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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
December 17, 2018 Issue #755
* High School Students Determined To Continue Efforts To Have PA Recognize Eastern Hellbenders

By B.J. Small, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA

* EPA Names Dana Aunkst Director Of Chesapeake Bay Program

On December 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of former DEP Deputy Secretary Dana Aunkst as the new Director of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program.

* PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Meets Dec. 17

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee is scheduled to meet on December 17 and are likely to discuss a more refined set of workgroup recommendations for strategies to achieve watershed cleanup goals in Pennsylvania.

* DCNR, PennVEST Award Nearly $1 Million In Grants To Support Multi-Functional Stream Buffers

On December 10, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced the award of nearly $1 million in grants to support the planting of multi-functional stream buffers.

* PUC Judge Denies Petition For Emergency Order To Shutdown Interim Plan To Ship Natural Gas Liquids Through Mariner East Pipelines

On December 11, Public Utility Commission Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes denied a petition by residents of Chester and Delaware counties to prevent the operation of a interim “workaround” that would start the shipment of natural gas liquids through the 1930s era Mariner East 1 and other pipelines until the Mariner East 2 Pipeline is finished.

* PUC Enforcement Bureau Proposes $225,000 Penalty For 2017 Ethane/Propane Leak From Mariner East 1 Pipeline In Berks County

On December 13, the PUC’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement proposed a $225,000 penalty for violations of federal pipeline safety regulations resulting from an April 1, 2017 leak of 840 gallons of ethane and propane from Sunoco’s Mariner East 1 Pipeline near Morgantown in Berks County.

* Draft DEP Proposal To Cut Gas Well Methane Emissions Exempts Most Conventional Gas Wells Accounting For 50% Or More Of Methane Pollution

On December 13, DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee discussed a draft regulation outline to set limits on volatile organic compound emissions-- with the “co-benefit” of reducing methane emissions-- from existing gas well sites, pumps, storage and other equipment at oil and gas facilities.

* U.S. Postal Service 2019 Forever Stamp Series Features PA’s Clarion River

The U.S. Postal Service announced its upcoming 2019 Forever Stamp Series, which will feature wild and scenic rivers across the country -- including Pennsylvania’s Clarion River.

* New Report: Outdoor Recreation Is A Bigger Economic Powerhouse Than Construction In PA

On December 10, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership released a new economic study that found outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania, including hunting and fishing, generated $26.9 billion in 2016-- that’s $2.2 billion more than the construction industry.

* Agriculture: Businesses Urged To Get Spotted Lanternfly Permits, Inspections Start In May

On December 12, the Department of Agriculture encouraged businesses to obtain the required Spotted Lanternfly permit to ensure they are complying with the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine orders.

* Bob & Jane Slagter Of Warren County Recognized As Outstanding PA Tree Farmers Of The Year

By Maureen Burnham, PA Forestry Association

* Sen. Yudichak, Cong. Barletta, Author Caroline Jones Celebrate The Launch Of We Saved The Bees And The Butterflies Children's Book

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) and local author Caroline Jones celebrated the launch of their children’s book, We Saved the Bees and the Butterflies at the Barnes and Noble in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

* DEP Posts 2019 Advisory Committee, Board Meeting Schedules

The Department of Environmental Protection published the 2019 advisory committee, certification and rulemaking and other board meeting schedules and agency contacts in the December 15 PA Bulletin (page 7708).  The committees include--

* Senate/House Co-Sponsor Memos/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 Appropriations Committee Sets Budget Hearing Schedule

The House Appropriations Committee budget hearing schedule is now available. The schedule follows for general budget, environmental and energy-related programs--

* Farm, Conservation Groups Say New Federal Farm Bill Has Victories, But Serious Cuts To Farm Conservation

Congress gave final approval to the 2018 federal Farm Bill that groups like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation say contains wins for ag conservation, but it also contains “serious shortcomings.”  The President is expected to sign the bill.

* Federal Flood Recovery Aid Available In 26 Counties Following Record Summer Rains

On December 12, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved his request to declare a disaster in Bradford, Columbia, Delaware, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Susquehanna counties after significant flood damage to homes and businesses was sustained from severe storms between August 10–15.

* EPA, Army Corps Propose New Waters Of U.S. Definition

On December 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers proposed to change the definition of “waters of the United States” to clarify federal authority under the federal Clean Water Act.

* Spotlight: How Floodplain Restoration Can Impact Stream Temperature In Restored Watershed Systems

The LandStudies’ project along Kurtz Run in Lancaster County shows promise as an example of how floodplain restoration can result in improvement of hyporheic exchange within the system and how that improvement can benefit the health of the system.

* Audubon Society Of Western PA Seeking Public Input On Buffalo Creek Watershed Conservation Plan Update In Armstrong, Butler Counties

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania is working with local partners and residents in Butler and Armstrong counties to conduct a 10-year update to the Buffalo Creek Watershed Conservation Plan.

* Small Farms, Big Impact Grant Applications Now Being Accepted To Help Small Sustainable Farms

Small farms and agricultural nonprofits looking to fund environmental sustainability projects to reduce water and power use, increase pollinators, improve soil health, promote natural pest control, or extend their growing season can now apply at no cost for a 2019 Small Farms, Big Impact Grant from The FruitGuys Community Fund.

* DEP Posts 2019 Schedule For Sewage Enforcement Officer Examinations

The State Board for Certification of Sewage Enforcement Officers published notice in the December 15 PA Bulletin announcing the 2019 examination scheduled for local sewage enforcement officers.

* NOAA Now Accepting Applications For Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education & Training (B-WET) Grants

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office is now accepting applications for FY19 Chesapeake Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program. A total of roughly $700,000, subject to appropriations, may be available to fund three to seven new projects.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Urges Feds To Provide Funding For Flood Warning System

At its December 6 meeting, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission  adopted a resolution urging the federal government to provide its fair share of financial support to the National Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program which provides the data used by the Susquehanna Flood Warning System.

* DEP Reports On 2017-18 Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program Actions At 273 Sites In PA

On December 11, the Department of Environmental Protection posted an online FY 2017-18 annual report for the state Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program, Land Recycling, and other waste site remediation programs highlighting actions taken under the programs.

* KPB: Two Men Cited In Crackdown On Illegal Dumping In Arnold, Westmoreland County

On December 14, Keep PA Beautiful announced two individuals were cited for illegal dumping by the City of Arnold in Westmoreland County with the help of its Surveillance Camera Loan Program.

* PA Resources Council, Partners Host True Zero Waste Symposium Feb. 21 In Pittsburgh

The PA Resources Council, Zero Waste Pennsylvania and the Green Building Alliance will host the True Zero Waste Symposium for businesses or institutions on February 21 in Pittsburgh from 8:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

* EPA Recognizes 3 Organizations In PA With 2018 Food Recovery Challenge Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently recognized the Philadelphia Department of Prisons with a national award from the 2018 Food Recovery Challenge Program and gave regional awards to Giant Foods Stores and the University of Pittsburgh.

* Anthracite Heritage Foundation, King's College, Partners Celebrate Anthracite Mining Heritage Month In January

A regional observance of Anthracite Mining Heritage Month will take place during January featuring programs in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Port Griffith, Plymouth, Dallas, Wyoming, and Ashley. 

* Penn State Ground And Stream Water Research Reveals Clues To Shale Drilling Impacts

By Matthew Carroll, Penn State News

* DCED, DEP, Local Partners Hold Groundbreaking For New Solar Energy Array In Bedford County

On December 12, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin and Department of Environmental Protection Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh joined local leaders to break ground on a new solar array in Bedford, Bedford County.

* Emerging Erie 2030 District Energy Efficiency Workshop Dec. 20

The Emerging Erie 2030 District will host an Energy Efficiency Workshop on December 20 at the UPMC Hamot Magee Women’s Hospital at 118 East 2nd Street in Erie from 3:00 to 4:30.

* DCNR Blog: Understanding Climate Change In Pennsylvania

Although climate change may be more evident in some places, such as the Arctic, no place is considered immune to its effects.

* Pennsylvania Geological Information Available To Public In Many Forms

Did you know the Pennsylvania Geological Survey has an extensive library at the office in Middletown? It continues to add to its collection, which is open to the public for use.

* Pennsylvania Acts To Preserve 28 More Farms, Nearly 2,000 Acres

On December 13, the PA Agricultural Land Preservation Board took action to preserve 1,974 additional acres on 28 farms in 14 counties through the state’s nation-leading farmland preservation program. 

* Foundation For Sustainable Forests’ Loving The Land Series - Carmen & Kathy Testi, Erie County

By Ellis Giacomelli

* Western PA Conservancy Conserve Magazine Celebrates 125th Anniversary Of State Parks & Forests

The Winter issue of the Conserve magazine published by the Western PA Conservancy celebrates the 125th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests featuring articles on--

* DCNR Awards Grants To Support ATV Trails In Clarion & Jefferson, Northumberland Counties

On December 11, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the award of nearly $100,000 in grants to support two ATV trail riding projects.  The projects are in these counties--

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians - Robert Schiffbauer, Township Supervisor In Fayette County

The following Good Natured Pennsylvanians article appeared in the December 13 DCNR Resource newsletter.

* Pike County Tick Borne Disease Task Force Has Donated Supply Of Tick Keys Available For Public

The Pike County Tick Borne Diseases Task Force recently received a gift of 100 tick keys from the Hemlock Farms Conservancy.

* Foundation For Sustainable Forests, French Creek Valley Conservancy Host Woods & Waters Film Series Jan. 11, Feb. 22

Gather on a winter’s night for warm community and great films by joining the Foundation For Sustainable Forests and the French Creek Valley Conservancy at the Woods & Waters Film Series.  The dates include--

* Conservation Partners, Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Funds Protect 77 Acres In Berks County

On December 10, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, The Conservation Fund, Berks Nature, and the Game Commission have partnered to conserve vital acreage for migratory birds, announcing plans to protect and improve more than 77 acres of farmland located in the shadow of the Kittatinny Ridge in Berks County.

* Penn State, ClearWater Conservancy Partner To Conserve Musser Gap Property In Centre County

On December 11, Penn State President Eric Barron announced the University is investigating ways to conserve land it owns roughly between Whitehall Road and Rothrock State Forest at Musser Gap, in Ferguson Township just outside of the University Park campus in Centre County.

* PA Land Trust Invites Comments On Model Conservation Easement Language

As a result of recent litigation, the PA Land Trust Association is inviting comments on proposed changes to a section of the Model Grant Of Conservation Easement and Declaration of Covenants language.

* Dec. 13 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The December 13 Resource newsletter from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is now available featuring articles on--

* Op-Ed: Reflecting On 12 Years Of Service On The Fish & Boat Commission Board

By Len Lichvar, Former District 4 Commissioner

* Appalachian Audubon Society Chapter Accepting Hog Island Youth Education Program Scholarship Applications

The Harrisburg-based Appalachian Audubon Society Chapter is now accepting applications for scholarships for the summer Hog Island Youth Coastal Maine Bird Studies Program for students ages 14 to 17.  The deadline for applications is January 25.

* In Memoriam: John Waffenschmidt, Covanta, Leader On Environmental Justice Issues

John G. Waffenschmidt, 63, Vice President of Environmental Science and Community Affairs for Covanta passed away on December 5 at this home in Blauvelt, NY.

* New Leadership On PA Parks & Forest Foundation Board Of Directors

On December 12, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation announced new leadership on its Board of Directors with Brad Mallory serving as Chairman; Tina Molski, Vice-Chair; Jim Grace, Treasurer; and Mary Soderberg, Secretary.

* Help Wanted: Londonderry Twp, Dauphin County MS4 Stormwater Environmental Specialist

Londonderry Township in Dauphin County is seeking qualified candidates to fill a MS4 Environmental Specialist position to manage its MS4 Stormwater Pollution Reduction Program.  Click Here for a detailed job description and how to apply.  Deadline for applications November 30.

* Help Wanted: PA Governor’s Invasive Species Council Coordinator

The Department of Agriculture is seeking qualified candidates for a Plant Inspection Program Specialist Position which will serve as the PA Governor’s Invasive Species Council Coordinator.

* 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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Send your stories, photos and links to videos about your project, environmental issues or programs for publication in the PA Environment Digest to:

* Sponsor: 2019 PA/National Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference

PA Environment Digest is proud to be a sponsor of the 2019 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation and National Abandoned Mine Lands Program Conference to be held in Pittsburgh on September 8-11.

* 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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