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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 4, 2019 Issue #766
(3/4/2019)
* All Major PA Hunting, Angler, Wildlife Groups Oppose Using Environmental Fund Project Money To Pay Agency Operating Expenses

On February 28, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, and United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania wrote to members of the House and Senate opposing Gov. Wolf’s proposal to use money from environmental funds to pay the operating expenses of DEP and DCNR.

* Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation Opposes Transfer Of Environmental Stewardship, Keystone Funds To Pay Agency Operating Costs

On February 25, the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation sent a letter to Gov. Wolf opposing the transfer of monies from the Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) and Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation funds to pay operating expenses for DEP and DCNR.

* Republican Chair Of Appropriations Committee: The Way We Fund Our Environmental Protection Programs Is Not Sustainable

On February 28, Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Majority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said at the conclusion of the hearing on DEP’s budget that the way the Commonwealth funds its environmental protection programs is “not sustainable” and “not having predictability in environmental protection is a dangerous thing.”

* Environmental Rights Amendment Challenge To Unconstitutional Use Of Oil & Gas Funds Now Includes Recent Proposed Fund Transfers

A brief submitted by the PA Environmental Defense Foundation February 15 to Commonwealth Court in its Environmental Rights Amendment challenge to the unconstitutional transfer of monies from environmental funds now includes the most recent transfers proposed from the Oil and Gas, Keystone, Environmental Stewardship and Hazardous Sites Cleanup funds by Gov. Wolf.

* PennDOT Secretary: Over $110 Million In Emergency Costs From Flooding, Landslides, Biggest In A Decade

On February 25, PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards told the Senate Appropriations Committee her budget was severely stressed in the last year by over $110 million in emergency repair costs to roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure as a result of widespread flooding and landslide events.

* Dept. Of Health Asks For $1.4 Million For PFAS Monitoring, Oversight; And Helps Assess Climate Health Risk

On February 25, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine told the House Appropriations Committee her agency is requesting $1.4 million for support monitoring and oversight of environmental contaminants, including PFAS.

* Attend By Webinar: PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee Meets March 8

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee is now scheduled to meet on March 8 to hear presentations from Adams and Franklin counties on the plans they developed to meet their nutrient pollution reduction targets.

* State Govt. Already Achieved 40% Renewables Goal; Climate Impact Assessment Report To Focus On Farm, Water Issues

On February 26, the Department of General Services told DEP’s Climate Change Advisory Committee state agencies have already achieved the 40 percent renewable electricity goal Gov. Wolf established in an executive order issued on January 28.

* Cap-And-Trade Climate Petitioners Resubmit Entire Petition To EQB With Updated List Of Petitioners

On February 28, the individuals and organizations petitioning the Environmental Quality Board to establish a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions added over 100 groups and individuals to the original list of 64 petitioners and resubmitted the petition to the Board.

* Penn State Climate Scientist Michael Mann Awarded 2019 Tyler Prize For Environmental Achievement

By: Patricia L. Craig, Penn State News

* 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--

* Next Budget Hearings: Senate DCNR March 4; Agriculture House March 5, Senate March 6

[Senate Delays Budget Hearings 1 Hour March 4.] The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ budget request is on March 4 starting at 3:00.

* House Appropriations Continues DEP Budget Hearing On March 5

The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a continuation of the budget hearing for the Department of Environmental Protection on March 5 starting at 10:00 a.m.

* Game Commission: Without Effective Chronic Wasting Disease Controls, CWD Will Spread And Threaten PA’s $1.6 Billion Hunting Industry

On February 27, Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans told the House Game and Fisheries Committee “chronic wasting disease threatens our hunting heritage, and the state’s $1.6 billion industry tied to hunting.”

* Fish & Boat Commission: Most Pressing Priority Is Securing The Long-Term Financial Future Of The Agency

On February 27, Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Timothy Schaeffer told the House Game and Fisheries Committee the most pressing legislative priority for the Commission is “securing the long-term financial future of the agency.”

* U.S. House Votes To Permanently Reauthorize Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund

On February 26, The Nature Conservancy reported the U.S. House of Representatives voted moved to save the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), approving a sweeping package of public lands bills that includes a measure to permanently reauthorize the program for the first time in its 54-year-history.

* DEP: Money Still Available To Reimburse Farmers For Doing Farm Conservation Plans Until April 1 In 43 Counties

On February 27, the Department of Environmental Protection said over $620,000 is still available to reimburse Pennsylvania farmers in the 43 counties that make up the Pennsylvania portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for developing plans to help improve local water quality.

* PA Assn. For Sustainable Agriculture: Soil Health: Real Farms, Real Problems, Real Solutions March 13 In Lancaster

The PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture will host a Soil Health: Real Farms, Real Problems, Real Solutions Workshop on March 13 at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center, 1382 Arcadia Road in Lancaster from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

* Bay Journal: Land Trusts Lend A Helping Hand To Local Conservation Projects

By Donna Morelli, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* The Center For Dirt And Gravel Road Studies To Offer A Series Of Road Maintenance Courses

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is pleased to announce dates for the 2019 Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance Course training sessions, offered through the Penn State Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies.

* Opportunities To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Projects In Butler, Schuylkill Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notices in the March 2 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation projects in Butler County and Schuylkill County.

* Harrisburg University Creates Digital Dashboard To Help Protect Susquehanna River Basin

Streamlined access to data makes forecasting, monitoring, and timely action much easier for any organization.

* Scouts Get Their Boots Wet For Science And Stewardship At Stroud Water Research Center

Saturday descends on Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County in a flurry of paintbrushes, stream boots, and aquatic nets.

* Stroud Water Research Center Hosts World Water Day Celebration March 21

The Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County will host a World Water Day Celebration starting at 6:00 p.m. in the Center located at 970 Spencer Road in Avondale.

* Erie Times-News Connect With Your Environment - Mudsnails Endanger Waterways

The latest issue of Connect With Your Environment in the Erie Times-News is now available.   This edition focuses on the New Zealand mudsnail and how they endanger waterways.

* Insurance: More Pennsylvanians Getting Private Flood Insurance To Protect Homes, Property

On February 26, Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said the number of private market flood insurance policies in Pennsylvania jumped 72 percent from February 2018, as she continued urging homeowners, business owners, and renters to shop around in the increasingly competitive flood insurance market to protect their homes, businesses, and properties.

* PUC Adopts Revised Procedures For Acquisition, Valuation Of Municipal, Authority-Owned Water, Wastewater Systems

On February 28, the Public Utility Commission adopted a Final Supplemental Implementation Order that addresses enhanced procedures for how acquiring public utilities or entities are to prepare and submit applications to acquire and value municipal and authority-owned water and wastewater systems under Section 1329 of the Public Utility Code.

* PPL Electric Utilities Accepting Applications For Its Future Environmental Leaders Scholarship Program Starting March 1

PPL Electric Utilities will accept applications for its Future Environmental Leaders Scholarship Program for high school seniors in its service territory between March 1 and April 20.

* Register Now For PA Environmental Educators Conference In Philadelphia March 18-19

Register now for the PA Association of Environmental Educators’ 2019 Conference to be held March 18-19 at the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport Hotel.

* EPA Now Accepting Nominations For President’s Environmental Youth Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting nominations for the President’s Environmental Youth Award.  The deadline for nominations is March 8.

* Save The Date: PA Waste Industries Assn/Solid Waste Assn. - Keystone Chapter Joint Conference Sept. 4-5 In Harrisburg

The PA Waste Industries Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America Keystone Chapter will hold a Joint Fall Conference September 4-5 at the Harrisburg Hilton.

* Green Building Alliance Offers Certified Passive House Tradesperson Training In March

The Pittsburgh-based Green Building Alliance is offering Certified Passive Tradesperson Training in 2 modules March 18-19 and March 25-26 at Conservation Consultants, Inc., 64 South 14th Street in Pittsburgh.

* PUC Approves FirstEnergy Filings On Removing Barriers For 3rd Party Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

On February 28, the Public Utility Commission approved filings by the four FirstEnergy electric distribution companies serving Pennsylvania, which will help remove uncertainty and potential barriers to the deployment of third-party electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in their service territories.

* Public Comments Invited On A Proposed PUC Policy On Electric Customer Assistance Program Shopping

On February 28, the Public Utility Commission approved an Order requesting comments on a proposed policy statement designed to strengthen consumer protections for Customer Assistance Program (CAP) customers participating in the state’s retail electric market.

* PA Chamber Endorses Changes To PJM Electricity Market Pricing Rules

On February 27, the PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding changes to the electricity market auction rules being proposed by the regional grid operator, PJM Interconnection.

* U.S. EIA: Carbon Dioxide Emissions To Decline By 1.3% In 2019; After Increasing 2.8% In 2018 Driven By Natural Gas

On February 25, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Short-Term Energy Outlook estimated carbon dioxide emissions from energy generation will decline by 1.3 percent in 2019 and 0.5 percent in 2020 after increasing by 2.8 percent in 2018.

* Penn State Extension Hosts 8 Public Meetings On Spotted Lanternfly

Penn State Extension Service will host 8 public meetings on the spotted lanternfly, the invasive insect that has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and surrounding states and presents a significant threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries.

* Updated Tree Tender Training Class Schedule For Volunteers In Central, Southeast PA

Penn State Extension and the PA Horticultural Society will be holding tree tender training for volunteers in Central and Southeast Pennsylvania during the next few months.  The sessions will be held--

* Tree Pittsburgh Hosts Tree Ordinance Workshop March 22

Tree Pittsburgh will host a Tree Ordinance Workshop on March 22 at the Tree Pittsburgh office, 32 62nd Street in Pittsburgh from 8:30 to Noon.

* Penn State Professor Explores Past, Present Conservation Efforts In Pennsylvania

By Therese Boyd, Penn State News

* Pocono Environmental Ed Center Hosting Angling & Hunting For Conservation Program March 23

The Pocono Environmental Education Center and its partners are hosting an Angling & Hunting For Conservation Program March 23 at the Center, 538 Emery Road in Dingmans Ferry, Pike County from 10:00 a.m. until 2:15. p.m

* Latest Penn’s Stewards From PA Parks & Forests Foundation Features A Look At 20 Years Of Inspiring Stewardship

The Spring 2019 issue of the Penn’s Stewards newsletter from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation features at look back at the first 20 years of accomplishments of the Foundation and its many local friends.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Accepting Entries To 2019 Through The Seasons Photo Contest

The PA Parks & Forests Foundation is now accepting entries to the 2019 Through The Seasons Photo Contest.  The deadline for entries is September 4.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Get Outdoors Poconos March 16 Hike At New Bluestone Preserve In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association has organized another Get Outdoors Poconos Hike at the new Bluestone Preserve in Paradise Township in Monroe County starting at 10:00.

* Western PA Conservancy Accepts Donation Of Conservation Easements On 62 Acres In Sullivan County

Sixty-two undeveloped forested acres along Loyalsock Creek in Northcentral Pennsylvania are now permanently protected, thanks to the donation of two conservation easements on properties owned by the Yasui family to the Western PA Conservancy.

* Erie Times-News: Sustainable Forest Management Initiative Now Underway In The City Of Erie

Last week, David Bruce of the Erie Times reported the Sustainable Forest Management Initiative of the City of Erie and the Foundation for Sustainable Forests got underway with the removal of dead or disease trees from an Erie Park.

* Landforce Stewardship, Workforce Development Program Now Accepting Crew Applications; Also Looking For Projects

The Pittsburgh-based Landforce job readiness and land stewardship program is now accepting applications to join their crews until March 31.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Be On The Lookout! Emerging Invasive Plants In Pennsylvania

By: Rebecca Bowen, Ecological Services Section Chief, DCNR's Bureau of Forestry

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Invasive Species And Climate Change

Think for a minute about whether you can name an invasive species in Pennsylvania.

* Game Commission Expands Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area Into Elk Range

On February 26, the Game Commission announced a captive deer testing positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) will require Disease Management Area 3 (DMA 3) to expand into Pennsylvania’s elk range.

* Game Commission Seeks To Reduce Risk Around New Chronic Wasting Disease Cases In Clearfield, Franklin, Jefferson Counties

On February 26, the Game Commission announced isolated cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) have recently been found in parts of Clearfield, Franklin and Jefferson counties.

* Watch Live Video Of Waterfowl At Middle Creek Wildlife Area, Lancaster County

The Game Commission now has available online live video of waterfowl at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County as they migrate north through Pennsylvania.

* 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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