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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, March 5, 2018 Issue #714
(3/5/2018)
* Senate Budget Hearing: DEP Plans To Add Safe Drinking Water Program Staff Ahead Of Fee Revenue To Address Deficiencies

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell told the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday DEP is moving aggressively to correct the deficiencies EPA identified in the state Safe Drinking Water Program by hiring additional staff ahead of finalizing the drinking water permit fee increase.

* DEP House Budget Hearing Highlights Efficiencies, $2.5 Million Proposal To Improve Permit Review Times

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell told the House Appropriations Committee Monday investments in program efficiency improvements, the proposed $2.5 million initiative to address permit review backlogs and finalizing permit fee increases for key programs will help DEP deal with deficiencies in the state’s environmental protection programs.

* Budget Testimony By DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Improving Efficiency, Customer Service

Here is the written budget testimony submitted to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee by DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell--

* DCNR Budget Hearing: Senators Recommend More Drilling In State Forests To Fund An Expanded Growing Greener Program

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Wednesday suggested one funding source for an expanded Growing Greener Program could be allowing additional natural gas drilling on DCNR’s state forest lands.

* CFA Accepting Applications For Act 13 Water-Related, Recreation Grants Until May 31

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is now accepting applications for grants funded by Act 13 for watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphaned or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities and flood mitigation programs.  The deadline for applications is May 31.

* PUC Offers Storm Safety Tips, Reminds Residents To Report Power Outages

The Public Utility Commission Friday offered safety tips to residents as Winter Storm Riley continues to move across the state.  Should you lose power during a storm, consider the following:

* 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--

* House Game & Fisheries Committee To Hold Info Meetings On Fish & Boat, Game Commissions Annual Reports In March

The House Game and Fisheries Committee is scheduled to hold informational meetings on the Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission annual reports this month.

* PA Receives $55.6 Million From Feds For Abandoned Mine Reclamation

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Saturday announced it will provide $300.7 million to states and tribes to reclaim abandoned coal mines, including $55.6 million to Pennsylvania.

* Governor’s Agency-By-Agency Regulatory Agenda Posted, 4 Major DEP Fee Increase Packages

The Governor’s Office Regulatory Agenda was published in the March 3 PA Bulletin listing regulations in development by each agency under the Governor’s jurisdiction starting on page 1368 of the Bulletin. 

* DCNR, PennVEST Announce $1.1 Million In Grants For Income-Producing Stream Buffer Projects

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority Thursday announced a $1.1 million grant investment to eight recipients throughout Pennsylvania for planting trees and income-producing species along streams to help keep nutrients and sediments from the land from impacting water quality.

* Coldwater Heritage Partnership Announces $74,000 In Grant Awards

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership Tuesday announced the award of over $74,000 in grants have been awarded to local organizations to protect and conserve Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams. 

* Reminder: PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Request For Presentation Proposals

The organizers of the PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference are now accepting presentation proposals for the 2018 Conference to be held June 20-21 at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center in State College.

* Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation Paint Night! Fundraiser March 29 Using Pigments Made From Treated AML Drainage

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation will hold a Paint Night! fundraiser on March 29 at the EPCAMR Office, 101 South Main Street in Ashley, Luzerne County from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

* NRCS-PA: 5 Conferences In March On Increasing Soil Health To Increase Farm Profits

The Natural Resource Conservation Service-PA is partnering on a series of five conferences in March on how farmers can increase their profits by increasing soil health.  The conferences will be held--

* Berks County: Learn How To Improve Your Farming Operation While Protecting Clean Water March 8, 13, 21

The Berks County Conservation District and the Berks County Department of Agriculture and other partners will host three farm conservation workshops in March.

* New Rodale Institute, Stroud Water Research Center Partnership To Reduce Ag Runoff In Delaware Watershed

Rodale Institute, the global leader of regenerative organic agriculture, Thursday announced it has received a grant for $5,995,000 from the William Penn Foundation to partner with Stroud Water Research Center, the global leader in the advancement of knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems, on a groundbreaking project to improve soil health and water quality.

* Pike County Workshop For Contractors: Plan Your Project Proactively March 21

The Pike County Conservation District, in partnership with Wayne Pike Building Industry Association, will host a Contractors Workshop on March 21, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Pike County Training Center, 135 Pike County Blvd, Lords Valley to share resources on proactive project planning.

* PennDOT Issues RFI On Wetlands Mitigation Banks For Public Private Partnerships Program

The Department of Transportation’s Public Private Partnerships Office has issued a Request for Information of the development of wetland mitigation banks for transportation projects at the state or district level.

* Discovering Your Drinking Water Program March 26 In Pike County

The Pike County Conservation District, in cooperation with Penn State Extension and the Pocono Source Water Protection Collaborative, will host Discovering Your Drinking Water on March 26 at the District Office, 556 Route 402 in Hawley starting at  7:00 p.m.

* Center For Watershed Protection To Hold National Conference April 10, Online, Or In Baltimore, Virginia

The Center for Watershed Protection will hold its 2018 National Watershed and Stormwater Conference on April 10 and will again offer both online and in-person attendance options.

* Call For Presentations: PA Water And Wastewater Technology Summit

The PA Section American Water Works Association, PA Water Environment Association, and the PA Municipal Authorities Association have issued a call for presentation proposals for the November 1-2 PA Water and Wastewater Technology Summit.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Announces Spring Photo Contest

The Delaware River Basin Commission Thursday announced that Martha Tully’s Winter at the Stone Arch Bridge was chosen as the winner of the commission’s Winter 2018 Photo Contest.  Twenty-three photographs were submitted by 14 individuals for the contest.

* EPA Exhibit At Philadelphia Flower Show Highlights Healthy Headwaters

This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show showcases the Wonders of Water and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s exhibit is no exception on healthy headwaters.

* Albert M. Greenfield School, Philadelphia, Named KAB Recycle-Bowl State School Division Winners

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday congratulated Albert M. Greenfield School in Philadelphia for being named State School Division Champion of the 2017 Recycle-Bowl by collecting 11,536 pounds of recyclables generated at the school, during this national competition.

* Penn State, CBF-PA Partnered To Provide Workshops For 170 Agriculture Teachers

Furthering agriculture teachers' knowledge about the value of hands-on watershed education was the focus of recent workshops hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA in partnership with Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences' Center for Professional Development, a program housed within the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education.

* Register Now: PA Environmental Educators Conference March 12-13 In State College

There is still time to register for the PA Association of Environmental Educators 2018 Conference to be held on March 12-13 in State College.

* Registration Now Open For GASP Air Adventures Summer Camp June 18-22 In Pittsburgh

The Group Against Smog And Pollution is now accepting registration for the Air Adventures Summer Camp for students age 9 to 11.

* DEP Blog: Energy Literacy Workshops Help Create A Smart Energy Future For PA

By: Heather Cowley, DEP Southeast Regional Office Energy Manager, Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance

* Apply Now! Wildlife Leadership Academy Youth Conservation Ambassador Program

The Wildlife Leadership Academy in Union County is seeking referrals of motivated students ages 14 to 17 to become Certified Conservation Ambassadors. The last call for nominations are being accepted online through March 5.

* EPA Removes C&D Recycling Site In Luzerne County From Superfund List

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday removed the C&D Recycling Site in Foster Township, Luzerne County from the Superfund National Priorities List.

* DEP Issues Permits For Construction Of Birdsboro Natural Gas Power Plant In Berks County

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it has issued to Birdsboro Power LLC, DTE Midstream Appalachia, LLC, and the Reading Area Water Authority the permits necessary for the construction of a 450 megawatt natural gas fired Birdsboro Power electrical generation facility, on the site of the former Birdsboro Army Tank Foundry/Armorcast facility.

* New CNG Fueling Station On I-80 In Clarion County Will Cut Air Pollution

A compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station will help reduce air pollution from trucks traveling along Interstate 80, thanks to a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection.

* CFA Accepting Applications For Green Building, Renewable Energy Grants

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is now accepting applications for its High Performance Building and Renewable Energy Grant Programs throughout 2018.  Here’s a quick rundown on the programs--

* Environmental Groups Appeal DEP Agreement With Sunoco Allowing Restart Of Mariner East 2 Construction, Sue For Breach Of Contract

On Wednesday, Clean Air Council, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association, Inc. filed two new lawsuits against the Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco Pipeline L.P. for unlawful conduct related to Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipelines.

* DEP Invites Comments On Permits For Risberg Pipeline Project In Crawford, Erie Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notices inviting comments on the Section 401 Water Quality Certification and a Chapter 105 Joint Encroachments permit for the Risberg Pipeline Project in Erie County (PA Bulletin, page 1343)

* PUC: Procedures For March 13 Prehearing Conference On Proposed Transource Power Line Projects In Franklin, York Counties

The Public Utility Commission Office of Administrative Law Judge Friday issued an order detailing the procedures for a March 13 prehearing conference concerning electric transmission line applications submitted by Transource Pennsylvania LLC for power line projects in York and Franklin counties.

* PJM Report On Cold Weather Performance Shows Grid Performed Well, Need For Pricing Reform

PJM Interconnection Monday released a new report on grid performance during the winter’s cold snap which shows that the grid and the generation fleet performed well during one of the coldest stretches since the 2014 Polar Vortex.

* PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In February

The February issue of In Case You Missed It is now available from the PA Environmental Council featuring articles on--

* A Berks County Stone Supplier Acts To Avoid Spreading Spotted Lanternfly

To mark National Invasive Species Week, the departments of Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources, along with representatives of the Governor’s Invasive Species Council, visited Rolling Rock Building Stone In Berks County Tuesday to demonstrate the crucial role businesses can play in stopping the spread of Spotted Lanternfly--  a destructive pest that threatens agricultural commodities and the export of all goods.

* New Book: Pennsylvania Farming: A History In Landscapes

Penn State Professor Emerita of History Dr. Sally A. McMurry in December published the first history of Pennsylvania agriculture in more than 60 years-- Pennsylvania Farming: A History In Landscapes.

* Grow Pittsburgh Community Garden Sustainability Fund Now Accepting Applications For Grants

Grow Pittsburgh is now accepting applications for its Community Garden Sustainability Fund grants.  The deadline for applications is April 1.

* PA Wilds Center Awards, Conference Celebrating 15 Years Of The Wilds At Work April 26-27

The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. Wednesday announced registration is open for the 2018 PA Wilds Annual Dinner & Awards, to be held on April 26 at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport, Lycoming County.

* DCNR Urges Caution To Prevent Wildfires

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday called on Pennsylvania residents to exercise wildfire prevention vigilance throughout a three-month period when major fires are most likely across the state’s forests and brush lands.

* Penn State Extension: PA TreeVitalize Program Update Webinar March 20

The Penn State Extension Community Forestry Management Program will host a March 20 webinar providing an update on Pennsylvania’s TreeVitalize Program from Noon to 1:00.

* Foods Of The Delaware Highlands Dinner April 28 Wayne County

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy will hold its Foods Of The Delaware Highlands Dinner April 28 at the Silver Birches Waterfront, 205 PA 507, Hawley, Wayne County.

* Game Commission: Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon Counties In New Chronic Wasting Disease Zone

People who live and hunt deer within parts of Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties now need to comply with special rules intended to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

* Auditor General DePasquale Says Game Commission Operations Should Continue

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale Monday issued the following statement on his recently announced plans to audit the Game Commission:

* Western PA Audubon Schedules 5 BackYard Habitat Workshops

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania Thursday announced it will host a series of five Backyard Habitat Workshop designed to teach residents how to transform their yards into an oasis for birds, pollinators, and wildlife.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Updates Silhouette Trail With New Raptors

The international award-winning, ADA accessible Silhouette Trail, which meanders through Hawk Mountain's ridge-top forest between the Trail Head and South Lookout, has undergone another display transformation.

* Michele Long Named Executive Director Of Pike County Conservation District

Michele Long has been named Executive Director of Pike County Conservation District on Wednesday. She will succeed current Executive Director Sally Corrigan, who will retire in April.

* Help Wanted: Brandywine Conservancy Operations Manager

The Delaware County-based Brandywine Conservancy is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Operations Manager.  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

No new regulations were published this week. 

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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:  PaEnviroDigest@gmail.com.

* 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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