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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Oct. 30, 2017 Issue #696
* Final Budget Bills Littered With Bad Environmental Riders; A Budget That Failed To Address ANY Environmental Shortfalls

The Senate and House Thursday finished work on the final pieces of the budget revenue package to deal with the state’s $2.2 billion budget deficit and fund the FY 2017-18 budget.

* Analysis: Environmental Riders Never Voted On By The House/Senate Keep Showing Up In Budget Bills, And It’s Getting Worse

The tactic of hooking last minute riders to budget bills passed by the Senate and House is now being used on a much more frequent basis to kill or change programs that have nothing to do with the budget and only very infrequently to do something positive for the environment. 

* Senate Sends Natural Gas Pipeline Safety, PA One Call Bill To Governor

The Senate Monday gave final approval to Senate Bill 242 (Baker-R-Luzerne) adding unconventional and larger conventional natural gas gathering lines to the PA One Call utility safety program.

* 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--

* 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--

* President Trump Nominates J. Steven Gardner To Lead Federal Office Of Surface Mining

President Donald J. Trump Thursday announced the nomination of J. Steven Gardner to be the Director of the federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation & Enforcement at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

* Senate Passes Bill Limiting The Term Of Fish & Boat Commission Executive Directors

The Senate Wednesday voted 34 to 16 to pass Senate Bill 935 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) which would limit the term of the Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission to eight years.

* Lawn Fertilizer Bill Now On Senate Calendar For Action

The Senate Appropriations Committee reported out Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Franklin) requiring lawn fertilizer applicators to be certified in application techniques and creates an education program on lawn fertilize application.

* Senate Committee OKs Bill To Fund Local Energy Efficiency Projects

The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee voted to amend and reported out Senate Bill 234 (Blake-D-Lackawanna) that would authorize local governments to create energy improvement districts to help fund energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects by commercial and industrial buildings to reduce their operating costs.

* Senate, House Adopt FERC Coal/Nuclear Electric Pricing Resolutions

The Senate voted 42 to 8 to adopt Senate Resolution 227 (Aument-R-Lancaster) and the House voted 176 to 9  to adopt House Resolution 576 (Pyle-R-Armstrong) urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to quickly implement policies to ensure baseload electricity generation (like coal and nuclear) are compensated for all the positive attributes they provide to the electric system

* House, Senate Send Performance-Based Budgeting Bill To Governor

The House and Senate gave final approval Wednesday to Senate Bill 181 (Mensch-R- Montgomery) establishing a Performance-Based Budget Board and requiring agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction to justify their budget requests for all existing and proposed programs.

* Senate Hearing: E-Waste Recycling Law Broken, 5.1 Million CRTs, TVs Waiting To Be Recycled In PA

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday held a hearing on Senate Bill 800 (Alloway-R- Franklin) 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.

* Senate Hearing: 200 Pennsylvanians Diagnosed With Lyme Disease Every Day

The Senate Aging and Youth and Health and Human Services Committees Tuesday held a joint hearing on the Lyme Disease Task Force Report.

* Senate Environmental Committee Holds Hearing On Lead Exposure Oct. 30 In Luzerne County

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on lead exposure and mitigation October 30 in Pittston, Luzerne County.

* House Republican Policy Committee Holds Hearing On Delaware Watershed Drilling Moratorium Oct. 31 In Wayne County

The House Republican Policy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing October 31 in Waymart, Wayne County to hear testimony on the impact of the permanent drilling moratorium being proposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission.

* October Environmental Synopsis Newsletter Available From Joint Conservation Committee

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

* DEP Orders Pittsburgh Water Authority To Make Critical Infrastructure Upgrades

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday issued an Administrative Order requiring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to make critical infrastructure upgrades and repairs to its public drinking water system specifically to ensure adequate pressure and volume within the system.

* PA American Water Testing Shows Pittsburgh System Fully Complying With Lead Standard

Pennsylvania American Water Wednesday announced test results from its City of Pittsburgh lead sampling pilot affirm that the company’s drinking water continues to fully comply with regulatory standards.

* DEP Reclamation Project Turns Abandoned Mine Lands Into Community Asset In Luzerne County

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Monday toured the 88-acre reclamation Curry Hill-Avondale Abandoned Mine Reclamation project in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County.

* Wildlands Conservancy Stream Restoration Projects Restore Habitat In Bethlehem

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Wednesday toured habitat restoration projects undertaken by Wildlands Conservancy on Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem, Northampton County.

* Trout Unlimited: Unassessed Waters Initiative In PA Featured In New Film

By Rob Shane, TU Mid-Atlantic Organizer from Trout Unlimited Blog

* Lyme Timber Company Receives $25.4M PennVest Loan To Put 9,362 Acres In Working Conservation Easement, Create Jobs In 7 Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday announced the investment of a $25.4 million loan from PennVEST for Lyme Timber Company to put over 9,362 acres of private forest land into a working forest conservation easement to help create over 50 new forestry jobs and leverage over $91 million of private investment in 7 counties.

* DEP Sewage Advisory Committee To Hold 3 Meetings On Alternate Onlot Septic Systems And Sewage Planning

The DEP Sewage Advisory Committee will hold 3 workgroup meetings in November on implementing Act 26 which authorizes alternate onlot septic systems to be incorporated in sewage facilities planning.  (formal notice)

* Pennsylvania Signs Revised Delaware River Watershed Flow Agreement

On behalf of Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it has signed a revised multi-state agreement that will continue water releases into the Delaware River from three New York City reservoirs.

* Nov. 18 Water Wiser Kids Special Event: Explore The H2Olympics In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association Water Wiser Kids Series will hold an Explore The H2Olympics event November 18 at the Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center in Bartonsville, Monroe County starting at 10:30 a.m.

* Wolf Administration Recognizes Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Oct. 28

On Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Pennsylvania State Police will participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 14th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day initiative.

* Clinton County CleanScapes Oct. 28 Rail Trail Hillside Community Cleanup Day

Clinton County CleanScapes, Castanea Township, Fire Company No.1 and Lock Haven University students will collect litter and tires from land adjacent to the Rail Trail on October 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

* DEP Publishes Comments Gathered In Environmental Justice Listening Tour

As a next step in reshaping its environmental justice office, the Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has published the transcripts and a document listing all comments received during DEP’s statewide listening tour on environmental justice.

* Latest Public-Private CNG Transit Fueling Station Opens In Beaver County

Department of Transportation representatives Friday joined officials from Trillium CNG, Beaver County Transit Agency and local officials in Beaver County to mark opening of the facility at 131 Pleasant Drive, Aliquippa.

* Agriculture Touts Expanded Biofuel Infrastructure Thru Public-Private Partnership

Pennsylvania’s travelers now have expanded opportunities for filling their vehicles with renewable fuels thanks to a $7 million grant to the Department of Agriculture.

* Kleinman Energy Center: Shale Gas Has Saved PA Consumers A Bundle

After ten years of natural gas production in the shale fields, a new study from the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania takes a closer look demonstrating that Pennsylvania’s residential consumers enjoy gas bills that are on average 40 percent lower (than 2007 bills) and that the electric power sector is now the nation and state’s largest gas consumer.

* Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Mountain Watershed Association Demand DEP Accountability In Mariner East 2 Pipeline Spills

The Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association, Inc. Tuesday announced they requested the Environmental Hearing Board direct the Department of Environmental Protection to abide by a court-ordered protocol designed to prevent spills of drilling fluid along the Mariner East 2 Pipeline construction route.

* Post-Gazette: FirstEnergy Will Dump Coal, Nuclear Regardless Of What FERC Does

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Friday reported FirstEnergy CEO as telling analysts Friday the company has no interest in retaining generating assets that have commodity exposure regardless of what the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission does to fully reimburse coal and nuclear plants.

* PUC Submits Comments To FERC Opposing DOE Coal/Nuclear Reliability Pricing

The Public Utility Commission Monday submitted formal comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission saying the U.S. Department of Energy grid reliability and resilience pricing proposal benefitting coal and nuclear power plants “threatens the efficient functioning of organized competitive wholesale electricity markets by providing de facto cost of service treatment to coal and nuclear generation without adequate justification.”

* Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Station Begins Planned Refueling Outage

Just after midnight on Sunday, operators at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in York County removed Unit 3 from service to refuel the reactor and perform maintenance to ensure a reliable 24-month operating cycle.

* Chester County Judge Issues Opinion Reaffirming Decision To Dismiss SLAPP Suit Against Environmental Group

A Chester County court Monday issued an opinion reaffirming its August 22 decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by developer Brian O’Neill, his corporate counterparts Constitution Drive Partners and O’Neill Developers against Maya van Rossum and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

* DEP Receives Updated Phase II Permit Application For Elcon Hazardous Waste Facility In Bucks

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it has received a response to its May 30, 2017 administrative completeness review letter regarding Elcon Recycling Services, LLC’s (Elcon) Phase II application for a proposed commercial hazardous waste storage and treatment facility in Falls Township, Bucks County.

* DEP Grant Application System Increasing Efficiency, Improving Review Timelines

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced the use of a centralized electronic system for grant applications is reducing costs, increasing efficiency and significantly shortening the application review time while maintaining a thorough evaluation process.

* PennTAP: Saving Energy Costs By implementing Energy Management Systems Nov. 8 Pittsburgh

The PA Technical Assistance Program will host a Saving Energy Costs By Implementing An Energy Management System Workshop November 8 at the Penn State Center at the Energy Innovation Center, 1435 Bedford Avenue, Suite A in Pittsburgh from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

* Gov. Wolf Issues Executive Order To Overhaul PA's Professional Licensing System

Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday announced he signed an executive order to begin a review of the Commonwealth’s professional licenses to benchmark Pennsylvania’s licensing requirements against national and regional averages.

* Pennsylvania’s Fall Foliage Still In Full Splendor In Southern Regions Of State

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Thursday issued its latest Fall Foliage Report showing Pennsylvania’s Fall foliage is still in full splendor in southern regions of the state.

* DCNR, Reilly Twp. Officials Dedicate Renovated Branchdale Playground In Schuylkill County

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday joined other DCNR representatives and officials from Reilly Township in Schuylkill County in dedicating the recently renovated Branchdale Playground.

* Get Outdoors Poconos Nov. 25 Cranberry Creek Hike In Paradise Twp., Monroe County

The Brodhead Creek Watershed Association is hosting a Get Outdoors Poconos hike on November 25 to explore Cranberry Creek in Paradise Township in Monroe County starting at 10:00 a.m.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Staff Participates In Effort To Monitor Juvenile American Shad

In addition to being active throughout the year sampling the Delaware River and analyzing data for its various water quality programs, Delaware River Basin Commission staff periodically assist with monitoring efforts led by partner agencies or basin cooperatives.

* Responding To Hydrilla In The Lake Erie Watershed Workshop Nov. 16 Erie

The PA Sea Grant Program is hosting a Responding To Hydrilla In The Lake Erie Watershed Workshop November 16 at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle State Park in Erie from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Game Commission: Deer On The Move, Motorists Use Caution, PA 3rd In Vehicle-Deer Collisions

With deer becoming increasingly active, and daylight saving time soon to put more vehicles on the road during the hours when deer move most, the Game Commission is advising motorists to slow down and stay alert.

* M&T Charitable Foundation Sponsors Hawk Mountain Raptors Up Close! Program

M&T Bank has awarded Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County a $5,000 grant from the M&T Charitable Foundation to support the world-famous Sanctuary and its premier weekend program, Raptors Up Close!.

* Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Name Chris Hennessey Northeast Public Lands Coordinator

Chris Hennessey has been named the Northeast Public Lands Coordinator for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a group formed to provide a boots-on-the ground voice to the conservation of public lands.

* Jacquelyn Bonomo Named President & CEO Of PennFuture

PennFuture Friday announced Jacquelyn Bonomo will serve as the organization’s president and CEO, as Larry J. Schweiger is retiring from the role.

* DEP Opportunity To Bid On Mine Reclamation Project In Schuylkill County

The Department of Environmental Protection published an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Schuylkill County in the October 28 PA Bulletin.

* 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 Environmental Quality Board published notice in the October 28 PA Bulletin of a correction to the public hearings for the proposed Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards regulations.

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