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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
April 1, 2019 Issue #770
(4/1/2019)
* PEC, Dominion Energy Announce Winners Of 2019 Western PA Environmental Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award

On March 25, Dominion Energy and the PA Environmental Council announced the winners of the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement award.

* Keep America Beautiful Recognizes DEP, PennDOT For Great American Cleanup Of PA

The Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation were two of 12 Keep America Beautiful State Agency Partner Award recipients presented recently during Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

* Keep PA Beautiful Earns National Recognition From Keep America Beautiful With President's Circle Award

On March 28, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced it had earned national recognition from Keep America Beautiful and received the Diamond State Affiliate President's Circle Award.

* CANCELED: PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Meets April 3 To Review First Draft Of Plan

DEP HAS CANCELED the April 3 PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee to review the first draft of the Watershed Implementation Plan that includes recommendations from the Committee workgroups and other elements.

* Gov. Wolf Announces CFA Funding To Remove PFAS Contamination From 17 Drinking Water Wells In Bucks County

On March 26, Tom Wolf announced the approval of funding from the H20 PA Program by the Commonwealth Financing Authority for projects that will remove contamination of harmful perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from 17 wells in the Warminster/Horsham and Warrington areas of Bucks County.

* New Report Gives Pennsylvania F For Response To Lead In School Drinking Water

On March 26, PennEnvironment was joined by Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna) and Rep. Austin Davis (D-Allegheny) and other legislators to release the organization's newest study on the threat posed by lead in drinking water in schools.

* House Committee OKs Bill To Compensate Landowners For Drilling Rights If DRBC Adopts Fracking Ban; Cost A Minimum Of $10 Billion

On March 26, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, by a party line vote  (Republicans supporting), reported out House Bill 827 (Fritz-R-Wayne) requiring compensation to landowners for their drilling rights if the Delaware River Basin Commission adopts a ban on fracking primarily affecting Wayne County and Northeast Pennsylvania.

* Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction To Go Right Through Girls Softball Field, Threaten Season In Chester County

Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) and Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester) released this statement on how Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline construction is threatening Exton's girls softball season in Chester County by going right through the outfield of their ball field--

* Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Impose 2 Year Moratorium On Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Approvals

On March 28, Senators Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), Tom Killion (R-Delaware) and others introduced Senate Bill 443 establishing a 2 year moratorium on approval of hazardous liquids pipeline construction to allow time for the General Assembly to strengthen oversight of these projects.

* House Committee To Hold Hearing On Public Safety Of Natural Gas Pipeline Systems May 30

The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee will hold a hearing on May 30 on the issue of public safety of natural gas pipeline systems.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Urges MORE Investment, No Backsliding On Parks & Forests Project Funding

On March 25, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation wrote an open letter to members of the Senate, House and to Gov. Wolf urging them to take action to address the $1 billion backlog in maintenance projects in state parks and forests and not to take money from the Keystone and Environmental Stewardship funds to pay for DEP and DCNR administrative costs.

* EQB Invites Comments On Proposed $8 Million Water Quality Permit Fee Increases To Make Up For Cuts In State Funding For DEP

The Environmental Quality Board published notice in the March 30 PA Bulletin inviting comments on proposed NPDES and Water Quality Permit fee increases to make up for cuts in state General Fund support for DEP’s budget.

* House Consumer Affairs Committee To Hold 4 Hearings On House Bill 11 Adding Nuclear Power Plants To AEPS To Support Industry

The House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a series of 4 hearings starting April 8 on House Bill 11 (Mehaffie-R-Lancaster) adding nuclear power plants to the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to provide financial support to the industry.

* Presenter Tells House Committee 140 Million Years Of Data Shows Greenhouse Gases Are In A Significant And Dangerous Decline

On March 27, geologist and author Gregory Wrightstone told the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee 140 million years of data on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere shows the “planet’s CO2 [carbon dioxide] levels have been in a significant and dangerous decline falling from 2,500 ppm” to about 412 ppm today, up from 280 ppm at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

* F&M Poll Finds 67% Say Climate Change Causing Problems Now, 68% Support Doing More To Address Climate Change; Split 50% On Nuclear Power Subsidies

A new Franklin & Marshall Poll released Thursday found registered voters believe that climate change is currently causing problems (67 percent) and most (68 percent) think the state should do more to address those problems.

* EQB To Consider Accepting Petition To Create Cap-And-Trade Program To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions On April 16

The Environmental Quality Board is scheduled to consider whether or not to accept for study a rulemaking petition to create a Cap-And-Trade Program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania at its April 16 meeting.

* Draft Regulation Controlling VOC/Methane Emissions From Oil & Gas Operations Now Available, To Be On April 11 DEP Advisory Committee Agenda

The draft regulation to control volatile organic compound emissions, with a “co-benefit of reducing methane emissions, from existing oil and gas operations is now available on DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee webpage.

* 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/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 Approves Bill Authorizing Fish & Boat Commission To Set Own Fees, Moving It To The Full House

On March 26, the House Game and Fisheries Committee voted to approve House Bill 808 (Mehaffie-R-Dauphin) authorizing the Fish and Boat Commission to set its own fees for 3 years (sponsor summary).

* 10 Major Angler, Hunter & Outdoor Groups Support House Bill 808 Giving Fish & Boat Commission Authority To Adopt Its Own Fees

Ten major angler, hunter and outdoor groups wrote members of the House and Senate March 25 to express their support for House Bill 808 (Mehaffie-R-Dauphin) authorizing the Fish and Boat Commission to set its own fees for 3 years (sponsor summary).

* Feds Approve Disaster Relief For Pennsylvania Farms In 61 Counties Resulting From Extended Rainfall In 2018

On March 25, Gov. Tom Wolf announced farmland owners in 61 Pennsylvania counties are eligible to receive disaster relief assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a result of extended rainfall in 2018.

* DEP, EPCAMR, Trout Unlimited Tell U.S. House Subcommittee Hearing Reauthorizing Federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fee Critical, There’s A Lot More To Do

On March 28, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation: Innovative Approaches and Economic Development Opportunities.

* PA Emergency Management Agency Encourages Preparing For Spring, Summer Flooding

On March 25, the PA Emergency Management Agency encouraged Pennsylvanians to be prepared for possible spring and summer flooding during Flood Safety Awareness Week in Pennsylvania, March 26 – 30.

* Watershed Groups, Municipal Employees See Benefit Of Working Together To Address Water Quality In South Mountain Region

Watershed groups across the South Mountain region of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties have made great strides in protecting and improving water quality, keeping riparian areas as green space, and raising awareness about the importance of our rivers and streams.

* York Master Watershed Stewards Hold Rain Barrel Workshop April 20

The Master Watershed Stewards of York County will hold a Rain Barrel Workshop on April 20 at the Penn State Extension Office, 112 Pleasant Acres Road in York from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

* Still Time To Submit Nominations For Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Network Awards

The Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Network is accepting nominations for its Best Urban Best Management Practice in the Bay Award.  Nominations are due April 5

* Research Examines Stream Restoration Projects With A Eye On Improving PA Water Quality, Chesapeake Bay

By Kalisha DeVan, Penn State News

* Stroud Water Research Center: Most-Used Pesticides Posing Unknown Threat To Waterways, Pollinators, Now Subject Of Study

On March 27, Chester County-based Stroud Water Research Center announced some of the most widely used pesticides worldwide are now the subject of a new study funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

* Penn State Water Insights Seminar April 2: Carbon Biogeochemistry Of The Chesapeake Bay

The Penn State Environment and Natural Resources Institute will host another in its series of Water Insights Seminars on April 2 on the Carbon Biogeochemistry of the Chesapeake Bay.

* Capital RC&D Spring High Tunnel Soil Health Webinar Series, April 2, 9, 16

The Capital Resource Conservation and Development Area Council’s spring webinar series will focus on techniques and tools that both new and experienced high tunnel growers can implement to improve soil health, reduce pest and disease issues, and improve crop yields.

* ORSANCO Inviting Comments On Proposed Ohio River Water Pollution Control Standard Changes; April 1 Pittsburgh Hearing

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission is inviting comments on proposed changes to Ohio River Water Pollution Control Standards through April 15.

* Grant Approved To Rehabilitate High-Hazard Dam In Monroe County By CFA

On March 26, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved  a $650,484 grant through the H20 PA Program to rehabilitate the Middle Dam in East Stroudsburg Borough, Monroe County, which is classified as a high-hazard, unsafe dam.

* Berks County Source Water Protection Program Accepting Entries In Logo Contest From Higher Ed Students With $1,500 In Scholarships As Prizes

The Berks County Source Water Protection Program is now accepting entries into its Logo Contest for Berks County students attending institutions of higher education-- university, college, art school or technical institute.  The deadline for submissions is June 15.

* EQT Foundation Invites Applications For Higher Ed Scholarships In Greene, Washington Counties

The EQT Foundation invites students in Greene and Washington counties to apply for the EQT Students of Excellence Scholarship Program which will award five $1,000 scholarships, plus one scholarship of up to $18,000 per school year. 

* Erie Times-News Connect With Your Environment: Environmental Careers That Rock

The latest issues of Connect With Your Environment in the Erie Times-News are now available and both focus on environmental careers that rock--

* Franklin Institute Philadelphia Science Festival April 26 to May 4; FMC Joins As Partner

The Philadelphia Science Festival will be held from April 26 to May 4 showcasing the critical role science and technology play in everyday life.

* PA Resources Council, PA American Water To Host 3 Drug Take-Back Day Collection Events April 27 In Allegheny County

The PA Resources Council and PA American Water will host 3 Drug Take-Back Day collection events on April 27 in Allegheny County.

* DEP Extends General Permits For Beneficial Use of Biosolids, Septage

The Department of Environmental Protection published notices in the March 30 PA Bulletin extending general permits for 1 year for--

* U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Issues Contractor Notice To Proceed With Remediation Of Parks Township Radioactive Waste Site In Armstrong County

On March 28, the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Buffalo District issued a notice to proceed to  its contractor for the remediation of the radioactive waste site in Parks Township, Armstrong County.

* DEP Hearing April 30 On Proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan For Volvo Construction Equipment Plant Franklin County

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a hearing on a proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan for the Volvo Construction Equipment plant in Shippensburg, Franklin County for April 30. (March 30 PA Bulletin, page 1562)

* April 30 DEP Hearing On Proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan For Mars Chocolate Plant Lancaster County

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a hearing on a proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan for the Mars Chocolate Plant in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County for April 30. (March 30 PA Bulletin, page 1562)

* DEP To Hold May 7 Hearing On Proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan For GrafTech USA In Elk County

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a May 7 hearing on a proposed RACT II Air Quality Plan for the RafTech USA plant in St. Marys, Elk County.  (March 30 PA Bulletin, page 1599)

* $3 Million In Natural Gas Pipeline Extension Project Grants Approved By CFA

On March 26, the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved grants for 3 projects for a total of $3 million to extend natural gas pipelines under the Pipeline Investment Program.  The projects include--

* PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee Imposes $75,000 In Penalties

On March 26, the Public Utility Commission announced the ‘PA One Call’ Damage Prevention Committee this month filed nearly 70 disciplinary actions resulting in approximately $75,000 total fines against 33 facility owners, excavators and project owners.

* Penn State Extension: April 25 Webinar On Horizontal Drilling And Pipeline Construction

Penn State Extension will host a webinar on April 25 on Horizontal Drilling And Pipeline Construction from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

* DEP Proposes Changes To Guidance On Alkaline Addition For Surface Coal Mines

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 30 PA Bulletin proposing a substantive revision to the Alkaline Addition For Surface Coal Mines Technical Guidance.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Abandoned Oil & Gas Well Plugging In Butler County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 30 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on an abandoned oil and gas well plugging in Butler County.

* Berks Nature's The Nature Place Earns LEED Gold Certification

Berks Nature’s The Nature Place has been awarded LEED Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

* CFA Approves 11 Alternative And Clean Energy Project Grants For Over $12 Million

On March 26, the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved grants for 11 projects for a total of over $12 million under the Alternative and Clean Energy Programs.  The projects include--

* CFA Accepting Applications For High Performance Building Program Funding

On March 27, the Commonwealth Financing Authority said it is only accepting applications for the High Performance Building Energy Program for the July 16 CFA Board meeting.

* Widener Law Commonwealth, Harrisburg University To Host Public Lecture, Legal Conference On Deep Decarbonization April 25 & 26 In Harrisburg

On April 25 and 26, the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University Commonwealth Law School and the Center for Environment, Energy, and Economy (E3) at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology will host a public lecture and Conference on Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in Pennsylvania: What Are the Best Ways Forward?

* Brodhead Watershed Assn., Brodhead Trout Unlimited April 10 Bloom Times, Budburst, Bird Migration And Bugs Climate Program, Monroe County

On April 10, join the Brodhead Watershed Association and the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited for Bloom Times, Budburst, Bird Migration, and Bugs, the second in a series of climate change programs.

* Op-Ed: Baseball, Weather And Climate

By Dr. Richard Kaplan

* Register Now For PA Environmental Professionals Conference May 8-10 In State College

Registration is now open for the PA Association of Environmental Professionals 34th Annual “Growth Through Collaboration” Conference on May 8-10 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in State College.

* Dept. Of Agriculture, DCED Seek Creameries For 2nd Annual Ice Cream Trail

On March 27, the departments of Agriculture and Community and Economic Development announced plans for the 2nd Annual Pennsylvania Ice Cream Trail and urged interested creameries to participate.  The deadline to apply is April 19.

* Promoting Economic Resilience In Appalachia: Lessons From Successful Communities - McKean County, PA Wilds

By Kristen Devlin, Penn State News

* CFA Funds Multimodal Transportation Projects, Including $3.2 Million For Trails

On March 26, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved $54.7 million in funding for 106 multimodal transportation projects, including $3.2 million in trail projects--

* Register Now! For Sinnemahone Paddle April 6, First of 3 Extreme Sports Events In Cameron County

There’s not much time left to register for the April 6 Sinnemahone Paddle on Sinnemahoning Creek starting at 11:00 a.m., the first of three extreme sport competitions planned for Cameron County this year.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn.: Special Events Coming Up April 13 (Kids), April 20 (Hike), April 26 (Arbor Day Walk) Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association and its partners will host 3 upcoming events-- a Water Wiser Kids event on April 13 on the Effects Of April Showers Outdoors, April 20 ForEvergreen Nature Preserve Hike and an April 26 Arbor Day Walk at East Stroudsburg University, both in Monroe County.

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness First Trail Stewardship Days Weekend April 6-7 In Warren County

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness will hold their first Trail Stewardship Days Weekend April 6-7 to clear the 7-mile Minister Loop Trail in the proposed Minister Valley Wilderness Area of the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County.

* PennDOT Announces Public-Private Partnership Proposals To Preserve 140 Acres In Bucks County

On March 25, Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced three teams will be invited to submit proposals for a program to preserve 140 acres of PennDOT-owned land in Chalfont, Bucks County through a Public-Private Partnership (P3).

* Registration Open! Foundation For Sustainable Forests Loving The Land Through Working Forests Conference May 11

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests is now accepting registrations for the 8th Annual Loving The Land Through Working Forests Conference May 11 at The Woodland Lodge, Grand Valley, Warren County.

* April 13 Forest Restoration Workshop In Dauphin County By Manada Conservancy

On April 13, Manada Conservancy will host a Forest Restoration Workshop at the Cladel Preserve, 412 South Meadow Lane in Hummelstown, Dauphin County from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.

* Manada Conservancy: Creating A Backyard Pollinator Habitat Program April 24 In Dauphin County

The Manada Conservancy will host a Creating A Backyard Pollinator Habitat Program on April 24 at the Grace UM Church, 433 East Main Street in Hummelstown, Dauphin County starting at 7:00 p.m.

* Practitioner Scholarships To Be Available For 2019 Natural Areas Conference; Reminder: Proposals Due April 15

Natural areas practitioners working in the state of Pennsylvania and in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region will be eligible to apply for scholarships covering all or part of the 2019 Natural Areas Conference to be held October 8-10 at the Pittsburgh Sheraton.

* The Spring Edition Of Environmental Currents Now Available From Brandywine Conservancy

Chester County-based Brandywine Conservancy recently released the spring edition of its quarterly Environmental Currents publication. Articles include:

* RiverStewards: John Arway - Conservation Is About Talking To And Working With Others

By Kyle Steffish, Millersville University

* Brandywine Conservancy Offers Bird Migration Lecture On April 2 In Chester County

The arrival of Spring marks many opportunities to observe bird migration. Everything from colorful songbirds to soaring raptors to graceful shorebirds will either pass through our region or stay to nest.

* Time To Fill In Your Brackets, Pick Your Favorites: Fantasy BirdWatching Is Here!

Yes, Fantasy Birding is now a thing, just like fantasy basketball, football or other sports.

* 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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