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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 9, 2020 Issue #819
* Senate DCNR Budget Hearing: 26.8% Of State Forest Land Leased For Natural Gas Drilling Was Returned To DCNR Undeveloped Due To Low Natural Gas Prices

On March 3, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported 67,000 acres or 26.8 percent of the 251,000 acres of State Forest land leased for natural gas drilling, including 138,866 acres of shale gas leases from 2008 and 2010, have been returned to the agency undeveloped primarily due to very low gas prices.

* DEP Senate Budget Hearing: DEP - Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Closing Without RGGI, We Have To Confront This Issue, Help Workers, Communities

In comments at the March 4 Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing, DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said the reality is coal-fired power plants are closing because of market forces and no one is making the financial commitment to fund new coal plants.  It’s time to confront these issues and try to help these communities and figure out how to transition into the future.

* Sen. Laughlin: We’re Throwing Money Away On Trying To Control Spotted Lanternfly, Should Shift Money To Chronic Wasting Disease

On March 2, Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) told Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding at the Senate hearing on Agriculture’s budget request he believes the state is “throwing money away” in trying to control the spotted lanternfly.

* Penn State Research/Extension Highlights Critical Work On Spotted Lanternfly, Farm Conservation, Public Education & Involvement

On March 2, Dr. Richard Roush, Dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Science appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss the critical work they and the Penn State Extension are doing on the spotted lanternfly, farm conservation and in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, educating the public and students on a variety of farm and environmental issues and creating opportunities for citizens to improve their communities.  Here is the text of his opening remarks--

* Dept. Of Agriculture Adds 12 Counties To Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area; 26 Counties Now Included

On March 3, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced 12 counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2020 spring hatch. With this addition, the quarantine for this invasive pest is now at 26 counties.

* Rep. Comitta Urges State Pesticide Advisory Board To Ban “Deadly” Chlorpyrifos Pesticide; Agriculture Taking Comments On Proposed Ban

On March 3 Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) appeared before the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Advisory Board to urge the Department to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos because it is toxic to the human nervous system, endangers the unborn and infants as a potent developmental toxin and threatens wildlife and pollinators.

* Game Commission: Biggest Threat To Wildlife Is Emerging Diseases Like Chronic Wasting Disease; Will Celebrate 125th Anniversary In 2020

On March 3, Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans gave the House Game and Fisheries Committee a presentation on the Commission’s 2019 Annual Report highlighting, among other things, that the biggest threat wildlife continues to face is emerging diseases.

* Fish & Boat Commission Protects Additional 508 Miles Of Wild Trout Streams In 2019

On March 2, Timothy Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, gave the House Game and Fisheries Committee an overview of the Commission’s 2019 annual report highlighting the fact the Commission’s Unassessed Waters Initiative added 271 waters and 508 miles of streams to the Wild Trout Streams list.

* PA Land Trust Assn. Recognizes Bushkill Township, Northampton County With Local Govt. Conservation Leadership Award

The PA Land Trust Association has announced Bushkill Township is the recipient of the 2020 Local Government Conservation Leadership Award. This award honors counties and municipalities for their commitment to conservation.

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Zakia Elliott, Philadelphia

Zakia Elliott is a program manager for Philadelphia Climate Works who brings residents, environmental organizations, and labor unions together to discuss ways that climate change impacts us and build strategies to mitigate those harms.

* Appalachian Trail Museum Names 2020 Appalachian Trail Hall Of Fame Inductees

On March 4, the Adams County-based Appalachian Trail Museum announced the 10th class of Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame honorees who will be recognized at a May 2 banquet at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets March 17 On New Pipeline Construction Guidance, Act 54 Report On Damage Caused By Deep Coal Mining, Chapt. 105 Alternatives Analysis

The DEP Citizens Advisory Council is scheduled to meet on March 17 to discuss DEP’s draft policy on pipeline construction and the latest Act 54 report detailing damage caused by underground coal mining.

* PUC Releases Reports Showing Act 129 Energy Efficiency Program Could Deliver $3 Billion In Benefits Over Next 5 Years

On March 2, the Public Utility Commission released a study showing the new 5-year energy efficiency targets for utilities required by Act 129 are cost-effective and could return $3 billion dollars in benefits to Pennsylvania electric customers.

* Briefing: First PA Coronavirus Cases Reported, Governor Signs Disaster Declaration

On March 6, Gov. Tom Wolf confirmed the first two presumptive positive cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania in Delaware and Wayne counties and reminded residents that the Commonwealth is prepared to respond to community spread of this virus.  Read more here.

* PA Capitol Report: What’s $500 Or $800 Million Or $1.4 Billion Among Friends?

[ Because In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] The Senate and House wrapped up their agency-by-agency budget hearings last week where members each got to ask about the pet projects or issues (frequently not budget related).

* 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--

* House Committee Sets March 16 Hearing On Bipartisan Community Solar Legislation

On March 16, the House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on two bills establishing community solar programs to allow electric consumers to subscribe to solar energy sources in several different ways without having solar panels on their roof.

* House Agriculture Committee Holds March 18 Info Meeting On Spotted Lanternfly

The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold an informational meeting March 18 on the spotted lanternfly.

* Joint Conservation Committee Holds March 16 Environmental Forum On Cooperative Fish Nursery Program

On March 16 the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee will hold an Environmental Issues Forum on the Fish and Boat Commission Cooperative Fish Nursery Program.

* March Newsletter Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

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

* DEP To Use EPA Grant To Characterize Ambient Concentrations Of Methane In 10 Counties

On March 4, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award of $372,054 in Multipurpose Grants to the departments of Environmental Protection and Labor and Industry to address priority environmental issues.

* NRCS-PA Notifies Delaware County Landowners Of Soil Survey Project

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA will be conducting field work in Delaware County from May 2020 through fall 2021 to update soil survey data.

* PennVEST Schedules 16 Meetings Around The State On Clean Water Funding Opportunities

On March 4, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced it has scheduled 16 public meetings around the state on how PennVEST funding can help improve water quality in your community.

* 30+ Environmental Groups Will Hold A March 9 Rally Against HB 1100 Giving An Unlimited Subsidy For Natural Gas Use In Manufacturing

House and Senate members will join representatives of 30 environmental groups will hold a March 9 rally against House Bill 1100 giving an unlimited subsidy for the use of natural gas in manufacturing products.

* Environmental Groups Petition Delaware River Basin Commission To Upgrade Water Quality Protection Status Around Philadelphia/Camden

On March 2, a coalition of organizations have petitioned the Delaware River Basin Commission to upgrade the regulatory status and protections for the Philadelphia/Camden reach of the Delaware River.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Invites Volunteers To Join StreamWatchers Program In Monroe County

Would you like to be a Streamwatcher? Brodhead Watershed Association is inviting volunteers to become “water warriors” as part of its popular StreamWatch Program in Monroe County.

* Pike Conservation District Highlights Upcoming Education Workshops For Landowners, Contractors

The Pike County Conservation District highlighted upcoming educational workshops and programs in its March newsletter.

* Schuylkill Action Network Seeking Volunteers To Participate In Schuylkill Scrub Watershed-Wide Cleanups

The Schuylkill Action Network is inviting volunteers to participate in the Schuylkill Scrub, a watershed-wide cleanup initiative that takes place now through May 31.

* Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Assn. Highlights Upcoming Events In Cumberland County

The Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association's latest newsletter highlights activities coming up this Spring in Cumberland County.  The items include--

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Water Quality And Beer Go Hand In Hand

What does water quality have to do with happy hour?

* CBF Now Accepting Entries In 2020 Save The Bay Photo Contest; Let’s Make PA A Winner This Year!

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is now accepting entries for the 2020 Save The Bay Photo Contest.  The deadline for entries is March 31.

* Game Commission, Wildlife For Everyone Foundation Seedlings For Schools Now Accepting Applications

The Game Commission, along with the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation, is now accepting applications for tree seedlings under its Seedlings for Schools Program.  The deadline for applications is March 27.

* Apply For TreeVitalize Fall Plantings In Pittsburgh, Allegheny County By March 13

The TreeVitalize Pittsburgh program’s street tree plantings help the Western PA Conservancy and its partners meet the goals of Pittsburgh’s 10-year Street Tree Management Plan.

* Learn About Harvesting Live Stakes At Volunteer Collection Events In Centre, Snyder, Union Counties

Individuals and groups wanting to learn about live staking are encouraged to sign up for this unique volunteer opportunity organized by the Chesapeake Conservancy.

* Lancaster Clean Water Partners Hold March 25 Event To Collect Live Stakes

Join Penn State Greening the Lower Susquehanna, in partnership with the Lancaster Clean Water Partners, in harvesting dogwood and willow tree live stakes on March 25 in Colebrook, Lancaster County from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Projects In Clearfield, Lackawanna Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notices in the March 7 PA Bulletin of the opportunity to bid on mine reclamation projects in Clearfield and Lackawanna counties.

* Funding Available To Support Community Vegetable Gardens In Allegheny County

The Western PA Conservancy reminded individuals involved in community food gardens managed by schools, neighborhood organizations, shelters and religious institutions can apply for support through the Community Garden Sustainability Fund.

* Manada Conservancy Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day With Special Programs In Dauphin County

The Manada Conservancy will hold a series of special events during April to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.  The events include--

* Register Now For Summer Science Camp For High School Students In Ohiopyle, Jennings Environmental Center

The Western PA Conservancy invites students entering grades 10-12 are invited to register for Experiencing Your Environment Through Conservation (EYE Con), four-day summer camps.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary: Registration Now Open For Summer Nature Camps 2020, Berks County

Registration is now open for any of the five summer nature camps available from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County for students in grades 1 to 6.

* Dickinson College Hosts A Valley & Ridge College Faculty Workshop For Sustainability May 19-21, Cumberland County

The Dickinson College Center for Sustainability Education will host the 2020 Valley & Ridge Faculty Development Workshop for Sustainability May 19-21 for undergraduate faculty from other colleges and universities.

* DEP Now Accepting Applications For Recycling Performance Grants For 2019

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for Recycling Performance Grants for calendar year 2019.  The deadline for applications is December 30.

* DEP Approves Allegheny Mineral Limestone Mine Permit In Lawrence County

On March 3, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has approved Allegheny Mineral Corporation’s Surface Mine Permit No. 37160301, Mine 57, application for a large limestone mining permit in Slippery Rock Township, Lawrence County.

* Philadelphia Air Management Services Invites Comments On 3 Proposed RACT II Air Quality Plans, Including Philadelphia Refinery

Philadelphia Air Management Services is inviting comments on three proposed RACT II Air Quality Plans.

* PUC Damage Prevention Committee Assesses $110,575 In Penalties For PA One Call Violations

On March 5, the PUC announced a total of 240 disciplinary actions, including $110,575 in administrative penalties, have been taken against 90 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners in the latest enforcement actions by the Public Utility Commission’s Damage Prevention Committee

* The Economy As A Complement, Not Detriment To The Environment - Shell Ethane Plant

By Kevin Sliman, Penn State News

* Penn State Extension Farm Energy Day Workshops On Energy Conservation, Renewables To Be Held At 4 Locations

Penn State Extension will hold a series of four Farm Energy Day Workshops from April 8 to May 8 to provide an overview of energy conservation and renewable energy options for farmers.

* National Conservation District Assn. Releases First Pollinator Conservation Field Day Guide

On March 3, the National Association of Conservation Districts announced the release of a free, first-of-its-kind curriculum, “A Guide to Conducting a Pollinator Conservation Field Day.”

* Governor’s Invasive Species Council Meets March 10 To Discuss Programs To Prevent The Spread Of Invasive Species

The Governor’s Invasive Species Council is scheduled to meet on March 10 to hear presentations on several programs designed to prevent the spread of invasive species.

* DCNR Finalizes Acquisition Of 978 Acres Of Open Space In Chester Chester As Part Of White Clay Creek Preserve

Featuring rolling farmlands, open grasslands, wooded terrain, and stream corridor, the protection of the Strawbridge property secures a contiguous block of open recreation space of nearly 8,000 acres -- one of the largest in the southeast region-- in Elk, Franklin and New London townships in Chester County.

* Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Recognized Nationally For Parks Improvement Investment Plan

On March 5, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announced it has been recognized for the exceptional quality of its data-driven equitable investment plan in a new report from City Parks Alliance, Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Case Studies & Recommendations.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Foods Of The Delaware Dinner Set For April 25 In Wayne County; Honorees Recognized

Celebrate the unique Upper Delaware River region with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy at the 13th annual Foods of the Delaware Highlands Dinner on April 25th at 5:30 p.m.

* March 4 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The March 4 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* March 6 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The March 6 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Mark Your Calendars: Opening Of Trout Season, Mentored Youth Fishing Days

Anglers from 18 southeastern and southcentral counties of the state are gearing up to fish their favorite spots at 8:00 a.m. on April 4 which marks the traditional regional opening day of trout season.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Kicks Off Spring Migration With Raptorthon April 4

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will launch this upcoming spring migration season by participating in the 2020 Raptorthon on April 4 hosted by Hawk Migration Association of North America.

* Egg Watch Underway At Rachel Carson Building Peregrine Falcon Nest In Harrisburg

Anxious egg watchers have their eyes on the peregrine falcon nest on the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg to see when the first egg will be arrive.

* Dr. Debra L. Bogen Named Allegheny County Health Department Director

On March 4, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and members of the Board of Health announced Debra Bogen, M.D. has been selected as the new Director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

* Help Wanted: Western PA Conservancy, Audubon, Northumberland Conservation District, Centre County Recycling

Apply now for these jobs open at the Western PA Conservancy, Audubon Society of Western PA, the Northumberland County Conservation District and Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

Click Here: Week’s Worth Of PA Environment & Energy NewsClips - Support Local Journalism

* Public Participation Opportunities/Calendar Of Events

Click Here for a list of public participation opportunities and a calendar of events.

* Grants & Awards

Click Here for grants, awards, recognition programs and contest deadlines.

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

Here are highlights of actions taken by agencies on environmental regulations, technical guidance and permits.

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* 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. Click 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.

* 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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