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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Sept. 11, 2017 Issue #689
* House Republicans Propose Taking Over $450 Million From Environmental Funds, The Largest Cut In PA History

A faction of the House Republicans Tuesday unveiled a plan to take over $450 million from state environmental funds set aside for funding specific local environmental projects and programs.  This raid will clearly put local governments, watershed groups, county conservation districts and other grantees and local businesses and contractors that already received grants or had contracts funded by one of these special funds are at risk of not getting paid and will prevent new grants to these same groups from many of these funds.

* Growing Greener Coalition: 125 Organizations+ Oppose Raid On Special Environmental Funds

The PA Growing Greener Coalition Tuesday issued the following statement from Executive Director Andrew Heath in response to the ‘Taxpayer Caucus’ budget proposed cut of over $450 million from environmental funds--

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Environmental Funds Proposed To Be Raided By House GOP Are NOT Surplus

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation sent this letter to all members of the House Thursday urging them to oppose a plan by a faction of the House Republicans to take over $450 million from environmental funds.  The text of the letter follows--

* Lancaster Conservancy: Plan To Take Back Funds Would Harm Recreation, Clean Water, Farmland Preservation In Lancaster County

By: Philip R. Wenger, President & CEO, Lancaster County Conservancy

* DCNR: House GOP Raid On Funds Threatens State, Local Park Contracts, Related Jobs

Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources Cindy Adams Dunn Friday alerted members of the House and Senate environmental committees that a recently unveiled House Republican plan to cut park and conservation funding from dedicated sources is based on misleading information and would threaten jobs in the private industry that are related to these projects.

* PA Conservation Districts On House GOP Plan To Raid Funds: These Funds Are Not Extra Funding, If Taken, Projects, Programs Will Be Canceled

The PA Association of Conservation Districts sent this email to all members of the Senate and House on a proposal by House Republicans to raid environmental funds, including those related to conservation district programs—

* CBF-PA: House GOP Plan To Raid Funds Puts PA Even More Behind In Meeting Clean Water Commitments

Harry Campbell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, issued this statement Friday on plans by House Republicans to raid environmental funds

* DEP: House GOP Raid On Funds Threatens Environment, Breaks Promises To PA Communities

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday sent a letter to the House and Senate Environmental Committees saying a proposal by the House Republican caucus would postpone or cancel cleanup of toxic sites and projects in coal communities, halt mine land reclamation and a major manufacturing project, and possibly violate the Pennsylvania state constitution.

* Lancaster Farmland Trust: House GOP Stopgap Budget Would Hurt County Farms

By Karen Martynick, Executive Director, Lancaster Farmland Trust

* Dept. Of Agriculture: House GOP Budget Plan Threatens Agriculture, Reneges On Promises To Farmers, Counties

In a letter to the chairs of the Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Thursday expressed alarm at the implications of a recently unveiled plan by some state House members to balance the fiscal year 2017-18 budget.

* Op-Ed: PA Needs To Get Serious About Its Drinking Water Crisis, Legislature Not Doing Its Job

By Jim Sandoe, Member, DEP Citizens Advisory Council

* PennFuture: House GOP Raid On Special Funds Like Burning Your Furniture To Heat The House

PennFuture released this statement Tuesday on a proposal by a faction of House Republicans to take over $450 million from environmental and energy special funds to balance the state budget—

* Fall Environmental Legislative Agenda: Recycling Fee, Storage Tank Cleanup, Much More

With all the sound and fury over the state’s General Fund budget, this is a good time to remember there is more that should get done (and some that shouldn’t) in the Fall legislative session that starts when the House returns on September 11.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets Sept. 19 To Discuss Updating Public Participation Policies

The DEP Citizens Advisory Council meets on September 19 and on the agenda is a discussion of updating three key policies related to the public and advisory committees participating in the development of regulations and technical guidance.

* PA Responds To Harvey, Western U.S. Wildfire, Irma, Storm Preparedness Tips For Irma

Pennsylvanians were heavily engaged last week in responding to multiple natural disasters around the country this week-- Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and wildfires in the western United States.  Here’s a quick rundown on how Pennsylvania has helped, actions taken by EPA and DEP to deal with potential fuel shortages and tips from the PUC on preparing for Hurricane Irma, if it comes in our direction--

* USGS: 8.1-Magnitude Earthquake Off Mexico Oscillates Groundwater In Juniata County

The USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center Friday recorded groundwater oscillations in Juniata County from the 8.1-magnitude earthquake off Mexico..

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule [Updated]/Gov’s Schedule

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--

* U.S. House Rejected Bids To Reverse EPA Funding Cuts, Votes For RECLAIM, Against Chesapeake Bay

The U.S. House Thursday night voted to reject efforts to reverse many of the deep cuts the Trump Administration proposed for environmental and energy programs as they considered appropriations bills, but took mixed actions related to the Chesapeake Bay and funding for state mine reclamation programs.

* House Environmental Committee To Consider 4 Amendments To Severance Tax Bill Sept. 11

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to consider amendments to legislation establishing a natural gas production severance tax on September 11.

* Chesapeake Bay Watershed Farm Inspections Find 60% Of Farms In Compliance Covering 390,000 Acres Of Farmland

Increased outreach is strengthening partnerships and helping farmers comply with environmental planning requirements, the Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday on the successful first-year results of expanded agricultural inspections in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* Westmoreland Conservation District Presents Outstanding Conservation Service Awards Sept. 13

The Westmoreland County Conservation District will present two awards for outstanding conservation service – the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award to Jamison Farm in Unity Township, and the J. Roy Houston Conservation Partnership Award to Bove Engineering -- on September 13 at an open house reception, which runs from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the District’s location at 218 Donohoe Road in Greensburg.

* Capital RC&D Grazing Workshop & Field Training Oct. 27 In Lebanon County

The Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council and its partners are hosting a Grazing Workshop and Field Training on October 27 at the Ono United Methodist Church, 9 Main Street, Ono, Lebanon County starting at 8:00 a.m.

* DEP Blog: Reuniting Eels & Mussels May Unlock Water Quality Improvements In The Susquehanna River

By Julie L. Devers, Fish Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

* $5,000 In ARIPPA Mine Reclamation Related Grants Awarded By EPCAMR, WPCAMR

The Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation and Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation recently awarded 4 mine reclamation-related grants totaling $5,000 sponsored by the Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association.

* September Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

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

* U.S. Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

The U.S. Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program has posted its 2018 Request for Proposals.  Up to $3 million is available this year and applications are due by February 1, 2018.

* AP: Source: Delaware River Basin Commission To Propose Permanent Shale Drilling Ban

The Associated Press reported Thursday the Delaware River Basin Commission is developing a proposal to replace its 7-year long moratorium on shale gas development in the watershed with a permanent ban.

* DEP Issues Air Quality Plan Approval For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline In Lancaster County

After detailed review, the Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has issued an Air Quality Plan Approval for air emissions related to construction activities in Lancaster County for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project proposed by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC.

* DEP Approves Expansion Of IESI Landfill In Northampton County

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday it has approved IESI Bethlehem Landfill’s permit application to expand its facility in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County.

* Cambria, McKean, Washington County Groups Collect Over 7,000 Tires, More County Events Planned

Keep Cambria County Beautiful, PA CleanWays Of McKean County and Keep Washington County Beautiful held tire collection events this spring that collected 7,062 waste tires, according to Keep PA Beautiful, and more events are planned.

* PA Resources Council Sets Composting, Vermicomposting, Rain Barrel Workshops In Allegheny, Delaware Counties

Since Fall is the perfect time to focus on education and acquiring new skills, the PA Resources Council is offering a full slate of adult education classes on backyard composting, vermicomposting and a rain barrel workshop at a variety of locations in Allegheny County in September and October and rain barrel workshops in Delaware County.

* Household Chemical Collection Event Set For Sept. 16 In Allegheny County

The PA Resources Council and their partnerships will hold a Household Chemical Collection Event for common household chemical on September 16 at the South Park Wave Pool parking lot in Allegheny County from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

* PA CleanWays Of Cumberland County Holds Tire Collection Event Oct. 21

PA CleanWays of Cumberland County, in partnership with the Cumberland County Planning Department, will host a tire collection for County residents on October 21 in Carlisle.

* DEP Will Accept Comments On Noncoal Mining Permit In Bradford County Until Sept. 20

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday held an informal public conference to discuss the Large Noncoal (Industrial Minerals) Mine Permit application submitted by Austin’s Excavating & Paving, Inc., for a proposed sand and gravel mine located in Athens Township, Bradford County. 

* Penn State University RACT II Air Quality Plan Subject Of Oct. 10 DEP Hearing

The RACT II Air Quality Compliance Plan for Penn State University in State College, Centre County will be the subject of a Department of Environmental Protection public hearing October 10, if a hearing is requested. (PA Bulletin page 5737)

* August In Case You Missed It Now Available From PA Environmental Council

The August edition of In Case You Missed It is now available from the PA Environmental Council featuring stories on--

* 2 More Probable Human Cases Of West Nile Virus Reported, Mosquito Positives In 2 New Counties

The West Nile Virus Program Wednesday reported two more probable human cases of West Nile Virus in Dauphin and Northampton counties bringing the total number of human cases to six. 

* PUC Kicks Off Statewide Education Events On Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs

The Public Utility Commission will kick off its annual series of statewide “Be Utility Wise” education events in mid-September highlighting customer assistance programs intended to help low-income households maintain essential utility services.

* Penn State Undergraduates Awarded Inaugural PepsiCo Urban Sustainability Fellowships In Pittsburgh

By Whitney Lloyd, Penn State News

* PA Horticultural Society, Philly Airport Announce Finalists In Landscape Design Competition

The Philadelphia International Airport and the PA Horticultural Society Wednesday named the five finalists in the design competition to create an “Image Maker” landscape at the Airport. The competition will create a welcoming image for the Greater Philadelphia region and demonstrate Philadelphia’s prominence as America’s Garden Capital.

* WHYY & PA Horticultural Society Present Panel On Urban Placemaking Sept. 13 In Philadelphia

The PA Horticultural Society and WHYY will co-host a happy hour panel discussion, “Transforming Urban Spaces Into Gathering Places,” at the PHS Pop Up Garden at uCity Square, 36th and Filbert Streets in Philadelphia on September 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

* Celebrate National Public Lands Day In The Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River Area On Sept. 30

On September 30, the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Area will celebrate National Public Lands Day, a nationally celebrated event that strives to get people out into our nation’s beautiful publicly owned lands, including national and state parks.

* Sept. 6 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The September 6 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring stories on--

* September 3: Happy 53rd Anniversary Of The Wilderness Act Of 1964!

September 3 was the 53rd anniversary of the national Wilderness Act of 1964 whose primary author was Pennsylvania’s own Howard Zahniser from Tionesta, Forest County.  The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness helped celebrate by circulating this 1957 quote from Zahniser about wilderness protection--

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary To Host Fall Native Plant Sale Sept. 16

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host its annual Autumn Native Plant Sale on September 16 outside of the Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring a wide variety of native trees, grasses, vines, shrubs, and flowering plants.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Fall Migration: Behold Beautiful Birds In PA Skies

Birding, or birdwatching, is a popular hobby, and it’s easy to see why, especially in Pennsylvania where there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy our feathered friends.

* We Remember September 11, 2001 - DEP Responds To A National Tragedy

This week as Pennsylvanians are helping others respond to Hurricane Harvey, wildfires in the western states and Hurricane Irma, we need to take at least a few minutes to remember the role Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians played on September 11, 2001.

* 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 - September 9, 2017

* CLICK HERE To View Or Print Entire PA Environment Digest

CLICK HERE to Print The Entire PA Environment Digest.  This Digest is 87 pages long.

* 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:

* 2018 Keystone Coldwater Conference Feb. 23-24 - Sponsorships Available

2018 Keystone Coldwater Conference February 23-24 in State College. Join PA Environment Digest in sponsoring this worthwhile Conference.

* 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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