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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
August 24, 2020 Issue #843
* Republicans Want To Charge You For Admission, Parking At State Parks As Pennsylvanians Rush To Parks To Avoid The Pandemic

On August 21, House members Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), Stan Saylor (R-York), Lee James (R-Venango), Dan Moul (R-Adams) and Jack Rader (R-Monroe) introduced House Bill 2806 that would eliminate the current prohibition in law on State Park parking and general admission fees.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Launches Campaign To Replace Fire Rings, Grills, Picnic Tables In Camping Areas During Unprecedented State Park & Forest Use

Fire rings, picnic tables, signage, lantern hooks, tent platforms and grills are all taking a real beating in State Parks and Forests from a 36 percent increase in usage this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* DEP Posts Proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Regulations Covering Power Plants 4 Weeks Before Sept. 15 EQB Meeting

On August 18, DEP posted the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction regulations covering power plants and background documents on the Environmental Quality Board webpage.

* DEP Local Climate Action Program Helps Community Leaders Address Climate Change In 139 Municipalities

On August 17, the Department of Environmental Protection launched the second year of its Local Climate Action Program this week with 21 participants representing 139 municipalities statewide.

* DEP Climate Change Advisory Committee Holds Virtual Meeting Aug. 25 On Outlines Of 2021 Climate Impacts Assessment & Climate Action Plan

The DEP Climate Change Advisory Committee will hold a virtual meeting on August 25 to discuss the outlines of a 2021 Climate Impacts Assessment and Climate Action Plans.

* New PUC Report Indicates Severe Storms Drive Record Number of Power Outage Events Across Pennsylvania

A total of 52 “reportable outage events” disrupted electric service to residents and businesses across Pennsylvania – a record high number of incidents since the Public Utility Commission began collecting reliability data in 1993.

* Report: Clean Energy Is A Leading Creator Of New Quality Jobs In Pennsylvania

On August 17, the Wolf Administration released a new 2020 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report, showing clean energy is a leading creator of quality jobs in Pennsylvania.  The sector added 7,794 jobs in 2017-19, for an 8.7 percent average job growth rate, compared to 1.9 percent average overall job growth in the state.

* PA Conservative Energy Forum Hosts Town Hall Supporting Bipartisan Community Solar Bills; $2 Billion In Investments Waiting For Passage

The PA Conservative Energy Forum recently hosted an online town hall meeting supporting bipartisan legislation to authorize community solar energy projects in Pennsylvania.

* Germantown Daycare First Solar Project Financed By Philadelphia C-PACE

On August 18, the Philadelphia Energy Authority, Greenworks Lending and the Capers Company LLC announced the financial close of the first project in Pennsylvania to use Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for a renewable energy project as part of a series of announcements being released during Philadelphia Solar Week.

* Pennsylvania Gets Charged Up For Electric Vehicles At EV Policy Virtual Bootcamp

On August 6, the Electrification Coalition brought together 120 electric vehicle policymakers, industry experts, and advocates for an informative and collaborative day-long session about how to accelerate EVs in Pennsylvania.

* Report: PA Colleges, Universities Get High Marks For Renewable Energy Use

On August 19, the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center released a new report comparing Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to similar institutions across the nation in key energy sustainability metrics.

* Ohio River Valley Institute Announced To Promote Sustainable Economic Strategies In Ohio Valley, Western PA

The Ohio River Valley Institute, a new Pittsburgh-based think tank devoted to achieving lasting job growth and greater equity through the embrace of the clean energy economy and more inclusive democratic processes, was unveiled August 18.

* South Mountain Partnership Joins Shippensburg University Campus/Community Climate Task Force

Shippensburg University and the Center for Land Use and Sustainability, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the South Mountain Partnership, and Michaux State Forest, is launching a campus/community task force as one of its first initiatives under the Campus Climate Commitment.

* DEP Assesses $355,000 Penalty On Sunoco For 2018, 2019 Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Violations

On August 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it assessed a $355,636 penalty from Sunoco Pipeline LP (Sunoco) for violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in eight Pennsylvania counties: Berks, Blair, Cambria, Cumberland, Delaware, Lebanon, Washington, and Westmoreland.

* Legislators Issue Call For Revocation Of Mariner East Pipeline Permits In Chester County

A group of seven Chester County House and Senate members have called for the immediate halt to Mariner East Pipeline construction and the revocation of Sunoco/Energy Transfer’s permits in Chester County.

* DEP: CNX Gas Company Agrees To Pay $175,000 Penalty For Uncontrolled Methane Leaks At The Shaw Well In Westmoreland County

On August 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has concluded its investigation into the January 2019 Shaw 1GHSU (Shaw 1G) Utica gas well control and communication incident and executed a consent order and agreement with CNX Gas Company LLC (CNX) addressing violations and well construction. CNX has agreed to a $175,000 civil penalty.

* IFO Reports PA Natural Gas Production Increased 2.8% In Second Quarter Over Last Year, But Over 31% Drop In New Producing Wells

On August 20, the Independent Fiscal Office issued its second quarter report on natural gas production in Pennsylvania showing a 2.8 percent increase over last year, but the lowest rate of growth in over three years and a decline from the first quarter.

* DEP Declares Drought Watch For 16 Northcentral, Western PA Counties; First Since 2016-17

After a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force on August 21, the Department of Environmental Protection declared a drought watch for 16 counties: Armstrong, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Fayette, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, Perry, and Potter.

* Op-Ed: Time For Pennsylvania To Live Up To Promises Made To Clean Up Its Rivers And Streams:

By Shannon Gority, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Chesapeake Bay Executive Council Didn't Deal With Elephant In The Room - Pennsylvania

On August 18, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation noted Gov. Wolf and EPA Administrator Wheeler did not attend the August 18 Chesapeake Bay Executive Bay Council meeting which included the signing of the EC statement in support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ), and how restoration efforts are being affected by COVID-19.

* CFA Announces $61 Million In Funding For 276 Small Water, Sewer Projects In 49 Counties

On August 18, Gov. Tom Wolf announced $61 million in funding for 276 small water and sewer project funding in 49 counties from the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

* CFA Awards More Than $8 Million To 42 Flood Control, Dam, Water, Sewer, Stormwater Projects

On August 19, the Commonwealth Financing Authority announced more than $8 million in funding to support H2O PA Flood Control, High Hazard Dams, and Water, Sanitary Sewer, and Stormwater projects.

* PennVEST Announces New Small Water Infrastructure Project Funding Program

On August 18, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority board of directors announced a recently approved a new funding opportunity for lower-cost water quality projects, allowing for accelerated funding approval. 

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 676 More Permits, 1,660 More Inspections Since Last Week

From March 16 to August 18, Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* 4th DCNR Wildfire Crew Leaves For California; National Wildfire Center Raises Preparedness To Highest Level

The fourth 20-person wildfire crew DCNR’s Bureau of Forest has deployed this year to help fight wildland fires will be headed to Northern California on Thursday.

* DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Ben Mummert, Central PA Conservancy

Ben Mummert is an outstanding supporter of conservation and recreation as the Director of Land Protection and Stewardship for the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy.

* Dept. Of Agriculture Announces Virtual 2021 PA Farm Show Celebration

On August 19, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry will be celebrated virtually for the 2021 PA Farm Show, with no in-person events or competitions, to mitigate against COVID-19.

* DEP Reports 8 More Counties With Mosquitoes Testing Positive For West Nile Virus

On August 21, the Department of Environmental Protection reported eight more counties had mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus-- Beaver, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Lehigh, Luzerne, Union and York. Read more here.

* PA Capitol & COVID-19 Weekly Report: School Bells Are Ringing, Election Fixes?

[ Because In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] The next three weeks will be critical as school districts and colleges move to implement their COVID-19 reopening plans.

* 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--

* Agenda Added - 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.

* Agenda Added - 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.

* Senate Environmental Committee To Hold Sept. 9 Hearing On Setting Proposed Toxic Substances Standard For Manganese In Water

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a virtual hearing  September 9 on the proposed Environmental Quality Board regulation adopting a manganese water quality toxic substances standard that is protective of public health (July 25 PA Bulletin).

* Rep. McCarter Introduces Bill To Create Special Pollinator Conservation License Plate, Fund

On August 18, Rep. Stephen McCarter (D-Montgomery) introduced House Bill 2802 which would create a special Pollinator Conservation vehicle license plate to provide funding for a roadside Pollinator Habitat Program.

* Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Keep Joint Conservation Committee

On August 18, bipartisan legislation-- House Bill 2797-- was introduced by Rep. Parke Wentling (R- Mercer), Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) and others to keep the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee in business.

* EPA Awards $33.9 Million In Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund Monies To PA

On August 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has awarded $33.9 million to Pennsylvania for drinking water improvement projects throughout the state under the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program.

* AG Shapiro, Environmental Groups File Lawsuits To Block Federal Rule On Transport Of Liquefied Natural Gas By Rail

On August 18, Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined 13 other states in a lawsuit to block a federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration rule allowing the transportation of liquefied natural gas by rail.  Read more here.

* DCNR Good Natured Blog: For Cleaner Water, Convert Some Lawn

There are 2 million acres of lawn in Pennsylvania -- that’s a lot of turf grass!

* Penn State Extension: Improving Local Water Quality Thru Lawn Conversion To Meadows

By Vincent Cotrone, Extension Urban Forester

* Penn State Extension: What Is Biochar And How Can It Improve Local Water Quality?

By Jennifer Fetter, Water Resources Educator, Daniel Ciolkosz, PE. Asst. Professor, Edward Johnstonbaugh, Renewables Educator, Olivia Mroczko, Graduate Assistant

* Penn State Master Watershed Steward Native Tree & Shrub Sale Benefits 20 County Programs; Sign Up To Be A Watershed Steward

Beautiful trees and shrubs available for purchase at the first annual fall fundraiser for the Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program!

* DEP Opportunity To Bid On Mine Reclamation Projects In Clearfield, Elk Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the August 22 PA Bulletin of opportunities to bid on mine reclamation projects in Clearfield and Elk counties.

* News & Views Newsletter Now Available From The Dept. Of Environmental Protection

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell introduced the latest DEP News & Views newsletter with an article on--- Cutting Climate Pollution With The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative--

* PA Resources Council Announces 6 Composting, Rain Barrel, Recycling Webinars For Southwest PA

On August 20, the PA Resources Council announced six online backyard composting, rain barrel and recycling webinars will be held in September to benefit residents of Southwest Pennsylvania.

* PA Farmland Preservation Program Adds 2,512 Acres, 33 Farms; 586,884 Total Acres Preserved

On August 20, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced today that Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board added 2,512 acres on 33 farms in 16 counties to the nation’s leading farmland preservation program.

* DCNR Accepting Comments On Wild Resource Conservation Program Funding Allocations

The DCNR Wild Resource Conservation Program is now accepting public comments on funding allocations under the Wild Resource Conservation Fund Program. (formal notice)

* Washington & Jefferson College To Lead Plants In The Human-Altered Environment Online Teaching Tools Project To Improve Habitats

A grant awarded by The National Science Foundation will support four projects developed by teams of faculty-researchers at schools across the nation, including Washington & Jefferson College in Washington County.

* Wildlands Conservancy: Lehigh River Sojourn Set For Sept. 19-21, Register Now!

The Wildlands Conservancy  24th Annual Lehigh River Sojourn will be held September 19-21 featuring a 50 mile guided paddingling trip on the Lehigh River and bicycling on the D&L National Heritage Trail.

* PA Land Trust Assn: Sept. 22 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access On Recreational Trails Online Workshop

The PA Land Trust Association will hold a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access on Recreational Trails online Workshop on September 22 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.  Registration will be opening soon.

* PA Horticultural Society Offering Basic Tree Tenders Training In September

Want to learn about planting trees and taking care of them?   Participate in a PA Horticultural Society Tree Tenders training this fall; and join one of the nation’s oldest, most respected volunteer urban tree-care programs.

* Aug. 19 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

The August 19 Resource newsletter is now available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources featuring articles on--

* Aug. 21 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The August 21 Take Five Fridays With Pam from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation is now available featuring articles on--

* 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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* 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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