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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
April 27, 2020 Issue #826
* Op-Ed: My Fellow Conservatives Are Out Of Touch On The Environment - Fmr. Gov. Tom Ridge

The following op-ed was published in The Atlantic magazine on April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge--

* House Republicans Pass Bill Blocking Environmental Regulations; Likely Going To Governor

On April 21, House Republicans put the language from House Bill 2416 (Everett-R-Lycoming), that would stop any proposed or final environmental or other state agency regulation from being finalized during the COVID-19 emergency into Senate Bill 327 (Argall-R-Schuylkill) and then passed the bill.

* House Republicans Pass Bill To Freeze Funding For County Conservation Districts, Local Parks, Farm Conservation, Watershed Restoration Projects; Will Hurt Local Economies

On April 21, House Republicans passed House Bill 1822 (M.Keller-R-Perry) by a party line vote to freeze funding for county conservation districts and from a series of environmental and other funds to support local parks, trails, farm conservation, environmental restoration and other projects.

* PA Conservation District Assn.: House Republican Effort To Freeze Funding For County Conservation Districts Will Shut Them Down, Hurt Local Economies

On April 21, the PA Conservation District Association set a letter to all members of the House opposing efforts by House Republicans to freeze funding for county conservation districts which they said would shut down conservation districts across the state, delay local construction projects and hurt local economies.

* PA Land Trust Assn. Says House Republican Effort To Prohibit State Expenditures On Conservation Districts, Local Conservation Projects 'Insanity'

On April 21, the PA Land Trust Association urged citizens across Pennsylvania to oppose efforts by House Republicans to freeze spending from conservation funds that support local parks, nature preserves, trails and open spaces just at the time these investments are needed more than ever.

* PA Recreation & Park Society Opposes Republican Efforts To Freeze Funding For Local Park, Recreation, Conservation Projects

On April 24, the PA Recreation and Park Society sent a letter to all members of the Senate expressing their opposition to a Republican effort to freeze monies in special funds used to support local parks, recreation and conservation projects.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Republican Efforts To Freeze Conservation Funding Will Hurt Communities, Small Businesses

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation expressed its opposition to the Republican effort to freeze funding for community-based recreation and conservation projects in House Bill 1822 pointing out, "Now, more than ever, Pennsylvanians are turning to our community and state parks and forests for stress relief, family time, and fitness."

* PA Environmental Council: Almost All Funds Targeted By Republican Freeze Support Local Environmental, Conservation Efforts

The PA Environmental Council opposed the Republican effort to freeze environmental funds in House Bill 1822 saying “...out of the more than 100 state special funds, only 16 are impacted by this [bill], with a majority focused on agriculture, conservation and community development.

* 18 Senate Republicans Ask Gov. Wolf To Withdrawn His Executive Order Asking DEP To Establish A Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

On April 21, eighteen Senate Republicans wrote to Gov. Wolf asking him to withdraw his October 2019 Executive Order directing DEP to establish a carbon pollution reduction program covering power plants saying the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reshaped Pennsylvania’s economy.

* Modeling For Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal Shows 180M Ton Reduction In CO2, 3% Increase In Electric, Coal Use Drops Either Way

On April 23, the Department of Environmental Protection presented modeling results for its proposal to reduce carbon pollution from power plants which found it would reduce carbon emissions by 180 million tons, cause a 3 percent increase in the wholesale price of electricity, and, with or without the program, coal use will decline sharply.

* DEP Announces Projected Climate Change Impacts Report To Support Planning For Pennsylvania’s Future

On April 20, the Department of Environmental Protection released the 2020 Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update, projecting future effects of climate change on livestock, infrastructure, and water quality to support planning to reduce risk to communities and the economy across the state.

* DEP Program Helps 20 Communities Develop Local Climate Action Plans

Twenty municipalities are developing plans to manage the risks of climate change impacts in their communities, using tools and expertise provided by the Department of Environmental Protection’s new Local Climate Action Assistance Program.

* Amazon/The Nature Conservancy Right Now Climate Fund Commits $10 Million To Family Forest Carbon Program In PA, Appalachians

On April 21, Amazon announced a $10 million grant to conserve, restore, and support sustainable forestry, wildlife and nature-based solutions across the Appalachian Mountains, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.

* Shippensburg University Hosted Virtual Campus Climate Commitment Signing Event

As part of Earth Day 50 PA, DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn and Shippensburg University hosted a virtual Campus Climate Commitment Signing Event on April 22 with a panel discussion following.

* DCNR Extends Facility Closure Thru May 8; Will Reopen Following Gov. Wolf's Red, Yellow, Green Reopening Plan

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has extended the closure of its facilities and cancellation of events in all State Parks and Forests until May 8.

* Op-Ed: Open Pennsylvania Parks For Early Recovery From COVID-19

By Tim Herd, CEO, PA Recreation & Park Society

* More Funding Provided For Federal COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program For Nonprofits, Small Businesses

On April 24, Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation that replenishes the federal Paycheck Protection Program established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act originally passed in March, but which ran out of money in less than two weeks.

* DEP Posts Guidelines For Emergency Land Application Of Milk

On April 24, the Department of Environmental Protection posted Guidelines on the Emergency Land Application of Milk to help address the need to manage excess milk as a result of market and supply chain disruptions.

* Agriculture Confirms PA's First Spotted Lanternfly Hatch, Encourages Residents To Be Vigilant

On April 21, the Department of Agriculture reported the first confirmed Spotted Lanternfly hatch of the year. The first-instar nymph was located by a USDA employee Monday in the University City section of western Philadelphia, near the University of Pennsylvania/Drexel University.

* PennVEST Provides $116 Million To Fund 16 Water Infrastructure Projects In 13 Counties

On April 22, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced the investment of $116 million in 16 drinking water, wastewater, and nonpoint source projects across 13 counties.

* Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Program In PA Announces Award Winners

On April 23, the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience in PA Program announced it has recognized a high school student and eight other organizations for their outstanding support of and/or implementation of the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) Program.

* Butler Senior High Students Couldn’t Be There On Release Day For Their Trout In The Classroom Project, But They Found A Way

The students raising rainbow trout as part of the Trout In The Classroom Program at Butler Senior High School couldn’t be there for ‘release day’ this year because their school was shut down.

* Happy Earth Day 50 PA!

Remember, the last 50 years shows the good guys ALWAYS win!  ALWAYS overcome!   Sometimes it just takes a little longer!

* Op-Ed: 50th Earth Day: Time To Consider Wiser Course - We Are All Of This Earth And Dependent On It

By Bernie McGurl, Lackawanna River Conservation Association

* Op-Ed: Earth Day 1970 Changed My Life

By Carol Collier, The Academy of Natural Sciences

* Op-Ed: Earth Day 50: A Wakeup Call To The Scientific Community - Science Matters

By Roland Wall, Director, Ruth Patrick Center For Environmental Research

* Op-Ed: Earth Day - 50 Years And Counting

By Joanne Shafer, Recycling Coordinator, Centre County

* PA Environmental Council At 50: Securing Our Environmental Rights

This is one of a series of articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of the PA Environmental Council and the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day--

* Earth Day 2020 – Bringing Pennsylvanians Together Even Though We’re Apart

On April 22, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and Acting Department of Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian issued the following statements to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

* DEP’s Blog: Earth Day 50 PA: DEP Staff Reflections

DEP's Our Commonwealth Blog featured staff reflections on the 50th anniversary of Earth day on April 22--

* DEP’s Blog: By Acting On Climate, We Help Make Every Day Earth Day

By DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell

* DEP’s Blog: Peregrine Falcons Soar In PA As Earth Day Celebrates 50 Years

By Gilbert Myers, DEP Director Of Environmental Education

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Looking Toward Earth Day 2070

By DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn

* Western PA Conservancy: Honoring Earth Day By Preserving An Historic Farm In Westmoreland County

On April 22, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced the purchase of 27 acres of farmland in South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, near New Stanton, that will soon be available for lease to local farmers as part of the Conservancy’s Farmland Access Initiative.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Posts Special Earth Day 50 PA Newsletter

Earth Week is here!  And the PA Parks and Forests Foundation has posted a special Earth Day 50 PA newsletter chock full of news about how people all over Pennsylvania are celebrating Earth Day this week as well as activities you and your kids can do.

* PA Forestry Assn: Special Earth Day Edition Of Pennsylvania Forests Quarterly

The special Earth Day 50 PA edition of Pennsylvania Forests Quarterly is now available from the PA Forestry Association featuring articles on--

* Pittsburgh Organizations Going 100% Renewable Energy On Earth Day's 50th Anniversary

On April 21, the Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium has announced that these Western PA household named organizations will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy for Earth Day-- City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Sports and Exhibition Authority, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and Carlow University,

* Pocono Arts Council Announces Online The Earth Speaks VI - A Juried Exhibition On The Environmental Crisis

On April 20, the Pocono Arts Council is pleased to announce the spring exhibition “The Earth Speaks VI: A Juried Exhibition on the Environmental Crisis,” launching online April 25. 

* Fmr EPA Officials Release Special Environmental Protection - A Half Century Of Progress Reports For Students, Teachers

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, members of the EPA Alumni Association released a special series of reports on Environmental Protection - A Half Century Of Progress.

* PA Envirothon Creates Daily Online ‘Taking A Natural Challenge’ For Envirothon Students May 18-22

Pennsylvania Envirothon is hosting a daily online Taking A Natural Challenge the week of May 18 to 22 for high school students who were to participate in the county and statewide Envirothon competitions. 

* Huntingdon Conservation District Posting Virtual Field Trips For Students, Teachers

The Huntingdon County Conservation District is posting a series of virtual field trips on its Facebook page to help local students, teachers and residents.

* Stroud Water Research Center Offers Learn At Home Resources To Help During Pandemic

The education department at the Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County has put together a special webpage to help support students and families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA: Clean Water Grows On Trees Webinar Now On Demand

Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA hosted a Clean Water Grows On Trees Webinar on April 23.  The webinar is now available on demand.

* Keep PA Beautiful Offers Online Learning Materials - Open Your Eyes To Litter Book Series

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is reminding students, teachers and kids of all ages to visit their Facebook page and website for links to their educational activity books-- Open Your Eyes to Litter.

* Rodale Institute Offers Virtual Learning And Online Ordering In Face of Pandemic

Berks County-based Rodale Institute, the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, has shifted its regional consumer education, outreach, and engagement model to fit the era of social distancing.

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Report: Protesters; Red-Yellow-Green Plan; 1.6 Million Out Of Work

Last week started with about 1,000 people-- most not wearing masks or practicing social distancing-- protesting the statewide COVID-19 shutdown and honking their horns in vehicles driving around the Capitol in Harrisburg.

* 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 [Updated]

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--

* NRCS Awards $2.2 Million To Berks Conservation District To Install Agricultural Best Management Practices

On April 20, the Berks County Conservation District announced the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service awarded a $2,232,143 Regional Conservation Partnership grant to implement agricultural best management practices.

* USDA Extends Deadline For On-Farm Demonstrations, Regional Conservation Partnership Program Alternative Funding

On April 22, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it will extend deadlines for project proposal submissions to May 29 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFAs).

* EPA Awards $920,000 In Clean Diesel Grants To Clean Up 47 Buses In PA

On April 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $920,000 to replace 47 older diesel school buses in Pennsylvania under its Clean Diesel Program.

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Urges DEP To Enforce All Environmental Laws

On April 22, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA issued the following statement from Pennsylvania Executive Director Shannon Gority, supporting the continued enforcement of environmental regulations by the state Department of Environmental Protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Master Watershed Steward Program Launches For Lower Susquehanna Region

Master Watershed Stewards in Lebanon, Lancaster, and Dauphin County are undertaking their training virtually so that they can become trained volunteers to help educate about resources in their watershed.

* Penn State Extension: Celebrate Water At Home This Earth Day!

By Andy Yencha, Renewable Natural Resources Educator

* Multifunctional Riparian Forest Buffers - More Than Just Trees

By Danielle Rhea, Penn State Extension Educator

* Take The Water Environment Federation Stormwater Needs Survey For MS4 Stormwater Managers

By Vincent Cotrone, Penn State Extension Urban Forester

* Penn State Extension: Slow The Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

By Jodi Sulpizio, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator, York County

* 3 Major Enhancements Coming From Stroud’s Leaf Pack Network

The Leaf Pack Network® was born nearly 30 years ago as a pilot project of Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County in collaboration with the Hudson Basin River Watch and the Riverkeeper Network.

* DEP’s Blog: When April Showers Bring More Than May Flowers - Like Stormwater

By: Kathleen Banski and Bert Myers, DEP Environmental Education Center

* Delaware River Watershed Forum Going Digital!

The 8th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum will be going digital!  It was scheduled to be held September 12-18 in Philadelphia.

* DEP Begins 2020 Black Fly Control Program In 35 Counties

On April 24, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it began the 2020 Black Fly Suppression Program this week. The program involves aerial and backpack spraying on roughly 1,700 stream miles in 35 counties of the Commonwealth.

* April News & Views Newsletter Now Available From DEP

The April News & Views newsletter is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--

* SEEDS Program Accepting Entries To Burkhardt Sustainability Essay College Scholarship Contest In Monroe, Pike Counties

On April 20, the Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support (SEEDS) announced it is now accepting entries to the Burkhardt Sustainability Essay Scholarship Contest for college-bound high school seniors in Monroe and Pike counties.  Entries are due May 24.

* DEP Approves Permit For Underground Injection Well For Drilling Wastewater In Allegheny County

On April 20, the Department of Environmental Protection approved an underground injection control (UIC) well for disposal of wastewater associated with oil and natural gas production. Penneco’s Sedat #3A well is located in Plum Borough, Allegheny County.

* DEP Receives Good Samaritan Act Proposals To Plug 2 Abandoned Wells In Wyoming, Venango Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the April 25 PA Bulletin it has received proposals for plugging two abandoned oil and gas wells and is accepting public comments on the proposals under the Good Samaritan Act(PA Bulletin, page 2202)

* DEP Invites Comments On TMDL For Stream In Bedford County

The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting comments on a proposed Total Maximum Daily Load Plan for Pleasant Valley Run Watershed in Bedford County (April 25 PA Bulletin page 2234)

* April 30 PUC Meeting To Be Conducted Telephonically

The Public Utility Commission's April 30 meeting will be conducted telephonically in response to the ongoing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

* Centre County Postpones Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event To Nov. 20-21

The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority has postponed the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event until November 20-21.

* Centre County Resumes Curbside Recycling Service April 27

On April 22, the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority announced they are resuming curbside recycling service on Monday, April 27.  Recycling was suspended on March 30 due to COVID-19 concerns.

* PA Resources Council Asks Public To Sort, Save, Store Materials For Upcoming Collection Events; Recycling & Waste Reduction Webinars Set

On April 24, the PA Resources Council said it will soon announce its 2020 schedule of collection events for household chemicals, glass, electronics and hard-to-recycle waste.  In the meantime, PRC asks you to Sort, Save And Store safely.

* Sustainable Pittsburgh: Support Sustainable Shops, Restaurants In Western PA

Sustainable Pittsburgh said now more than ever, supporting small businesses where possible is essential.

* Mira Lloyd Dock: A Beautiful Crusade Online Event April 29

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation will host a special online event April 29 - Mira Lloyd Dock: A Beautiful Crusade-- staring at 7:00 p.m. live on YouTube and Facebook.

* PA Forestry Association Now Accepting Nominations For 3 Annual Awards

The PA Forestry Association is now accepting nominations for three of its annual awards-- Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resource Education, Mira Lloyd Dock Outstanding Woman Conservationist and the Joseph T. Rothrock Award.

* The Nature Conservancy-PA Protects 232 Acres Along Kittatinny Ridge In Franklin County

On April 23, The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware is pleased to announce that it has acquired 232 acres of forestland in Letterkenny Township, Franklin County with financial assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.

* French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust Preserves 31 Acre Farm In Chester County

On April 17, the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust announced a 31 acre farm in East Coventry Township, Chester County has been permanently preserved.

* April 24 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The April 24 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Shannon Gority Named Executive Director Of PA Office Of Chesapeake Bay Foundation

On April 20, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation named Shannon Gority Executive Director of its  Pennsylvania Office.

* 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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* NEW Date! PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Oct. 28-29 In State College

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference will now be held on October 28-29 in State College.

* 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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