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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Crisci Associates, June 25, 2018 Issue #730
* EPA Outlines Specific Expectations For PA To Meet In The Next Phase Of Chesapeake Bay Restoration, And The Consequences If We Don’t

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday notified Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia of what the agency expects to see in state and local implementation plans for the third phase of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

* DEP Expands Small Business Advantage Grants To Farm Conservation Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection has expanded its Small Business Advantage Grant Program to assist agricultural businesses install natural resource conservation projects.

* Senate, House Send Budget Bills To Wolf, Includes Funding For 35 New DEP Positions, Few Other Changes

The House Wednesday and the Senate Friday passed and sent to the Governor a $32.7 billion FY 2018-19 General Fund budget bill-- House Bill 2121-- that includes funding for 35 new positions at DEP, but few changes in other environmental funding line items.

* Fiscal Code Bill Goes To Governor With New Private Dam Financial Assurance Program, ATV Trails Provisions

The Senate and House have passed and sent to the Governor the Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 1929-- that goes along with the General Fund budget bill.  It includes a new Private Dam Financial Assurance and Loan Program, direction to DCNR on developing ATV trails and more funding for small water and sewer projects.

* PUC Distributes $209.5 Million In Act 13 Drilling Impact Fees, Total Fee Revenue Tops $1.4 Billion

The Public Utility Commission Thursday posted detailed information about this year’s distribution of Act 13 drilling impact fees on natural gas producers, totaling $209,557,300, on the PUC’s interactive Act 13 website.

* PA Environmental Council: Putting A Price On Carbon Would Spur Energy Competition, Help Nuclear Power Plants

PA Environmental Council President Davitt Woodwell Tuesday told members of the Senate House Nuclear Energy Caucus putting a price on carbon would spur needed competition in the energy market and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

* More Than 86,000 Pennsylvanians Work In Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency Jobs

More than 86,000 Pennsylvanians now work in clean energy in every county in the state, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data released Tuesday by the national nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and partner organizations-- Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia, Green Building Alliance and Sustainable Pittsburgh.

* PEC Honors Cycling Advocate Robert Thomas, Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra McCarty, Philadelphia Eagles Go Green Program

On June 14, the PA Environmental Council honored Cycling Advocate Robert Thomas, Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra McCarty and the Philadelphia Eagles Go Green Program at their 48th annual Philadelphia Environmental Partnership Dinner.

* Wolf Administration Recognizes PA's 2 Green Ribbon Schools From Allegheny County

Several members of the Wolf Administration joined environmental and educational advocates at the Capitol Wednesday to honor Mt. Lebanon High School and Wexford Elementary School for being selected by the U.S. Department of Education as 2018 Green Ribbon Schools.

* State, Local Partners Celebrate Wissahickon Forbidden Drive Trail As Trail Of The Year

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday joined Friends of the Wissahickon and City of Philadelphia officials in celebrating designation of Forbidden Drive Trail as Pennsylvania’s 2018 Trail of the Year.

* Amazon Names Stroud Water Research Center's Model My Watershed A City On A Cloud Innovation Challenge Winner

Amazon Web Services has announced Stroud Water Research Center--  a global leader in the advancement of knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems based in Chester County-- is a 2018 winner of the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.

* PA Conservation Heritage WITF Documentary Justice In Chester Now Available Online

Another in the Pennsylvania Conservation Heritage documentary series-- Justice In Chester-- will air on WITF-TV on August 31 at 8:30 p.m. and is now available on WITF’s website.

* Eastern Hellbender STILL Waits For House Action To Name It Official State Symbol Of Clean Water

There are only a few voting days left before the House and Senate recess for the summer, but time enough for the House to take action on Senate Bill 658 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) naming the Eastern Hellbender the official state amphibian and clean water ambassador.

* Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

The following bills of interest saw action last week in the House and Senate-- 

* 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 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--

* Alternative Utility Ratemaking Bill To Encourage Conservation, Infrastructure Investment Goes To Governor

The Senate Friday gave final approval and sent to the Governor House Bill 1782 (Delozier-R- Cumberland) authorizing alternative ratemaking by the Public Utility Commission for utilities it regulates, including electric, natural gas, water and wastewater services.

* Senate Bill Updating Littering, Illegal Dumping Penalties Goes To Governor

The House and Senate passed and sent to the Governor Senate Bill 431 (Scavello-R-Monroe) which would authorize designation of local litter enforcement corridors where fines for littering or illegal dumping can be doubled and tripled.

* House Bill To Limit Eminent Domain Use On Land Protected By Conservation Easements Goes To Governor

The Senate and House Friday passed and sent to the Governor House Bill 2468 limiting the use of eminent domain by government agencies on land with conservation easements for parks and open space purposes.

* House Committee OKs Bills To Fund Natural Gas Service Extensions, Replace Lead Water Service Lines

The House Consumer Affairs Committee amended and reported out House Bill 107 (Godshall-R- Montgomery) providing a new mechanism for natural gas distribution utilities to cover costs of extending natural gas distribution systems.

* Nuclear Energy Caucus: Testimony Highlights Environmental Impacts Of Premature Shutdown Of Nuclear Power Plants

The bipartisan Senate House Nuclear Energy Caucus Tuesday heard from state and national environmental groups on the impacts the pending shut down of nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania could have on meeting air quality standards and carbon-free electricity generation goals.

* Competitive Electricity, Natural Gas Supplier Marketing Topic Of House Consumer Affairs Hearing

The House Consumer Affairs Committee Monday held a hearing on the marketing practices of competitive electricity and natural gas suppliers under Pennsylvania competitive retail energy market act signed into law by Gov. Ridge in 1996.

* Senate Committee OKs Pipeline Eminent Domain Landowner Bill Of Rights Legislation

The Senate Judiciary Committee Monday approved and reported out Senate Bill 1199 (Rafferty-R- Montgomery) providing for a landowners’ bill of rights in cases of eminent domain, including by private entities like pipeline companies.

* House Environmental Committee Again Cancels Meeting On Bill To Implement Governor’s Oil & Gas Well Permitting Reforms

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee again canceled a meeting this week to consider House Bill 2304 (Fritz-R-Susquehanna) which would enact the oil and gas well permitting reforms proposed by Gov. Wolf in January.

* Bill Would Create Commission To Review, Approve Coal, Nuclear Power Plant Closures

Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Allegheny) Tuesday announced he will introduce legislation to create a commission to review the potential adverse impacts of deactivating coal and nuclear power plants before making a decision on whether those plants should close.

* House Adopts Resolution Asking Auditor General To Audit PennVEST Nonpoint Source Program As A Result Of Timber Loan

The House Thursday voted 192 to 0 to adopted House Resolution 948 (Causer-R-Cameron) requesting the Auditor General to do a financial audit of the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority nonpoint source water pollution control program.

* House Recognizes July As Lake Appreciation Month

The House Wednesday adopted House Resolution 990 sponsored by Rep. Park Wentling (R-Crawford) to declare July Lake Appreciation Month.

* Gov. Wolf Requests Federal Disaster Aid For Allegheny, Westmoreland Landslide Damage

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday sent a letter to the President requesting federal disaster aid for Allegheny and Westmoreland counties to help offset the financial burden of the result of severe weather that caused multiple landslides and infrastructure damage during February, March and April.

* Lehigh/Northampton Master Watershed Steward Trainees Complete Training

Penn State Extension Wednesday announced the 2018 Class of Lehigh/Northampton County Master Watershed Stewards completed their 40 hours of training last month.

* Capital RC&D, South Mountain Partnership Invite Ideas On Watershed Programs In Southcentral PA

Recognizing that clean and abundant water is an important resource for human health, the ecosystem, and the economy, Capital RC&D and the South Mountain Partnership recently applied for an received a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network to coordinate a handful of educational workshops and trainings related to watershed health for 2018 and early 2019.

* York County Held First Of 3 Public Meetings On Flooding, Water Pollution Solutions

The York County Planning Commission Thursday held the first of three scheduled public meetings to discuss the scale of flooding and water pollution in the County, along with potential solutions.

* Reminder: Call For Proposals: 2018 Chesapeake Watershed Forum Nov. 2-4 In Shepherdstown, WV

The Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay has issued a call for classroom and field experience proposals for the 2018 Chesapeake Watershed Forum on November 2-4 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  Proposals are due June 25.

* Become A Rain Garden Volunteer In Naylors Watershed, Delaware County

The PA Resources Council invites volunteers to participate in the Naylors Watershed Rain Garden Program in Haverford and Upper Darby Townships In Delaware County.

* PRC: Students Serve As Stream Stewards In Delaware County, Your School May Be Eligible

For the fourth year, the PA Resources Council  and the Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative partnered with local school districts on the Stream Stewards Program.

* Labatt USA Partners With Three Rivers WaterKeeper To Promote Local Water Stewardship In Western PA

Labatt USA Monday announced it will partner with Three Rivers WaterKeeper to further its efforts to protect the water quality of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, and their respective watersheds.

* Partnership For Delaware Estuary Accepting Schuylkill Shots Photo Contest Entries

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Friday announced it is now accepting entries for the Schuylkill Shots Photography Contest from July to August 31.

* Penn State Extension LearnNow Video Discusses Tips For A Healthier Pond

There are thousands of earthen ponds and lakes across Pennsylvania that provide many benefits to homeowners and farmers, but they have their share of problems.

* June Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

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

* Penn State Extension Watershed Winds Newsletter Now Available

The latest edition of the Watershed Winds newsletter is now available from Penn State Extension featuring stories on--

* ORSANCO River Sweep A Success In PA, 400+ Volunteers Picked Up 35 Tons Of Trash

More than 400 volunteers participated in the interstate Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission’s 28th Annual River Sweep this year in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver and Westmoreland counties. Volunteers at 15 cleanup sites, picked up more than 35 tons of trash and more than 55 tires. 

* Vote Now! For Your Favorite 2018 Great American Cleanup Of PA Video

Vote now for your favorite video from the Great American Cleanup of PA on the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Facebook page.  Voting ends on June 27 at 3:00 p.m. 

* Keep PA Beautiful: Start Registering Cleanup Events For International Coastal Cleanup

The International Coastal Cleanup, a global initiative that aims to prevent trash from entering our waterways, will be held from September 1 through October 31. You can now start registering cleanup events or volunteer.

* Summer Newsletter Now Available From PA Resources Council

The Summer newsletter is now available from the PA Resources Council featuring articles on--

* EPA Awards $500,000 Supplemental Funding For Montgomery County Brownfields

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced $500,000 in supplemental funding to Montgomery County to assist with the cleanup of contaminated brownfields properties.

* DEP: West Nile Virus Found In 9 More Counties This Week Bringing Total To 12

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday reported on its West Nile Virus website mosquitoes testing positive for the virus have been found in 9 more counties this week-- Adams, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Dauphin, Franklin, Lehigh, Lycoming and Montour.

* PUC Releases Summer Readiness Reports From Electric Utilities, PA Added 1.247 Gigawatts Of New Electric Generation

The Public Utility Commission Wednesday released the 2018 Summer Readiness Overview reports from the state’s electric distribution companies and the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnection.

* PennDOT: Altoona CNG Transit Fueling Station Opens In Blair County

The Department of Transportation Monday announced the formal opening of service at one of the 29 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling stations planned as part of a Public Private Partnership.

* PUC Invites Comments On Proposed Policy Statement On Alternative Ratemaking

The Public Utility Commission published notice in the June 23 PA Bulletin inviting comments on 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.

* FERC Gives OK For Several Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Projects To Proceed Without Federal Power Licenses, Other Projects Move Forward

Renewable Energy Aggregators [formerly Merchant Hydro Developers, LLC] Wednesday announced the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission disclaimed licensing jurisdiction over three pumped storage hydroelectric projects allowing them to proceed without the need to secure a federal license under the Federal Power Act.

* DEP Blog: Empowering DEP's Interns, Helping Young Falcons Take Flight

By Gilbert Myers, DEP Director Of Environmental Education

* Agriculture To Host A Live Spotted LanternFly Q/A On Facebook June 26

The Department of Agriculture will host a live online Q/A about the Spotted Lanternfly on June 26 at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook.

* Friends of Minsi Lake Need Your Help On Lake Habitat Project In Northampton County

By Jim Wilson, Northampton County Parks & Recreation Division and Secretary, Friends of Minsi Lake

Friends of Minsi Lake recently launched its fundraising campaign for the Minsi Lake Habitat Improvement Project, which will go to construction on the empty frozen lakebed in Northampton County’s Upper Mount Bethel Township next winter.

* Central PA Conservancy Acquires Mountain Tract On Kittatinny Ridge In Cumberland County

The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy Tuesday announced on May 15 it completed purchased arrangements for a 79.4-acre mountain tract between two previously disjointed tracts of State Game Lands #230 in Cumberland County.

* Fish & Boat Commission Accepting Applications For Boating Infrastructure Grants

The Fish and Boat Commission Monday announced it is accepting proposals from interested parties seeking funding under the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program.  Applications are due July 31.

* Applications Now Being Accepted By Fish & Boat Commission For Clean Vessel Act Grants

The Fish and Boat Commission Monday announced it is accepting applications from interested parties seeking funding under the Clean Vessel Act Program. Applications are due September 30.

* Straight Talk: Anglers, Boaters Declare Your Independence, General Assembly Should Act On Fee Bill

By John Arway, Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission

* Op-Ed: Reflections: Practice Good Science, Do The Right Things For The Resource, And Tell The Truth

By John Arway, Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission

* 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.

* 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.

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

Here are highlights of actions taken by agencies on environmental regulations, technical guidance and permits.

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* About PA Environment Digest

PA Environment Digest is edited by David E. Hess, former Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

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