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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
May 4, 2020 Issue #827
(5/4/2020)
* 11 PA Fishing, Hunting Groups Urge Lawmakers To Oppose Freeze On Local Farm Conservation, Environmental Restoration Project Funding

Eleven major hunting and fishing groups in Pennsylvania have written to lawmakers opposing efforts to freeze state funding for county conservation districts, local farm conservation and environmental restoration projects.

* Lancaster Clean Water Partners: Proposed Environmental Funding Freeze Would Be ‘Devastating’ To Lancaster’s Economy, Clean Water Efforts

On April 25, Lancaster Clean Water Partners wrote a letter to members of the General Assembly from Lancaster County opposing efforts to freeze state funding for county conservation districts, local farm conservation and environmental restoration projects.

* May 3-9 County Conservation Districts Week Overshadowed By Lawmaker Efforts To Freeze, Shutdown Conservation District Funds

Normally, Conservation District Week-- May 3 to 9-- is a time to recognize the many accomplishments of county conservation districts, but this year’s celebration is a little different.

* PA State Grange Farm Organization Opposes Proposed Freeze On Conservation District, Local Farm, Restoration Project Funding

The PA State Grange has written lawmakers urging them to oppose efforts to freeze conservation district, local farm conservation and environmental restoration project funding saying it is these investments that have helped make agriculture Pennsylvania’s number one industry.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Urges Lawmakers To Oppose Freeze On Recreation, Conservation Funding Addressing Imminent Health Threats, Help Economy Recover

The PA Parks & Forests Foundations wrote to lawmakers this week urging them to oppose efforts to freeze funding for local recreation and conservation projects that is needed to address imminent threats to public health and can help the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

* PA Municipal Authorities Assn, 19 Waste Authorities Oppose Proposed Freeze On Recycling Funding

On April 28, the PA Municipal Authorities Association and 19 member local waste authorities wrote to lawmakers urging them to oppose a freeze on funding from the Recycling Fund for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

* April State Revenue $2.2 Billion, 49.7% Less Than Anticipated; Estimated $395.3 Million Due To COVID-19

On May 1, the Department of Revenue reported Pennsylvania collected $2.2 billion in General Fund revenue in April, which was $2.2 billion, or 49.7 percent, less than anticipated.

* Gov. Wolf Announces Reopening Of 24 Counties Beginning May 8

On May 1,  Gov. Tom Wolf announced the reopening of 24 counties in the northwest and northcentral regions of the state, moving them from red to yellow beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, May 8.

* Gov. Wolf Announces May 1 Statewide Limited Reopening Of Recreational Activities

On April 27, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a limited reopening of recreational activities for Pennsylvanians to have opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health

* DCNR Announces Plan For Reopening Some State Park, Forest Facilities

On May 2, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced a phased reopening of state park and forest facilities in keeping with Gov. Wolf’s direction to ensure that Pennsylvanians have opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health.

* DCNR: State Parks, Forests Seeing Impacts From Increased COVID-19-Related Visitation

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Pennsylvania state parks and forests have seen an increase in visitation as people seek outdoor recreation for physical and mental health benefits; and to experience and enjoy the natural scenic beauty of these treasures.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Over 960 Masks Distributed To DCNR State Park, Forest Staff

On April 28, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation said over 960 cloth masks have been distributed to staff at 39 state parks and forest districts, so far, to help protect staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Ticks And Tickborne Diseases In Pennsylvania Webinar May 5

Penn State Extension will hold a Ticks and Tickborne Diseases In Pennsylvania Webinar on May 5 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

* Keep PA Beautiful: Illegal Dumping On The Rise In PA, Report It On Special Webpage

Since stay at home orders were issued on April 1 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has received 73 reports identifying illegal dumpsites in 35 different counties across the state.

* Reinvestment Fund Accepting SBA Paycheck Protection Program Applications From Clean Energy Companies, Organizations

The most recent round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loans and forgivable loans for small businesses includes funding earmarked for distribution by community development investment institutions (such as Reinvestment Fund) and smaller lenders, so the Reinvestment Fund will be taking PPP applications from its borrowers and from its allies, including clean energy companies and organizations starting on Monday, April 27, 2020.

* PA Wilds Center Launches Program To Support Small Businesses Amid COVID-19 Crisis

On April 27, the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship announced it is launching a Facebook Live video series for locally-owned small businesses to share how they are pivoting to survive the coronavirus crisis, and the nonprofit is paying them for the content.

* DEP Works Through Pandemic: 2,881 Permits, 5,525 Inspections, 42 Emergencies

From March 16 to April 28, Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* Changes Made To DEP Food Infrastructure Grant Program To Help Charitable Food System; Deadline Moved To May 8

On April 28, the Wolf Administration announced it is making changes to DEP's $4 million Food Infrastructure Grant Program to help ensure food banks are adequately supplied to meet the needs of Pennsylvania residents. 

* DEP: Non-flushable Items Cause Problems In Sewer Systems, 'Flushable' Wipes Are NOT Flushable

On April 29, the Department of Environmental Protection is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to only flush toilet paper and human waste, not disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items that should be disposed of in the trash.

* PA American Water Recommends Building Operators, Schools Flush Pipes To Maintain Water Quality

On April 29, Pennsylvania American Water said in light of the Commonwealth’s announced plans for phased reopening, the company encourages building owners and operators to adopt a proactive approach that includes flushing stagnant water from facility pipes.

* Gov. Wolf: Planting A Tree, Vegetables, Native Plants Will Give Us Hope

Gov.  Wolf-- The very act of planting a tree, vegetable seeds or native plants is an expression of confidence in the future and an act of hope.

* Penn State Master Gardener: Victory Garden Reinvented! Webinar Series Thru June 16

The Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program is taking a fresh look at gardening during the current pandemic with a series of weekly Victory Garden Reinvented! webinars on Tuesday Noon to 1:00 p.m. through June 16.

* Bucks County High School Student Lea Wang Wins EPA Environmental Education Award

On April 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Lea Wang, a sophomore at Council Rock High School South in Holland, Bucks County, is the 2019 winner of a President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region.

* PA Environmental Resource Consortium Names 22 Campus Sustainability Champions

On April 30, the PA Environmental Resource Consortium recently named its 2020 Campus Sustainability Champions to recognize students, faculty, administrators, and staff of Pennsylvania colleges and universities who have made meaningful contributions benefiting social, economic and/or environmental sustainability on their campus, in their community, or in society at large.

* GreenGov Council: 3% Drop In State Govt. Energy Use; Renewable Energy Purchases Offset 40% Of Energy Load

On January 8, 2019, Gov. Wolf issued an Executive Order setting a statewide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels.  These are the same reduction levels in the 2015 U.N. Paris Climate Agreement.

* MuseumLab At Children’s Museum Of Pittsburgh Achieves LEED® Gold Green Building Certification

On April 26, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh announced that MuseumLab®  has been awarded LEED® Gold status for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions in areas including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

* New Poll Finds 72% Of PA Voters Want Government To Prioritize Clean Energy In Economic Stimulus

A new poll from Climate Nexus, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found 72 percent of Pennsylvania voters want government to prioritize clean energy when considering economic stimulus, rather than bailing out the fossil fuel industry.

* Op-Ed: Let's Celebrate The Importance Of Nature On Earth Day

By Christopher Kocher, Wildlands Conservancy

* Op-Ed: State Government Is Ignoring Pennsylvania’s Constitutional Right To A Clean Environment For Generations Yet To Come

By Ron Evans, President, PA Environmental Defense Foundation

* Op-Ed: Earth Day 50 - A Reflection - Stop The Deception Before It’s Too Late

By Larry J. Schweiger, Former President & CEO, National Wildlife Federation

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Report: First Steps Toward Reopening; State Revenues Take $395 Million Hit; Schools Could Lose $1 Billion

Gov. Wolf took the first tentative steps toward a general lifting of some shutdown restrictions in 24 counties last week amid a flurry of legislation passed by Republicans to open specific businesses and a subpoena for DCED business waiver records.

* 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 [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-- 

* Senate Passes Bill Making It Easier To Consider Alternative On-Lot Septic Systems In Local Sewage Planning

On April 28, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1030 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) which would amend the Sewage Facilities Act to change the process for considering alternative on-lot sewage disposal systems in local sewage facilities plans (Senate Fiscal Note & Summary).

* Senate Committee Reports Out Bill Eliminating Mandatory Public Reporting On Mine Subsidence Damage Caused By Underground Coal Mining

On April 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out legislation-- Senate Bill 763 (Bartolotta-R- Washington)-- that would eliminate the mandated public report every five years on subsidence damage caused by underground coal mining in Pennsylvania.

* Bill To Control Overuse Of Fertilizer On Turf Reported Out Of Senate Committee

On April 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported 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).

* House Environmental Committee Meets May 5 On Bill To Reallocating Keystone Fund Proceeds

On May 5, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet on legislation to give the General Assembly authority to reallocate monies from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund between agencies.

* NRCS Extends Deadline For Conservation Innovation Grants To June 29

On April 29, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA announced the deadline to apply for $15 million in Conservation Innovation Grants has been extended to June 29.  The deadline had been June 15.

* Valley Forge National Historical Park Wins 2020 Federal Facility Excellence In Site Reuse Award

On April 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the winners of the third annual “National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse” awards, including a project at the Valley Forge National Historical Park in Chester and Montgomery counties..

* EPA Accepting Applications From States To Support Environmental Justice Communities Impacted By COVID-19

On April 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making $1 million in grant funding available to states to help local environmental justice communities address COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income and minority communities.  The deadline for applications are due June 30.

* Agriculture Outlines Process For Accepting Applications For Farm Conservation Excellence Grant Program In Lancaster, York Counties

The Department of Agriculture published notice in the May 2 PA Bulletin outlining the process for accepting applications for the Farm Conservation Excellence Grant Program providing up to $2.5 million in funding for farms in Lancaster and York counties. 

* PennVEST Schedules 4 Virtual Meetings On Clean Water Funding Opportunities For A Sustainable Future; Cancels In-Person Info Sessions

On April 30, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced it has scheduled four virtual public meetings on how PennVEST funding can help improve water quality in your community.

* Chesapeake Stormwater Network Hosting Watershed Hacks: Sustainable Lawns & Family Gardening May 8; Modeling Stream Restoration May 14

The Chesapeake Stormwater Network and Friends are hosting a Watershed Hacks: Sustainable Lawns & Family Gardening webinar May 8 from 11:00 a.m. to Noon.

* Alliance For Aquatic Resource Monitoring Hosts Webinars: Water Quality & Policy May 7; Clean Up Efforts & Role Of Monitoring May 21

The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring at Dickinson College is hosting two webinars-- May 7 - Water Quality and Policy and May 21- Clean Up Efforts and Role of Monitoring

* PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers Hosts May 13 Webinar On Attracting Media Coverage For Your Activities & Initiative

The PA Organization for Watersheds & Rivers will host a May 13 webinar on Attracting Media Coverage for Your Activities and Initiatives from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

* PUC To Seek Comment On Proposed Regulation To Address Barriers To Enhance Water, Wastewater Services

On April 30, the Public Utility Commission voted 4-0 to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) – exploring a series of interrelated issues impacting water and wastewater utilities across the state and seeking public comment on those matters.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission To Hold May 14 Virtual Public Hearing

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission will hold a virtual public hearing on water allocation permit applications May 14 at 2:30 p.m.  (formal notice)

* Delaware River Basin Commission Holds Hearing May 13, Business Meeting June 10

The Delaware River Basin Commission will hold a telephonic public hearing on May 13 and a regular business meeting on June 10.  (formal notice)

* DRBC Seeking Members For Water Management, Toxics & Other Advisory Committees

The Delaware River Basin Commission is seeking members for its Water Management Advisory Committee from the following stakeholder groups: academia, recreation and watershed organization.

* DEP Begins Technical Review Of Keystone Landfill Expansion Application In Lackawanna County

On April 30, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today it has moved on to the second phase of its review of Keystone Sanitary Landfill’s permit application for expansion at its facility in the boroughs of Dunmore and Throop in Lackawanna County.

* First Hatches Of Spotted Lanternfly Reported, Tips For Management

By Amy Duke, Penn State News

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Announces Nature Heals: Restore, Renew, Reconnect Photo Contest

On April 30, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced its third annual juried photo contest for the Upper Delaware River region, open to adult and youth professional and amateur photographers. Photos will be accepted online August 3 to 31.

* PA Land Trust Assn. Adds New Model Grant Of Conservation Easement Webinars

The PA Land Trust Association has added a series of six webinars on the Model Grant Of Conservation Easement by Pat Pregmon of the Pregmon law offices.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Gardening With Native Plants This Spring

With May on the horizon, the time to plant in Pennsylvania is fast approaching.

* Study Reveals Important Flowering Plants For City-Dwelling Honey Bees

By Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State News

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Bill Wasser, Bureau Of State Parks

Bill Wasser has had a long career at DCNR, fueled by a passion for environmental education.

* Western PA Conservancy: Register Teens Now For Fallingwater Virtual Summer Camps

The Western PA Conservancy is inviting high school students of all skill levels who are interested in art, architecture and design to learn about Fallingwater and Frank Lloyd Wright’s design philosophy during Fallingwater Institute’s Virtual Summer Camps in July.

* April 29 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The April 29 issue of the Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* May 1 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The May 1 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Fish & Boat Commission Hosts Series Of Video Programs On How To Draw A Fish

The Fish and Boat Commission Facebook page will be hosting a series of video learning program on How To Draw A Fish by the Commission's Fishing Skills Instructor Tiffany London, a.k.a. Farm Girl Graphics.

* Carnegie Museum Of Natural History Receives $1.35 Million Grant To Improve Tracking Migrating Wildlife

On April 27, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a $1.35 million grant to enable Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Powdermill Avian Research Center, in collaboration with several state wildlife agencies and wildlife-centered nonprofit organizations, to dramatically expand a new migration tracking system across the northeastern United States.

* Help Wanted: American Rivers Director Of Clean Water Supply Program In PA

American Rivers is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Director of the Clean Water Supply Program in the Mid-Atlantic Region with an emphasis in Pennsylvania.

* Help Wanted: PennFuture Policy Analyst On Petrochemical Industry

PennFuture is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Policy Analyst on the petrochemical industry.

* 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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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.

* 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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