For Full Collaboration In Developing New Waters Of U.S. Rule

Responding to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal Tuesday to withdraw the agency’s 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule, the Environmental Council Of States expressed hope for a future collaborative process that ensures protection of human health and the environment.

* Gov. Wolf Announces Funding For 17 Stormwater Projects In 5 Chesapeake Bay Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday announced the approval of over $2.2 million in funding to support to 17 municipal stormwater projects in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that will remove 396 pounds of phosphorous, 2,800 pounds of nitrogen, and almost 800,000 pounds of sediment from local waters.

* Foundation For PA Watersheds Accepting Grant Letters Of Intent Thru August 15

The Foundation for PA Watersheds is now accepting applications for its Fall round of grants.  The deadline for letters of intent to apply for grants is August 15.

* LandStudies To Assist Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative Pollution Reduction Planning

LandStudies, Inc., an ecology-focused engineering and landscape architecture company based in Lititz, Lancaster County, has been selected to help the Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative develop a multi-municipal Pollution Reduction Plan,

* Clinton, Centre, Lycoming County Farmers, Apply For NRCS Funding To Install Conservation Practices

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA Friday encouraged producers in Clinton, Centre and Lycoming Counties to apply for funding to install innovative conservation practices that will help improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

* Company Whose Subsidiary Is In Default Of $7.8 Million PennVEST Loan Again Pushes Bill To Get More State Funding

Representatives of Colorado-based Bion Environmental Technologies, whose subsidiary Bion PA1, LLC is still in default of its 2009 $7.8 million loan from the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST), has again been shopping draft legislation around Harrisburg like they did in 2013, 2015 and in 2016 to “establish appropriate public policies which will create regulations and funding mechanisms” for Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc, and other companies.

* Penn State Extension Webinar July 18 On Green Infrastructure, A Lesson In Change

The Penn State Extension Community Forestry Program will hold a webinar on July 18 from Noon to 1:00 p.m. on Green Infrastructure - A Lesson In Change.

* PA American Water Awards 2017 Environmental Grants For Local Watershed Projects

PA American Water Tuesday announced eight watershed-related projects across the Commonwealth will receive financial support through the company’s 2017 Environmental Grant Program.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Increases Municipal Fee Discount To 44% For Next Year

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission will hold the line on most fees for the next year, and will increase the municipal discount for its Annual Compliance and Monitoring Fee to 44 percent, as a result of actions taken at its meeting on June 16.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Releases 2016 Annual Report

The Delaware River Basin Commission Wednesday released its 2016 annual report highlighting ongoing efforts to manage the water resources of the 13,539-square-mile Delaware River Basin that provides drinking water for an estimated 15 million people.

* DEP Publishes Updated Non-Regulatory Agenda On Technical Guidance In Development

The Department of Environmental Protection published an updated Non-Regulatory Agenda of Technical Guidance Documents it plans to develop and finalize in the agency.  (formal notice PA Bulletin page 3652)

* Delco, Philadelphia Schools Celebrated As U.S. Dept. Of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Tuesday at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg, environmental and educational advocates gathered to honor the School District of Philadelphia and Coebourn Elementary School in Delaware County as Pennsylvania’s 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

* 23 Environmental Ed Centers In PA, DE, NJ Form New Alliance To Engage On Delaware River Watershed

During a press conference at Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia Wednesday, 23 environmental education centers from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey announced a new Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River to increase awareness of the importance of the Delaware River watershed, a 13,500 square mile system that provides drinking water for 15 million people.

* West Nile Virus Program Announces Positive Mosquito Results In 3 More Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection this week announced positive mosquito results for West Nile Virus have been found in Wilkinsburg Borough, Allegheny County, Stroud Township, Monroe County and Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County.

* DEP Hearing July 24 On Brunner Island Power Plant Water Quality Permit In York County

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it will host a public hearing July 24 to collect comments from citizens on the draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued to Brunner Island Power Plant on April 5, 2017 and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on April 22, 2017.

* DEP Holds July 20 Hearing On Use Of Emission Credits For Lancaster Soybean Plant

Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it will host a July 20 public hearing regarding Perdue AgriBusiness LLC’s application to use Emission Reduction Credits at the soybean processing facility currently under construction in Conoy Township, Lancaster County.

* Allegheny County Handling Of Public Participation On Allegheny Ludlum Air Permit Challenged By Clean Air Council

Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council Wednesday announced it has filed an action in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in order to ensure a fair public participation process for individuals wanting to submit comments on proposed air permits by the Allegheny County Health Department.

* Post-Gazette: EQT Drilling Again Challenges The Way DEP Calculates Penalties In $1.1 Million Fine Appeal

Laura Legere reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Saturday Shale gas driller EQT again appealed a penalty levied by the Department of Environmental Protection because of the way the $1.1 million penalty was calculated.

* 40 Groups Urge Gov. Wolf, DEP To Deny Permits For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

A coalition of 40 community organizations, farms, environmental organizations, and local businesses representing over 436,727 members and constituencies Monday delivered a coalition letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary McDonnell urging the DEP to deny permit applications for the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.

* Commonwealth Court Rules In Favor Of Private Lawsuits To Enforce Local Land Development Ordinances

Commonwealth Court Tuesday issued a decision involving a Blair County case where one landowner sought to enforce a local land development ordinance on another. 

* PA Benefits From Natural Gas Use; 68,536 Natural Gas Wells, 69 Gas Power Plants

Associated Petroleum Industries in Pennsylvania Tuesday released a new study on the benefits natural gas brings to the state in terms of consumer savings, family-sustaining jobs and economic growth.

* PEC: New Report Shows Deep Decarbonization Pathways For Electricity In Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council Thursday released a white paper, Achieving Deep Carbon Reductions: Paths for Pennsylvania’s Electricity Future, summarizing the findings of its March 2017 conference of the same name.

* Report: Exelon Has Lowest Rate Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions By Far Of Any Major Electric Power Producer

Exelon Tuesday announced the American Council For An Energy-Efficient Economy reported Exelon had the lowest rate of carbon dioxide emissions among the 20 largest privately held or investor-owned energy produces with the next best ranking company coming in with six times Exelon’s emission rate.

* Save The Date: 2017 Pittsburgh Solar Tour Oct. 14, You Can Be A Tour Stop

PennFuture’s 7th annual Pittsburgh Solar Tour is set for October 14 from Noon to 4:00 p.m.  The tour is designed to encourage solar and clean energy solutions by connecting citizens to residential, commercial, and public solar installations and installers.

* DOE Grant To Penn State Continues Research Into Rare-Earth Elements Extraction From Coal

In 2016, a team of Penn State and U.S. Department of Energy researchers discovered a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to extract rare earth elements (REEs) from coal and coal byproducts.

* Small Business Development Centers Host July 27 Workshop In Philadelphia On Technology, Science Funding

The Small Business Development Centers will host a July 27 workshop on funding opportunities through the Small Business Innovation Research Program at Villanova University, Falvey Memorial Library Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute, 800 Lancaster Avenue  In Philadelphia from 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

* 15th Anniversary Of Quecreek Mine Rescue Community Celebration July 29 In Somerset

The 15th anniversary of the Quecreek Mine Rescue in Somerset County with a Community Celebration on July 29 at the mine rescue site, 140 Haupt Road in Somerset from 3:00 to 9:45 p.m.

* Let Your Voice Be Heard Now: Planning For PA State Parks Of The Future

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Wednesday announced a strategic plan for Pennsylvania's state parks of the future will kick off this holiday weekend with surveys being made available to park visitors and other interested parties.

* Apply Now For DCNR TreeVitalize Tree Planting Grants

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and TreePennsylvania Wednesday announced it is now accepting applications for TreeVitalize Tree Planting Grants.  The deadline for applications is August 15.

* PA Forest Heritage Assn. Summer Newsletter Now Available

The PA Forest Heritage Association’s Spring edition of the Burning Issues newsletter is now available featuring stories on--

* PA Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area In Northumberland Earns National Recognition

Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Coal Township, Northumberland County earned the 2017 Tom Petri Achievement Award for Construction and Design.

* Ledges Hotel Guests Contribute To Conservation In Wayne County

The Settlers Hospitality Group Wednesday presented the Delaware Highlands Conservancy with a check for $6,144 from funds collected through the Green Lodging Partnership Program at Ledges Hotel in Hawley, Wayne County.

* Get Outdoors Poconos Hike July 15 On Red Rock Trail In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association will host another Get Outdoors Poconos hike on July 15 on the Red Rock Trail in the Mount Airy Trail Network in Paradise Township in Monroe County starting at 10:00.

* Western PA Conservancy Helps Add Important Land To Laurel Ridge State Park In Somerset County

The Western PA Conservancy Friday purchased a 30-acre property located in the headwaters of Laurel Hill Creek in Jefferson Township, Somerset County, that has now become a new addition to Laurel Ridge State Park.

* Wildlands Conservancy Highlights Special Events, Education Programs In July

The Wildlands Conservancy in Lehigh County Thursday outlined upcoming special events and educational programs in July featuring--

* June 28 Resource Newsletter From DCNR; Try A New Sport Stand-Up Paddleboarding

The June 28 issue of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Op-Ed: Establishing A Sustainable Financial Future For Fishing & Boating In PA

by John Arway, Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission

* In Memoriam: Paul Lyskave, DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is saddened by the loss of Paul Lyskava, who served as a member of the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council.

* Help Wanted: President, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of President

* 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 - July 1, 2017

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