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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
May 18, 2020 Issue #829
* House Republicans Give Final Approval To Bill Blocking Environmental, Other Regulations; Next Stop The Governor’s Desk

On May 14, House Republicans gave final approval to Senate Bill 327 (Argall-R- Schuylkill), which contains a provision that would stop any proposed or final environmental or other state agency regulation from being finalized during the COVID-19 emergency.

* TRCP Blog: PA Sportsmen, Women Urge Lawmakers Not To Abandon Job-Creating Conservation Projects

By Derek Eberly, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

* CFA Extends Deadline To Apply For Act 13 Watershed Restoration, Mine Reclamation, Sewage, Flood Mitigation, Recreation Grants

On May 14, the Commonwealth Financing Authority extended the deadline to apply for grants funded by Act 13 drilling impact fees for watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphaned or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities, flood mitigation programs and recreation.

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 1,343 More Permits, 3,317 More Inspections Over Last Week

From March 16 to May 12, Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* Exelon Begins Lifting Shad Over Conowingo Dam On Susquehanna River After COVID-19 Delay

Update: On May 13, a spokesperson for Exelon said Maryland officials approved restarting fish lift operations at the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River.  The fish lift began operating again  Tuesday afternoon.  Other upriver dams are expected to resume fish passage activity sometime next week.  [Teddy Bailey, Exelon]

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Holds Virtual Meeting May 19 On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program

The DEP Citizens Advisory Council is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting May 19 to discuss DEP’s proposed carbon pollution reduction program covering power plants that is compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  (formal notice)

* PA AFL-CIO Encourages Caution In Consideration Of PA RGGI Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

On May 12, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO thanked the members of DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee for hearing the concerns of working people on DEP’s proposed carbon pollution reduction program covering power plants that is compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative enrollment. 

* U.S. EIA Expects Coal-Fired Electric Generation To Fall By 25% In 2020; 11% Increase In Renewables; Natural Gas Flat

On May 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook that includes an analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the energy sector.  Among the findings--

* EDF Analysis Finds PA Oil & Gas Methane Emissions Are Double Previous Estimate

On May 13, the Environmental Defense Fund released an updated analysis of Pennsylvania oil and gas methane emissions and found the industry’s methane pollution is estimated to be double what was documented just two years ago.

* Independent Regulatory Review Commission Reschedules Meeting On Final Unconventional Oil & Gas Permit Fee Increase To June 3

The Independent Regulatory Review Commission has rescheduled its meeting on the EQB’s final regulation increasing unconventional oil and gas permit review fees to June 3 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

* Southwestern PA Air Quality Partnership Announces Let's Clear The Air Student Poster Winners

On May 14, the Southwestern PA Air Quality Partnership, in collaboration with the PA Resources Council, would like to announce the 10th Annual Let’s Clear the Air Poster Challenge winners!

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: CASA Youth Group In Adams, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster, York Counties

The CASA Youth Group is a group of passionate, community-conscious people working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in Pennsylvania.

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Report: Gov. Wolf Issues Stern Warning On Illegal Reopenings; 12 More Counties Moving To Yellow Phase

Gov. Wolf started last week calling actions by state lawmakers and local officials supporting “illegally” reopening their counties and ignoring COVID-19 shutdown orders “selfish,” “unsafe,” “morally wrong,” “cowardly” and a “surrender” to the coronavirus that has killed over 4,000 of our loved ones, our friends and our neighbors.

* 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]/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--

* USDA Announces Funding Available For A Community Compost & Food Waste Reduction Pilot Project

On May 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020.   The deadline for applications is June 26.

* EPA Awards Community Revitalization, Local Food Economy Assistance To Harrisburg, Johnstown

On May 15, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service announced Harrisburg and Johnstown were among 16 communities nationwide receiving assistance to boost economic opportunities for their local farmers, while promoting clean air, safe water, open space and healthy food choices.

* Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership Hosts May 20 Online Student Presentations On Stormwater, Green Infrastructure

On May 20, the Villanova University Urban Stormwater Partnership is hosting online presentations by graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students that were to be presented at the now canceled Environmental and Water Resource Institute Conference.

* PUC Invites Comments On Rule Changes For Water, Wastewater Utility Certification

The Public Utility Commission published notice in the May 16 PA Bulletin of an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the certification of water and wastewater utility acquisitions, mergers and transfers. 

* NRDC Files Brief In Wayne County Landowners Court Challenge To DRBC Authority To Regulate Fracking

On May 11, the Natural Resources Defense Council, on behalf of itself and Catskill Mountainkeeper, filed an amicus brief in support of the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, who are defending the Commission’s ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing to develop Shale natural gas in the Delaware River watershed.

* DCED Awards $3.2 Million In Grants To Extend Natural Gas Service In 5 Counties

On May 16, the Commonwealth Financing Authority recently approved six new Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) project grants totaling $3,258,317 to bring natural gas service to households and businesses in Butler, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, and Luzerne counties. 

* PA Launches LIHEAP Crisis Program To Ease Utility Costs For Pennsylvanians

On May 14, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller announced a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis Program to help Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

* DEP Invites Comments On New General Permit For Natural Gas-Fired Combined Heat And Power Facilities

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the May 16 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a proposed Air Quality General Permit for Natural Gas-Fired Combined Heat And Power Facilities of less than 25 megawatts.

* PUC May 21 Meeting To Be Conducted Telephonically

The Public Utility Commission announced its next public meeting - on May 21 - will be conducted telephonically.

* Keep PA Beautiful Encourages Students To Apply To Be Part Of Keep America Beautiful's National Youth Advisory Council

On May 11, Keep PA Beautiful encouraged students to apply to be on Keep America Beautiful's  National Youth Advisory Council.  Applications will be accepted through July 10.

* PA Resources Council Shares Tips On Properly Disposing Of Latex Paint At Home

On May 14, the PA Resources Council issued tips on how to properly dispose of latex paint at home.

* DEP Teaching Green Environmental Education Success Stories

The latest issue of DEP's Teaching Green newsletter includes more success stories of local environmental ed projects supported by DEP's Environmental Education Grant Program.

* DCNR: At Home And Online Environmental Ed Resources For Educators And Parents

Parents, educators, and students across the country are being given alternate resources, some online, to study outside of the classroom. Connecting and learning about nature is a great way to keep kids of all ages engaged and occupied.

* Penn State Extension Webinar On Effective Environmental Outreach Strategies June 5

Penn State Extension will host a webinar June 5 on Environmental Outreach Strategies Webinar to learn new strategies for increasing the impact of your environmental outreach program and cultivating trust among staff and stakeholders from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

* May 19 Webinar On Spotted Lanternfly In Forest Ecosystems

Penn State Extension is hosting a May 19 webinar on the Spotted Lanternfly in Forest Ecosystems from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

* Penn State Extension Urban & Community Forestry Weekly Webinar Series Continues

The Penn State Extension Urban and Community Forestry team is continuing to offer its free weekly webinar series on a variety of topics related community tree initiatives.

* Wildlife Leadership Academy Now Accepting Applications For Teen Deer, Bass Virtual Field School Experience

In order to ensure the health and safety of their participants, staff, and instructors, the Wildlife Leadership Academy in Union County is changing the format of their first two field schools--  PA Bucktails-- on white-tailed deer-- and PA Bass-- focusing on warm-water fisheries-- to virtual field school experiences.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Offers New Virtual Education Programs, Prior Programs Available On Demand

The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has added new programs to its series of virtual environmental education programs.  Previous programs are also now available on demand on the Sanctuary’s YouTube Channel.

* Western PA Conservancy Adds 19 Acres Of Forested Land To Sideling Hill Creek Conservation Area In Bedford County

On May 15, the Western PA Conservancy announced 19 acres of forested land buffering Sideling Hill Creek in Mann Township, Bedford County have been protected and added to the now 375-acre Sideling Hill Creek Conservation Area.

* Brandywine Conservancy Hosts May 27 Town Hall Webinar On Birmingham Hill Preserve Master Plan In Chester County

On May 14, the Brandywine Conservancy announced it will host a virtual public Town Hall webinar to present work-in-progress on its Birmingham Hill Preserve Master Plan on May 27 starting at 7:00 p.m.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Hosts Online Video Hike To Targa Falls In Monroe County

When everything is out of kilter-- hugs and handshakes are out, masks and distancing are in-- time in the woods can heal you.

* Celebrate National Trails Day June 6 With A Virtual Hike In Cameron County

The Cameron County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating National Trails Day on June 6 by encouraging hiking on Cameron County trails and having participants share selfies to  hashtags #NationalTrailsDay and #HikeCameronCounty when posting to social media.

* Presque Isle State Park Requests Memorabilia To Help Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of Presque Isle becoming a Pennsylvania state park, and park officials are looking for your memories and photos to help celebrate.

* May 13 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The May 13 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* May 15 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The May 15 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Gov. Pinchot's Grey Towers Postpones June Events, Will Not Open Memorial Day Weekend

For the first time in more than 20 years, Gov. Pinchot’s Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, Pike County, won’t be opening the mansion doors for public tours on Memorial Day weekend.

* Game Commission: Springtime Alert - Do Not Disturb Young Wildlife

On May 15, the Game Commission put out a springtime alert to remind the public-- do not disturb young wildlife.

* Help Wanted: Berks Conservation District Agricultural Resource Conservationist

The Berks County Conservation District is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Agricultural Resource Conservationist.

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

Click Here: Week’s Worth Of PA Environment & Energy NewsClips

* 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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* 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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