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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
February 11, 2019 Issue #763
(2/11/2019)
* Gov. Wolf Proposes To Shift $75.7 Million From Environmental Funds To Pay Agency Operating Expenses Instead Of Funding Community-Based Projects

On February 5, Gov. Tom Wolf outlined his 2019-20 budget proposal that included major workforce development and education initiatives he said would build the strongest workforce in the nation. 

* CBF-PA Sees 2019-20 State Budget As Key To Meeting Pennsylvania's Clean Water Commitments

On February 5, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA issued the following statement from Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell, in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s FY 2019-20 budget proposal--

* WPCAMR Abandoned Mine Post: Growing Greener May Lose From Governor's Proposed Budget

By Andy McAllister, Western PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation

* Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Urges Support For INCREASED Funding For Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Fund

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is urging hunters and anglers to show their support for clean water and restoring Pennsylvania's rivers and streams by contacting their elected state officials to support increased funding for the Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Fund.

* House Appropriations Committee Holds DEP, DCNR Budget Hearings Feb. 14

The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold budget hearings on February 14 for the departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources.

* DEP Puts Indefinite Hold On Reviewing Permits For All Energy Transfer/Sunoco Pipeline Projects In PA

On February 8, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has suspended all reviews of clean water permit applications and other pending approvals associated with Energy Transfer/Sunoco and subsidiaries’ pipeline projects until further notice due to non-compliance with an order related to the Revolution pipeline explosion in Beaver County in September.

* Gov. Wolf: Urges General Assembly To Fill Gaps In State Regulation Of Pipelines

On February 8, Tom Wolf released the following statement in response to the Department of Environmental Protection’s suspension of review of all clean water permit applications and other pending approvals associated with the Energy Transfer, L.P., Sunoco and other subsidiaries until further notice due to non-compliance:

* After 10 Days, Pressure Problem From Fracking Utica Gas Well In Westmoreland County Said To Be Under Control

On February 2, Anya Litvak of the Post-Gazette reported a CNX Resources Corp Utica Shale gas well in Washington Township, Westmoreland County experienced a pressure problem on January 26 during fracking operations.  An obstruction was found in the well after it stopped fracking.

* Sen. Aument, Rep. Mehaffie Circulate Co-Sponsor Memos On Bill To Update The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards To Help Save Nuclear Power Plants

On February 4, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and Rep. Thomas Mehaffie (R-Dauphin), and other members of the Senate-House Nuclear Energy Caucus, began circulating a co-sponsor memo asking their colleagues to sponsor legislation to update the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act to recognize nuclear energy for its significant contribution to this state’s zero-carbon energy production.

* PUC Approves 13 Percent Increase In Pittsburgh Water Authority Rates To Improve Infrastructure, Operations

On February 7, the Public Utility Commission voted to approve a joint settlement which includes a 13 percent increase in water and wastewater service rates for the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority.

* NRDC: In PUC Rate Agreement, Pittsburgh Agrees To Terms For Tackling Its Lead Contaminated Water

 On February 7, the Public Utility Commission voted to approve a joint settlement which includes a 13 percent increase in water and wastewater service rates for the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer AuthorityClick Here for more.

* CANCELED-PA PFAS Action Team Meets Feb. 12 In Montgomery County To Provide Updates, Hear Public Comments

[CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER, WILL BE RESCHEDULED.] The PFAS Action Team will hold a public meeting on February 12 from 6:15-9:00 p.m. at the Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington, Montgomery County.

* EPA Accepting Grant Applications For Help To Develop Plan To Offset Lack Of Sediment Trapping Capacity At Conowingo Dam

On February 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for organizations to help develop a Watershed Implementation Plan that will reduce nitrogen by 6 million pounds to offset the loss of sediment trapping capacity by the Conowingo Dam.

* House State Government Committee OKs Bill Recognizing Eastern Hellbender Sending It To Full House For Action

On February 6, the House State Government Committee voted 24 to 1 to approve and report out Senate Bill 9 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) designating the Eastern Hellbender as the state amphibian and clean water ambassador (sponsor summary).

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Honors 2019 Award Winners

On February 8, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation announced the winners of its 2019 awards

* DCNR Blog: Stories Of Black History In PA State Parks, Forests

The historical significance of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests is vast. The events that took place on these lands, the notable figures associated with the areas, and the communities that formed in them are documented in educational displays, public events, webpages, and for some, their name.

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Noah Lewis 16th Century Reenactor

Compared to most people, Noah Lewis dresses differently when he goes to work. Where many people wear work pants, dress slacks, or a nice blouse, Noah adorns his 16th century regimental coat and feathered cap.

* 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--

* Senate, House Democratic Policy Committees Hear Testimony On Improving Air Quality In Allegheny County

On February 7, an overflow crowd of steel workers and concerned citizens attended and gave testimony to a joint Senate and House Democratic Policy Committees’ hearing on ways to improve air quality, community notification procedures and emergency response in Allegheny County..

* Senate Game & Fisheries Committee Reports Out Bill Authorizing Sunday Hunting

On February 5, the Senate Game & Fisheries Committee amended and approved legislation authorizing the Game Commission to allow Sunday hunting by a vote of 8 to 3, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie), Majority Chair of the Committee and prime sponsor of the bill.

* February Newsletter Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

The February newsletter from the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee is now available featuring articles on--

* Bipartisan Bill Introduced In Congress To Support Chronic Wasting Disease Research

On February 7, new bipartisan legislation would require the study of chronic wasting disease-- a debilitating illness that afflicts and can kill deer, elk and moose-- and its transmission.

* The Nature Conservancy: U.S. Senate Takes First Steps Toward Reauthorizing Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund

The Nature Conservancy reported February 5 the U.S. Senate voted 99-1 in a preliminary action to reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund as part of a larger public lands package in Senate 47.

* Defend Our Future Student Leaders, Elected Officials In Philadelphia Push For Continued Reduction Of Mercury Pollution, Oppose Federal Rollback

On February 7, Philadelphia City Council members Blondell Reynolds Brown, Derek Green, Helen Gym, and State Rep Malcolm Kenyatta join Defend Our Future’s student leaders in opposition to the proposed federal rollbacks of Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) at a press conference in City Hall ahead of a successful vote on a City Council resolution in support of the environmental and public health safeguards.

* Appalachian Regional Commission Accepting Applications For POWER Workforce, Economic Revitalization Grants

The federal Appalachian Regional Commission is now accepting applications for the POWER Workforce and Economic Revitalization Grant Program.  Applications are due April 10.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Will Review Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, Small Business Ombudsman Programs Feb. 19

On February 19, the DEP Citizens Advisory Council will hear presentations on the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and DEP’s Small Business Ombudsman Program.

* Groups Put Keep PA Beautiful, Anheuser-Busch Mini-Watershed Grants To Good Use

On February 6, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful and Anheuser Busch announced the award of 20 mini-grants of up to $500 each to groups in 16 counties to support  volunteer initiatives ranging from river cleanups to invasive species removal.

* DEP, Partners Host Weathering The Storm Workshops On Understanding Stormwater Runoff In Lebanon, Harrisburg, Williamsport

On February 6, the Department of Environmental Protection announced a series of Weathering The Storm, Understanding Stormwater Runoff Workshops with local partners in Lebanon, Harrisburg and Williamsport.

* York Conservation District Writing Your Own Manure Management Plan Workshop March 1

The York County Conservation District will host a Writing Your Own Manure Management Plan Workshop on March 1 at the York County Annex Building, 118 Pleasant Acres Road in York from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Manure Injection Offers Hope, Challenge For Restoring Chesapeake Bay Water Quality

By Jeff Mulhollem, Penn State News

* Monroe Master Watershed Stewards Hold Info Session On Feb. 9 In Stroudsburg

The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards in Monroe County will hold an information session on February 9 for volunteers with an interest in the environment, a willingness to learn more and most importantly, a strong desire to make a difference in the community.

* Feb. 17 Info Session On Master Watershed Stewards Program In Chester, Delaware Counties

The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards in Chester and Delaware counties are looking for volunteers with an interest in the environment, a willingness to learn more and most importantly, a strong desire to make a difference in the community.

* Lehigh Valley Sustainability Network Hosts Regional Water We Share Forum Feb. 28 In Bethlehem

The Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, PennFuture, and the Lehigh Valley Sustainability Network are hosting a regional community forum-- The Water We Share: Protecting Water Quality in Bethlehem on February 28.

* Your Feedback Wanted On The Datashed.org Water Quality Information Website

The nonprofit Stream Restoration, Inc. is looking for comments and suggestions on its Datashed.org website that contains water quality and other information on mine drainage treatment systems across the state.

* February Catalyst Newsletter Now Available From Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition

The February issue of The Catalyst newsletter is now available from the Butler County-based  Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition featuring articles on--

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Reflections On A Changing Climate Program March 3 In Monroe County

What’s the difference between weather and climate? And if the planet is warming, why is it so cold?  Get the answers to these and many more questions during “Reflections on a Changing Climate,” a free event on March 3, hosted by Brodhead Watershed Association in Monroe County.

* Call For Presentations: 7th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum Oct. 16-17 Allentown

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is now accepting proposals for breakout sessions and workshops for the 7th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum. The deadline for submissions is April 12.

* Pennsylvania Sea Grant: Lake Erie Shipboard Science Workshop For Teachers Now Accepting Applications

The Pennsylvania Sea Grant Program announced applications for the July 8-14 Lake Erie Shipboard Science Workshop for Teachers are now being accepted.  The deadline for applications is February 28.

* Erie Times-News Connect With Your Environment, Teacher Curriculum Guide Now Available

The latest issue of Connect With Your Environment in the Erie Times-News is now available.   This edition focuses on How To Be A Waste-Watcher.

* DEP Approves Report On 2017 Slope Failure At Advanced Disposal Services Greentree Landfill In Elk County

On February 4, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has approved Advanced Disposal Services Greentree Landfill, LLC’sRoot Cause Report” detailing Advanced Disposal’s investigation and conclusion regarding the cause of the slope failure on February 8, 2017, at the Greentree Landfill in Kersey, Elk County.

* DEP To Host March 5 Meeting On Proposed Elcon Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage Facility In Bucks County

On February 6, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it will host a March 5 public meeting regarding Elcon Recycling Services, LLC’s proposed plans to construct and operate a hazardous waste treatment and storage facility to treat and store liquid waste at the Keystone Industrial Port Complex in Falls Township, Bucks County.

* Registration Now Open! Professional Recyclers Of PA Recycling & Organics Conference July 24-26

The Professional Recyclers of PA are now accepting registrations for the 29th Annual Recycling and Organics Conference to be held July 24-26 at the Central Hotel and Conference Center, 800 East Park Drive in Harrisburg.

* Kroger Company Accepting Applications For $1 Million In Food Waste Reduction Grants

On February 5, The Kroger Co. announced the launch of the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund and its first open call to support the company's bold and ambitious plan designed to end hunger in its communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.

* DEP: Wayne Memorial Health System To Pay $15,600 Penalty Over High X-Ray Radiation Levels

On February 4, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has reached an agreement with Wayne Memorial Health System, Inc. in Honesdale, Wayne County on a $15,600 civil penalty for violations relating to radiation sensors on a system-owned X-ray unit.

* Register Now For Clean Air Council Run For Clean Air In Philadelphia April 20

Since 1981, the Clean Air Council has held the Run for Clean Air in Philadelphia to celebrate Earth Day. This year's run will be held on April 20.

* DEP Orders Erie (Coal) Coke Corp. To Submit Control Plan To Resolve Online Air Quality Violations

On February 4, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has ordered Erie Coke Corporation to address ongoing violations of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act at Erie Coke’s coke production facility in the City of Erie. 

* Air Quality Action Day Alert Issued For 20 Pennsylvania Counties Early Last Week

On February 4, the Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) on Monday, February 4, 2019 for the following counties: Allegheny, Butler, Westmoreland, Armstrong, Fayette, Beaver, Washington, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, York, Lebanon, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester.

* CANCELED-UC Underground Utility Line, Pipeline Damage Prevention Committee Meets Feb. 12

[CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER. Next scheduled meeting March 12.] On February 8, the Public Utility Commission announced the underground utility line and pipeline Damage Prevention Committee will meet on February 12 in Hearing Room 1 of the Keystone Building in Harrisburg starting at 9:00.

* PennTAP Hosts A Series Of Webinars, Workshops For Businesses On Energy, Sustainability Tools To Reduce Costs

The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program will offer a series of webinars and workshops for businesses on a variety of energy, environmental and sustainable tools geared toward reducing costs.  The schedule includes--

* Penn State University, Lightsource BP To Develop 70 MW Solar Energy Generation Facility On 500 Acres In Franklin County

On February 5, Penn State University and Lightsource BP announced the development of 70 megawatts of large-scale offsite solar to support the University's Strategic Plan, which cites stewardship of the planet's resources as a key priority.

* Exelon: PA Nuclear Plants Operate At Full Power During Record-Breaking Polar Vortex; PJM Reported No Major Problems

On February 4, Exelon Generation reported its Pennsylvania nuclear plants operated at full power, producing enough electricity to keep five million homes and businesses safe and warm during the recent polar vortex. 

* New Poll: Republicans And Democrats Tend To Agree On Climate Change

By Tony Guerrieri, Executive Director, Joint Conservation Committee

* Who Saved Room For Pie? Jennings Environmental Ed Center Cherry Pie Hike Feb. 23 In Butler County

Come enjoy a taste of history and a taste of pie at the same time! February 23rd is the day to dress warmly and come to Jennings Environmental Education Center in Butler County for a special event which combines the annual "Cherry Pie Hike" and "Washington's Trail Hike.”

* Making The Most Of Your Piece Of Nature: A Sustainable Backyard Workshop March 16 In Westmoreland County

The DCNR Bureau of Forestry will present a Making The Most Of Your Piece Of Nature: A Sustainable Backyard Workshop on March 16 at Franklin Regional Senior High School, 3200 School Road in Murrysville, Westmoreland County from 8:30 to 12:30.

* 17 In-Person Tree Tender Training Classes Being Offered For Volunteers In Pittsburgh, Southeast PA

Tree Pittsburgh and the PA Horticultural Society will be holding tree tender training for volunteers in Allegheny and Southeast PA.  The sessions will be held--

* Penn State Extension Offers Free Online Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training For Businesses

Penn State Extension is now offering an online Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training For Business Program to teach businesses best practices to stop its spread.

* Prairie Improvement Day At Jennings Environmental Center A Success In Butler County

The 19th annual Prairie Improvement Day was held on Saturday, January 19th at Jennings Environmental Education Center in Butler County.

* Feb. 6 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The February 6 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring stories on--

* Allegheny Land Trust Posts Record Year For Conservation Protecting 411 Acres Of Green Space

The completion of several conservation acquisitions in early January wrapped-up an extremely active year for Allegheny Land Trust.

* Fish & Boat Commission Warns Of Rapidly Changing Ice Conditions

On February 7, the Fish and Boat Commission cautioned ice anglers and others that changing weather conditions can affect the stability of ice on lakes and ponds.

* Mid-Atlantic Panel On Aquatic Invasive Species Accepting Small Grant Proposals

The Mid-Atlantic Panel On Aquatic Invasive Species is now accepting applications for small grant proposals to support a variety of activities on aquatic species education and control.  The deadline for proposals is March 11.

* Help Bird Conservation By Counting Your Backyard Birds Feb. 15-18

Love birdwatching? Consider participating in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count! This free and fun citizen science program takes place February 15-18.

* Op-Ed: Hikers, Birders & Bikers Should Not Be Swayed By Inaccuracies About Sunday Hunting

By Jim Foster

* Game Commission: Reducing Deer Numbers In Bedford, Blair Will Not Be Part Of Chronic Wasting Disease Project

On February 5, the Game Commission announced it has not received the necessary support from landowners in Bedford and Blair counties to move forward with plans to reduce the deer population in a 100-square-mile area as part of a pilot project on chronic wasting disease.

* Wayne County-Based Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support Program (SEEDS) Names Sandy Long Executive Director

On February 1, the SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) announced it has named Sandy Long its new Executive Director.

* Interns Wanted: Gifford Pinchot's Grey Towers National Historic Site, Pike County

Applications currently are being accepted for a number of different college and post-graduate internships at Gifford Pinchot’s Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, Pike--

* 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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