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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
August 17, 2020 Issue #842
(8/17/2020)
* PUC Chair Dutrieuille Seeks Comment On Utility Terminations Moratorium By Aug. 18

On August 10, Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille issued a letter seeking comment about the PUC’s current moratorium on utility terminations, and asking for input regarding protections for at-risk consumers, should the PUC’s moratorium on all utility terminations be lifted.

* Low-Income Home Energy Recovery Crisis Assistance Applications Due August 31

On August 14, the Department of Human Services reminded residents the deadline to apply for Low-Income Home Energy Recovery Crisis Assistance (LIHEAP) is August 31.

* Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Stopped Indefinitely At Site Of Leak Into Marsh Creek State Park Lake, Chester County; Pipeline Company Will Be Held Accountable

On August 13, Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection assured Marsh Creek State Park supporters in Chester County that concerted efforts are underway to safeguard visitors and park resources in the wake of Monday’s pipeline drilling fluid spill affecting the lake and that Energy Transfer will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

* Clean Air Council: Another Spill From Construction Of Sunoco's Mariner East II Pipeline In Chester County

On August 11, the Clean Air Council reported a spill of at least 1,000 gallons on August 10 in connection with the construction of Sunoco's Mariner East II Pipeline into Marsh Creek Lake in Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County.

* CBF Assesses State Progress On Restoring Chesapeake Bay - PA Is Not On Track To Meet 2025 Goals

On August 13, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released a new report on state progress in meeting the goals outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint and found promising signs of progress, but serious red flags that threaten to derail the restoration effort.

* DEP Invests $3.7 Million To Help Farmers Plan, Install Best Management Practices In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

On August 13, the Department of Environmental Protection launched two programs in July that provide $3.7 million and technical assistance to help farmers develop and carry out plans of best management practices (BMPs) that can benefit their operations while improving the health of streams and rivers in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 582 More Permits, 1,713 More Inspections Since Last Week

From March 16 to August 11, Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Holds Virtual Meeting August 18 On Largely Internal Process Issues

The DEP Citizens Advisory Council is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting August 18 on largely internal process issues of how issues get assigned to committees and considered by Council.

* KPB: Waste Tire Collections To Help Prevent West Nile Virus In Cambria, Mifflin, Perry, Venango Counties Planned

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful local affiliates Keep Cambria County Beautiful, PA CleanWays of Mifflin County, Keep Perry County Beautiful and PA CleanWays of Venango County are planning tire collections for late summer, early fall to help eliminate breeding areas for mosquitoes that could carry West Nile Virus.

* Two DCNR Wildfire Crews Return To PA After Their Deployment To Wyoming, California To Fight Wildfires

Two of the 20-person wildfire crews DCNR's Bureau of Forest sent to Wyoming and California to fight wildfires have to return to Pennsylvania completing their deployment.

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Weekly Report: More Of The Same Fight For Power

[ Because In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] Senate and House Republicans and Gov. Wolf continued their struggle last week over who’s in charge of setting state policy on how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, so what you see here should be more than vaguely familiar.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/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--

* House Environmental Committee To Hold Aug. 24 Hearing On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing August 24 on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for Power Plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

* Senate Environmental Committee Holds Aug. 25 Hearing On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a hearing August 25 on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for Power Plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

* Six Former EPA Administrators Call For An Agency Reset After Presidential Election

Six former Administrators of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have called for a “reset” of the agency and released a detailed plan with hundreds of pages of recommendations for whatever administration takes office after the November election.

* EPA Accepting Applications For Over $3.6 Million In Grants To Reduce Nutrient Runoff From Farms In 38 Chesapeake Bay-Related PA Watersheds

On August 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is accepting applications for $3,695,112 million in grants to improve water quality in 38 Pennsylvania watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed where EPA believes installing best management practices to reduce excess nitrogen from agricultural operations will have the most impact.

* NRCS-PA Invites Farmers, Forestland Owners To Take Survey About Improving Programs

The Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA is inviting farmers and forestland owners to fill out a new survey to help USDA understand what it is doing well and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency.

* FERC Schedules Virtual Hearings On Regional Transco Pipeline Project To Identify Issues To Be Included In An Environmental Assessment Starting Aug. 18

On August 10, Bill O'Boyle of the Times Leader reported the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will start a series of virtual hearings on August 18 aimed at gathering issues which should be addressed in an environmental assessment for the Regional Energy Access Expansion Pipeline Project by Transco(formal notice)

* EPA Finalizes Methane Emission Standards For Oil & Gas Industry; Does Not Affect DEP Methane Proposal

On August 13, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced two final rules for the oil and natural gas industry that remove ineffective and duplicative requirements while streamlining others.

* Sen. Casey: Why The National Environmental Policy Act Rollback Hurts PA And The Environment

Recently, Ed Gabsewics, co-founder of the PA Association of Environmental Professionals wrote to U.S. Senator Bob Casey expressing his opposition to the proposed rollback of protections offered by the National Environmental Policy Act.

* EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Celebrates 50 Years Of Research For A Healthier Environment

On August 10, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Region is recognizing its contributions to innovative research to protect human health and the environment.

* Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Encouraged By Federal Court Ruling Striking Down Reinterpretation Of Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County announced it is encouraged by a federal court ruling on August 11 striking down a controversial reinterpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that had gutted the 102-year-old landmark law protecting wild birds, including raptors.

* DEP Chesapeake Bay Office Newsletter Provides Update On PA Watershed Plan Implementation

The latest newsletter from DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office provides an update on implementation of Pennsylvania’s Phase III Bay Watershed Implementation plan from the July 20 meeting of the State Team meeting.

* DEP Invites Comments On Revised NPDES General Permit For Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the August 15 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a revised NPDES General Permit for Operations Of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations(formal noticef)

* Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition To Rehab 2 Of Oldest Passive Mine Drainage Treatment Systems In Butler County

The Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition and its partners will rehabilitate two of the oldest passive mine treatment systems it constructed using the Growing Greener and OSM funded Slippery Rock Passive Treatment Rehab & Maintenance Project for passive systems SR114B and SR114D.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Project In Jefferson County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the August 15 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Jefferson County.

* Schuylkill Action Network To Showcase Videos Of Completed Restoration Projects In Schuylkill River Watershed Sept. 10

The Schuylkill Action Network will showcase videos about four completed watershed restoration projects in the Schuylkill River Watershed in a special online event September 10 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.

* DEP Publishes New Policy On Replacement, Restoration Of Private Water Supplies Impacted by Unconventional Drilling Operations

On August 8, the Department of Environmental Protection published new final Technical Guidance Document-- Policy for the Replacement or Restoration of Private Water Supplies Impacted by Unconventional Operations (DEP: 800-0810-002).

* DEP Updates Certification Exam Schedule For Sewage Enforcement Officers

DEP’s State Board for Certification of Sewage Enforcement Officers has rescheduled its certification examinations for the remainder of 2020.  Click here for the new exam schedule.

* PA Energy Development Authority Accepting Applications For Energy Project Restart Grants

The PA Energy Development Authority is now accepting applications for PEDA Energy Restart Grants to assist with the completion of eligible energy projects disrupted due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.  (formal notice)

* PUC: PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee Assesses $78,100 In Penalties For Violations

The Public Utility Commission announced the PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee issued a total of 160 disciplinary actions, including $78,100 in penalties against 72 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners for violations of the PA One Call Law at its August 11 meeting.

* PUC Recognizes National 811 - PA One Call Underground Utility Damage Prevention Efforts

On August 11, the Public Utility Commission recognized National 811 Day, and reminds all residents, contractors and utilities of the importance of calling 8-1-1 [PA One Call] before digging to help ensure the safety of excavation projects across the state.

* Dept. Of Health Makes Available Free Potassium Iodide Tablets Around PA’s 5 Nuclear Power Plants

On August 12, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced free potassium iodide, or KI, tablets are available to all Pennsylvanians who live or work within 10 miles of the state’s five nuclear power plants by calling the Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH or at county and municipal health departments or state health centers.

* DEP: Chestnut Valley Landfill To Play $25,000 Penalty In Fayette County

On August 11, Department of Environmental Protection announced a consent assessment of civil penalty of $25,000 from Advanced Disposal Services Chestnut Valley Landfill, LLC., a municipal waste landfill located in German Township, Fayette County, to address violations of its permit and state law.

* PennTAP: Aug. 20 Webinar On Improving Plant Efficiencies And Performance During Unstable Times

The PA Technical Assistance Program hosts an August 20 webinar on Improving Plant Efficiencies and Performance During Unstable Times from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

* Largest Single Sloped Solar Array In The U.S. Completed Atop Pittsburgh’s Mill 19 At Hazelwood Green Site

The last of 4,784 silicon solar panels that will power Mill 19 at Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Green site have been placed, marking the completion of the largest single sloped solar array in the United States.

* Heritage Conservancy, DCNR Add 118-Acre Farm To Delaware Canal State Park In Bucks County

On August 10, the Heritage Conservancy and DCNR announced an agreement to add a 118-acre farm in Bucks County to Delaware Canal State Park.

* Ned Smith Center For Nature & The Arts Has ‘Ned Talks’ Available Online On A Variety Of Nature Topics

The Ned Smith Center for Nature and the Arts has produced a series of ‘Ned Talks’ over the last few months to provide an informative, educational and fun exploration into nature and the arts in and around the Center in Dauphin County

* Walk In Penn’s Woods Expands To Full Month Of October To Showcase Diversity Of State’s Woodland Resources; Fundraising Campaign Launches

The Walk In Penn’s Woods initiative to showcase the diversity of the state’s woodland resources will expand to the full month of October in 2020.

* 2020-21 State Parks Calendar Now Available! Let It Inspire You To A New Adventure!

Brighten up any wall in your office or home with the new 2020-21 State Parks Calendar from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation.

* August 14 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The August 14 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Releases Special Video 2019 Annual Report

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation released its 2019 annual report, but this year this report is in the form of a video.

* 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.

* CLICK HERE To View Or Print Entire PA Environment Digest

CLICK HERE to View or Print the 61 page PA Environment Digest.

* Stories Invited - About PA Environment Digest

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.

* Going Virtual! PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Oct. 28-29

The PA Environment Digest is a proud sponsor of the virtual 2020 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference to be held on October 28-29.   Stay tuned for details!

* 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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