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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, May 21, 2018 Issue #725
(5/21/2018)
* PA To Pilot County-Level Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Planning Process In 4 Counties This Summer

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Thursday approved a draft county clean water toolbox and county-level clean water planning process to pilot in four Central Pennsylvania counties this summer.

* PA Environmental Defense Foundation Asks Court To Declare Elimination Of Oil & Gas Lease Fund, Recent Money Transfers Unconstitutional

The PA Environmental Defense Foundation Thursday filed a petition for declaratory relief in Commonwealth Court asking the Court to declare 2017 amendments to the Fiscal Code eliminating DCNR’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund and making and proposing $96 million in money transfers from the Fund unconstitutional.

* Update: Federal Court Issues Revised Order Narrowing Parts Of 2017 Fiscal Code Amendments It Declared Unconstitutional

On Friday afternoon, Federal Court Judge Christopher Conner issued a revised order striking down only those portions of Act 44 of 2017, the Fiscal Code amendments, related to requiring the transfer of $200 million from the PA Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association Fund to the General Fund to help balance the General Fund budget.

* EHB Upholds DEP Issuance Of Unconventional Gas Well Permits Under Environmental Rights Amendment Challenge

On May 11, the Environmental Hearing Board issued an opinion upholding the issuance of unconventional natural gas well permits in Butler County because the appellants failed to demonstrate DEP’s decision violated the Department’s responsibilities under the Environmental Rights Amendment and other provisions of law.

* EQB OKs Unconventional Oil & Gas Permit Review Fees For Public Comment

The Environmental Quality Board Wednesday approved a proposed regulation increasing permit review fees for unconventional oil and gas drilling by more than two-and-a-half times for public comment.

* PUC Orders 17 Utilities To Return $320+ Million To Consumers Following Federal Tax Cuts

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued an Order, requiring a “negative surcharge” or monthly credit on customer bills for 17 major electric, natural gas, and water and wastewater utilities, totaling more than $320-million per year.

* 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 Committee Meets May 24 On Bill To Encourage Use Of Native Vegetation Along Highways

The House Transportation Committee is scheduled to meet on May 24 to consider House Bill 2131 (Quigley-R-Montgomery) encouraging PennDOT to plant native vegetation along highways (sponsor summary).

* Senate-House Nuclear Energy Caucus May 23 Hearing On Labor And Nuclear Power Industry

The bipartisan Senate-House Nuclear Energy Caucus will hold a hearing on May 23 on the value of nuclear power to Pennsylvania labor.

* Penn State Center For Nutrient Solutions To Present Results Of Research On Meeting Nutrient Reduction Goals June 12

Join researchers from the Penn State Center for Nutrient Solutions, the U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Services and others on June 12 as they present the results of their research and lessons learned for reducing nutrient pollution in watersheds.

* PEC Blog: One Tree At A Time: Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative

By Laura Bray, PEC Program Coordinator

* 2018 Appalachian Mined Land Reforestation Conference Aug. 8-9 Indiana University Of PA

The annual Appalachian Mined Land Reforestation Conference will be held August 8 and 9 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This year’s theme is Developing Partnerships for Mine Land Reforestation.

* Federal Office Of Surface Mining Accepting Acid Mine Drainage Watershed Grant Applications

The Federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement is now accepting applications for Not-For-Profit Acid Mine Drainage Watershed Cooperative Agreement Grants.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through August 31.

* DEP’s Good Samaritan Program Encourages Proposals To Plug Abandoned Oil & Gas Wells, Treat Mine Drainage

The Department of Environmental Protection regularly receives proposals under the Environmental Good Samaritan Act Program for both mine reclamation and oil and gas well plugging.

* May Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

The May edition of the Catalyst newsletter is now available from the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition in Butler County featuring stories on--

* 3 Rivers Wet Weather June 22 Stream Restoration Workshop In Allegheny County

3 Rivers Wet Weather and its partners are hosting a Stream Restoration Workshop June 22 at McFadden Hall, 1520 Butler Plank Road, Glenshaw, Shaler Township, Allegheny County from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

* May 31 How Does Your Rain Garden Grow Workshop, 3 Rivers Wet Weather Allegheny County

3 Rivers Wet Weather and its partners are hosting a How Does Your Rain Garden Grow? Workshop at the Green Tree Municipal Building, 10 West Manilla Avenue in Pittsburgh from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

* Partnership For The Delaware Estuary Invites Comments On Revised Long-Range Plan For Delaware Estuary

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary invites the public to comment on the revised draft Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Delaware Estuary (CCMP). This comment period runs from May 21 to July 20.

* Dive Deeper: Youth Water Educators Summit Sept. 20 Harrisburg

The Penn State Extension 2018 Dive Deeper: Youth Water Educators Summit will be held on September 20 at the Central Hotel & Conference Center, 800 East Park Dr., Harrisburg from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* PA American Water Updates Online Infrastructure Map With Newest Projects

PA American Water Monday unveiled the updated 2018 version of its web-based infrastructure map to show customers where the dollars from their monthly bills are flowing.

* Schuylkill Scrub Rescheduled For May 24 By Schuylkill Action Network

The Schuylkill Action Network and its partners have rescheduled the Schuylkill Scrub Cleanup for May 24 at the Upper Merion Boathouse Park, Water Street in Bridgeport, Montgomery County from 10:00 to 12:30.  It was to be held May 19.

* Reminder: Enter Great American Cleanup Of PA Video Contest By June 8

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is accepting entries for the Great American Cleanup of PA Video Contest until June 8 that show how you keep your community clean and beautiful. 

* DEP Blog: Teaming Up To Keep Pennsylvania Clean

By: Melanie Williams, Community Relations Coordinator, DEP Northwest Regional Office

* Reminder: GASP Air Adventures Summer Camp For Students June 18-22 In Pittsburgh

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

* DEP Hearing May 22 On Sunoco Partners Terminal Air Permit In Delaware County

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced it will host a public hearing on May 22 regarding its intent to issue an Air Quality Plan Approval for Sunoco Partners Marketing Terminals, L.P. (SPMT) in Marcus Hook Borough, Delaware County. 

* June 21 DEP Hearing [If Needed] For Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Air Permit, Huntingdon County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the May 19 PA Bulletin it will hold a hearing [if needed] on the RACT II Air Quality Plan for Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic plant in Shirley Township, Huntingdon County. (PA Bulletin, page 2972)

* June 27 DEP Hearing [If Needed] For DuPont Air Permit, Bradford County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the May 19 PA Bulletin it will hold a hearing [if needed] on the RACT II Air Quality Plan for the E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company plant located in North Towanda Township, Bradford County.  (PA Bulletin, page 3009)

* DEP Now Accepting Clean Diesel Grant Applications For VW Settlement Funds

The Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for the Clean Diesel Grant Program, part of the Driving PA Forward Program, with funds provided by the EPA settlement with Volkswagen. Applications will be accepted from May 19 to July 6.  (formal notice)

* SustainPHL Seeking Nominations For 2018 Sustainability Awards

SustainPHL is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Sustainability Awards to recognize individuals, groups, projects, nonprofit, civic or government entity or for-profit business that are advancing sustainability, including social impact or civic causes.  Nominations are due May 31.

* Public Utility Commission Publishes Final Order Implementing Solar Energy Law Changes

The Public Utility Commission formally published the Final Implementation Order for Act 40 of 2017 (Act 40) establishing new qualifications for systems that qualify for the solar photovoltaic (solar PV) requirements under the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act.  (formal notice)

* Sustainable Pittsburgh: Renewable Energy Procurement, Opportunities For PA Businesses, Institutions June 12 Webinar

Join Sustainable Pittsburgh, independent advisory firm CustomerFirst Renewables, and Ceres for an educational webinar for Pennsylvania business leaders and other large energy users on the benefits of and opportunities for procuring renewable electricity on June 12 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

* PUC Holds En Banc Hearing July 12 On Supplier Consolidated Billing By Electric Suppliers

The Public Utility Commission Tuesday issued a Secretarial Letter announcing a second en banc hearing on July 12 to hear testimony and gather additional information on customer billing practices by competitive electric generation suppliers, specifically on the legality, merits and potential implementation of supplier consolidated billing.

* PUC Updates Utility Ratemaking Guide For Consumers, New Practitioners

The Public Utility Commission Thursday announced the availability of an updated publication of “A Guide to Utility Ratemaking.”

* U.S. EIA: Northeast Region Slated For Record Natural Gas Pipeline Buildout In 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Friday reported it construction of new natural gas pipeline capacity in the United States to continue in 2018, in particular in the northeastern United States.

* Dept. Of Agriculture Joins USDA, Penn State To Combat Spotted Lanternfly

On the heels of the first Spotted Lanternfly hatch of the season, the state Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Penn State University Wednesday warned of its potential $18 billion impact on the Commonwealth’s businesses, trade, and economy.

* DCNR Begins Gypsy Moth Suppression Spraying In 8 Counties

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday announced Pennsylvania will begin aerial spraying of forestlands to combat gypsy moth populations poised for spring outbreaks in the northeastern and central portions of the Commonwealth.

* PennDOT, DCNR, DEP Tout Cycling Improvements, Opportunities And Benefits In PA

With the start of Bike to Work week, the Wolf Administration Monday announced a series of planned improvements for bicyclists during an event featuring an executive bike ride around Harrisburg by several cabinet members, other officials, and staff.

* Knox & Kane Rail Trail Forum June 15 In Marienville, Forest County

The PA Wilds Community Development Committee, Headwaters Charitable Trust and other partners will host the Knox & Kane Rail Trail Is A Reality... Now What? Forum on June 15 at the Marienville Area Civic Association Building, 149 Maca Drive, Marienville in Forest County starting at 8:00 a.m.

* Corps Of Engineers Discontinues Study On Foster J. Sayers Dam, Centre County

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District Tuesday announced it is discontinuing its study in collaboration with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to make operational modifications at Foster J. Sayers Dam at Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County to sustain aquatic habitat during historical low-flow conditions. Current operations will be maintained.

* DCNR Stakeholder Process To Help Evaluate Visitor Experience At Beltzville State Park, Carbon County

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials Wednesday met with local legislators to update them on plans for a study related to the local community and visitor experience at the 3,002-acre Beltzville State Park in Carbon County.

* 16 New Landforce Crew Members Trained, Ready To Go In Pittsburgh Region

On May 2nd 16 new crew members joined the Landforce team. They come from all across the Pittsburgh region and each have their own unique story to tell, but the common thread between each of them is a commitment to working hard to improve their communities and to reach their own personal goals.

* Openings Still Available For Youth In PA Outdoor Corps Summer Crews

DCNR and the Student Conservation Association are gearing up to launch the seven-week summer PA Outdoor Corps Program, which offers work experience, job training, and educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Prescribed Burns In Forest Management

Prescribed burning, also known as controlled burning, is a forest management practice that dates back millennia.

* DCNR Signs Submerged Land Leases Worth Over $4.6 Million

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provided notice of two streambed submerged land leases in the May 19 PA Bulletin--

* May 16 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The May 16 edition of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited Hosts Fly Fishing Event For Disabled Veterans In Westmoreland County

By Larry Myers, Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited

* Harrisburg's Peregrine Falcons Banded In Educational Event Streamed Live

The newest Harrisburg falcons were banded Monday in a livestreamed educational event attended by local students and hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection and Game Commission at Rachel Carson State Office Building.

* Peregrine Falcons Hatch At PPL Allentown Tower, Live Video Feed Available

Four eggs being incubated by a pair of peregrine falcons began hatching Sunday, May 13– Mother’s Day - in a nesting box on the 21st floor of PPL’s headquarters building at Ninth and Hamilton streets in downtown Allentown.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Online Kestrel Cam Goes Live

For the fourth year, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County is hosting a 24/7 live stream via a camera mounted within a local American Kestrel nest box installed by the Sanctuary.

* Game Commission Expands Chronic Wasting Disease Rules On Deer Harvested From Other States

The Game Commission Friday announced Pennsylvanians who harvest deer anywhere in New York, Ohio, Maryland or West Virginia no longer may bring them home without first removing the carcass parts with the highest risk of transmitting chronic wasting disease (CWD).

* 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 published this week.  Pennsylvania Bulletin - May 19, 2018

* CLICK HERE To View Or Print Entire PA Environment Digest

CLICK HERE to Print The Entire PA Environment Digest.  This Digest is 72 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:  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.

* 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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