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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, May 7, 2018 Issue #723
* House Passes Bills Changing Regulation, Permit Process In Ways That Puts Politics Ahead Of Science, Adds More Bureaucracy

The House Tuesday passed 5 Republican bills groups like the PA Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Fund said would threaten public health and put politics ahead of science and law in protecting the environment.

* DEP Fines Mariner East 2 Pipeline Additional $355,000 For Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it has levied a $355,622 penalty against Sunoco Pipeline LP (Sunoco) for violations of the Clean Streams Law that occurred during the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline between May 3, 2017 and February 27, 2018.

* PUC Allows Restart Of Mariner East 1 Pipeline Operations Following Compliance With Emergency Order

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued an order allowing Sunoco Pipeline L.P., also known as Energy Transfer Partners (Sunoco), to reinstate operations of the Mariner East 1 Pipeline (ME1)--  which were suspended as the result of an emergency order issued by the Commission on March 7, 2018.

* House Republicans Unexpectedly Delay Final Vote On Bill Weakening Standards Protecting The Environment From Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling

House Republicans Wednesday delayed a final vote on House Bill 2154 (Causer-R-Cameron), the Conventional Oil and Gas Act, which weakens environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas drilling and turns back the clock 34 years to the original 1984 Oil and Gas Act.

* EQB To Consider Significant Increase In Unconventional Oil & Gas Permit Review Fee May 16

On May 16 the Environmental Quality Board will consider a proposed regulation increasing permit review fees for unconventional oil and gas drilling by more than two-and-a-half times.

* Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program Receives Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award

Penn State Extension's Master Watershed Steward Program recently received recognition from the state for its efforts to improve Pennsylvania's water quality.

* PA Water Companies Honor FERC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson With James McGirr Kelly Award

The National Association of Water Companies PA Chapter Tuesday recognized Commissioner Robert F. Powelson of the  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with its James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence. 

* Op-Ed: Partnership’s New Tree-tment Helps PA Streams, Streets Tackle Runoff Ills

By Harry Campbell, PA Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

* Who Will Be PA’s Official State Amphibian? The Eastern Hellbender Or Wehrle’s Salamander? Time To Weigh In

The stage is now set for the great salamander showdown with the introduction Thursday of House Bill 2328 (Reed-R-Indiana) designating the Wehrle’s Salamander as the official State amphibian of Pennsylvania (sponsor summary).

* Report On Delaware Estuary And Basin Cause For Celebration, Concern

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Wednesday released a new report on the health of the Delaware Estuary and Basin reporting the watershed is in “fair” condition, reflecting a mixture of good and bad news.

* House Resolution Recognizes 125th Anniversary Of State Forest, State Park System

On Thursday Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) introduced House Resolution 901 recognizing the 125th Anniversary of the State Forest and State Park systems.

* 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--

* House Passes Alternative Ratemaking Bill To Encourage Conservation, Renewable Energy

The House Tuesday passed House Bill 1782 (Delozier-R-Cumberland) authorizing alternative ratemaking for electric and natural gas distribution companies to encourage energy efficiency improvements, distributed and renewable energy projects

* House Committee Reports Out Local Clean Energy Financing Bill

The House Commerce Committee Tuesday unanimously reported out Senate Bill 234 (Blake-D- Lackawanna), Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing Program, that authorizes local governments to create energy improvement districts to help fund energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects for commercial, agricultural and industrial buildings to reduce their operating costs (Senate Fiscal Note and summary).

* Gov. Wolf Backs New Bipartisan Severance Tax, Permit Reform, Minimum Royalty Bills; No Dedicated Funding For Environmental Programs

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday announced he is backing new bipartisan legislation establishing a natural gas production severance tax and addressing oil and gas permitting reforms and minimum royalty payments to oil and gas leaseholders.

* Proposed Bills Call For Narrowing Grounds For Appealing DEP Permits, Reducing Terms Of Environmental Hearing Board Judges

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) Monday circulated a co-sponsor memo to her colleagues asking them to sponsor two bills, one to narrow the grounds for appealing a permit issued by DEP and the second to reduce the number of years Environmental Hearing Board judges can serve.

* Citizens Advisory Council Reviews DEP Drinking Water Program May 16

On May 16, the DEP Citizens Advisory Council will hear a presentation on DEP’s Drinking Water Program and an overview of water programs by Timothy Schaeffer, Deputy for Water Programs.

* PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Meets May 17

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee will continue its review of draft nutrient reduction targets for Pennsylvania at its next meeting on May 17.

* Penn State Agriculture & Environment Center Quarterly Newsletter Now Available

The latest quarterly newsletter from the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center is now available featuring articles on--

* Delaware River Basin Commission May 16 Hearing, June 13 Business Meeting

The Delaware River Basin Commission will hold a hearing May 16 on a variety of policies issues and actions as well as water withdrawal requests. DRBC has also scheduled a business meeting on June 13.  (formal agendas and documents)

* PUC Highlights Drinking Water Week In PA, Touts Investments In Replacing Aging Facilities, Lead Lines

The Public Utility Commission Thursday joined elected officials, water utilities and community leaders in highlighting “Drinking Water Week” in the Commonwealth as part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness about the importance of water and water conservation.

* Darby Creek Valley Assn: Making A Difference Through Green Infrastructure May 9, Delaware County

The Darby Creek Valley Association and partners will present another in its Community Environmental Series-- Making A Difference Through Green Infrastructure on May 9 at the Haverford CRED, 9000 Parkview Drive, Haverford, Delaware County from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

* Tree Pittsburgh Sets Goal To Distribute, Plant 4,000 Trees In 2018

While Pittsburgh’s three rivers have improved in quality to support both aquatic life and wildlife along its shores and riverbanks, research indicates that the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County are experiencing a dramatic decline in tree canopy.

* DCED Provides $1.4 Million In Additional Funding For Solomon Creek Flood Protection Project In Luzerne

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin Thursday was joined by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) and Mayor Anthony G. George to announce the approval of more than $1.4 million in additional funding through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program to protect the city of Wilkes-Barre from flooding originating from Solomon Creek.

* Westmoreland Conservation District Announces Winners Of 2018 Envirothon

The team from Kiski Area High School took first place Monday in the Westmoreland County Envirothon – an academic competition in which high school students test their knowledge of the natural world.

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness: Allegheny River & Watershed Cleanup May 12

The Allegheny River and Watershed Cleanup will take place on May 12 starting at the Onoville Marina, 704 W. Perimeter Road, Steamburg, NY, just north of the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County, at 8:00 a.m. where volunteers will sign-in and get trash bags, gloves and other supplies.

* Keep PA Beautiful, Elk County Host Municipal Waste, Recycling & Enforcement Forum May 31

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Elk County Solid Waste Authority are hosting a forum on May 31 for regional, state and local officials to share ideas concerning the management of waste and recycling and enforcement of illegal dumping and littering in Pennsylvania.

* Centre County Collects Over 76,000 Pounds Of Household Hazardous Waste

On April 27 and 28, the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority collected over 76,000 pounds of household hazardous waste from residents of 1,251 households.

* PA Resources Council Holds First Hard-To-Recycle Collection Event May 12 In Allegheny County

The PA Resources Council will hold the first of five Hard-To-Recycle Collection Events on May 12 at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills in Allegheny  County from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

* EPA Designates 5 Southeast Counties In Pennsylvania Nonattainment For Ground Level Ozone

On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated 5 counties in Pennsylvania marginal nonattainment areas for the federal 70 ppb ground level ozone standard.  The counties are: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia.

* DEP Invites Comments On Transcontinental Quarryville Loop Pipeline, Compressor Station Permits

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the May 5 PA Bulletin it is now reviewing Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation Control permits for the Transcontinental gas Pipe Line Company Quarryville Loop Project in Lancaster County and associated compressor station changes in Chester County, part of its Northeast Supply Enhancement Project(PA Bulletin, page 2721).

* DEP Now Accepting Applications For $5 Million In Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for $5 million in Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants for innovative, advanced fuel, and vehicle technology projects that will result in cleaner advanced alternative transportation within the Commonwealth.

* FirstEnergy Utility Customers Offered $3,000 Rebate On All-Electric Cars By Nissan In PA

FirstEnergy Wednesday announced its Pennsylvania customers will be able to take advantage of special $3,000 rebates for all-electric cars from Nissan through June 30, or while supplies last.

* New Transit CNG Fueling Station Opens In Crawford County

Officials from PennDOT, Trillium CNG, and the Crawford Area Transit Authority Thursday marked the start of CNG fueling at the new facility at 13227 Dunham Road in Meadville.

* Frick Environmental Center In Pittsburgh Achieves Living Building Challenge Certification

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Wednesday announced the Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh has achieved the prestigious Living Building Challenge Certification, one of only 21 buildings worldwide and the first municipal building open to the public.

* Penn State Students Build Portable Solar Boxes To Help Restore Services In Puerto Rico

By David Kubarek, Penn State News

* PUC Issues Proposed Policy Statement On Alternative Ratemaking

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued for comment a proposed policy statement inviting fixed utilities to explore alternative ratemaking methodologies in distribution base rate proceedings which further promote federal and state policy objectives, provide incentives to improve system efficiency and ensure that fixed utilities receive adequate revenue to maintain safe and reliable service.

* PJM Interconnection Announces Next Phase Of Grid Resilience Initiative

The PJM Interconnection regional electric grid operator Monday announced the next steps in its initiative to ensure future fuel security for electricity generation on its power system serving 65 million people.

* FirstEnergy: PJM Study Ignores Value Of Nuclear Plants In Zero-Carbon Emissions Generation

FirstEnergy Solutions, a competitive generation subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., Monday responded to a reliability study issued by PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization.

* PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In April Now Available

The PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In April is now available featuring stories on--

* Sen. Yudichak Kicks Off 165-Hike On Delaware & Lehigh Trail May 8

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) will kick off his Senator Takes a Hike on the Delaware & Lehigh Trail May 8 with a press event featuring DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, D&L National Heritage Corridor Executive Director Elissa Garofalo, and state and local officials.

* DCNR Now Accepting Teens For New Youth Ambassador Program At State Parks, Forests

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday announced applications are being accepted from teenagers for the new Youth Ambassador Program at Pennsylvania state parks and forests.

* Apply Now For Southern Alleghenies Regional Greenways, Recreation Mini-Grants

The Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, with support from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is now accepting applications now through June 15 for the Southern Alleghenies Regional Greenways Mini-Grants Program.

* Western PA Conservancy Opens ADA-Accessible Garden In Pittsburgh

Government, nonprofit and faith leaders gathered Tuesday in Shadyside to open Pittsburgh’s first ADA-accessible community flower garden.

* PA Horticultural Society Gardening & Greening Contest Now Accepting Entries

The PA Horticultural Society is now accepting entries in the 2018 PHS Gardening and Green Contest recognizing gardeners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The deadline for entries is June 8.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Spring Native Plant Sale Set For May 19-20 In Berks County

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host its annual Spring Native Plant Sale, displaying a wide variety of Pennsylvanian plants and flowers, on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20. 

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Native Plant Sale June 1-2 In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association will hold its annual Native Plant Sale June 1-2 at the Pocono Township Fire Company's Carnival Building on Route 611 in Tannersville, Monroe County.

* DCNR Blog: Long-Standing DCNR Advisory Council Seeks New Members For Open Seats

When DCNR celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020, its citizen advisory council will be sharing the celebratory cake.

* May 2 DCNR Resource Newsletter Now Available

The May 2 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Tinicum Conservancy Helps Preserve 57-Acre Farm In Bucks County

With the assistance of the Tinicum Conservancy, Carl Kwartnik and Maureen Santina recently conserved their 57-acre farm in Durham Township through the Bucks County Agricultural Open Space program and the PA Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program.

* Gifford Pinchot's Grey Towers Hosts May 30 Program On The Spotted Lanternfly In Pike County

The Pike County Conservation District, Northern Tier Hardwood Association and Gifford Pinchot's Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford will host a program on the Spotted Lanternfly on May 30 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

* Piping Plovers Return To Presque Isle For 2nd Year In Erie, Public Asked to Respect Nesting Area

The Game Commission Friday announced for the second consecutive year, a pair of federally endangered piping plovers is courting on Presque Isle State Park’s Gull Point in Erie.

* Deer Fawns More Likely To Survive In Agricultural Landscapes Than Forest

By Jeffery Mulhollem, Penn State News

* Bay Journal: Retired PA Forester Dan Devlin's 37-Year Career With Trees Bore Much Fruit

By Donna Morelli, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* Help Wanted: Western PA Conservancy Watershed Technician Riparian Forestry, Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, is seeking an experienced and outgoing individual to fill a Watershed Technician position to assist with the advancement of riparian forest buffer implementation, restoration and maintenance in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Pennsylvania.    

* 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.  Pennsylvania Bulletin - May 5, 2018

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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:

* 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.

* Register Now For 20th PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference

Registration is now open for the 20th Anniversary PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference to be held June 20-21 at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center in State College.  Join PA Environment Digest as a sponsor of this terrific Conference.

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