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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
February 10, 2020 Issue #815
(2/10/2020)
* Gov. Wolf’s Budget Proposal Repairs Damage To Environmental Funding Done Last Year; Proposes Additional Funding For FY 2020-21

On February 4, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed an FY 2020-21 state budget that restores many of the cuts made to environmental funding in last year’s budget, and frees up more than $43 million in funding for community-based farm conservation, watershed restoration and recreation projects.

* Growing Greener Coalition: Tremendous Backlog Of Environmental Infrastructure Needs Demand Much Higher Levels Of Investment By State

On February 5, seventeen member groups of the Growing Greener Coalition released a statement saying while they are “heartened” by Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal, “there is a tremendous backlog of environmental infrastructure needs requiring the state’s attention and demanding much higher levels of investment.”

* StateImpact PA: DEP To Receive 36% Less Federal Mine Reclamation Funding This Year

On February 6, Reid Frazier of StateImpact PA reported DEP will receive 36 percent less federal mine reclamation funding this year-- $32 million-- compared to last year-- $55 million-- to cleanup Pennsylvania’s abandoned mines.

* Budget Background: Where Did The $2.93 Billion In Environmental Funding The General Assembly Diverted Or Cut Go?

Over the last 17 years, General Fund support for DEP environmental programs has been cut by more than 40 percent, and the agency’s staff reduced by nearly 30 percent.

* Keep PA Beautiful: Just 9 Cities In PA Spend More Than $68 Million A Year On Litter, Illegal Dumping Cleanup, Education, Enforcement & Prevention

On February 5, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful released a Litter & Illegal Dumping Cost Study which found just nine cities in Pennsylvania spend more than $68 million a year fighting litter and illegal dumping.

* Bay Journal: PA, Fed Up With Litter, Organizes For New Attack

By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* PA Environmental Professionals Call For Karl Mason And Walter Lyon Award Nominations

On February 4, the PA Association of Environmental Professionals issued a call for nominations for the 2020 Karl Mason and Walter Lyon Awards.  The deadline for submissions is March 27.

* South Mountain Partnership Announces Spirit Of South Mountain Award Winner, Mini-Grant Recipients

More than 120 people gathered at Liberty Mountain Ski Resort in Fairfield, Adams County on January 31 to celebrate the South Mountain landscape and the work of its partners to invest in a sustainable, healthy future for our communities and citizens in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Ross Snook, New Hanover Twp. Environmental Advisory Board

Ross Snook is the Chairman of the Environmental Advisory Board for New Hanover Township, in Montgomery County.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets Feb. 18 On RGGI Reg; State Water Plan; Draft Chapter 105 Regs

On February 18, DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council is scheduled to hear presentations on the draft regulation to implement a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade emission reduction program covering power plants, a State Water Plan update and draft changes to Chapter 105 Dam Safety and Encroachment regulations.

* Deadlines Extended: Keystone Coldwater Conference Student Poster, Mentoring Program Submissions

The PA Trout Unlimited Keystone Coldwater Conference on February 28-29 in State College has extended the deadline for students to submit entries in the Student Poster session and to be part of the Student Mentoring Program to February 14.

* PA Capitol Report: Wolf’s Budget Proposal Increases Spending, Debt, But Not Sales, Income Taxes

Because In Politics, Everything Is Connected To Everything Else: On February 4, Gov. Wolf officially kicked off the FY 2020-21 budget season with a proposal that increases spending by 7.6 percent over the current budget, but does not increase the sales or personal income tax.

* Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

The following bills of interest saw action last week in the House and Senate--

* Bills On Governor's Desk

The following bills were given final approval by the Senate and House and are now on the Governor's desk for action--

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule

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. Santarsiero To Introduce Bill Banning The Harmful Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

On February 4, Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) announced plans to introduce legislation to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that is known to cause harm to human health, as well as to wildlife and water supplies, yet continues to be utilized across millions of acres of farmland in the United States.

* Republicans On House Environmental Committee Disapprove Final EQB Triennial Water Standards Reg. Because DEP Didn’t Fill Out Regulatory Analysis Form Properly

On February 4, Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out a concurrent resolution disapproving of the final EQB Triennial Water Quality Standards and Stream Redesignation Regulation.

* Senate, House Take Final Action On Bill Providing Unlimited Subsidies To Industries Using Natural Gas In Manufacturing; Governor Set To Veto

On February 4, the Senate and House took final action on House Bill 1100 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne) which would provide unlimited taxpayer-funded subsidies for natural gas use in manufacturing through a new tax credit.  The bill now goes to the Governor.

* Joint Conservation Committee: DEP- Coal Waste-Fired Power Plants Will Not Incur Significant Compliance Costs Under Draft RGGI Reg.

On February 3, DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell told the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee coal waste-fired power plants will not incur significant compliance costs under DEP’s draft Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative regulations.

* Senators Yudichak, Argall, Yaw To Introduce Resolution Directing Joint Conservation Committee To Study Impacts Of Joining RGGI On Coal Waste Cogeneration

On February 7, Senators John Yudichak (I-Luzerne), David Argall (R-Schuylkill) and Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) announced their intent to introduce a resolution directing the Joint Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee to study the potential impacts of joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative on the coal waste-fired electric generation industry.

* Witnesses Tell House Committee About The Negative Consequences Of PA Joining Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative

On February 5, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee heard from eleven witnesses who highlighted what they thought were the disadvantages and negative impacts to Pennsylvania’s economy and jobs if DEP goes ahead with regulations establishing a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

* Senate Agriculture Committee Reports Out Bill To Control Overuse Of Fertilizer On Turf, Certify Applicators

On February 4, the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee voted to approve and report out Senate Bill 915 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) which sets standards for the application of fertilizer to turf, provides for the certification of professional fertilizer applicators and for labeling and an education program (sponsor summary).

* Senate Environmental Committee Reports Out Bills On Alternative On-Lot Sewage Systems, Waste Tire Dumping Fine Legislation

On February 5, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out legislation on alternative on-lot sewage facilities and increasing fines for dumping waste tires in Philadelphia.  The bills include--

* Joint Conservation Committee: Belle Vernon Municipal Authority Taking A Stand Against Pollution From Drilling Waste

The February newsletter from the Joint House-Senate Conservation Committee includes an article brought to the newsletter by Rep. Bud Cook (R-Fayette) about how the Belle Vernon Municipal Authority in Fayette County took steps to protect the Monongahela River from water pollution caused by drilling waste.  Here is the text of the article--

* CBF: Draft Federal Rule Change To Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Leaves Out Vital Provisions

On February 4, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation filed comments on the draft federal rule to update the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) required by the 2018 federal Farm Bill.

* U.S. Senator Bob Casey Calls For Key Water Quality Improvements In Proposed USDA Conservation Reserve Program Regulation

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to USDA's Farm Service Agency calling for key water quality improvements in proposed changes to the Conservation Reserve Program regulations and released this statement--

* EPA Region III Releases 2019 Report On Accomplishments & Environmental Progress

On February 7, the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today the release of its 2019 Year-in-Review report highlighting the successes, major accomplishments and environmental progress through 2019.

* Delaware RiverKeeper Testifies Before Congress On Needed Natural Gas Act/FERC Reforms

On February 5, Maya van Rossum, of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, testified at a hearing titled “Modernizing the Natural Gas Act to Ensure it Works for Everyone,” held by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

* Bipartisan Innovate First, Regulate Later Climate Change Bill To Be Introduced In U.S. House By Members From Oregon, West Virginia

Members of Congress David B. McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) announced their commitment to working together to develop bipartisan legislation to reduce emissions in the power sector.

* NFWF Delaware River Program Now Accepting Applications For Watershed Restoration Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is now accepting grant proposals for projects to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality under its Delaware River Program.  Proposals are due April 2.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Accepting Comments On Draft 2020 Water Quality Assessment Methodology

The Delaware River Basin Commission is now accepting comments on the draft Water Quality Assessment Methodology for 2020.  The deadline for comments is March 6.

* Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership: Jenkintown Creek Neighbors Are Stream Smart

By Ryan Neuman, Upstream Conservation Leader, TTF

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Contract To Provide Mine Drainage Treatment System O&M

The Department of Environmental Protection is soliciting interest and bids for a five year contract to operate and maintain mine drainage treatment systems in Centre, Clearfield, Clinton and Sullivan counites. (Feb. 8 PA Bulletin, page 881)

* Pike & Wayne Conservation Districts Hold March 5 Workshop On Resource Conservation Issues Affecting Local Realtors

The Pike County Conservation District and Wayne County Conservation District will hold a Workshop on Resource Conservation Issues Affecting Local Realtors on March 5 (snow date March 9) at the Wallenpaupack Environmental Education Center, 126 Lamberton Lane in Hawley, Wayne County from 8:00 a.m. until after lunch.

* Still Time! Wildlife Leadership Academy Accepting Nominations To Become Student Conservation Ambassadors By Attending Its 2020 Summer Camps

The Wildlife Leadership Academy in Lewisburg, Union County is seeking referrals of motivated students ages 14 to 17 to become Certified Conservation Ambassadors by attending one of five residential summer camps. 

* Registration Open! 2020 Environmental Advisory Council Network Conference May 2, Montgomery County

The PA Land Trust Association is now accepting registrations for the 2020 Environmental Advisory Council Network Conference on May 2 at the Upper Merion Township Building, 175 W. Valley Forge Road in King of Prussia, Montgomery County from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

* Regulations Being Considered By PUC To Encourage Water, Wastewater System Consolidation In Light Of PFAS, Lead, Emerging Contaminants

On February 6, the Public Utility Commission voted 5-0 on a motion offered by Commissioner Ralph V. Yanora, which begins a rulemaking process on issues related to water and wastewater utility service.

* One Health Seminar Series: PFAS Chemicals In PA Threaten Our Health, Environment, What Can We Do? Feb. 11 Bucks County

Delaware Valley University’s One Health Seminar Series will present-- PFAS in Pennsylvania: How 'Forever Chemicals' Threaten Our Health and Environment and What We Can Do About It February 11.

* $37,344 Industrial Sites Reuse Grant Approved For Clarion County Project

On February 7, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a $37,344 Industrial Sites Reuse Grant for the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation.

* DEP Environmental Justice Update Newsletter Now Available

The latest Environmental Justice Update newsletter is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--

* Penn State Researchers Modeling Safest Locations To Shelter During Urban Air Pollution Events

By Gabrielle Stewart, Penn State News

* DEP Hearing Feb. 26 [If Needed] On Chesapeake Energy Request To Waive Setback For Well To Be Drilled In Bradford County

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a hearing for February 26 on a request by Chesapeake Energy to waive the 330-foot setback required by the Oil and Gas Conservation Law for a natural gas well to be drilled in Wyalusing and Tuscarora townships in Bradford County.  (Feb. 8 PA Bulletin, page 880)

* PUC Updates Policy On Promoting Diversity At Utilities; Begins Rulemaking Process On Reporting Diversity Information

On February 6, the Public Utility Commission voted 5-0 in support of a motion by Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille intended to “reinvigorate the Commission’s efforts to promote and implement effective diversity programs at our major jurisdictional utility companies.”            

* Regional Utility Sustainable Energy Funds Provide Annual Update On Actions

On February 6, the Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Board, in conjunction with the Public Utility Commission, held a meeting to share updates from the regional utility Sustainable Energy Funds

* 2020 Industry Forum On Energy Efficiency - Healthcare, Food Services & Higher Education April 3 In Philadelphia

Registration is now open for the 2020 Industry Forum On Energy Efficiency - Healthcare, Food Services and Higher Education on April 3 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 4960 S. 12th Street in Philadelphia from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

* PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In January Now Available

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

* Cumberland County Master Gardeners Host Gardening With Nature Feb. 18, Native Plant Fest May 16

The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Cumberland County will host two upcoming events for gardeners interested in including native plants in their gardening and sharpening their gardening skills.

* 3 More Plants Added To Noxious Weed List By Controlled Plant & Noxious Weed Committee

On January 23, the Department of Agriculture’s Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee added three more plants to the noxious weed list.  (formal notice)

* Allegheny Outfitters Hosts Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Detection Training Program Feb 13, 15 In Warren County

The Allegheny Hemlock Conservation Partnership, Allegheny Forest Health Collaborative and Allegheny Outfitters will host programs February 13 and 15 focusing on the invasive pest known as the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Warren County.

* Wooden Shipping Pallets Slightly More Sustainable Than Plastic

By Jeff Mulhollem, Penn State News

* Still Time To Sign Up For PA Master Naturalist Spring Training In Delaware, Montour Counties

Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is still accepting applications for 2020 spring training sessions set for Delaware and Montour counties.  The deadline for applications is February 15.

* National Rails-To-Trails Conservancy Awards 2 Grants For Pennsylvania Projects

On February 4, the national Rails-To-Trails Conservancy awarded $100,000 in grants from the 2020 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund to support six regional and community projects across the country.

* Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy Preserves Meadow Lane Farm In Snyder County

PA Land Trust Association member, Merrill Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy, successfully protected Meadow Lane Farm in Snyder County, preserving the farm forever. Here’s their story in their own words.

* PALTA: Authorities, Conservation Groups Eligible For Conservation Easement Assistance Grants

The PA Land Trust Association is now accepting applications for the Conservation Easement Assistance Program to help conservation organizations and now municipal authorities plan and complete conservation, trail, and other public access easements.

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness Host Winter Backpack Trip On March 7-8 In Warren County

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness will host its annual winter backpacking trip over the weekend of March 7-8 in Warren County.

* Trout Unlimited Delaware River Fly Tri, A Test Of Fitness And Fishing At The Delaware Water Gap May 16

By Mark Taylor, Trout Unlimited

* All Tobacco, Vaping, E-Cigarettes Now Banned At Playgrounds In State Parks

On February 7, Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced a ban on all forms of tobacco, vaping, and e-cigarettes at playgrounds in all state parks.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Recreation That's Accessible For All

Whether you are hiking, camping, fishing, or kayaking in Pennsylvania state parks and forests, no one can deny that getting outdoors is both physically and mentally beneficial.

* New Visit PA Happy Traveler Guide Includes Special Earth Day 50 PA Feature Story

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is out with the Happy Traveler Guide, a resource to inspire travelers to pursue their happiness in Pennsylvania, including:

* Feb. 7 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The February 7 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Feb. 5 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The February 5 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Citizen Science: Help Bird Conservation By Counting Your Backyard Birds Feb. 14-17

Love birdwatching? Consider participating in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count! This free and fun citizen science program takes place Friday, February 14 – Monday, February 17.

* Interns Wanted: Allegheny Land Trust Hamm Conservation & Stewardship Intern Positions

The Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Land Trust is seeking qualified individuals to fill two intern positions-- the Hamm Conservation Intern and a Stewardship Intern.

* 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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