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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
June 17, 2019 Issue #781
(6/17/2019)
* Analysis: Will The General Assembly Provide The REAL Resources Everyone Agrees Are Needed To Clean Up Our Rivers & Streams?

Two and a half years ago-- January 24, 2017-- the bipartisan Pennsylvania members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission dramatically wrote to all members of the Senate and House to spotlight the need for many more resources to address water pollution cleanup obligations across the state.

* Senate Appropriations Reports Out Costly Taxpayer Funded Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Procurement Bill

On June 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee amended and reported out the costly Senate Bill 575 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would establish a taxpayer funded procurement program for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reductions needed to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed pollution reduction goals.

* House Unanimously Passes Bill To Create Keystone Tree Fund For TreeVitalize, Riparian Buffer Grants

On June 11, the House unanimously voted to pass House Bill 374 (Everett-R- Lycoming) establishing the Keystone Tree Fund to support tree planting programs by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

* Growing Greener Coalition Call To Action: Protect Local Environmental, Recreation Project Funds, No Backsliding!

The Growing Greener Coalition has issued a call to action urging the public to contact their legislators to protect existing sources of community-based environmental restoration and recreation project funding--

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Call To Action On State Budget: Haven't We Heard This Off-Key Tune Before?

On June 11, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation issued this call to action on state budget funding--

* DCNR’s Citizens Advisory Council Urges Legislature, Governor Not To Take Funding Away From Local Recreation, Environmental Restoration Projects

On June 12, DCNR’s Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council wrote to leadership in the Senate and House and Gov. Wolf urging them not to take money from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation and Environmental Stewardship funds to pay operating expenses for DCNR.

* Chester County Return On Environment Study Puts A Dollar Value On Benefits From Protecting Open Space

Writers, romantics, and nature lovers have long recognized the value of natural spaces to the mind and spirit.

* Op-Ed: Strong, Local Economy Depends On Investing In Our Natural Resources

By: Rachel Kester, Project Coordinator, Trout Unlimited PA Coldwater Habitat Program

* Rodale Institute Introduces New Consulting Services Free To PA Farmers Transitioning To Organic

On June 12, Rodale Institute, along with the state Department of Agriculture and Jaindl Farms, announced Rodale Institute’s new farmer consulting services and other initiatives throughout Pennsylvania that aim to expand organic agriculture in the state.

* PUC Seeks Comments On Enhancements To Pipeline Safety Regulations, Additional Financial Reporting

On June 13, the Public Utility Commission considered two separate rulemaking proposals related to pipeline operations in Pennsylvania  seeking comment on issues addressing both pipeline safety regulations and periodic financial reporting by pipeline public utilities.

* New Jersey Conservation Foundation Report: Impact Of Natural Gas Pipelines In Delaware River Watershed

On June 13, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation released a new report-- Environmental and Social Costs of Natural Gas Pipeline Development in the Delaware River Basin--  that attempts to quantify some of the most significant impacts and costs of natural gas pipeline projects in the watershed.

* PA Environmental Defense Foundation Advises DCNR Proposal To Replace State Forest Lost To Gas Drilling Does Not Meet Its Obligations As A Public Trustee

On June 12, the PA Environmental Defense Foundation submitted comments to DCNR advising the agency a proposal to replace over 138 acres of State Forest land lost to natural gas drilling with land in Chester County does not meet its obligations as a public trustee under the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment.

* Auditor General DePasquale Thanks Susquehanna River Basin Commission For Adopting Audit Recommendations

On June 14, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale met with members of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and thanked them for adopting the recommendations made in his recent audit of the agency.

* PA Environmental Council Honors 2 With Curtin Winsor Awards, 1 Project With Special Place Award

On June 13, the PA Environmental Council held its 49th Environmental Partnership dinner to recognize 2 individuals with the Curtin Winsor Award and a project with a Special Places Award.

* House Passes Resolution Designating June 17-23 As Pollinator Week In PA

On June 12, the House unanimously passed House Resolution 385 (Matzie-D-Allegheny) designating the week of June 17 to 23 as Pollinator Week in Pennsylvania (sponsor summary).

* Non-Native, Invasive Plant Species Are Ecologically Castrating The Landscape In PA, But There Is A Solution

On October 2, 2018, the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee held a hearing on the interrelationship between invasive plant species on our landscapes and the loss of native plants, and the negative impact of those changes on pollinators-- bees, butterflies, other insects, birds-- and on us.

* 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--

* Sen. Scavello Introduces Bill Authorizing Community Solar Projects

On June 11, Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) introduced Senate Bill 705 to authorize community solar projects which allow neighbors, businesses, farms, and other community members to directly participate in and receive the benefits from a solar project connected to their local electric distribution company’s grid.

* Rep. Causer Introduces Bill To Turn Back The Clock On Regulating Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling To 1984

On June 14, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron) introduced House Bill 1635 to regulate conventional oil and gas drilling like they were in 1984 when the first oil and gas act was passed.

* Sen. Bartolotta Bill Would Make Reporting On Damage To Structures, Streams, Water Supplies By Underground Coal Mining Optional

On June 14, Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) introduced Senate Bill 763 to make compiling a report on subsidence damage to homes and businesses, water supplies and streams caused by underground coal mining optional under the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act.

* Senate Republicans Move Bills Misleading Public On Changes That Can Be Made To Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program Without A Change In Federal Law

On June 12, the Senate Transportation Committee approved and reported out a package of bills making significant changes to the state’s Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program that would directed DEP and PennDOT to take unlawful actions.

* House Committee Approves 2 Energize PA Natural Gas Use Subsidy Bills

On June 11, the House Finance Committee approved and reported 2 of the 8 bills making up the House Republican Energize PA natural gas use subsidy bills, largely along party lines, Republicans supporting.

* House Republican Environmental Committee Chair Advises Religious Groups Not To Let DEP Staff On Their Property To Protect Their First Amendment Rights

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, advised religious groups with water supplies regulated by DEP not to let them on their property to protect their First Amendment rights.

* Agenda: Joint House Environmental, Local Govt. Committees June 19 Hearing On MS4 Stormwater Pollution Reduction Requirements

On June 19 the House Environmental Resources and Energy and Local Government Committees will hold a hearing on the local impacts of MS4 Stormwater Pollution Reduction Requirements.

* Op-Ed: EPCAMR Urges Every Member Of PA’s Congressional Delegation To Support The RECLAIM Act To Reclaim Abandoned Mine Lands And Our Economic Future

By Robert Hughes, Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation

* EPA Extends Low RVP Gasoline Waiver In Allegheny County, Buckeye Laurel Pipeline Still Not Repaired

On June 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notified the Allegheny County Health Department it was extending the low-RVP gasoline waiver until July 1 because repairs have not been completed to the Buckeye Laurel Pipeline.  The original waiver was due to expire on June 17.

* DEP Agricultural Advisory Board Meets June 20 On New General Permit For Small Projects, New E&S Manual For Ag Operations

DEP’s Agricultural Advisory Board is scheduled to meet June 20 on a series of initiatives including the proposed General Permit for projects of less than 5 acres and a new soil erosion and sediment control manual for agricultural operations.

* Stroud's WikiWatershed Wins Philadelphia Region Excellence In Green Stormwater Infrastructure Award

WikiWatershed®, a web toolkit designed by Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County and partners to help users advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater, and its flagship tool, Model My Watershed®, have received another award: the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia’s Excellence in Green Stormwater Infrastructure Award for Technological Innovation.

* Alliance For Chesapeake Bay Seeks Riparian Rangers - Volunteer Stewards Of Our Streamside Forests

By Ryan Davis, Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, PA Office

* Sustainable Community Development Network June 18 Leveraging Watershed Groups To Improve Water Quality, Support MS4 Stormwater Program Webinar

The Sustainable Community Development Network of Southwestern Pennsylvania will host a webinar anyone can join June 18 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Leveraging Watershed Groups To Improve Water Quality and Support MS4 Stormwater Pollution Reduction Programs.

* RiverStewards Blog: In The Restorers, The Susquehanna River Takes On A Life Of Its Own

By Kyle Steffish, RiverStewards

* OSI Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund Now Accepting Grant Applications

The Open Space Institute Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund is now accepting applications for grants to ensure clean water through support of land protection and improved land use planning as part of the broader Delaware River Watershed Initiative supported by the William Penn Foundation.

* Western PA Conservancy To Undertake Good Samaritan Mine Reclamation Project In Elk County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 15 PA Bulletin announcing the Western PA Conservancy will undertake a project to treat abandoned mine drainage and reclaim abandoned mine land in Jay Township, Elk County under the Environmental Good Samaritan Program(PA Bulletin, page 3157)

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Project In Allegheny County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the June 15 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on an abandoned mine reclamation project in Plum Borough, Allegheny County.

* 500+ Volunteers Picked Up 40 Tons Of Trash In PA During River Sweep In The Ohio River Watershed

On June 15, more than 500 volunteers participated in the 30th annual River Sweep from 8 a.m. to noon in Allegheny, Armstrong, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland  counties. Volunteers at 11 cleanup sites, picked up more than 40 tons of trash and more than 260 tires. 

* Reminder: Keep PA Beautiful-BEHR-Home Depot Fresh Paint Days Grant Applications Due June 28

On June 10, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful reminded groups across the state applications for 2019 Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania Grants are due June 28.

* Norristown, EPA Partner On How To Make Brownfields Projects Successful Program June 21

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Municipality of Norristown in Montgomery County will host a How To Make Brownfields Projects Successful Information Session on June 21 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 2 West Lafayette Street in Norristown.

* EPA: City Of Philadelphia To Pay $8.4 Million In Cleanup Costs For Delaware County Superfund Site

On June 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority have agreed to pay $8.4 million for the agency’s past and future cleanup costs at a portion of the Lower Darby Creek Area Superfund Site, located in both Darby Township, Delaware County, and the City of Philadelphia, just north of the Philadelphia International Airport.

* EPA: Bemis Company, Inc. Settles Hazardous Waste Violations At Plastic Bag Manufacturing Facility In West Hazleton

On June 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the Bemis Company, Inc. has agreed to pay a $78,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at its plastic bag manufacturing facility in West Hazleton, Luzerne County.

* DEP July 17 Hearing On Specialty Granules' Pitts Quarry Water Quality Permit In Adams County

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public information session and hearing July 17 on Specialty Granules LLC’s application to renew the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for its Pitts Quarry, located in Hamiltonban Township, Adams County.

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

The Public Utility Commission published notice in the June 15 PA Bulletin inviting 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.

* Electricity Marketer Astral Energy LLC To Pay PUC $6,000 Penalty

On June 13, the Public Utility Commission approved a settlement with Astral Energy LLC following an informal investigation into the company’s customer enrollment practices as a licensed electric generation supplier (EGS) in Pennsylvania.

* 20th Anniversary Of Natural Gas Competition In PA Highlighted By PUC

On June 13, the Public Utility Commission highlighted the 20th Anniversary of The Natural Gas Choice and Competition Act, which gave residential and business customers the ability to purchase gas from independent suppliers.

* DHS Seeks Comments On FY 2019-20 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Department of Human Services published notice in the June 15 PA Bulletin inviting comments on the FY 2019-20 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program proposed Plan.

* DEP Accepting Applications For Driving PA Forward Ocean-Going Vessel Shorepower Grants, Webinar July 1

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for Driving PA Forward Ocean-Going Vessel Shorepower Grants.  The deadline for applications is October 30. (formal notice)

* PUC Approves UGI Utilities Plan To Remove Barriers To 3rd Party Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

On June 13, Public Utility Commission approved a filing by UGI Utilities – Electric Division, as part of a continuing statewide effort to help remove potential barriers and uncertainty surrounding the deployment of third-party electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

* KEEA PA Energy Efficiency Conference Sept. 26 & 27 In Harrisburg

The Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance and its partners will hold the Pennsylvania Energy Efficiency Conference September 26-27 at the Hilton in Harrisburg.

* Join Green Building Alliance For Kayak Tour Of Pittsburgh’s Green Buildings June 27

Take a tour of Pittsburgh's green buildings from a slightly different angle by joining the Green Building Alliance Kayak Tour on June 27 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

* DEP Climate Change Advisory Committee Meets June 25 On Next Climate Plan Update, Other Initiatives

The DEP Climate Change Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on June 25 to begin a discussion of the next Climate Action Plan Update and hear presentations on and discuss a variety of climate-related initiatives.

* Pennsylvania Approves 3,561 Acres For Farmland Preservation; 569,767 Acres Preserved Since 1988

On June 13, Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board took action to preserve 47 farms covering 3,561 acres in 21 counties.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy To Preserve Foster Hill Farm In Pike County

On June 12, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced the Foster Hill Farm, the former Milford, Pike County home of local businessman, philanthropist, and restaurateur Dick Snyder, has been bequeathed to the Conversancy.

* DCNR, PennDOT Join Local Officials To Dedicate Improvements To Delaware & Lehigh Trail In Bucks County

On June 11, Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards joined Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and Bureau of State Parks officials in the dedication of two major improvements to the D&L Trail in Bucks County.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: PA River Islands Offer Unique Conservation, Recreational Opportunity

Have you ever driven over a bridge or paddled down a Pennsylvania river and stared at the islands...wondering what's on them, or even who owns them? Did you ever wish that you could explore them?

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Sal Fulginiti, Hiker, Volunteer Maintaining Trails

Sal Fulginiti, a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture employee, spends his free time hiking and helping to maintain the natural areas that he likes to explore, including trails and state parks across the state.

* 2020 State Park Calendar Now Available From PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The 2020 State Park Calendar is now available from the  PA Parks and Forests Foundation, a 10 x 13-inch, deluxe 12-month wall calendar that has a full page per month and features beautiful images from across the state.

* June 12 DCNR Resource Newsletter Now Available

The June 12 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring these articles--

* Reminder: USDA Tree Assistance Program Helps Orchardists, Christmas Tree, Nursery Growers Replant Trees, Vines Lost By Natural Disasters

By Jayson K. Harper, PhD, Penn State Professor Of Agricultural Economics

* National American Chestnut Foundation Fall Meeting Oct. 19 In Gettysburg; Call For Posters/Student Talks

Registration is now open for the national American Chestnut Foundation  Fall Meeting to be held October 19 in Gettysburg at the Wyndham Gettysburg, 95 Presidential Circle, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

* Game Commission: June Update On Chronic Wasting Disease - Disease Management Areas Expand By 2,300+ Square Miles

On June 4, the Game Commission provided an update on its efforts to control the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk.  Although some of the information was covered in news articles, hunting licenses go on sale June 17 and information in the complete announcement will be helpful to hunters--

* Penn State Researchers To Boost Endangered Chesapeake Logperch Population

By Jeff Mulhollem, Penn State News

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Holds 1st Youth Trail Volunteer Service Experience For Teenagers June 29-30

On June 29-30, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host its first Youth Trail Weekend dedicated to providing opportunities for teenagers to experience and volunteer on the Mountain.

* West Penn Power Supports Wildlife For Everyone Foundation Wildlife Center In Centre County

On June 12, the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation announced FirstEnergy, parent company of West Penn Power, provided a $5,000 grant to the Foundation to support the development of the Wildlife Center in Centre County.

* APPLY NOW: Help Wanted: Wildlife Leadership Academy Adult Mentor Positions For Brook Trout, Bass Schools

The Wildlife Leadership Academy has Adult Mentor positions available for its bass field school on June 17-22 at the Krislund Camp & Conference Center in Centre County and the brook trout focused summer field school July 22-27 located in Clinton County. 

* Help Wanted: PACD Agricultural Conservation Technician - Lebanon

The PA Association of Conservation Districts is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Agricultural Conservation Technician to be based in Lebanon.

* 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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Send your stories, photos and links to videos about your project, environmental issues or programs for publication in the PA Environment Digest to: PaEnviroDigest@gmail.com.

* 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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