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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, April 2, 2018 Issue #718
(4/2/2018)
* PA Supreme Court Rules DEP Penalty Against EQT Drilling Not Supported By Clean Streams Law

The PA Supreme Court Wednesday in a 5 to 2 decision ruled the $4.5 million fine imposed by DEP against EQT drilling for 2012 leaks from a 6 million drilling wastewater impoundment in Tioga County were excessive, in part, and not supported by language in the 1937 state Clean Streams Law.

* Western PA Environmental Awards, Lifetime Award Winners Announced

Five environmental programs from throughout Western Pennsylvania will share $25,000 from Dominion Energy and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for innovation and effectiveness in making a positive impact on the environment as part of the Western PA Environmental Awards--

* 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

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 Ag Committee: Is A $50M PennVEST Loan To Buy Forest Land The Best Use Of That Public Funding?

The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Monday held an information meeting on the $50 million in loans the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority made to Lyme Timber Company to help the private company buy 60,103 acres of private forest land in 6 Northern Tier Counties.

* House Game & Fisheries Committee Hears Apology From John Arway On Handling Of Proposed Fish & Boat Commission Cuts

John Arway, the Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, Tuesday apologized to members of the General Assembly and anglers for his handling of a September plan for cutting Commission costs, if the House and Senate do not provide for a fishing license increase by July 1.

* Op-Ed: Senate Fish & Boat Commission Hearing Raises More Questions

By: Sen. Pat Stefano, Majority Chair, Senate Game & Fisheries Committee

* Game Commission: Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer An Ecological Disaster Unfolding Before Our Eyes

Game Commission Executive Director Brian Burhans told the House Game and Fisheries Committee Wednesday the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer “is an ecological disaster unfolding before our eyes” that threatens the state’s $1.6 billion industry tied to hunting and our hunting heritage.

* House Members Urge PUC To Cut Energy Rates Following Federal Tax Cuts

More than a dozen Republican members of the House Monday wrote a letter to the Public Utility Commission asking it to decrease energy costs for consumers following the federal corporate tax cuts.

* March Environmental Synopsis Newsletter Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

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

* POWR, PEC Start Regional Workshops For Watershed Groups April 25 In Danville, Montour County

The PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers and PA Environmental Council will hold a series of regional workshops for watershed groups this year and a statewide watershed conference in 2019.

* Boy Scouts-Stroud Partner On Outdoor, Environmental STEM Education Programs

Boy Scouts of all ages will now have more opportunities to spend time in the outdoors getting their boots muddy and becoming stewards of their local watersheds.

* DCNR, DEP Join Local Officials To Break Ground For Capital Area Greenbelt Trail, Stream Restoration Project

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Tuesday joined other state, county, and local officials in announcing improvements to the Capital Area Greenbelt, a 20-mile loop trail through and around Harrisburg.

* Stormwater Lessons Learned; Penn State Extension Stormwater Tools Highlighted In April Township News

The April edition of Township News features a deep dive into stormwater best management practices and how they are being implemented by Lancaster County townships in Stormwater Lessons Learned.

* DEP Issues New General Permit Form, Fees For Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it has released a new general permit form, PAG-12, for NPDES water quality permit coverage to persons operating concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Pennsylvania.   (formal notice)

* Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association To Hold Annual Trout Day Fundraiser April 14

The Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association in Wyoming County has scheduled the Annual Trout Day Fundraiser on April 14 on PA-87 at Forkston’s Four Corners from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

* Conservation Districts To Hold Pike/Wayne Envirothon April 26 In Wayne County

The 32nd annual Pike/Wayne Envirothon will be held April 26 at the Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center in Hawley, Wayne County.

* Penn State Water Insights Seminar April 3: Price-Based Policies For Managing Development, Impacts On Water Quality

The next Penn State Water Insights Seminar will be held April 3 and features Dr. Douglas Wrenn as the speaker on “Price-Based Policies For Managing Residential Development And Impacts on Water Quality.”

* Fayette County Homeowners, Businesses Can Apply For Federal Disaster Assistance

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced the U.S. Small Business Administration approved his request to declare a disaster in Fayette County after significant wind, flood and in some cases, mudslide damage to homes and businesses from severe storms and a tornado in February.

* New WITF Conservation Heritage Documentary: Rachel Carson - Voice Of Nature

WITF this week premiered another in its series of  PA Conservation Heritage documentaries-- Rachel Carson - Voice Of Nature.

* April Township News: From Fixer Upper To Fabulous, Communities Redevelop Brownfields

The April edition of Township News highlights the innovative steps communities have taken to redevelop their brownfields in From Fixer Upper to Fabulous, Communities Redevelop Brownfields To Produce Jobs, Tax Revenues and More.

* DEP Environmental Justice Advisory Board Call April 3 On Draft Public Participation Policy

The DEP Environmental Justice Advisory Board will hold a conference call on April 3 to discuss a draft Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy from 2:00 to 4:00.

* EPA Announces Settlement With Property Owners At Crater Resources Superfund Site In Montgomery County

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced a settlement that requires property owners of part of the Crater Resources Superfund Site in Upper Merion, Montgomery County to complete a $1.8 million cleanup of two former quarries at the site.

* Save The Date: PA Hazmat Training & Education Conference Aug. 23-26 In Seven Springs

The PA Association of Hazardous Materials Technicians will hold its 2018 PA Hazmat Training Education Conference August 23-26 at the Seven Springs Resort in Somerset County.

* DEP Invites Comments On GP-5, 5A General Permits Setting Methane Pollution Limits On Natural Gas Development Operations

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 31 PA Bulletin inviting comments on Air Quality General Permits 5, 5A and changes to the Air Quality Permit Exemptions List for unconventional natural gas well, compressor stations, processing plants and transmission stations.

* May 1 DEP Hearing On Letterkenny Army Depot Air Quality Permit, Franklin County

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing May 1 on the proposed Title V Air Quality Permit and RACT 2 Plan for the Letterkenny Army Depot in Greene and Letterkenny townships, Franklin County.  (PA Bulletin page 1856)

* DEP Hearing May 2 (If Requested) On Jeld-Wen, Inc. RACT II Air Quality Plan, Bradford County

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing May 2 (if requested) on the RACT II Air Quality Plan for Jeld-Wen, Inc. located in Wysox Township, Bradford County.  (PA Bulletin page 1896)

* Administrative Law Judge Recommends PUC Deny Request To Reverse Flow Of Laurel Pipeline

PUC Administrative Law Judge Eranda Vero Thursday issued a 212-page recommendation the full Public Utility Commission deny a request by Buckeye Pipelines to reverse the flow of the Laurel Pipeline.  The recommendation now goes to the full PUC.

* PUC Holds Hearings On Proposed Transource Power Line In Franklin, York Counties In May

The Public Utility Commission’s Office of Administrative Law Judge announced Thursday there will be a series of eight public input hearings on four days in York and Franklin counties during the month of May, to gather comments regarding the electric transmission line applications submitted by Transource Pennsylvania LLC.

* DEP Secretary Visits Pik Rite, Inc. In Lewisburg To Celebrate Energy Efficiency Improvements, National Recognition

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell Thursday helped celebrate the environmental accomplishments of Pik Rite, Inc. in Lewisburg, Union County, a nationally acclaimed leader and innovator in improving energy efficiency in the manufacturing sector.

* EPA Recognizes Bimbo Bakeries In Reading For Energy Star Manufacturing Certification

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced Bimbo Bakeries USA of Reading, Berks County, a commercial bread & roll baking company, was among 93 manufacturing plants nationally that earned the Energy Star certification for their superior energy performance in 2017.

* PUC Establishes Workgroup On Universal Service & Energy Conservation Programs

The Public Utility Commission Wednesday issued a Secretarial Letter announcing the formation of a statewide Universal Service Workgroup in order to further discuss and provide ongoing recommendations relating to the future framework and structure of Universal Service and Energy Conservation Programs.

* PA Extends Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Application Deadline To April 13

The Department of Human Services Friday extended the application deadline for the PA Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program by one week to April 13.

* Westmoreland Water Authority Takes Advantage Of Penn State Extension Renewable Energy For Municipalities Program

Penn State Extension's Renewable Energy for Municipalities Program brings renewable energy cost savings to Western Pennsylvania and the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

* April 10 DEP Meeting On Tunnel Ridge Deep Mining Permit In Washington County

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it will hold an informal public conference on the expansion of the Tunnel Ridge underground coal mine on April 10 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Donegal Township Municipal Building Gymnasium, 34 N. Liberty Street, West Alexander, PA 15376.

* UPDATED: FirstEnergy Files Deactivation Notice For 3 Nuclear Power Plants In Ohio, Pennsylvania, BANKRUPTCY

FirstEnergy Solutions, a competitive generation subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., Wednesday notified PJM Interconnection (PJM), the regional transmission organization, two nuclear power plants in Ohio and another in Pennsylvania owned by its subsidiary will be deactivated during the next three years. 

* FirstEnergy Seeks Emergency Federal Order To Avert Shutdown Of Nuclear, Coal Power Plants

Citing a serious threat to the stability of the electric grid, FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. Thursday  called on U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to issue an emergency order directing PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization, to immediately begin negotiations to secure the long-term capacity of certain nuclear and coal-fired plants in the region and to compensate their owners "for the full benefits they provide to energy markets and the public at large, including fuel security and diversity."

* House-Senate PA Nuclear Energy Caucus Chairs React To FirstEnergy Nuclear Plant Deactivation Notices

Senators Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) along with Representatives Becky Corbin (R-Chester) and Rob Matzie (D-Allegheny) issued the following statement concerning FirstEnergy Solutions’ notification to PJM Interconnection and the federal Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission that it intends to deactivate two of its nuclear power plants in Ohio in addition to the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, Beaver County--

* Limerick Nuclear Power Plant Starts Refueling Outage In Montgomery County

Operators at Exelon Generation’s Limerick Generating Station in Montgomery County removed the Unit 1 nuclear reactor from service just after midnight on Sunday to begin a planned refueling outage.

* Feature- 39 Years Ago Pennsylvanians Woke Up To The Accident At Three Mile Island-- 3:53 a.m., March 28, 1979

At 3:53 a.m., March 28, 1979, the cascading failures of valves, pumps, gauges and reactor operators combined to produce the worst accident in the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry.

* Society Of Women Environmental Professionals Annual Conference May 1 In Cumberland County

The Society of Women Environmental Professionals Capital Chapter will hold their 2018 Annual Conference Making Environmental Connections May 1 at the Central Penn College Conference Center, 600 College Hill Road in Summerdale, Cumberland County.

* PA Chapter American Planning Assn Accepting 2018 Great Places: Public Spaces, Greenways/Trails In PA Nominations

The PA Chapter of the American Planning Association is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Great Places In Pennsylvania Program.  Nominations are due April 17.

* 2018 Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival April 6-8

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival to be held at the Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

* Wildlands Conservancy Highlights April Education Programs, Earth Day Activities

The Wildlands Conservancy Thursday highlighted the education and Earth Day programs it has scheduled for April featuring--

* Penn State Receives $2.1 Million Grant To Create Decision-Support Tools For Pollinator Health

The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State, in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Davis; the University of Minnesota; and Dickinson College will receive more than $2 million from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the United States Department of Agriculture to translate basic research into online decision support tools to help beekeepers and land managers maintain and expand populations of managed and wild bees.

* Penn State Extension: Management Practices For Woodland Landowners Online Course

Woodland Stewardship: Management Practices for Landowners is a new online course available from the Penn State Extension 24/7.  Help your forest reach its full potential.

* Wildlands Conservancy Protects 500 Critical Areas In Lehigh River Headwaters

The Wildlands Conservancy this month permanently protected approximately 500 critical acres situated near the headwaters of the Lehigh River, an area that supports drinking water for 180,000 local residents.

* Foundation For Sustainable Forests Issues 2017 Annual Report

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests issued its 2017 Annual Report highlighting the protection of forested land and supporting rural communities through working forests. 

* Brandywine Conservancy Amphibian & Reptile Spring Awakening Program April 5, Delaware County

The Brandywine Conservancy will hosts an Amphibians and Reptiles Awaken Program on April 5 at the Brandywine River Museum of Art's lecture room and an optional field walk at 1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford in Delaware County from 6:30 to 8:30.

* Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Shelters Restoration Project Honored By Western PA Environmental Awards

A unique partnership lead by the PA Parks and Forests Foundation to restore shelters along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail will receive a Western PA Environmental Award and $5,000 from Dominion Energy and the PA Environmental Council.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Get Outdoors Poconos Gravel Family Nature Preserve Hike April 22 In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association will host another in its series of Get Outdoors Poconos hikes on April 22 (Earth Day) at the Gravel Family Nature Preserve in Monroe County from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

* DEP Opportunity To Bid On Orphan Gas Well Plugging Clinton County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 31 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on an orphan gas well plugging project in Clinton County.

* DCNR Seeks To Retain Land Surveying Firms

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice in the March 31 PA Bulletin seeking to retain land surveying firms for services on projects in state parks and state forest land.

* George Ellis Retires From ARIPPA, Jaret Gibbons Named New Executive Director

George Ellis will retire as the Executive Director of the Appalachian Region Independent Power Producers Association at the end of March after serving in this role since 2015.

* Help Wanted: PennFuture Western PA Outreach Coordinator

PennFuture is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Western PA Outreach Coordinator based in Pittsburgh.

* 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 - March 31, 2018

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