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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
December 7, 2020 Issue #858
(12/7/2020)
* Gov. Wolf Announces Plan To Address Flooding Caused By Climate Change

On December 2, Gov. Wolf announced executive actions to support communities  impacted by flooding because communities across Pennsylvania increasingly experience flooding caused by intense, short-duration storms due to climate change.

* EQB Hearings Start Dec. 8 On Proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants Consistent With RGGI

The Environmental Quality Board will begin accepting comments at 10 virtual public hearing sessions starting December 8 on a proposed regulation establishing a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plants that is consistent with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). (formal notice)

* Dickinson College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College Multi-Campus Solar Project Wins Global Sustainability Award

On December 3, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education announced a Solar Project Collaboration by four Pennsylvania institutions—Dickinson College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College—is the 2020 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award recipient for Institutions with under 10,000 Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment.

* Penn State University Endorses Climate Change Letter To World Leaders

By Kevin Sliman, Penn State News

* Your Municipality’s Role In Climate Planning To Be Highlighted In Dec. 8 Cumberland Valley Community Online Forum

Changing climate has caused and will continue to cause impacts to public health, infrastructure, emergency services, property damage through flooding and major economic contributors like agriculture, tourism, and recreation.

* Senate Takes No Action To Fill Vacancy On Public Utility Commission

On August 10, Gov. Wolf nominated Haley Book to fill the vacant position on the Public Utility Commission created by the resignation of Commissioner Andrew Place on April 16Read more here.

* Environment & Energy Bills Signed Into Law, Vetoed In 2020

2020 was marked more by what didn’t happen on environment and energy legislation than what was actually passed by the Senate and House and signed into law by Gov. Wolf.   Here’s a rundown on what happened.

* This NICE List Of Good Environment & Energy Bills We Hope Will Be Back Next Year

Here are just a few of the NICE environmental and energy bills we hope will be coming back in the new legislative session starting January 1.

* This NAUGHTY List Of Bad Environment & Energy Bills Will Be Back Again Next Year

This is a NAUGHTY list of bad environmental bills that we wished wouldn’t be back next year, but probably will be, so watch out for them!

* 90% Of PA Voters Want Senate, House To Provide More Funding For Critical Environmental, Conservation Programs; That Didn’t Happen In 2020

During 2020, millions of Pennsylvanians sought refuge from the COVID-19 pandemic in state and local parks, trails and outdoor recreation.  Read more here.

* Comments Invited On Draft Southwestern PA Water Network Vision/Purpose/Goals

The Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania is inviting comments on a draft Southwestern PA Water network vision, purpose and goals statement from local stakeholders.  The deadline for comments is December 18.

* Local Groups Unveil Community-Driven Common Agenda To Protect PA Lake Erie Watershed

On December 3, thirteen local organizations released a new blueprint designed to protect the Lake Erie Watershed in Pennsylvania from threats like plastics pollution, climate change, invasive species and surface runoff, among others.

* EQB Invites Comments On Proposed Changes To The Basic Chapter 105 Waterways Permit Regulations

The Environmental Quality Board invites comments on proposed changes to the Chapter 105 Waterways Management permit regulations, one of the most basic permits all development must have in the state.  (formal notice)

* DEP Extends Deadline To Submit CAFO Farm Annual Reports, Permit Fee To Feb. 15

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the December 5 PA Bulletin it is extending the annual report deadline for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) under NPDES General Permit PAG-12 to February 15.

* DEP Starts Draft Conventional Oil & Gas Regulations Thru Development Process; Draft Regs Available

On December 3, Laura Legere from the Post-Gazette reported the Department of Environmental Protection is starting the development of new regulations setting environmental and waste disposal standards for conventional oil and gas well drilling after Gov. Wolf’s veto of Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) last week .

* DEP Oil & Gas Advisory Board To Hear Update On Permit Fees v. Expenses; Oil & Gas Health Studies; Natural Gas Storage Fields; Reg. Update Dec. 16

DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on December 16 to hear updates on a variety of topics, including--

* DEP Advisory Committee To Discuss Final PFOS/PFOA/PFAS Soil, Water Cleanup Standards Dec. 16

DEP’s Cleanup Standards Scientific Advisory Board is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting December 16 on a final regulation setting soil and water cleanup standards for PFOS/PFOA/PFAS contamination and a cleanup level for lead found in soil.

* Bay Journal: How EPA, State Environmental Regulators Loosened Pollution Reins During Early Days Of COVID Pandemic

By Jeremy Cox & Timothy B. Wheeler, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA: 'Get Real' When Considering A Christmas Tree

By Shannon Gority, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA

* DEP Works Thru Pandemic: 341 More Permits, 1,052 More Inspections Since Last Week

From March 16 to December 1, Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* DCNR Cancels ALL Organized In-Person Events, Programs In State Parks, Forests Starting Dec. 6 To Respond To Rising COVID Cases

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced it has canceled ALL in-person events and programs organized by its staff and volunteers in all state parks and forests beginning December 6.

* Dept. Of Agriculture Farm Preservation Staff Recognized For Preserving 138 Farms While Teleworking

On December 2, the Department of Agriculture recognized the director and staff at the Bureau of Farmland Preservation for continuing their work while overcoming telework obstacles.    

* Keep PA Beautiful Invites Groups To Adopt Local Roads, Parks, Waterways, Trails, Neighborhoods To Reduce Litter Cleanup Costs

The Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Adoption Program is available statewide for groups interested in adopting municipal roads, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways and trails to reduce litter cleanup costs.

* PA Capitol & COVID Weekly Report: Republicans Focus On Nov. Election, Democrats Want COVID Aid To Workers, Small Businesses

[ In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] The focus again last week for Republicans in the Senate and House was the November election and its aftermath.

* 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--

* Joint Conservation Committee: Spotlight On Organizations Fighting Illegal Dumping & Littering

The following article first appeared in the November newsletter from the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee.

* State Environmental Agency Assn. Led By DEP Secretary McDonnell Meets With Biden EPA Transition Team

In late November, officers of the Environmental Council of the States discussed priorities with the incoming President-elect Biden Administration's EPA Advance Review Team.

* NRCS-PA Hosts Virtual Open Houses On EQIP Financial Assistance For Urban Agriculture On Dec. 7 For Philadelphia, Dec. 9 For Pittsburgh

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA will host two virtual open houses on Environmental Quality Incentives Program financial assistance for urban agriculture in areas surrounding Pittsburgh and Philadelphia

* Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness: Trail Groups Oppose Mountain Biking In Federal Wilderness Areas

The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, The North Country Trail Association, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, American Hiking Society, and many other national hiking trail organizations are strongly opposing any hostile takeover efforts to ‘shred' the landmark federal Wilderness Act of 1964 by allowing any mountain biking anywhere within any unit of America's National Wilderness Preservation System, now or at any point in the future.

* Western PA Conservancy Magazine Highlights Watershed Restoration Work

The latest Conserve magazine from the Western PA Conservancy highlights their work to restore watersheds and improve water quality for future generations featuring articles on--

* PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers Hosts Dec. 10 Webinar On DEP Integrated Water Quality Report, Mapping Application

The PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers is hosting a December 10 webinar on the DEP 2020 Integrated Water Quality Report and mapping applications from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

* Pike County Conservation District Newsletter Highlights Rain Gardens, Groundwater Month, Road Maintenance

The December newsletter from the Pike County Conservation District features articles on--

* Registration Open For Delaware Estuary Science & Environmental Summit

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is now accepting registrations for the virtual 2021 Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit on March 1-3.

* Penn State Extension Dive Deeper Distantly Water Educators Virtual Summit Now Available On Demand

Did you miss the Dive Deeper Distantly Water Educators Virtual Summit in October?  Don't worry, Penn State Extension now has the Summit available on demand.

* DEP Our Common Wealth Blog: Air Quality - Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) - 101

By: Virginia Cain, Community Relations Coordinator, Southeast Region & Jillian Gallagher, Air Quality Environmental Group Manager, Southeast Region

* PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In November Now Available

The In Case You Missed It In November from the PA Environmental Council is now available featuring articles on--

* WeConservePA: New Report On Conservation Easements In Court, A Review Of Litigation In PA

On December 1, WeConservePA announced the publication of a new 11-page report: Conservation Easements in Court: A Review of Easement Violation and Enforcement Litigation in Pennsylvania.

* Historic Highlands Mansion, 44-Acre Grounds Now Preserved In Montgomery County

On December 3, Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery) announced the transfer of the historic Highlands Mansion and surrounding grounds to the Highlands Historical Society as part of Senate Bill 1214 signed into law by Gov. Wolf last week.

* Foundation For Sustainable Forests Highlights Forest Management Activities, Upcoming Events

The Fall/Winter newsletter of the Crawford County-based Foundation for Sustainable Forests highlights recent forest management activities, initiatives and several upcoming events--

* Reminder: Nominations For PA Parks & Forests Foundation 2021 Annual Awards To Recognize COVID Champions Due Dec. 31

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation is now accepting nominations for their 2021 Annual Awards to recognize outstanding service, programs, and people to remind everyone of the exemplary work happening in our state parks and forests.

* Marci Mowery, PA Parks & Forests Foundation, Named Chair Of New National Group To Support The Nation's State Parks

On November 30, the new National Association of State Park Foundations announced Marci Mowery, President of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation, will serve as the group's first chair.

* Dec. 4 Take Five Fridays With Pam From PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The December 4 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation 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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