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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Sept. 18, 2017 Issue #690
* House Republicans Pass Budget That Cripples Community-Based Environmental Protection, Recreation Efforts

The General Assembly and various Governors have spent more than 10 years cutting environmental agency budgets-- DEP’s General Fund budget alone has been cut 40 percent and its staff by more than 25 percent-- now with the action by House Republicans Wednesday to pass a budget that transfers over $317 million out of environmental and energy special funds, House Republicans are directly attacking support for local,  community-based environmental protection projects.

* PEC: House Approves Largest Cut To Environmental, Energy Programs In PA History

The following analysis of the budget proposal passed by House Republicans Wednesday was posted on the PA Environmental Council website Friday—

* Analysis: Why Everyone Else Says There Are No Unused Environmental Funds, Except Some House Republicans

Much of the over three hours of debate on the Republican budget plan Wednesday night was over whether any of the $630.5 million (over $317 million from environmental and energy funds) was actually real “unused” or “reserve” funds that could be taken without harming the underlying programs.

* Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York Approve Resolution To Permanently Ban Fracking In Delaware River Watershed

The Governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, comprising a majority of the Delaware River Basin Commission, announced Wednesday they had voted in favor of a resolution put forward by the commission to issue draft regulations to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Delaware River Basin.

* Sustainable Pittsburgh Announces Winners Of The 2016-17 Green Workplace Challenge

Sustainable Pittsburgh Thursday revealed the top scorers of the 2016-2017 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge during an evening celebration at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. 

* DEP Earns ECOS Innovation Award For Brownfields To Playfields Program

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday received the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) 2017 State Program Innovation Award for its “Brownfields to Playfields” Pilot Program to transform seven sites of old industrial blight into outdoor recreation spaces in underserved communities.

* Sen. Yudichak To Introduce Resolution Requiring Independent Performance Evaluation Of Chapter 102, 105 DEP Permit Programs

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Monday said he intends to introduce a resolution requiring the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to do an independent performance evaluation of DEP’s Chapter 102 (Erosion and Sedimentation) and Chapter 105 (Water Obstruction and Encroachment) permit programs.

* 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--

* House Environmental Committee Changes Name Of Act 13 Drilling Impact Fee To Severance Tax

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Monday approved an amendment to House Bill 113 (Harper-R-Montgomery) to change the name of the existing Act 13 drilling impact fee to “severance tax” and then delete all provisions in the bill enacting a real natural gas severance tax.

* Sen. Farnese Pushes Bill To Prevent Lawsuits Meant To Intimidate Citizen Groups

Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network Wednesday promoted legislation-- Senate Bill 95-- designed to prevent the use of the legal system to intimidate citizens and community groups.

* Will The Senate Vote To Support The Hellbender As The State Amphibian?

The Senate Tabled Senate Bill 658 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) designating the eastern hellbender Pennsylvania’s state amphibian on July 9 because the bill had been on the Senate Calendar for 10 legislative days without action.

* Sen. Yudichak Announces $390K Grant To Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Wednesday announced the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation has received a $390,000 federal grant through the Department of Environmental Protection.

* Anthracite Mine Drainage Remediation Tour Oct. 8 In Schuylkill County

The Schuylkill Headwaters Association is hosting an Anthracite Coal Mining Awareness, Appreciation and Remediation Tour on October 8 in Schuylkill County starting at the Schuylkill County Agriculture Center, 1206 AG Center Drive, Pottsville from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

* EPA Approves $141 Million In Funding For PA Water Quality Improvement Projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday announced it has approved and helped fund a $141 million plan by Pennsylvania to implement 23 clean water infrastructure projects.

* NRCS-PA Awards More Than $1.5 Million In Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conservation Innovation Grants

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Pennsylvania Friday announced more than $1.5 million for six demonstration projects designed to decrease agricultural nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

* 4 Municipalities, DEP, DCNR Highlight Green Infrastructure Projects To Control Stormwater Pollution

Stormwater management efforts by Lemoyne Borough, Lower Paxton Township, Susquehanna Township, Harrisburg’s Capital Region Water, and municipalities statewide were highlighted Friday at an event in Lemoyne held by the Department of Environmental Protection.

* Beef Grazing Management Workshop Set For Oct. 12 In Lancaster County

The PA Beef Producers and Penn State Extension will host a Beef Grazing Management Workshop on October 12 at the Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 1446 Auction Road, Manheim, Lancaster County from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

* Summer Penn’s Waters Newsletter Now Available From Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA

The Summer edition of the Penn’s Waters newsletter from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA is now available featuring stories on--

* Free Workshop For Public Water Suppliers, Consultants Sept. 20 In Williamsport

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is continuing its Public Water Supply Assistance Program by offering a new workshop for water operators, managers, authority and/or board members, and their consultants.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Acts To Strengthen Its Open Records Policy

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission approved a new proposed rulemaking at its September 7 meeting to codify and strengthen its Access to Records (open records) Policy .

* PA Resources Council Holds Future Of Recycling Roundtable Oct. 11 In Pittsburgh

The PA Resources Council will hold its second Future of Recycling Roundtable discussion on October 11 at Construction Junction, 214 N. Lexington Street in Pittsburgh from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

* Learn About The Environment With PRC: In-School Programs Offered

Throughout the school year, the PA Resources Council’s classroom programs educate students regarding a wide variety of topics including litter reduction, recycling, watershed awareness and stream health.

* September Newsletter Now Available From The PA Resources Council

The September edition of the PA Resources Council’s newsletter is now available featuring articles on--

* KPB: Huntingdon, Perry Counties Team Up To Remove Trash, Tires From Juniata River

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates, Keep Huntingdon County Beautiful and Keep Perry County Beautiful hosted a cleanup initiative along the Juniata River in August.

* Volunteers Needed For Sept. 16 Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup

For the fifteenth year, this Saturday, September 16, will see hundreds of volunteers cleaning the coastline as part of the Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup at 18 locations in the Lake Erie Watershed and Erie. 

* DEP Advisory Committees To Review FY 2017-18 Recycling Spending Plan Sept. 21

DEP’s Recycling Fund Advisory Committee and Solid Waste Advisory Committee hold a joint meeting on September 21 to review the proposed Recycling Fund spending plan for FY 2017-18 with real numbers about how the monies in the Fund are used.

* 4 More Probable Human Cases Of West Nile Virus Reported, 10 For Season

The West Nile Virus Program Wednesday reported two more probable human cases of West Nile Virus in Chester (2), Clinton and Northumberland counties bringing the total number of human cases to 10. 

* 23 Member PA Incident Management Team Departs For Florida, Including DCNR, PEMA

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday announced 23 members of the Pennsylvania Incident Management Team left for Florida today after the U.S. Forest Service requested aid to help with storm cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

* September News & Views Newsletter Now Available From DEP

The September edition of the News and Views newsletter is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--

* PUC Invites Comments On Reg To Spur More Competition In PA’s Natural Gas Retail Market

Public Utility Commission published notice in the September 16 PA Bulletin it is now accepting comments on proposed regulatory changes designed to enhance competition and encourage greater customer participation in the Commonwealth’s retail natural gas market. (formal notice)

* Effort To Keep Three Mile Island Open Gains More Local Government Support

The Clean Jobs For Pennsylvania Coalition Thursday announced 16 local governments surrounding the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Dauphin County have passed resolutions in support of keeping the plant open.

* Exelon Named To Dow Jones Sustainability Index For 12th Consecutive Year

Exelon Corporation ranks among the industry leaders in corporate sustainability based on several key measures, including environmental policies, innovation and attracting and retaining talented employees, according to the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). 

* DEP Revises Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebates For Individuals

The Department of Environmental Protection has revised its criteria for rebates to individuals purchasing new and used vehicles under the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program(formal notice)

* Pilot Program Launched To Integrate Hybrid, Electric Technology Into The State Vehicle Fleet

Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper was joined by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Policy Director Jessica Shirley Tuesday to officially launch the Commonwealth’s Hybrid/Electric Vehicles Pilot Program.

* AG Shapiro Joins Other States To Take Legal Action To Protect Fuel Efficiency Standards

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Monday announced he filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to protect the environment by enforcing a rule that promotes stricter federal fuel efficiency standards.

* DCNR, PennDOT Secretaries Discuss Sustainability, Efficiency & Transportation At CMU

Fielding questions from Carnegie Mellon University students, faculty and staff, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards Wednesday outlined their departments' roles in ushering in a more energy-efficient future in Pittsburgh.

* PPL Unveils Community Roots Program To Provide Free Trees To Schools, Communities, Groups

PPL Utilities recently unveiled the Community Roots Program to provide funding for a limited quantity of bare root, container and gallon pot seedlings to schools (4th grade), county and local governments, and environmentally-focused groups in its service territory.

* DCNR Conservation Advisory Council To Hear Overview Of Conservation Landscape Initiative Sept. 20

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council will hear an an overview of the Conservation Landscape Initiative at its September 20 meeting at the Penn Scenic View, Laurel Hill State Park, 118 Scenic View Lane, Rockwood, Somerset County.

* Ready For Something Beautiful? Get Your DCNR Fall Foliage Reports Beginning Sept. 21

Pennsylvania’s 17 million acres of woodlands soon will be bathed in autumn colors and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and PA Tourism Office again are teaming up to ensure fall foliage fans know when and where to look.

* Game Commission Sets 6 Public Meetings On Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer

The Game Commission Thursday announced it has scheduled a series of public meetings to ensure Pennsylvanians remain informed about chronic wasting disease, and how this threat to the state’s deer and deer hunting impacts their lives.

* September Currents Newsletter Now Available From Fish & Boat Commission

The September issue of the Currents newsletter from the Fish and Boat Commission is now available featuring stories on--

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary To Host Big Year Birder Noah Strycker Sept. 30 In Hamburg

On September 30, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host famous Big Year Birder Noah Strycker as part of the annual Autumn Lecture Series.

* In Memoriam: Dr. Douglas Ayers, Lifelong Active Conservationist In Northeast PA

Dr. Douglas Ayers, 56, of Shavertown, Luzerne County passed away on September 12. He co-founded the North Branch Land Trust that has preserved more than 12,000 acres of land in Northeast Pennsylvania for wildlife and green space.

* 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 Public Utility Commission published notice of proposed changes to regulations related to natural gas distribution company practices for public comment in the September 16 PA Bulletin.  Comments are due October 30.

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* Stories Invited

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* 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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