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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Dec. 11, 2017 Issue #702
* Gov. Wolf Announces Growing Greener Grant Awards To 106 Local Clean Water Projects

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday announced the award of 106 projects to clean up local waters statewide, benefiting hundreds of communities, have been selected to receive funding through the Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program.

* Growing Greener Coalition Applauds Growing Greener Grants, Points To Need For More Clean Water Investments

The PA Growing Greener Coalition Thursday issued the following statement from Executive Director Andrew Heath in response to Gov. Wolf’s announcement of 106 local clean water projects will receive Growing Greener Program funding--

* DCNR Invests $44 Million In Local Recreation, Natural Resource Conservation Projects

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced an investment of $44 million for 266 projects across Pennsylvania that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources, and help revitalize local communities under Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grants.

* Growing Greener Coalition Applauds DCNR Support For Local Conservation, Recreation Projects, Cautions Funding Is Insufficient

The PA Growing Greener Coalition Tuesday applauded the state for awarding $44 million in grants to support local conservation and recreation projects across the Commonwealth, while at the same time, issued a caution that overall funding for conservation and recreation remains at all-time lows.

* DEP Awards $550,000 For 15 Projects To Protect Lake Erie, Delaware Estuary Areas

Green stormwater infrastructure, greenway planning, and shoreline enhancement strategies are just a few of 15 projects that have been awarded nearly $550,000 in grants from the Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday to protect and restore the state’s two coastal zones along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.

* House Appropriations Reschedules Hearing On DEP, DCNR Use Of Special Funds To Jan. 25

The House Appropriations Committee has rescheduled the three hearings it had scheduled on how state agencies use special funds to pay for grants and programs.  The Committee is now scheduled to question representatives of the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection on January 25.

* PEDF Files Petition Urging Court To Declare New Transfers Of Monies From Oil & Gas Fund Unconstitutional, $1.1 Billion At Stake

The PA Environmental Defense Foundation Tuesday filed an addendum to its petition with Commonwealth Court challenging the provisions of the Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 674 -- enacted in October transferring monies from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to DCNR and the Marcellus Legacy Fund asking that they be declared unconstitutional because they were made with no regard for the public trust under the constitution’s Article I, Section 27 Environmental Rights Amendment.

* Effort To Refer Severance Tax Bill To House Committee Fails By One Vote, 1 Week Of Session Left

On Monday, a motion by Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield) to refer the natural gas severance tax bill-- House Bill 1401 (DiGirolamo-R-Bucks)-- to the House Environmental Committee failed by a vote of 93 to 94.

* 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 [Updated]/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-- 

* EPA’s Pruitt Tells Congress He’s Leading EPA With A Back To Basics Agenda

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Thursday testified before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment on a variety of issues.  This was his opening written statement--

* Op-Ed: Critical Federal Support for Hunting, Fishing Lands Under Threat

By Chris Hennessey, Northeast Public Lands Coordinator, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness Oppose Federal Bill Opening Wilderness Areas To Bikes

The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness issued this statement Wednesday ahead of a December 7 U.S. House Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing on HR 1349 (McClintock-R-California) that would open up federally designated wilderness areas to mountain bikes and other wheeled transportation--

* Bill Extending Storage Tank Cleanup Programs, Funding Tank Program Goes To Governor

The House Wednesday gave final approval to House Bill 290 (Metzgar-R-Bedford) that extends the Storage Tank Environmental Cleanup and Pollution Prevention Program through 2022, restoring the ability of DEP to help cleanup leaking tanks.  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.

* Updated: House Committee Moves Meeting On Bill To Exempt Steel Slag From Waste Definition To Dec. 12

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has rescheduled its meeting on Senate Bill 497 (Vogel-R-Beaver) exempting steel slag from the definition of waste if it was not produced prior to January 1, 2007 or mixed with other waste (sponsor summary) to Tuesday, December 12 at the Call of the Chair.

* CANCELED-Senate Environmental Committee To Consider E-Waste Recycling Overhaul Dec. 13

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has CANCELED its December 13 to consider legislation overhauling the state’s electronics waste recycling program and a bill to update training requirements for deep mine safety medical personnel.  The bills include--

* CBF: Study Finds Exelon Can Make Contributions To Mitigate Impacts Of Conowingo Dam

A new study commissioned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy shows Exelon Generation Company can mitigate a substantial portion of environmental impacts caused by its Conowingo Dam operation on the Susquehanna River, while continuing to make a healthy profit.

* DEP To Reissue Current PAG-02 Stormwater General Permit Effective Dec. 8

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it will reissue the current general permit associated with stormwater discharges related to construction activity, the PAG-02, for an additional two years on December 8, 2017.   (formal notice)

* Triple Benefits: State, Local Officials Tour Stormwater Pollution Reduction Project In Dauphin County

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Southcentral Regional Director Joe Adams Tuesday participated in a demonstration of Derry Township’s recently completed stormwater management project designed to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality.

* Triple Benefits: Pittsburgh Water Authority, Corps Cost-Share On Negley Run Green Infrastructure Project

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, Tuesday announced they have entered into a cost-sharing agreement to fund the $1.2 million Negley Run Green Infrastructure Project.

* Triple Benefits: Green Master Plan Leads To Stormwater Improvements At Wrightsville Riverfront Park

Approximately three years ago, Lancaster County-based LandStudies provided a green master plan, engineering, permitting, and related design services for “green infrastructure” improvements that will provide efficient management of urban stormwater runoff for Wrightsville Borough, York County, and improve the environmental function of the river corridor associated with the 11-acre Wrightsville Riverfront Park.

* DEP Blog: A New Life For Monocacy Creek In Bethlehem

By: Colleen Connolly, Community Relations Coordinator, DEP Northeast Regional Office

* Dec. 15 Forum: Hunters, Anglers, Watershed Groups Working Together On Conservation

Hunting, fishing and conservation groups are hosting a Sportsmen Forum on December 15 at the Millport Conservancy, 737 E. Millport Road in Lititz, Lancaster County from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to explore opportunities for hunters, anglers, watershed groups and conservation professionals to work together to restore local habitat and waterways.

* Triple Benefits: December Green Infrastructure Newsletter Now Available From LandStudies

The December green infrastructure newsletter is now available from Lancaster County-based LandStudies featuring articles on--

* Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Jan. 25-26 In Lancaster

The next Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Level I course will be held January 25-26  in Lancaster

* 29th Annual Landscape Design Symposium Jan. 11-12 In Montgomery County

The 29th Annual Landscape Design Symposium will be held January 11-12 at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell with the theme Ecological Complexity in Landscapes for People.

* PEC Celebrates 10 Years Of Dumpsite Cleanups In Pike, Potter, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the PA Environmental Council’s Community Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program in Pike, Potter, Susquehanna and Wayne counties.

* Nominations Now Being Accepted For 3rd Annual Western PA Zero Waste Event & Business Awards

The PA Resources Council is now accepting nominations for the 3rd Annual Western PA Zero Waste Event and Business Awards.  The deadline for nominations is January 19.

* DEP Begins Accepting Applications From Counties For Waste Planning, Household Haz. Waste, Education Grants Jan. 1

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it will begin accepting applications from counties for Act 101 grant applications for county waste planning, household hazardous waste and education programs on January 1. (formal notice)

* December Newsletter Now Available From PA Resources Council

The December newsletter is now available from the PA Resources Council featuring stories on--

* DEP, Ag, Ed Officials Tour New Agricultural, Environmental Learning Center In Philadelphia

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, and Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Friday participated in the grand opening of the first Head Start center in Philadelphia to use agriculture and environmental lessons for teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts to young children.

* Wildlife Leadership Academy Seeks Motivated Students To Become Youth Conservation Ambassadors

The Wildlife Leadership Academy in Lewisburg, Union County has opened its exclusive Youth Conservation Ambassador nomination process to the public and is currently seeking referrals of motivated students ages 14 to 17 to become Certified Conservation Ambassadors.

* Demolition Begins For New Brodhead Creek Nature Center In Monroe County

Demolition has begun at ForEvergreen Nature Preserve, 1539 Cherry Lane Road, Stroud Township in Monroe County, tearing down the unsalvageable former golf course clubhouse. Soon, construction will begin on the new Brodhead Creek Heritage Center.

* Western PA Clear The Air Student Poster Contest Now Accepting School Registrations

The Southwest PA Air Quality Partnership and the PA Resources Council are now accepting school registrations for its Let’s Clear The Air Student Poster Challenge. Teachers should register to participate by January 15.

* DEP Issues Cabot Oil & Gas $99,000 Penalty For Numerous Well Site Air Quality Violations In Susquehanna County

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced it has reached an agreement with Cabot Oil and Gas, Corp. of Delaware for the company to pay a $99,000 civil penalty for air quality violations related to equipment at natural gas wells throughout Susquehanna County.

* DEP Air Quality Advisory Committee Meets Dec. 14 On Draft Final GPs Controlling Methane From Natural Gas Operations

DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet December 14 to discuss the draft final GP-5 and new GP-5A general permits that control methane emissions for new unconventional natural gas operations and related documents.

* Harrisburg University Hosts The Author Of The Fracking Debate At March 2 Program

Fracking expert and author Daniel Raimi from Resources for the Future will visit Harrisburg University of Science and Technology on March 2 to give a presentation on the issues and opportunities related to the fracking industry and oil and gas development across the United States.

* IFO Natural Gas Report: Production up 4.8%, Producing Wells Up 9.3% Over 2016

The Independent Fiscal Office released its third quarter Natural Gas Production Report for the year which shows production is up 4.8 percent from the prior year and producing wells are up 9.3 percent from 2016.

* PUC Invites Comments On Proposal To Enhance Consumer Information About Electricity, Natural Gas Shopping

As part of its continuing effort to enhance consumer information about energy shopping in Pennsylvania and help avoid consumer confusion and frustration, the Public Utility Commission Thursday issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on proposed amendments to regulations for retail electricity service.

* Report Shows Slight Drop In Consumer Complains About Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Telephone Utilities In 2016

The Public Utility Commission Wednesday released its latest Utility Consumer Activities Report and Evaluation (UCARE Report), which shows a slight decrease in consumer complaints about utilities, a small increase in payment arrangement requests and the majority of customers contacting the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services for assistance rated their experience as positive during 2016.

* Pittsburgh Startup Module Designs Urban Homes With Energy-Saving, Sustainable Design Features

One Pittsburgh startup-- Module-- is making it possible for prospective homeowners to buy just the house they need now, knowing they can seamlessly expand when and if their needs change tomorrow.

* PEC In Case You Missed It In November Now Available

The PA Environmental Council’s In Case You Missed It In November newsletter is now available featuring stories on--

* PennDOT Completes Marked Bicycle Lanes In Chester, Delaware, Montgomery Counties

In its ongoing effort to enhance the bicycle experience across the state, the Department of Transportation has completed new bicycle lanes on three suburban state highways in the Philadelphia region, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said Friday.

* PA Land Trust Assn Accepting Nominations For Govt. Leadership, Conservation Leadership Awards

The PA Land Trust Association is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Government Leadership and Conservation Leadership Awards. 

* Brandywine Conservancy, Greenway Partners Install New Creek Access In Downingtown Park

Kayakers at Downingtown’s Kerr Park in Chester County now have an easier way to access the Brandywine Creek thanks to a partnership between the Brandywine Conservancy, Downingtown Borough’s Park and Recreation Commission, and the Lionville Boy Scout Troop 220.

* 84-Acre Natural Area Donated To Western PA Conservancy In Somerset County

An 84-acre natural area has been protected in Addison Township, Somerset County, and is now open to the public for hiking, fishing and nature watching along Whites Creek, the Western PA Conservancy announced recently.

* Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Names Jayne Miller President & CEO

Jayne Miller, currently superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is moving to Pittsburgh to become President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

* Westmoreland Land Trust Names Betsy Aiken Executive Director

Betsy Aiken of Export has been named executive director of the Westmoreland Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of open space in Westmoreland County.

* 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 - December 9, 2017

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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:

* 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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