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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 18, 2019 Issue #768
(3/18/2019)
* Gov. Wolf Announces Winners Of Governor's Award For Environmental Excellence

On March 15, one individual and 17 organizations, businesses, and local governments in Pennsylvania have been selected by the Department of Environmental Protection to receive the prestigious 2019 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

* PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Meets March 22 To Hear Funding Workgroup Report

The PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee is scheduled to meet on March 22 to begin reviewing the last pieces of information needed to put them in position to review the draft of the Watershed Implementation Plan at its next meeting on April 3 [new meeting].

* Rep. Mehaffie Introduces Bill To Prevent Nuclear Power Plant Closures Costing $500 Million Annually

On March 11, Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) announced the introduction of legislation-- House Bill 11-- updating the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act to recognize nuclear energy for its significant contribution to the state’s zero-carbon energy production.

* PJM Tells 2 House Committees Competitive Electric Markets Significantly Reduced Prices For PA Ratepayers; Grid Will Remain Reliable Into The Future

On March 11, F. Stuart Bresler, III, from the PJM Interconnection, the interstate electric grid operator, told two House Committees competitive electricity generation markets have served Pennsylvania consumers well by significantly reducing electricity prices.

* Auditor General DePasquale Calls For State Action On Climate Change, Brace For New Costs

On March 14, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held his first public hearing on Pennsylvania’s response to the climate change crisis, which is the focus of a special report he is developing.

* Attorney General, Delaware County DA Conducting Joint Investigation Into Mariner East Pipelines

On March 11, District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, at the request of the District Attorney, are conducting a joint investigation regarding allegations of criminal misconduct by Energy Transfer LP, Sunoco Logistics Partners, and related corporate entities, involving pipeline construction and related activities for Mariner East 1, 2, and 2X pipelines.

* 14 Senate, House Members Ask Gov. Wolf To Halt Mariner East Pipeline Operations Until Safety Protocols Are In Place

On March 11, 3 Senate and 11 House members representing Chester and Delaware counties signed a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf asking him to impose a moratorium on the transmission of natural gas liquids products through the Mariner East pipeline system until the mandated safety protocols are in place for local responders to properly manage a pipeline emergency.

* DEP Reaches Settlement On Diversified Gas & Oil Abandoned Conventional Wells

On March 11, the Department of Environmental Protection announced a settlement with Diversified Gas & Oil Corporation and Diversified Oil & Gas, LLC (collectively referred to as Diversified) and Alliance Petroleum Co LLC (Alliance) over well plugging violations in 23 Pennsylvania counties.

* DEP To Discuss Draft Regs Controlling VOC [Methane] Emissions From Existing Oil & Gas Operations At March 21 Advisory Board Meeting

On March 21, DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board is scheduled to meet to discuss draft proposed RACT regulations covering volatile organic compound emissions with a “co-benefit” of reducing methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations.

* Commonwealth Court Clears The Way For Attorney General To Pursue Unfair Trade Practices Case Against Chesapeake, Anadarko On Drilling Royalties, Payments

On March 15, Commonwealth Court issued a decision allowing Attorney General Josh Shapiro to pursue Unfair Trade Practices Act cases against Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko for promises they made to landowners when leasing their land for natural gas drilling.

* Keep PA Beautiful Engages Nearly 130,000 Volunteers To Remove Over 7.2 Million Pounds Of Trash In 2018

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its local affiliates and partners held community improvement events in 2018 engaging 129,632 volunteers to remove over 7.2 million pounds of trash, 2.3 million pounds of electronics waste, recycled or properly disposed of 43,352 tires and attracted $481,400 of in-kind donations.

* DEP/Health Announce New Statewide Tick Surveillance Program, Part Of A 5-Year Study Of Tickborne Illnesses In PA

On March 14, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it is conducting a five-year environmental surveillance of ticks to assess the risk of tickborne illnesses across Pennsylvania with funding provided by the state Department of Health.

* Agriculture Extends Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area To Dauphin County

The Department of Agriculture published notice in the March 16 PA Bulletin extending the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area to Dauphin County.

* Business Owners: Do I Need A Spotted Lanternfly Permit Webinar March 21

The Department of Agriculture is hosting a Do I Need A Spotted Lanternfly Permit webinar for business owners on March 21 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

* R. Timothy Weston To Receive PA Bar Assn. Environmental & Energy Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award

R. Timothy Weston, an environmental litigation and counseling partner at K&L Gates in Harrisburg, will be honored with the 2019 Pennsylvania Bar Association Environmental and Energy Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award during the Environmental Law Forum, April 3 and 4, at the Harrisburg Hilton & Towers.

* Game Commission Manager Lauren Ferreri Recognized For Conservation Achievements

Lauren Ferreri, of Newmanstown, captured the “Woman of Environmental Education” award sponsored by PennFuture, honoring Ferreri’s dedication to educating her community about sustainability and environmental policy.

* April 5 PA Wildlife Gala To Raise Money For Wildlife Conservation & Education

The 2nd annual Pennsylvania Wildlife Gala to benefit the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation, will be held at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, on April 5, beginning with a cocktail reception at 5:30 pm.

* 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--

* House Committee To Consider Bill Creating Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force March 18

The House Insurance Committee is scheduled to meet on March 18 to consider House Bill 328 (Warren-D- Bucks) establishing a Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force (sponsor summary).

* House Environmental Committee Meets March 19 To Consider Bill Allowing Cross Unit Drilling Under Several Properties

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet on March 19 to consider House Bill 247 (Oberlander-R-Clarion) to allow cross unit unconventional drilling.

* House Tourism & Recreation Committee Holds March 19 Info Meeting On PA Parks & Forests Foundation Infrastructure Needs Report

The House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee is scheduled to hold an informational meeting on March 19 to hear a presentation from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation on their 2018 infrastructure repair needs report.

* House Bill Would Give Either Senate Or House Environmental Committee A Veto Over Any DEP Groundwater Withdraw Regulations

Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) has again introduced legislation-- House Bill 804-- authorizing DEP to broadly regulate groundwater withdrawals for the first time, but would give either the Senate or House Environmental Committees the authority to veto any regulation adopted to implement the legislation without a full vote of the Senate or House.

* Senators Killion, Dinniman Introduce Resolution Forming Senate/House Commission To Make Recommendations To Improve Pipeline Safety, Construction Practices

On March 13, Senate Concurrent Resolution 33 was introduced by Senators Tom Killion (R-Delaware), Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) and others to form a Senate/House Commission to make recommendation on legislation to improve the Safety oversight and interagency coordination over pipelines in the state.

* Senators Ask Colleagues To Sign On To Bipartisan Bill To Increase Renewable Energy Purchases By Utilities From 8% to 30% By 2030

On March 14, Senators Art Haywood (D-Montgomery), Thomas Killion (R-Delaware) and Steven Santarsiero (D-Bucks) started circulating a co-sponsorship memo on legislation to increase the Tier 1 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards requirement for renewable energy from the current 8 percent to 30 percent by 2030.

* President Signs Bill To Permanently Reauthorize Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund

On March 12, the President signed into law 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.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Opposed To Proposed 90% Cut In Federal Bay Funding

On March 11, the Trump Administration proposed drastic cuts to the Chesapeake Bay Program. Currently funded at $73 million, the budget proposes reducing funding to $7.3 million, a 90 percent cut.

* Choose Clean Water Coalition Pushing For More Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Funding

On March 13, more than 100 members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition met with their members of Congress to discuss increased support for the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.

* USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Seeks Public Comments On Conservation Practice Standards

On March 11, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it is seeking public input on its existing national conservation practice standards as part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill.

* DEP, Lycoming College Host Open House March 18 In Williamsport For Landowners, Municipalities Seeking To Work In Streams Impacted By Flooding

The Department of Environmental Protection's Northcentral Regional Office and the Clean Water Institute of Lycoming College will hold an open house on March 18 to provide information and resources to landowners and municipalities seeking to work in streams impacted by flooding and erosion.

* Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award To Recognize PA Farmer With $10,000 Prize

The Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Heinz Endowments, will present the Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award and its $10,000 prize to a farmer or forester to recognize voluntary conservation practices on private working lands.

* Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Offering: Small Watershed & Innovative Nutrient & Sediment Reduction Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Program are now accepting applications for 2 grants programs: the Small Watershed Grants and Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants.

* NRCS-PA Now Accepting Applications For Funding To Protect Wetlands, Farmland On Working Farms

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA is now accepting applications from Pennsylvania landowners and groups interested in protecting the state’s wetlands and working farms through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

* Chesapeake Conservancy Seeking Volunteers To Identify, Collect Livestakes In Centre, Northumberland March 19, 24

The Chesapeake Conservancy is seeking individuals and groups wanting to learn about live staking to sign up for a unique volunteer opportunity to identify and collect livestakes-- live trees and shrubs-- at events in Centre and Northumberland counties.

* Bay Journal Op-Ed: Healthy Trees, Forests Are Great Cure For What Ails Chesapeake Bay

By: Paul Solomon & Jeanne M. Riley, Forest Managers

* New Online Course Provides In-Depth Understanding Of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience For Educators

By Andrew Pizzala, Chesapeake Bay Program

* March 19 Penn State Water Insights Seminar Highlights Stroud Water Center's Research On Soil Health

The Penn State Environment and Natural Resources Institute will host another Water Insights Seminar on March 19 on research being done by the Stroud Water Research Center on soil health, cover crops and no-till farming.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Subsidence Control Project In Lackawanna County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 16 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a mine subsidence control project in Lackawanna County.

* Feature - What We Owe To Pennsylvania’s Rachel Carson

By Emmy Hicklin, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

* PUC Highlights Importance of Safe Drinking Water During-- Fix A Leak Week

On March 14, the Public Utility Commission highlighted the importance of safe drinking water, along with the role of water efficiency and conservation efforts, in conjunction with National “Fix a Leak Week,” which is March 18-24, 2019.

* DEP Proposes Water Quality Certification For Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project In Eastern PA

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 16 PA Bulletin of a proposed Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project which runs through Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Northampton Counties. (PA Bulletin page 1219)

* Proposed Water Quality Certification Published For Columbia Case East & West Pipeline Project, Armstrong, Butler, Clarion Counties

The Department of Environmental published notice in the March 16 PA Bulletin of a proposed Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Columbia Gas East & West Pipeline replacement project running through Armstrong, Butler and Clarion counties. (PA Bulletin page 1216)

* DEP: Soil Samples At A Park, Day Care Center In Palmerton, Carbon County Exceed Lead Standard

On March 13, Department of Environmental Protection announced soil samples taken at Palmerton Borough Park and West End Day Care, a private facility, in Palmerton, Carbon County showed exceedances of the statewide health standards for metals (lead).

* Dept. Of Human Services Explores Use Of Medicaid Funds For Lead Exposure Prevention And Remediation Initiative

On March 14, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the Department of Human Services (DHS) is exploring the possibility of using Medicaid funds to pay for primary prevention measures that focus on identifying and reducing the sources of environmental childhood lead exposure.

* EQB Publishes Proposed Fine Particulate Matter Regulations For Comment, 3 Hearings Set

The Environmental Quality Board published notice in the March 16 PA Bulletin of proposed regulations for comment on control of fine particulate matter in nonattainment new source review program.

* PUC Approves Duquesne Light Filing For Third-Party Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

On March 14, the Public Utility Commission approved a filing by Duquesne Light as part of an ongoing statewide effort to help remove uncertainty and potential barriers to the deployment of third-party electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

* Vista Energy Marketing To Pay $52,700 Penalty To PUC In Door-To-Door Energy Sales Case

On March 14, Public Utility Commission moved to impose a $52,700 penalty in a settlement agreement with Vista Energy Marketing LP (Vista), following an investigation into the company’s marketing and sales practices as a licensed electric generation supplier in Pennsylvania.

* Penn State To Host Eastern Collegiate Mine Rescue Contest March 30

By Ashley Nottingham, Penn State News

* Court: Injection Well Developer Does Not Need To Wait To Challenge A Local Zoning Decision Until It Has Permits For The Well

On March 8, Commonwealth Court issued a ruling that Penneco Environmental Solutions, LLC did not have to wait until it had state and federal permits in hand for a proposed drilling waste injection disposal well before challenging a ruling by Plum Borough’s Zoning Hearing Board against its project in Allegheny County.

* PA Chamber’s Annual Environmental Conference & Trade Show April 23 In Hershey

The PA Chamber of Business and Industry’s 2019 Environmental Conference and Trade Show on April 23 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey.

* The Hershey Company Announces Action Plans To Protect, Restore Forests In Cocoa Growing Region

On March 14, The Hershey Company announced it is taking action to protect forests and restore forest cover in the cocoa growing regions in West Africa by releasing action plans that are part of the company’s commitments as a founding member of the Cocoa & Forest Initiative (CFI).

* Wildlife For Everyone Foundation Awards College Scholarships To 5 Students

On March 12, the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation announced the award of a $500 stipend to each of 5 students at 4 institutions of higher learning from its Wildlife Scholarship Fund to support them in their respective wildlife and natural resource-related fields.

* Registration Now Open For 25th Delaware River Sojourn June 14-22

The 2019 Delaware River Sojourn will be held from June 14-22 and is now accepting registrations. This year the Sojourn is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

* DCNR Now Accepting Applications For Volunteer Fire Company Wildfire Fighting Grants

On March 12, The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is now accepting applications for Volunteer Fire Company Wildfire Fighting Grants.  The deadline for application is May 2.

* Applications Now Being Accepted For Schuylkill Highlands Landscape Mini-Grants

The Schuylkill River Heritage Area and Natural Lands are now accepting applications for the 2019 Schuylkill Highlands Landscape Mini-Grant Program.  Applications are due April 30.

* Chestnut Hill Conservancy Protects 2 Properties In Philadelphia

The Chestnut Hill Conservancy now holds a conservation easement on 3.5 acres along Bethlehem Pike, Stenton Avenue, and Bells Mill Road, ensuring that this prominent gateway to Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia will be protected in perpetuity.

* PA Land Trust Assn. Offers Guides On Land Conservation, Allowing Land Encroachments

The PA Land Trust Association offer landowners and local land trusts a series of guides on how to allow encroachments on preserved land or any land. The guides include--

* Allegheny Land Trust Releases Full Schedule Of Environmental Education Activities, Events

The Allegheny County-based Allegheny Land Trust released a full schedule of education activities and events coming up over the next few months including--

* Tiadaghton Audubon: How The Fate Of The Florida Sparrow Impacts Pennsylvania, March 20, Wellsboro, Tioga County

The Tiadaghton Audubon Society Of Tioga & Potter Counties will host a special program March 20 featuring a presentation by Game Commission Ornithologist Dr. Sean Murphy on How The Fate Of The Florida Sparrow Impacts Pennsylvania.

* On March 27 Penn State Harrisburg Will Mark 40th Anniversary Of Three Mile Island Accident

By Kalisha DeVan, Penn State News

* Feature-- 40 Years Ago Pennsylvanians Woke Up To The Accident At Three Mile Island, March 28, 1979

At 3:53 a.m., March 28, 1979, the cascading failures of valves, pumps, gauges and reactor operators combined to produce the worst accident in the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry.

* PHMC: 18 New State Historical Markers Approved, Include Several Related To PA’s Environmental Heritage

On March 14, the PA Historical and Museum Commission announced the approval of 18 new PA Historical Markers, the familiar blue-and-gold signs that commemorate people, events and locations in Pennsylvania's history.

* 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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