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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, Jan. 15, 2018 Issue #707
* Loyalsock Creek Named 2018 PA River Of The Year In Public Voting

Home to legions of paddlers, anglers, and other outdoors enthusiasts in north central Pennsylvania, Loyalsock Creek in Lycoming and Sullivan counties has been voted the 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

* DCNR Releases 2017 Accomplishments Report

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn released DCNR’s 2017 accomplishment report in the January 10 Resource newsletter--

* PEDF: Commonwealth Court Effort To Narrow Focus Of Review Of How State Spends DCNR Oil & Gas Payments Without Factual, Legal Support

Laura Legere reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Thursday Commonwealth Court issued an opinion January 8 saying it would only review whether upfront bonus and land rental payments from natural gas drilling on State Forest land are constitutional, and not the broader issue of the General Assembly’s continuing practice of using gas revenues to pay for DCNR operations, in litigation brought by the PA Environmental Defense Foundation.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Adds 2 Hearings, Extends Comment Period On Proposed Fracking Ban

The Delaware River Basin Commission Monday announced the period for written comment on proposed regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing activities in the basin has been extended from February 28 to March 30, 2018. 

* UPDATED: National Weather Service Issues Flood Watch For 13 Counties Due To Ice Movement Along Susquehanna River

The National Weather Service Sunday issued flood watches for 13 counties in Pennsylvania due to the movement of ice in the Susquehanna River. Stay tuned to local media for the latest.  [Updated 8:20 a.m. January 14]

* DEP Offers Flood, Storm Recovery Information

The Department of Environmental Protection Storm and Flood Recovery webpage contains a wealth of information on how property owners can recover from flooding, including what kinds of help is available.

* Insurance Dept. Advises Southwestern PA Property Owners On Filling Out Flood Damage Claims

Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman Friday advised property owners in southwestern Pennsylvania experiencing flooding from heavy rains on important actions to take when preparing and filing flood insurance claims.

* IceWatch USA Volunteers In PA Report On Potentially Damaging Ice Jams

The IceWatch USA volunteer program run by Nature Abounds is looking out for potential ice jams on Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams that could cause flooding and major damage as temperatures warm up from the extreme cold.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/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--

* REAP Farm Conservation Program Caught Up In Bill To Limit All State Tax Credit Programs

One perhaps unintended consequence of legislation-- House Bill 1999--  introduced to prohibit the sale or transfer of state tax credits will significantly impact family farmers using the popular Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program to fund the installation of farm conservation practices.

* House Bill 1960 Short Circuits Imposition Of Fines, Penalties For Environmental Violations

House Bill 1960 introduced on January 5 would give a new Regulatory Compliance Officer in each state agency, including DEP, the authority to block an agency from imposing fines and penalties for violations and to rewrite the policies under which fines and penalties are imposed.

* Senate Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing Schedule Now Available

Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Majority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Friday released the hearing schedule on the proposed FY 2018-19 budget.  The hearings will be held--

* House State Govt. Committee Chair To Announce Findings On Regulatory Overreach Jan. 16

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Majority Chair of the House State Government Committee, has scheduled a press conference for January 16 to announce findings and legislation designed to deal with what he calls regulatory overreach.

* Ohio River Sanitation Commission Taking Comments On Revising Pollution Control Standards

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission is now reviewing the pollution control standards for the Ohio River and its tributaries and is now accepting public comments as part of that process through February 24.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Hearing On Water Withdrawals Feb. 1 In Harrisburg

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing February 1 on proposed water withdrawals. (formal notice)

* Settlement With DEP On 10 Coal-Fired Power Plants Will Require Updating Of Water Quality Discharge Permits

The Sierra Club-PA and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, represented by PennFuture and the Law Office of Howard Crystal, filed a settlement Wednesday with the Department of Environmental Protection that will require DEP to update the water quality discharge permits for 10 coal-fired power plants by March 2019.

* DEP Taking Over Drinking Water System Inspections In Allegheny County

The Department of Environmental Protection and Allegheny County Health Department Thursday announced that effective February 1, 2018, DEP’s Safe Drinking Water Program will resume inspection responsibilities for the 66 public drinking water systems in Allegheny County.

* Green Infrastructure Helps Delaware Watershed Communities Protect, Improve Water Quality

A series of reports by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission shows how green infrastructure-- preserving large tracts of forested headwaters to enforcing riparian buffer ordinances, reviewing land development proposals, or maintaining stormwater infrastructure-- help over 800 municipalities protect and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin.

* NRCS-PA: New Projects In PA To Help Improve Chesapeake Bay Water Quality

Two new projects, recently funded through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program will allow the Chester County Conservation District and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to join efforts with USDA’s Natural resources Conservation Service and producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

* PA Assn For Sustainable Ag SOIL Institute Advances Soil Health Research

The PA Association of Sustainable Agriculture, farmers and educators are working together to build community networks for on-farm research and collaborative learning through the SOIL Institute.

* MS4: Elements Of A Stormwater Management Program Workshop Feb. 15 In State College

An MS4: Elements Of A Stormwater Management Program Workshop will be held February 15 at Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center, One Country Club Lane, State College, Centre County from 8:00 to 4:30.

* January Green Infrastructure Newsletter Now Available From LandStudies

The January issue of the green infrastructure newsletter from Lancaster-based LandStudies is now available featuring articles on--

* NRCS-PA State Technical Committee Meeting Jan. 16 In Harrisburg

The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA Office invites the public to attend the Pennsylvania State Technical Committee meeting on January 16 at the USDA State Office in Harrisburg.

* EPCAMR Receives National Recognition As American Rivers Cleanup Champion

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation in Northeast PA was recently honored by American Rivers as a National Rivers Cleanup Champion for its efforts to educate communities and the public on the importance of environmental stewardship.  From the award description--

* ORSANCO Receives National Recognition As American Rivers Cleanup Champion

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission 2017 Ohio River Sweep was recently honored by American Rivers as a National Rivers Cleanup Champion and place first in three categories--

* Keep PA Beautiful: Mahantango Enterprises Added As Great American Cleanup Of PA Sponsor

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday announced Mahantango Enterprises, Inc. has pledged support for the 2018 Great American Cleanup of PA, a statewide community cleanup and beautification initiative that runs from March 1 through May 31.

* PA Resources Council Reuse Central Launch Celebration Feb. 6 In Pittsburgh

On February 6, join the PA Resources Council to celebrate the launch of a new program-- Reuse Central-- a technology platform to connect businesses and institutions looking to offer no longer needed materials and furnishings to local nonprofit groups.

* Covanta, Lancaster Waste Authority Extend Operating Agreement For 2 Energy-From- Waste Facilities

Covanta and the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority Monday announced a new agreement for the operation and maintenance of LCSWMA's two Energy-from-Waste facilities: the Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility, located in Bainbridge, and the Susquehanna Resource Management Complex, located in Harrisburg.

* Allegheny Health Dept Offers Free Lead Testing For Children

The Allegheny County Health Department Tuesday announced it is offering free blood lead level testing for uninsured and underinsured children in Allegheny County.

* EPA Accepting Applications For Environmental Education Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for Environmental Education Grants to support projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. 

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Accepting Applications For College Scholarships

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is now accepting applications from eligible high school seniors for the “Delaware Highlands Conservancy/Yeaman Scholarship” and the “Vanessa Van Gorder Memorial Scholarship,” both in the amount of $1,000.

* Op-Ed: Sustainability Is About How We Treat Each Other

By Andrew Ellsworth, Green Building Alliance, Green & Healthy Schools Academy

* Feb. 23 Hearing On Proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan For NRG Shawville Power Plant, Clearfield County

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on the RACT II Air Quality Plan for the NRG Shawville Generating Station in Clearfield County on February 23, if a hearing is requested. (Jan. 13 PA Bulletin, page 353)

* DEP Returns Elcon Hazardous Waste Facility Application In Bucks As Incomplete

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it has determined the Phase II portion of Elcon Recycling Services, LLC’s application for a commercial hazardous waste treatment and storage facility in Falls Township, Bucks County is administratively incomplete.

* DEP Accepting Applications For Mine Map Inventory, Scanning Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for the Mine Map Grant Program to fund the inventory, scan, georeference and vectorize of mine maps and data. (formal notice)

* PJM Regional Grid Operator Reports Cold Snap Resulted In 4th Highest Electric Use Record

The cold weather from December 27 through January 7 brought three of PJM Interconnection's top 10 highest winter peak demands for electricity. The grid operator credits planning and lessons learned implemented from the Polar Vortex for system resilience during this season's first cold snap.

* Exelon's PA Nuclear Power Plants Prove Resilient During Winter Storm

As Winter Storm Grayson pounded the East Coast with high winds, bone-chilling temperatures and historic power demands, Exelon Generation’s Pennsylvania nuclear plants continued to deliver clean, reliable and affordable electricity to more than five million homes and businesses.

* Carnegie Mellon Hosts Energy Week 2018 April 3-6 In Pittsburgh

Thought leaders from industry, government, academia, students and the nonprofit sector will again this year be brought together by Carnegie Mellon’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation for Energy Week Program on April 3 to 6.

* Phipps Conservatory In Pittsburgh Outlines 2018 Sustainability Initiatives

Five years ago, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh opened the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the most advanced state-of-the-art buildings in the world that remains the first and only building to meet four of the highest green certifications:  Living Building Challenge®, LEED® Platinum, Four Stars Sustainable SITES™ and WELL® Building Platinum.

* 2018 Wild & Scenic Film Festival March 8 At Chatham University Pittsburgh

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival-- the nation’s premier environmental and adventure film festival-- will stop in Pittsburgh March 8 as part of its nationwide tour to showcase environmental films that inspire action.

* PEC Philly Area Environment Ride Kicks Off With Launch Party Feb. 6, Save Money, Register Early

Save yourself $50 by registering early for the PA Environmental Council’s 2018 Philadelphia Area Environment Ride and attend the February 6 launch party at Yards Brewing to learn more about this year’s ride. 

* National Meet Me At The Park Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

The National Recreation and Park Association and The Walt Disney Company are collaborating on the Meet Me At The Park Grant Program which is now accepting applications through March 1.

* 18th Annual Land Ethics Symposium Set For March 15 At Delaware Valley University

The 18th Annual Land Ethics Symposium: Creative Approaches for Ecological Landscaping presented by the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve will be held March 15 at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Bucks County.

* Agriculture, Penn State Release PA Pollinator Protection Plan Recommendations

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Monday helped unveil a new report intended to support healthy pollinator populations in the face of challenges that have decimated some species. 

* DCNR, Penn State Extension Forest Health Insect & Disease Briefing March 27

Penn State Extension, in partnership with the DCNR Bureau of Forestry will be hold the 37th Annual Forest Health Insect & Disease Briefing on March 27 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, Centre County from 8:30 to 3:30.

* Capital RC&D Producing & Marketing Non-Timber Forest Products Webinar Series

The Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council is hosting a series of four webinars on producing and marketing non-timber forest products in January and February. 

* Dauphin County Master Gardeners Host 5 Spring Workshops

The Dauphin County Master Gardeners will hold a series of five spring workshops in February and March covering key areas of landscaping, stormwater management, native plants and container gardening. The workshops will be held from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.--

* York County Master Gardeners Host GardenWise Workshop March 10

Kick off the gardening season by joining the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of York County for GardenWise, a one-day garden school on March 10 at the Central York Middle School, 1950 N. Hills Road in York from 7:30 to 4:00.

* Lacawac Sanctuary Accepting Applications For Artists In Residence Programs

On Monday, the Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station in Wayne County announced it is accepting applications for its Artists In Residence program for professional or aspiring artists to produce their artwork using the inspiration of the natural beauty at the Lacawac Sanctuary

* POSTPONED-Foundation For Sustainable Forests: Jan. 12 Woods & Waters Film Series

Due to potentially hazardous weather, the Foundation for Sustainable Forests has postponed its Woods and Waters Film Series Program on January 12.

* Manada Conservancy Hosts Nature Therapy Program Feb. 8 In Dauphin County

The Manada Conservancy will host a Nature Therapy: The Health Benefits Of Spending Time In Nature program with Dr. Matt Silvis on February 8 at the South Hanover Township Building, 161 Patriot Way in Hershey, Dauphin County starting at 7:00 p.m.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Releases New Educational Posters On Raptors

The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County has produced two new raptor natural history posters for general and educational audiences, along with new raptor identification signs for use in public programming.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Names Trisha Salvia Staff Attorney

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Pennsylvania Office has named Trisha Salvia as its Staff Attorney in Pennsylvania.

* Help Wanted: Berks County Conservation District Urban Resource Conservationist

The Berks County Conservation District is seeking qualified candidates for a full-time Urban Resource Conservationist.  The deadline for applications is January 23.

* Help Wanted: Kretschmann Organic Farm, Butler County, Farm Operations Manager

Kretschmann Organic Farm near Zelienople, Butler County is seeking qualified candidates to fill a Farm Operations Manager position as soon as possible.  Click Here for all the details.

* 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 DEP Board Of Coal Mine Safety published final regulations relating to Sensitive Ground Faults in the January 13 PA Bulletin.

* CLICK HERE To View Or Print Entire PA Environment Digest

CLICK HERE to Print The Entire PA Environment Digest.  This Digest is 71 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:

* Registration Open - 2018 Keystone Coldwater Conference Feb. 23-24

Register Now! For the 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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