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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
November 23, 2020 Issue #856
* $201,977,000 Diverted From Environment, Energy Funds To Balance FY 2020-21 State Budget

On November 20, the House and Senate passed and sent to the Governor their version of a completed FY 2020-21 budget in Senate Bill 1350 that adds about $11 billion to the temporary budget they passed in May for a total General Fund budget of $36.5 billion, about four percent above last year. 

* Hundreds Of Thousands Oppose Cuts In Local Recreation, Conservation Project Funding

Last week hunting, angler, conservation, environmental and recreation groups representing hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians from every corner of the Commonwealth have come together to oppose efforts to cut funding dedicated by law and voter referendums to community-driven recreation, conservation and environmental restoration projects to balance the state's budget.

* Growing Greener Coalition Urges General Assembly, Governor To Reject Any Budget Proposal That Undermines Dedicated Funding For Community-Driven Conservation Projects

On November 16, the Growing Green Coalition published an open letter to the Senate, House and the Governor opposing any efforts to take money dedicated to supporting community-driven recreation and conservation projects and using it to deal with the state budget deficit.

* Growing Greener Coalition: 93% Of Pennsylvanians Say We Have A Moral Obligation To Care For Our Environment - Don’t Cut Dedicated Funding

On November 18, the Growing Greener Coalition wrote this open letter to members of the Senate and House and Gov. Wolf urging them to oppose efforts to cut dedicated recreation and conservation funding to fill state budget holes--

* 13 Hunting, Angler Groups Urge Senate, House Members, Gov. Wolf To Maintain Local Conservation Project Funding Critical To Stewardship Of Wildlife Resources, Public Lands

On November 19, thirteen hunting and angler groups wrote to members of the House and Senate and Gov. Wolf asking them to maintain funding for local conservation projects that are critical to good stewardship of Pennsylvania’s wildlife resources and public lands.

* PA Federation Of Sportsmen & Conservationists: Protect Dedicated State Funds Critical To Improve Habitat, Protect Wildlife In PA

On November 18, the PA Federation of Sportsmen and Conservation wrote to members of the Senate and House urging them to protect dedicated state funds used to improve habitat and ensuring access to wild places in Pennsylvania as they finish the FY 2020-21 state budget.

* Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership: 3 Reasons PA Officials Should Not Drain Conservation Funds To Balance The Budget

By Derek Eberly, PA Field Representative

* CBF: Raiding Dedicated Conservation Funds To Plug The State's Budget Gap Would Further Damage PA's Environment

By Shannon Gority, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA

* PA Environmental Council: Protect Investment In Outdoor Recreation And Public Lands

On November 16, the PA Environmental Council wrote to members of the Senate and House urging them to oppose any budget proposals that seek to undermine funding dedicated to supporting local, community-driven recreation and environmental conservation projects.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation Opposes Any Effort To Cut Dedicated Funds To Support State Park, Forest, Recreation Projects

On November 17, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation wrote to members of the Senate, House and Gov. Wolf asking them to oppose any efforts to cut funding deviated to support recreation and conservation projects.

* WeConservePA: State Conservation Funding Commitments Deliver Local Economic Benefits

On November 17, WeConservePA, which represents 70 land trust and conservation organizations and more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians, sent a letter to House and Senate members and Gov. Wolf urging them to oppose efforts to retreat on the state's commitments to fund community-driven recreation and conservation projects.

* Senate Republicans Send Bill Rolling Back Environmental Protection Standards For Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling To Governor

On November 17, Senate concurred in Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) that would significantly reduce requirements for protecting the environment from conventional oil and gas drilling by a vote of 29 to 19-- Republicans supporting-- sending the bill to Gov. Wolf for his action.

* Republicans On House Environmental Committee Move Bill Redefining Water Pollution, Resolution Opposing Power Plant Carbon Pollution Reduction Reg

On November 17, Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee  voted to report out Senate Bill 619 (Yaw-R- Lycoming) making fundamental changes to the definition of water pollution under the state Clean Streams Law effectively making most spills and discharges to rivers and streams no longer pollution.

* DEP Report On Petition To Adopt Broad-Based Climate Cap-And-Trade Program Due To EQB In Early 2021

On November 17, the Department of Environmental Protection told the Environmental Quality Board it expects to present its report and recommendation on a rulemaking petition proposing a climate cap-and-trade program covering all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions to the Board during the first quarter of 2021.

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 597 More Permits, 1,673 More Inspections Since Last Week

From March 16 to November 17 Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* DEP Lifts Drought Watch In 10 Counties, 20 Remain On Watch And 3 On Warning

On November 17, after a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, the Department of Environmental Protection lifted the drought watch for 10 counties, returning those counties to normal status.

* DEP Provides $6 Million+ To 8 Counties To Support Local Water Quality Improvement In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

On November 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it is providing just over $6 million in grant funding to eight counties to continue support for their accelerated progress in improving local water quality in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

* Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay Spotlights Work Of Volunteer Riparian Rangers In PA

By Brittany Smith, PA Conservation Coordinator

* PA American Water Systems Recognized For 20 Consecutive Years Of Excellent Tap Water

Customers of PA American Water can rest assured of the quality of their tap water, as 18 of the company’s water treatment plants were recently recognized with 20-Year Directors Awards from the Partnership for Safe Water for 20 consecutive years of water quality excellence.

* Keep PA Beautiful Reports 92% Reduction of Cigarette Litter In Participating State Parks

Armed with a $10,000 Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful collaborated with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 2019 to reduce the number of cigarette butts carelessly left behind in four state parks: Benjamin Rush, Nockamixon, Ridley Creek and Tyler.

* DCNR Requires Out-of-State Visitors To Have Negative COVID-19 Test Or Quarantine Before Visiting Parks

On November 20, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced changes to operating procedures for state park and forest facilities that will require out-of-state visitors to comply with orders intended to prevent the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. 

* DCNR Finalizes ATV Trail Policy To Allow New Riding Opportunities On State Forest Lands

On November 19, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources outlined final changes to its internal policy on ATV trails on state forest lands to respond to increasing demands for riding opportunities, local and county government interest in expanding recreational tourism, and legislative action.

* COVID Pandemic Delayed DCNR’s Shale Gas Drilling Monitoring Efforts In State Forests

On November 18, DCNR Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council heard a presentation on DCNR’s ongoing efforts to monitor the environmental and natural resource impacts of shale gas drilling on state forest land.

* DCNR: Weather, COVID Pandemic, Western U.S. Fires Made 2020 A Challenging Year In Wildfire Protection

DCNR told the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council on November 18, the weather, COVID pandemic and wildfires in the western part of the country combined to make 2020 a challenging year, and it isn’t over.

* PA Capitol & COVID Weekly Report: Elections, Budgets, Guns, Flags And Face Masks - 11.22.20

[ Because Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] In addition to finishing the FY 2020-21 state budget, Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly continued their brawl over the November election.

* 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

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--

* Koppers, Inc. Settles With EPA For Alleged Violations Of Oil Spill Prevention Regs In PA, WV

On November 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Koppers, Inc. has agreed to settle with EPA, the state of  West Virginia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to resolve alleged violations of federal and state environmental laws at its facilities in Follansbee and Green Spring, West Virginia, and Clairton, Allegheny County.

* DEP November Newsletter Updates Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation

The November Chesapeake Bay Implementation newsletter is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring these articles--

* Buffer Certificate Course, Scholarships Now Available From Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professionals

The Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professionals are now offering a Buffer Certificate Course Training Program over six sessions-- three webinars and three field workshops.

* PA Assn. Of Conservation Districts Accepting Applications For Multifunctional Riparian Buffer Grants From Conservation Districts

The PA Association of Conservation Districts is now accepting applications from county conservation districts for Multifunctional Riparian Buffer Grants.  The deadline for applications is December 31

* Registration Now Open For Virtual 2021 Sustainable Agriculture Conference Jan. 19 - Feb. 5

The PA Sustainable Agriculture Association is now accepting registrations for its 2021 virtual Sustainable Agriculture Conference to be held January 19 to February 5.

* New Mural At Rodale Institute Celebrates Farming In Harmony With Philly Artists

Rodale Institute in Berks County commissioned Amber Art and Design to create a new mural entitled “Farming in Harmony.”

* Proceedings From Bucknell University Susquehanna River Symposium Now Available

The Bucknell University Center for Sustainability and the Environment held their 15th Susquehanna River Symposium on November 6-7.  Proceedings from the Symposium are now available online.

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

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the November 21 PA Bulletin of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Luzerne County.

* PA Assn. Of Environmental Educators: Call For Conference Presentations; Award Nominations Open

The PA Association of Environmental Educators is now accepting presentation proposals for its virtual Annual Conference to be held on March 22-23.  The deadline for proposals is December 4.

* 2021 Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp Now Accepting Applications

The Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited is now accepting applications for the 2021 Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp to be held June 20-25 at Messiah University in Cumberland County.

* DEP Our Common Wealth Blog: Rake Less, Enjoy Fall More And Live In A Better Environment

By Deborah Klenotic, Deputy Communications Director

* DEP Awards Over $26.8 Million In Recycling Grants To 127 Municipalities; Applications Now Being Accepted For New Grant Round

Note: The final FY 2020-21 budget takes $50 million from the Recycling Fund and uses it to balance the state budget and is not available to pay grants. Read more here.

* Northeast Recycling Council Call For Spring Virtual 2021 Conference Presentations

The Northeast Recycling Council has issued a call for presentations at its virtual Spring 2021 Conference to be held March 30-31.  The deadline is December 16.

* PUC Highlights Importance Of Critical Utility Infrastructure Thru Pandemic, Severe Storms

On November 19, the Public Utility Commission recognized National Critical Infrastructure Security Month, noting the importance of Pennsylvania’s critical utility systems and the extensive behind-the-scenes efforts by public utilities and thousands of utility workers in keeping our communities safe and secure.

* CEOs For Sustainability Call On Southwest PA's Businesses To Lead Forward For A Sustainable Economic Recovery

On November 18, members of the CEOs for Sustainability executive network called upon their peers in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region to “lead forward” and commit to a sustainable economic recovery as part of the C-Suite Summit.

* PUC To Explore Ways To Enhance Reliability & Resiliency Utilizing Energy Storage As Distribution Assets For Electric Utilities

On November 19, the Public Utility Commission initiated a proceeding geared toward exploring new ways to enhance reliability and resiliency within the Commonwealth’s electric distribution systems, including future utilization of novel resources such as energy storage as distribution assets for electric distribution companies (EDCs).

* Deadline To Join Scenic Rivers Solar Co-Op In Clarion, Venango, Armstrong, Jefferson, Forest Counties Nov. 30

The deadline of November 30 to join the new Scenic Rivers Solar Co-op is fast-approaching. Solar United Neighbors, a nonprofit organization working nationwide to help homeowners and businesses go solar, is organizing the local effort.

* Cumberland County Climate Action Planning Event Dec. 8 - Municipal Rules - Where Real Action Happens

The Cumberland Conservation Collaborative and its partners will hold a Cumberland County Climate Action Planning online event December 8 on Municipal Rules - Where Real Action Happens from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

* Public Invited To Participate In Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic Recreation Capacity Study, Nov. 30 Town Hall

The Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic Management Council is inviting the public to offer comments through a questionnaire and a town hall as part of a recreation capacity study of the lower wild and scenic stretch of the Delaware River.

* Reminder: WeConservePA Virtual 2021 Conference Workshop Proposals Due Dec. 14

WeConservePA has issued a call for workshop proposals for its virtual 2021 WeConservePA Conference to kick off March 24.  Proposals are due December 14.

* Nov. 20 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The November 20 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

* Game Commission Publishes Order Creating Chronic Wasting Disease Containment Zone Permit Allowing The Taking Of More Deer

The Game Commission formally published notice in the November 21 PA Bulletin of a November 4 order establishing a Chronic Wasting Disease Containment Zone Permit for the 2020/21 hunting license year to authorize increased harvest of deer in designated CWD containment zones in addition to existing allocations and bag limits.

* American Fisheries Society PA Chapter 2021 Spring Technical Meeting Call For Presentations

The PA Chapter of the American Fisheries Society has issued a call for its virtual February 11-12 Spring Technical Meeting.  Proposals are due December 31.

* 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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