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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
December 24, 2018 Issue #756
* PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Presented With Most Detailed Recommendations Yet

On December 17, the PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee was presented with the most detail recommendations yet from its workgroups on what should be in the plan for cleaning up local streams and rivers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* 2019 PA In The Balance Conference On Farm Conservation Feb. 6-8 Hershey

The Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center and many partners invite you to attend the Pennsylvania in the Balance Conference 2019 at the Hershey Lodge February 6-8 where your ideas can help shape agriculture’s role in the Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan

* Report Urges Strong Action To Protect Delaware River Water Quality

On December 20, Environment America Research & Policy Center and several state partners issued a report and recommendations to address threats to Delaware River watershed water quality.

* Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards Grew To 302 Members, Logged 11,696 Volunteer Hours In 2018

In 2018, the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program grew to 302 dedicated community volunteers that logged 11,696 volunteer hours across the state.

* EQB Approves Nearly $22 Million In Proposed, Final Permit Fee Increases To Offset Cuts In General Fund Appropriations

On December 18, the Environmental Quality Board approved nearly $22 million in proposed increases to Air Quality permit and NPDES and Water Quality permit fee increases and a change to the final noncoal permit fee increase language.

* House Democrats Say More DEP Funding A Priority For 2019-20 Budget

On December 17, House Republican Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor (R-York) and House Democratic Appropriations Chair Matthew Bradford (D-Montgomery) outlined their priorities for the 2019-20 in separate statements.

* Chester County District Attorney Opens Criminal Investigation Into Mariner East Pipeline Construction

On December 19, Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan announced he has opened a criminal investigation into the construction and “not so subtle bullying” of residents in connection with Sunoco’s Mariner East Pipelines.

* PA Joins 8 Other States, D.C. To Develop Regional Program To Cap Greenhouse Gas Pollution From Transportation

On December 18, Pennsylvania and a coalition of 8 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia announced the formation of a regional Transportation and Climate Initiative and their intent to design a new regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels, and invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.

* Chairman Gladys Brown Highlights 2018 PUC Accomplishments, Programs

On December 20, the Public Utility Commission fulfilled a longstanding custom of the Commission in highlighting some of the agency’s major accomplishments over the past year.

* EPA Approves DEP Request To Eliminate 7.8 RVP Gasoline In Pittsburgh Region Which Increased Summer Gasoline Prices Up To 15 Cents/Gallon

On December 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection published a notice in the Federal Register formally approving DEP’s request to eliminate the mandate for 7.8 Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline in the Pittsburgh Region.

* Tri-County CleanWays In Butler, Lawrence, Mercer Counties Celebrates 25 Years Of Keeping PA Beautiful

On December 18, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful congratulated local affiliate, Tri-County CleanWays serving Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties for 25 years of keeping Pennsylvania Beautiful.

* Environmental Council Of The States Names Don Welsh Executive Director

On December 17, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), the national nonprofit, nonpartisan association of state and territorial environmental commissioners, formally announced the selection of Donald S. Welsh as Executive Director.

* House/Senate 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--

* Wolf Announces Staff Changes At Administration, PEMA, Policy & Planning

On December 21, Gov. Wolf announced several changes to his cabinet and immediate staff--

* Senate, House Appropriations Committees Complete Agency Budget Hearing Schedule

On December 18, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its agency by agency budget hearing schedule, one week after the House.  The combined schedule follows for general budget, environmental and energy-related programs--

* Congress Failed To Reauthorize Federal Land And Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. Senate passed a measure December 19 to keep the federal government funded until February, but failed to include a public lands package that would have reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund in that bill.

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness Applaud Addition Of New National Wilderness Areas Included Federal Farm Bill

On December 21, Friends of Allegheny Wilderness applauded the addition of 20,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest as wilderness in Tennessee as a result of President Trump’s signature on the 2018 federal Farm Bill.

* Last Minute Vote In Congress Extends National Flood Insurance Program Until May 31

On December 21, the U.S. House voted to extend the National Flood Insurance Program through May 31.  The program was set to expire at midnight on December 21.

* Register Now! PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation/National Abandoned Mine Lands Program Conference, Scholarships Available

Registration is now open for the combined 2019 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation and National Abandoned Mine Lands Program Conference in Pittsburgh on September 8-11.

* DEP Announces $1.6 Million Grant For Farm Conservation Projects In Centre County

On December 18, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of a $1.6 million grant to the Centre County Conservation District to implement stream restoration and riparian buffers at four agricultural sites in Centre County.

* DEP Announces $1 Million+ Grants For Stream Restoration Projects In York County

On December 19, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of two grants totaling over $1 million for stream restoration projects in York County to improve water quality.

* Earth Conservancy Awarded $500,000 DEP Grant For 1,900 Feet Of Riparian Buffer Along Espy Run In Luzerne County

On December 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of a $500,000 grant to the Earth Conservancy for the Espy Run stream restoration project in Hanover Township, Luzerne County.

* CBF-PA Accepting Sign Ups For PA Student Action & Restoration Program

Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA is now accepting teacher and student sign-ups for a PA Student Action and Restoration Program in 2019.

* EPA Awards $1.1 Million To Chesapeake Conservancy To Track Environmental Impacts Of Land Use In Bay Watershed

On December 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has awarded $1,080,000 to the Chesapeake Conservancy so that it can update and improve land use data critical to Chesapeake Bay Restoration.

* Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Awards Stormwater Fee Credits To Those Adopting Measures To Reduce Stormwater Pollution

The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority has established a program to give property owners credit of up to 30 percent of their stormwater pollution reduction fees if they adopt best management practices to eliminate or reduce stormwater pollution coming from their property.

* Pittsburgh Water Authority OKs Funding For 3 Green Infrastructure Projects

On December 14, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Board of Directors approved three critical funding for several neighborhood-based sewer and stormwater infrastructure improvement projects.

* Western PA Conservancy: TreeVitalize Pittsburgh Accepting Applications For Community Tree Plantings In Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

On December 19, Western PA Conservancy’s TreeVitalize Pittsburgh program announced they are now accepting applications for 2019 Community Tree Planting Grants.  The deadline for applications is March 15.

* Mehoopany Creek Watershed Group Awarded $471,276 DEP Grant For Stream Restoration Project In Wyoming County

On December 21, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of a $471,276 grant to Mehoopany Creek Watershed Restoration, Inc. for the Mehoopany Creek Rogers Hollow Stream Restoration Project in Wyoming County.

* Wissahickon Valley Watershed Assn. Receives $100,000 Grant For Green Stormwater Infrastructure Outreach Project

On December 21, the Department of Environmental Resources announced the award of a $100,000 grant to the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association in Montgomery County for a green stormwater infrastructure outreach project

* Call For Presenters: 2019 PA Groundwater Symposium May 1 In State College

Penn State Extension, Master Well Owner Network and the Department of Environmental Protection have issued a call for presentation proposals for the 2019 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium, to be held May 1 in State College.  The deadline for proposals is February 1.

* Nominations Now Being Accepted For Philadelphia Area Green Stormwater Infrastructure Awards

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners are now accepting nominations for the 2019 Green Stormwater Infrastructure Awards.  The deadline for nominations is February 15.

* New U.S.G.S. Dataset On Bankfull Discharge & Channel Geometry Now Available In StreamStats

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bradford County Conservation District, recently released a new report and dataset on bankfull stream discharge and channel geometry for glaciated and nonglaciated settings in Pennsylvania that are now available in StreamStats.

* Penn State Extension Begins 5-Part Land Use Webinar Series Jan. 16

Penn State Extension will host a 5-part Land Use Webinar Series from January 16 to May 15 to provide monthly in-depth presentations on land-use topics affecting the communities of Pennsylvania.

* EQB Publishes Final Regulation Updating Aboveground, Underground Storage Tank Regulations

The Environmental Quality Board published notice in the December 22 PA Bulletin (page 7875) of final changes to the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Program regulations covering aboveground and underground storage tanks.  It is the first comprehensive update to the tank regulations in 10 years.

* Illegal Trash Bag Dumper Fined In Reading With Help Of Keep PA Beautiful Camera Loan Program

On December 19, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced Wilfredo Soto Torres (age 56) was cited by City of Reading police officer Devin Hasenauer for illegally dumping a large number of black plastic bags on September 24 with the help of KPB’s  Surveillance Camera Loan Program

* DEP Approves Shell Falcon Ethane Pipeline Permits In Allegheny, Beaver, Washington Counties

On December 20, the Department of Environmental Protection approved permit applications for the Shell Pipeline Company Falcon Ethane Pipeline Project proposed to run through Washington, Allegheny, and Beaver counties.

* DEP Invites Comments On Water Quality Certification For Proposed UGI Liquefied Natural Gas Truck Loading Facility In Berks County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 22 PA Bulletin inviting public comments on a Section 401 Water Quality Certification for a proposed UGI liquefied natural gas truck loading facility at 5665 Leesport Avenue, Reading, Ontelaunee Township, Berks County.

* 2 Natural Gas Power Plants Beginning Operations In Westmoreland, York Counties Have Combined Generating Capacity Of 1.7 Gigawatts

On December 21, the 940-MW Tenaska natural gas power plant in Westmoreland County began operations and Calpine’s 828-MW York 2 Energy Center natural gas power plant began start up operations in York County.

* Report: Investment In Natural Gas Pipelines, Infrastructure To Remain Strong Through 2035

On December 20, Penn State Extension summarized the findings of a recent Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Foundation report on natural gas infrastructure saying strong investment in pipelines and other infrastructure will continue through 2035.

* PUC Approves PECO Rate Settlement With Pilot Program For Fast-Charging Stations For Electric Vehicles

On December 20, the Public Utility Commission approved a partial settlement involving PECO Energy Company and various other parties that includes a pilot project to encourage installation of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles.

* Op-Ed: Conservatives Should Lead The Way On Clean Energy That Creates Jobs, Prosperity

By Jim Cawley, Former Lt. Governor Of Pennsylvania

* Harrisburg University Distinguished Speaker Series On Climate Disruption, Sustainable Development

On December 18, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology announced it will host a series of six public lectures in 2019-- from January through May-- featuring thought leaders who will speak on a variety of topics related to climate disruption and sustainable development.

* PUC Looks To Clarify Procedures For Electric Supplier Shopping Under Utility Customer Assistance Programs

On December 20, the Public Utility Commission approved a motion from Commissioner David W. Sweet seeking to provide more uniform retail electric shopping standards for customers participating in electric distribution companies’ (EDCs) Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs).  CAPs are intended to provide eligible low-income customers with lower monthly payments and arrearage forgiveness.

* Pennsylvania State Parks, Forests Offering Visitors A Winter Playground

With the official arrival of winter on December 21, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn is reminding outdoor enthusiasts Pennsylvania’s state forest and park systems again are rolling out the welcome mat for winter visitors intent on enjoying cold-weather, outdoor fun.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Hosts Jan. 19 Schisler Museum Naturalist Hike At East Stroudsburg U., Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association will host a January 19 Naturalist's "Hike" through the Schisler Museum of Wildlife and Natural History at East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, Monroe County as part of its Get Outdoors Poconos and Water Wiser Kids series.

* Game Commission, Conservation Fund, Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Partnership Conserves 752 Acres In Sullivan County

On December 19, the Game Commission and The Conservation Fund announced the purchase and preservation of 752 acres of forestland near Red Rock in Sullivan County.

* New Central PA Conservancy Land Acquisition Connects Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area, Local Park In Dauphin County

On December 20, the Central PA Conservancy announced funds had been secured to complete the acquisition of the 5-parcel Spangler properties on the Kittatinny Ridge immediately north of Harrisburg to connect the Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area with Hocker Park in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County.

* DCNR Publishes Final Changes To PA Native Wild Plant Regulations

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published final changes to the Conservation of Pennsylvania Native Wild Plant regulations in the December 22 PA Bulletin (page 7757).  The changes finalize the updated list of wild plants that are endangered, threatened or rare regulated under the Wild Resource Conservation Act.

* York County Master Gardeners Hold GardenWise Native Plants, Ecosystems Gardening Session March 9

The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners Of York County host a GardenWise education program March 9 at the Central York Middle School, 1950 N. Hills Road, in York from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

* David W. Sweet To Serve As Vice Chairman Of Public Utility Commission

On December 20, Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys M. Brown announced the Commissioners’ selection of David W. Sweet as Vice Chairman effective Jan. 1.

* 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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* 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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