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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
January 20, 2020 Issue #812
(1/20/2020)
* Pennsylvania's Chesapeake Bay State Team (formerly the PA Steering Committee) Meets January 30 In Harrisburg

The renamed Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay State Team is scheduled to meet January 30 in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

* Final Vote Expected This Week In House On Bill Reducing Environmental Protection Requirements For Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling

House Republicans are positioning  Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) for a final vote by the full House next week.  The bill would significantly reduce requirements for protecting the environment from conventional oil and gas drilling.

* PEC, EDF: Senate Bill 790 Includes Dramatic Reductions In Health, Environmental Protections From Impacts Of Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling

On January 16, the PA Environmental Council and the Environmental Defense Fund wrote to all members of the House expressing their opposition to Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) which they said “includes dramatic reductions to health and environmental protections that are unwarranted and unsafe” related to conventional oil and gas drilling.

* Opposition To Road Dumping Drilling Wastewater Grows: 166 Organizations, 1,445 Citizens Call On House To Reject Senate Bill 790

On January 13, as the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee prepared to consider Senate Bill 790, Berks Gas Truth has submitted to committee members a copy of a letter sent in October to lawmakers and Gov. Wolf.

* DEP Issues $1.95 Million Penalty To Sunoco For Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Violations At Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County

On January 16, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has issued a $1.95 million civil penalty to Sunoco Pipeline for violations resulting from construction activities on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project at Raystown Lake in Penn Township, Huntingdon County.

* DEP Orders Range Resources To Address Methane Leaking Into The Air, 12 Water Wells, Groundwater From A Marcellus Gas Well In Lycoming County Since 2013

On January 13, the Department of Environmental Protection ordered Range Resources- Appalachia, LLC o address its gas well in Moreland Township, Lycoming County, which has caused methane to escape and pollute groundwater and multiple surface waters.

* Performance Based Budget Board Holds Jan. 22 Hearing On Performance-Based Budget Report For DEP

On January 22, the Performance Based Budget Board Hearing is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Performance Budgeting Report for the Department of Environmental Protection.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets Jan. 21 On Final Air Quality Permit Fee Increases

DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council is scheduled to meet by conference call on January 21 to discuss the final Air Quality Permit Fee Increase regulation.

* Keep PA Beautiful: Registration Now Open For Pick Up Pennsylvania Litter Cleanup, Beautification Events

On January 15, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced registration is now open for groups planning cleanups and beautification events during the Pick Up Pennsylvania Initiative, supporting the nationwide Great American Cleanup.

* IFO Soliciting Comments For Economic Impact Study On Regulation Of Single-Use Plastics

On January 15, the Independent Fiscal Office issued an invitation via Twitter to interested stakeholders to submit comments in connection with the economic impact study it is required to do of any regulation of "single-use plastics, reusable plastics, auxiliary containers, wrappings or polystyrene containers."

* Potential Economic Damage Due To Spotted Lanternfly In PA Could Reach $324 Million Annually, Now Stands At $50.1 Million

By Amy Duke, Penn State News

* Ghost Town Trail In Cambria & Indiana Counties Named 2020 Trail Of The Year

On January 13, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced the Ghost Town Trail has been named Pennsylvania’s 2020 Trail of the Year.

* House Committee Discusses Where To Find $500 Million To Fix State Parks; Don’t Forget $500 Million Needed To Address State Forest Maintenance Needs

On January 15, the House Tourism and Recreation Development Committee heard a presentation on DCNR’s Penn’s Parks For All, a strategic plan for State Parksnow in the final stages of development to keep them relevant to the recreational needs of Pennsylvanians for the next 25 years.

* DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council Meets Jan. 22 On New ATV Policy, Diversity Initiative

DCNR’s Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council is scheduled to meet on January 22 to discuss the agency’s new ATV policy and a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative. (formal notice)

* CBF Blog: Pennsylvania Has Been Growing Greener For 20 Years

By B.J. Small, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA

* PA Capitol Report: No Surprises Here, Disappearing Votes, Gaming Revenue Record, AG, ST, AG Races, Heavy Drinkers

Because Everything In Politics Is Connected To Everything Else:  This was a “no surprises” week politically in Harrisburg, because no one was surprised by the outcome of a special Senate election in the mid-state and no one was surprised when Attorney General Shapiro announced his re-election bid.

* 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 Environmental Committee Hears From Industry, Business Groups On Triennial Review Of Water Quality Reg, Stream Redesignations

On January 15, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee heard comments from the American Forest and Paper Association industry group and the Monroe County Clean Streams Coalition business group about their concerns with the final Triennial Review Of Water Quality regulation.

* Feb. 5 Hearing Set By House Environmental Committee On Bill To Take Away DEP’s Authority To Enact Any Program To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On February 5, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on House Bill 2025 (Struzzi-R-Indiana) which would take away the authority of DEP to adopt any program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* Rep. Metcalfe Warns Top Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Officials “Rogue Governor” Doesn't Have The Authority To Join RGGI

On January 16, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Majority Chair, House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, sent a letter to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Executive Committee saying Pennsylvania has a “rogue Governor” who lacks the authority to make Pennsylvania part of the RGGI initiative without legislative approval.  

* Rep. Causer Introduces Bill To Make It Harder To Buy Forest Conservation Easements With Public Funding

On January 16, Rep. Martin Causer (R-McKean), Majority Chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, introduced House Bill 2148 to establish new limits on the nature and approval of forest conservation easements purchased with federal, state or local funding.

* Rep. Dush To Introduce Bills To Terminate Delaware, Susquehanna River Basin Commission Compacts

On January 16, Rep. Cris Dush (R-Jefferson) announced plans to introduce legislation to terminate the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basin Compacts.

* House Environmental Committee Meets Jan. 22 On Bill To Exempt Shoreline Landowners From Fees For Using Commonwealth-Owned Submerged Lands

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet on January 22 on House Bill 1779 (Wentling-R-Erie) exempting privately constructed shoreline stabilization groin structures from submerged land lease fees covering Commonwealth-owned land.

* House Game & Fisheries Committee To Hold Meetings In March On Fish & Boat And Game Commissions’ Annual Reports

The House Game and Fisheries Committee will hold information meetings on the annual reports of the Fish and Boat Commission on March 2 and the Game Commission on March 3.

* Joint Conservation Committee Newsletter Points To Potential National Potato Shortage, But Not In PA

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

* Trout Unlimited: Federal Bill To Fund Abandoned Mine Cleanup Moving Forward

By Mark Taylor, Trout Unlimited

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Files Comments Opposing Conowingo Dam Settlement

On January 17, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject Maryland’s Conowingo Dam settlement offer with Exelon.

* Bay Journal: Can EPA Enforce The Chesapeake Bay's Pollution Diet?

By Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal 

* NRCS-PA Holds Jan. 23 PA State Technical Committee Meeting In Harrisburg

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA Office invites the public to attend the Pennsylvania State Technical Committee meeting on January 23 at the USDA State Office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

* PA AG Shapiro, 15 Other State Attorneys General Object To Shipping Liquefied Natural Gas By Rail

On January 13, Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined 15 other state Attorneys General voiced their “strong objection” to a proposal by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration to allow the shipping of liquefied natural gas by train.

* Global: For First Time, The Top 5 Risks In The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report Are All Environmental

On January 16, the World Economic Forum released its 15th edition of its Global Risks Report and for the first time the top five global risks are all environmental. 

* Call For Presentations: 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 24-25 In State College

The planning committee for the 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference is now accepting presentation proposals.  The deadline for submissions is March 1.

* Schuylkill River Restoration Fund Now Accepting Applications For 2020 Grant Round

The Schuylkill River Restoration Fund is now accepting applications for grants to support projects that improve water quality in the watershed.  The deadline for letters of intent is February 13.

* Schuylkill Action Network 2020 Water Utility Forum On Emerging Contaminants Jan. 28 In Reading

The Schuylkill Action Network will host a 2020 Water Utility Forum on January 28 at Albright College, Campus Center Dining Hall, 1442 Bern Street in Reading, Berks County from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

* The Power Of Seeds And Water To Connect People To Place-- Learn More About Becoming A Master Watershed Steward In Philadelphia At Feb. 19 Open House

Penn State Extension and the Philadelphia Water Department are hosting an online Open House on the Master Watershed Steward volunteer program in Philadelphia on February 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

* PennVEST Seeks Proposals For A Public-Private Partnership To Develop A New Center For Water Quality Excellence In Lancaster, York Counties

On January 13, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced it is seeking interested parties to partner with the Authority to develop the Center for Water Quality Excellence, an innovative one-stop shop designed to address reduction goals for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Commonwealth’s waterways in Lancaster and York counties.

* Bay Journal: 2 Small PA Communities Say No To MS4 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program Until Financial Relief Can Be Found

By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* Manada Conservancy Union Canal: Preserving A Piece Of the Past; Update On Swatara Creek Conservation Feb. 11 Dauphin County

The Manada Conservancy will hold a special Union Canal: Preserving A Piece Of The Past presentation on February 11 at the Hershey Gardens Conservatory, 170 Hotel Road in Hershey starting at 7:00 p.m. in Dauphin County.

* Webinar On Databases For Watershed Group Volunteer And Member Management Set For Jan. 31

The PA Organization For Watersheds and Rivers will host a January 31 webinar on Databases for Watershed Group Volunteer and Member Management starting at Noon.

* Penn State Center Pittsburgh To Offer Green Infrastructure Certification Program In April

The Penn State Center Pittsburgh will again host training classes for the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) beginning in April 2020.

* PUC Approves Settlement For Aqua America’s $4+ Billion Acquisition Of The Peoples Natural Gas Companies

On January 16, the Public Utility Commission approved a settlement regarding a joint application by Aqua America, Inc, and its subsidiaries, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. and Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater, Inc., together with Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC, Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC – Equitable Division, and Peoples Gas Company LLC (collectively, the Peoples Companies), for Aqua America to acquire ownership of the Peoples Companies.

* DEP: Chapter 102 E&S Permit Application Received For Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project In Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 18 PA Bulletin it has received a Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation permit application for the Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. (PA Bulletin, page 401)

* DEP Issues Water Quality Certification For 2 Dominion Energy Pipeline Projects In Beaver, Lawrence, Westmoreland Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notices in the January 18 PA Bulletin announcing it has issued the final Section 401 Water Quality Certification for two Dominion Energy pipeline projects in Western Pennsylvania.  They include--

* 2020 Shale Network Workshop Set For May 14-15 In State College To Feature Health Effects Presentations

The Shale Network will hold its 2020 Annual Workshop on May 14-15 at the Graduate Hotel in State College with the theme--  “Shale Gas: Future and Developing Issues.”

* PA Farm Show Butter Sculpture Deconstructed, Recycled Into Energy At Juniata County Dairy Farm - Video

The 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show has ended, and so has the "East Meets West" dairy tailgate party featuring three of Pennsylvania's most beloved, buttery sports mascots – Philadelphia Eagles' Swoop, Pittsburgh Steelers' Steely McBeam, and Philadelphia Flyers' Gritty.

* GASP: Allegheny County Health Dept. Fines Clairton Coke (Coal) Works $743,625

On January 17, the Group Against Smog and Pollution reported the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced it has issued fines against U.S. Steel for Article XXI Air Pollution Control violations and permit violations.

* DEP Sets Hearings [If Needed] On RACT II Air Quality Plans For 9 Facilities In Butler, Clarion, Elk, Lancaster, Philadelphia, York Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled public hearings [if needed] on the RACT II Air Quality Plans and related State Implementation Plan revisions for 9 facilities in Butler, Clarion, Elk, Lancaster, Philadelphia and York counties.

* Join The Sustainable Pittsburgh Shop Designation Program And Build Your Business

Are you a business owner who cares about sustainability? Studies show that more and more consumers prefer shopping with environmentally and socially-conscious businesses.

* PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In December Now Available; PEC At 50!

The PA Environmental Council’s In Case You Missed It In December is now available, featuring articles on--

* Dept. Of Agriculture Announces Winners Of Student Spotted Lanternfly Calendar Contest

On January 10, the Department of Agriculture announced the winners of the student Spotted Lanternfly calendar contest at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show. The PDA holds this contest annually as an effort to continue to raise awareness about the threat of the Spotted Lanternfly.

* Controlled Plant & Noxious Weed Committee Meets Jan. 23 To Consider 6 Additions To Noxious Weed List

The Department of Agriculture’s Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee is scheduled to meet on January 23 to consider the addition of 6 plants to the noxious weed list.  (formal notice)

* PA Horticultural Society Gardening For Biodiversity Symposium March 4 In Philadelphia

The PA Horticultural Society invites home gardeners and gardening professionals for a day of learning at the March 4 PHS Gardening for Biodiversity Symposium being held in conjunction with the 2020 Philadelphia Flower Show.

* Manada Conservancy's Online Native Plant Pre-Sale Now Open In Dauphin County

The Manada Conservancy's Native Plant online pre-sale is open now through April 15 to shop for native perennials, trees and shrubs.

* South Mountain Partnership 9th Annual Power Of The Partnership Celebration Jan. 31 In Adams County

The Annual Power of the Partnership Celebration is the South Mountain Partnership’s yearly event to celebrate what makes the South Mountain region so special.

* Natural Lands, Berks Nature Add 60 Acres To Nolde State Forest And Environmental Ed Center Lands In Berks County

On January 13, Natural Lands and Berks Nature announced the successful preservation of two parcels totaling 60 acres in Cumru Township, Berks County. Immediately after purchasing the wooded properties, Natural Lands transferred ownership to DCNR as additions to the 665-acre Nolde Forest and Environmental Education Center.

* 4th Annual Our Woods & Waters Film Series Set For January & February In Erie And Crawford Counties

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests and French Creek Valley Conservancy have teamed up once again to present the 4th annual Our Woods & Waters Film Series on January 24 in Erie County and February 28 in Crawford County.

* Save The Date: 2020 Eastern PA Greenways & Trails Summit Sept. 27-29; Take Pre-Summit Survey

The 2020 Eastern PA Greenways and Trails Summit will be held September 27-29 at The Hotel Anthracite in Carbondale, Lackawanna County.

* PA Organization For Watershed & Rivers Now Accepting Applications For Sojourn Grants

The PA Organization for Watershed and Rivers is now accepting applications for Sojourn Grants.  The deadline for applications is March 4.

* PA Recreation & Park Society Releases 2020 Training & Events Calendar

The PA Recreation and Park Society has released its 2020 Events Calendar of webinars, trainings, and professional networking and skill building events.

* Jan. 17 Take Five Fridays With Pam Now Available From PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The January 17 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness: Advocate For Preserving Wilderness In Warren County

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness is encouraging the public to participate in an initiative by Warren County seeking public input about outdoor recreation opportunities in the county.

* Help Wanted: Sierra Club Clean Energy Advocate In Pennsylvania

The Sierra Club is hiring a Senior Campaign Representative for its clean energy campaign in Pennsylvania.  This position will coordinate the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, as well as other campaigns aimed at averting the climate crisis. 

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

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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* Keystone Coldwater Conference Feb. 28-29 In State College

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the 2020 Keystone Coldwater Conference February 28-29 in State College.  Registration is now openClick Here for more.

* Riparian Forest Buffer Summit March 11 & 12 In Altoona

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the 2020 Riparian Forest Buffer Summit March 11 & 12 in Altoona.  Registration is now openClick Here for more.

* PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 24-25 In State College

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 24-25 in State College.  Click Here for more - Call For Presentations.

* 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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