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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
July 27, 2020 Issue #839
(7/27/2020)
* DEP: CNX Gas Pays $310,000 Penalty For Violations During, After Pipeline Construction In Washington County

On July 24, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it executed a Consent Order and Agreement with CNX Gas Company LLC and CNX Midstream Partners, LP, which includes a $310,000 civil penalty to address violations that occurred during and following pipeline construction in Washington County.

* AG Shapiro Charges National Fuel Gas Supply, Subcontractor With Environmental Crimes Related To Pipeline Construction In Washington County

On July 22, following a Grand Jury investigation, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the Office of Attorney General is formally charging National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and subcontractor Southeast Directional Drilling with environmental crimes committed in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

* PennVEST Makes $66 Million Investment In 11 Water Infrastructure Projects In 9 Counties

On July 22, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced the investment of $66 million in 11 drinking water, wastewater and stormwater projects across nine counties.

* Bay Journal: Fix For PA's Sewage Overflow Pollution - Worst In U.S. - Neither Quick Nor Easy

By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* PennVEST Announces Awards For Drinking Water Lead Testing And Center for Water Quality Excellence For Nutrient, Sediment Pollution Reduction

On July 23, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority announced the award of two service contract offers, one for drinking water lead testing in schools and child care facilities and the other for the development of the Center for Water Quality Excellence for nutrient and sediment pollution reduction.

* Lancaster County Clean Water Partners Provide Update On Implementing Clean Water Action Plan

On July 22, the Lancaster Clean Water Partners provided an update on its initiatives to implement the county's Clean Water Action Plan, including buffer installations, locating sites for conservation practices and monitoring local water quality.

* Make Plans To Go To Lancaster County’s Clean Water Week August 7 -15

The Lancaster Conservancy and many partners will hold their annual Lancaster Water Week education and action events from August 7 -15.

* Sign Up For New PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Newsletter

The Department of Environmental Protection Chesapeake Bay Office now has a new monthly newsletter to showcase progress and updates on the statewide Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan and local partners’ Countywide Action Plans.

* PA Assn. Of County Conservation Districts Recognize 2020 Conservation Leaders

On July 23, the PA Association of Conservation Districts/ State Conservation Commission’s virtual 73nd Joint Annual Conference recognized conservation leaders from across the state.

* PA Conservation Districts Announce Student Pollinator Poster Contest Winners

On July 23, the PA Association of Conservation Districts announced the winners of the 2020 “Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators” statewide student poster contest.

* Statewide Water Sampling Underway At 300 Passive Mine Drainage Treatment Systems In PA

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, watershed groups, nonprofits, and other volunteers across Pennsylvania are currently out in the field collecting water samples to complete the 2020 Statewide Passive Treatment Snapshot.

* EQB Proposes To Adopt Manganese Water Quality Toxic Standard Protective Of Public Health

The Environmental Quality Board published a proposed regulation to adopt a manganese water quality toxic substances standard that is protective of public health in the July 25 PA Bulletin for public comment.

* Pittsburgh Water Authority Reports Lead Levels In Drinking Water Well Under EPA Action Standard

On July 22, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority reported the most recent round of drinking water testing found a lead level of 5.1 ppb, well below the 15 ppb EPA action level.

* EQB Approves Final Air Quality Fee Increase, Proposed Revisions To Chapter 105 Permitting Regs

On July 21, the Environmental Quality Board approved the final regulation increasing Air Quality Program permit fees and proposed changes to the Chapter 105 Waterways Management Permitting Program.

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 582 More Permits, 1,392 More Inspections Since Last Week; Not Accepting New Reg Suspension Requests

From March 16 to July 21, Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* DEP Told Citizens Advisory Council No Decisions Yet On How To Decommission Damaged Unit 2 At Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant

On July 21, DEP told the Citizens Advisory Council decisions about the process for decommissioning the damaged Unit 2 at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant are still being considered by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to David Allard, Director of the Bureau of Radiation Protection.

* DEP Our Common Wealth Blog: Mining Program Brought 1,000s Of Old Mine Maps Into Digital Age

By Gregory Lenahan, DEP Deputy Digital Director

* Pennsylvania Reports First Human Case of West Nile Virus In 2020

On July 23, Pennsylvania reported its first probable human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in 2020 has been detected in a Potter County resident. Samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing.

* PA Land Trust Association: More Than 100,000 Pennsylvanians Contribute To PA Land Trusts

The PA Land Trust Association recently released its 2019 Biennial Census Report which highlights these accomplishments of land trusts in Pennsylvania between 2010 and 2019--

* Heritage Conservancy: Quakertown Swamp, Bucks County, Designated A World Wetland of Distinction

On July 20, the Heritage Conservancy announced the Quakertown Swamp recently received the designation as a “Wetland of Distinction” by the Society of Wetland Scientists, currently making it one of only two areas in Pennsylvania to receive this recognition.

* DCNR Concerned About Proposed Maryland National Guard Plan To Fly Very Low-Level Training Flights Over Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter, Tioga Counties In PA Wilds

On July 22, DCNR reported to the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council it received a notification from the Maryland National Guard in August of 2019 saying they were preparing an environmental assessment for a proposed very low-level flight training area over six counties the Pennsylvania Wilds.

* DCNR Makes Changes At Beltzville State Park, Carbon County To Address Overcrowding; State Park Visitation Up By Over 1 Million

On July 24, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced a number of operational changes are being made at Beltzville State Park in Carbon County to address safety related to overcrowding that is occurring on weekends and when the weather is favorable.

* Another 20-Person DCNR Wildfire Crew Called To Fight Wildland Fires, This Time In California

On July 25, a second 20-person wildfire crew from DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry will leave from Moshannon State Forest headquarters in Clearfield County, this time to make a 40-hour drive to fight wildfires in northern California.

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Carol Loeffler, Dickinson College

Carol Loeffler is a professor of biology at Dickinson College, where she focuses on the biology and ecology of rare plant species; and the impacts of deer and other herbivores on forest vegetation.

* U.S. House Votes To Approve Bipartisan Land & Water Conservation Fund Bill Sending It To President; 5 Republicans In PA Vote Against The Bill

On July 22, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 310-107 to approve the Great American Outdoors Act, which would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and make critical investments in our national park system, state and local public lands.

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Weekly Report: Getting The November Election Right

The Senate State Government Committee heard from state and county election officials last week on the changes they recommend to make sure the November election comes off without a hitch.

* 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-- 

* DEP Climate Consultant Did Not Authorize The Use Of Its Name On A Letter Supporting DEP’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal

In a statement on July 26, ICF International, Inc., a consultant used by DEP to evaluate the impact of its proposal to reduce carbon pollution from power plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, said it had no knowledge of and did not give permission for its name to be used in a letter supporting the proposal.

* Report: Senators Baker, Yaw, Scarnati Request To Withdraw From Lawsuit Challenging Delaware River Basin Commission Gas Drilling Prohibition

Terrie Morgan-Beseck of the Citizens Voice reported July 26 Senators Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) have requested to withdraw from supporting the federal lawsuit by Wayne County landowners challenging the Delaware River Basin Commission’s natural gas drilling moratorium.

* U.S. House Votes To Add $5.5 Million To Chesapeake Bay Program; All 9 PA Republicans Vote Against It

On July 24, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation praised the U.S. House of Representatives for adding $5.5 million to EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program in the fiscal year 2021 Interior- Environment appropriations bill by a vote of 224-189.

* EPA Developing New Tool To Help Local Officials To Site Projects In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Local officials in Chesapeake Bay Watershed coastal areas will be better able to identify the best locations for their top environmental projects with an online tool under development through an EPA partnership.

* US Forest Service Awards 2 Forest Markets Expansion Grants In Pennsylvania

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is supporting the development and expansion of forest markets by awarding eight grants totaling nearly $1.45 million through the agency’s Wood Education and Resource Center, including two grants in Pennsylvania

* Newest Passive Mine Drainage Treatment System Performing Well In Butler County

Construction of the SR89 passive treatment system was completed last September 2019 making it the newest system in the Slippery Rock Creek Watershed in Butler County.

* EPCAMR Welcomes Americorps VISTA Volunteer Kyle Argenziano For A Year Of Community Service

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation recently sponsored Americorps VISTA Volunteer, Kyle Argenziano for the next year through July 2021, with a partnership between Americorps VISTA and the Stewards Individual Placement Program (SIPP).

* PA Sea Grant: 3 PA Students Part Of 2021 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program

On July 22, Pennsylvania Sea Grant joins the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Sea Grant College Program in announcing the finalists for the 2021 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program.

* DEP Our Common Wealth Blog: Record-Setting High Water Levels In Great Lakes

By: James Grazio, DEP Great Lakes Biologist, and Shelby Clark, Coastal Resources Coordinator, DEP Northwest Regional Office

* How A Stormwater Credit Can Reduce Local Stormwater Fees: Penn State Extension

By Andy Yencha, Penn State Extension Renewable Natural Resources Educator

* Sycamores Are A Champion Streamside Tree In Our Watersheds

By Julianne Schieffer, Penn State Extension Regional Urban Forester

* Penn State Extension Water Well Series: PFAS Testing, What To Test For, Catalog Of Resources For Well Owners + Free Webinars

Last week, Penn State Extension published a series of helpful articles for water well and cistern owners on several important topics: Testing & Treating PFAS Contamination, How To Decide What To Test Your Well Water For, a Catalog Of Resources For Well, Spring & Cistern Owners a schedule of free water well webinars.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Climate Change Committee Holds First Meeting August 4

The Climate Change Advisory Committee to the Delaware River Basin Commission will hold its inaugural meeting on August 4 starting at 1:00.

* Agriculture: Urban, Community Gardens Combat Food Deserts, Grow Food, Life Skills

On July 22, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding toured Harrisburg’s Wesley Garden with volunteers and gardeners, discussing the important role community gardens play in providing access to fresh, healthy food for communities affected by food apartheid.

* Keep PA Beautiful, Giant, Other Volunteers Clear Litter From Harrisburg's Heart Of The Community Garden

On July 14, volunteers pulled weeds, laid mulch, repaired benches, picked up litter and planted flowers at Harrisburg's Heart of the Community Garden, all while wearing masks and gloves and practicing physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

* PA Resources Council Sets August Schedule For Traveling Glass Recycling Drop-Off Events In Western PA

On July 24, the PA Resources Council announced the August schedule for the Traveling Glass Recycling Program events in Western Pennsylvania sponsored by Owens-Illinois, Inc. and CAP Glass.

* PA Resources Council Offers 5 Backyard Composting, Watershed/Rain Barrel, Recycling/Waste Reduction Webinars In August

On July 22, the PA Resources Council announced a series of five webinars covering backyard composting, watershed/rain barrel and recycling/waste reduction in July.

* DEP Ends Review Of Elcon Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Application In Bucks County

On July 24, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has received notice from Elcon Recycling Services, LLC that it no longer intends to proceed with its proposed hazardous waste treatment facility in Falls Township, Bucks County and will therefore be withdrawing its applications currently under review by DEP.

* PUC: PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee Assesses $80,750 In Penalties For Violations

On July 23, the Public Utility Commission announced the PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee issued a total of 82 disciplinary actions, including $80,750 in penalties, against 50 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners for violations of the PA One Call Law.

* Regulation Lowering Sulfur Standard For Heating Oil From 500 To 15 ppm Now Final; Enforcement Suspended Until Feb. 28

The final Environmental Quality Board regulation reducing the sulfur content of heating oil from 500 ppm to 15 ppm was published as final in the July 25 PA Bulletin.

* DEP Awards $2.1 Million In Grants For Cleaner Fuel Vehicle Projects To Improve Air Quality, Address Climate Change

On July 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of more than $2.1 million in 2019 Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants to 18 cleaner fuel vehicle projects statewide that will help improve air quality and public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.

* DEP Small Business Advantage Energy Efficiency, Pollution Reduction, Conservation Grant Program Now Open

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for the Small Business Advantage Grant Program to support energy efficiency, pollution prevention or farm and natural resource conservation projects by small businesses.  (formal notice)

* PA Energy Development Authority To Meet Aug. 4 On 2020 PEDA Energy Development Plan

The PA Energy Development Authority is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on August 4 to discuss the Authority’s 2020 Energy Development Plan and the restart of a new grant solicitation round.

* First PA C-PACE Project: $1.5 Million For Energy & Water Efficiency In Mixed-Use Development In Philadelphia

On July 20, the Philadelphia Energy Authority, Twain Financial Partners and SHIFT Capital closed the first project in Pennsylvania to use Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing.

* SEEDS And Highlights Foundation Complete Installation Of Solar Energy Array In Wayne County

On July 20, the Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support organization based in Wayne County announced the Highlights Foundation will soon be powered by the sun.

* DCNR Awards $591,975 Grants To Support Volunteer Fire Companies To Fight Wildfires Across PA

On July 20, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the award of $591,975 in federally funded grants to support local volunteer fire companies to help them fight wildfires across the state.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: Summer Heat Can Contribute To Growth Of Harmful Algal Blooms

As water temperatures rise during the summer, the risk for harmful algal blooms (HABs) to occur increases. The typical season for these blooms is the middle of June to late August; however, it can extend through the fall months.

* DCNR Announces Completion Of Pecks Pond Dam Restoration In Pike County

On July 23, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced completion of a major dam restoration project and other improvements at Pecks Pond, a highly popular waterway in Porter Township, Pike County.

* DCNR Accepting ATV-Snowmobile Trail & Program Grants Beginning August 3

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for ATV or Snowmobile Trail Projects and Programs from August 3 to September 30.  (formal notice)

* PA Land Trust Assn. Invites Presentation Proposals For The Virtual Western PA Land Conservation Summit Nov. 12-13

The PA Land Trust Association is now accepting presentation proposals for the virtual Western PA Land Conservation Summit to be held November 12-13.

* PA Environmental Council Invites Responses To RFP For Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Strategic Planning Services

The PA Environmental Council, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has issued a Request For Proposals for facilitating and drafting a strategic plan for the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape.

* American Battlefield Trust, North American Land Trust Launch Effort To Save Key Part Of Brandywine Battlefield In Delaware County

The American Battlefield Trust and North American Land Trust have launched a fundraising campaign to protect a key portion of one of the critical battles on our journey to independence, Brinton Run Preserve on the Brandywine Battlefield.

* Delaware Canal 21, State, County Govts. Band Together To Preserve, Restore Delaware Canal In Bucks, Northampton

DCNR is partnering with Delaware Canal 21, a Point Pleasant-based nonprofit and the Bucks and Northampton County governments to investigate sustainable ways to ensure maintenance of the 60-mile long Delaware Canal and towpath.

* Brodhead Watershed Assn. Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge Scavenger Hunt In Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association has organized a scavenger hunt for adults and elementary-aged children at the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge near Stroudsburg in Monroe County.

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Hosts Virtual Fundraising Auction July 30 - Aug. 13

On July 20, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced it will hold a virtual fundraising auction to support land and water conservation in the Upper Delaware River region.

* July 22 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The July 22 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

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

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

* U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Game Commission, DCNR Release State Lands Bat Conservation Plan For Comment

On July 22, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources released a draft State Lands Habitat Conservation Plan for Bats  to conserve federally protected Indiana and northern long-eared bats on nearly 4 million acres of state-managed lands. 

* Environment & Energy NewsClips

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* 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.

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