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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
May 10, 2021 Issue #880
(5/10/2021)
* 18 New Stories - REAL Environmental & Conservation Leadership In PA

There are 18 new stories in this week’s PA Environment Digest that show environmental and conservation leadership from anglers, farmers, forestland owners, RiverKeepers, parks and forests enthusiasts, colleges and universities, forest professionals and more.

* Natural Lands Preserves Vulnerable 12 Acre Section Of East Branch Brandywine Creek In Chester County

On May 3, Natural Lands announced the permanent protection of a vulnerable section of East Branch Brandywine Creek. The acquisition and immediate transfer of the 12-acre property to East Brandywine Township ensures access to the creek for recreation and protects the scenic view along route 282 in Downingtown, Chester County.

* Thomas & Marjorie Seibert Partner With French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust To Protect Nearly 20 Acres Of Woodlands

Thomas and Marjorie Seibert have partnered with the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to permanently preserve 197 acres of woodlands in Charlestown Township, Chester County through a conservation easement.

* Forbes Trail Chapter Of TU Recognizes Monty Murty With The Don Robb Memorial Chapter Service Award In Westmoreland County

The Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited recently presented Monty Murty of Laughlintown, Westmoreland County the Chapter’s Don Robb Memorial Chapter Service Award for his exemplary service. 

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Celebrate The Innovative, Amazing Work Of 19 COVID Champions May 12 Virtual Awards Ceremony

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation invites you to celebrate the work of park and forest staff and volunteers across the state who worked to ensure people had safe ways to engage in the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership - Three Scoops Of Water Pollution Reduction

By Jake Solyst, Chesapeake Bay Program

* Gov. Wolf Recognizes DEP’s Jill Whitcomb, Heidi Kunka For Their Efforts To Restore Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Combat Climate Change

On May 4, Gov. Tom Wolf awarded the Governor’s Award of Excellence to two employees of the Department of Environmental Protection-- Jill Whitcomb, director of the Chesapeake Bay Office, and Heidi Kunka, Energy Program specialist, for their successful efforts to improve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and implement local climate action plans.

* We Could Fund 4 To 6 TIMES The Number Of Local Environmental Projects We Do Now With The $200+Million Senate & House Surplus

In February, the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission reported the Senate and House now have a surplus in their legislative accounts of over $200 million.  It grew by over $30 million in FY 2019-20 alone.

* EPA Evaluation Of Plan To Reduce Pollutants No Longer Contained By Conowingo Reservoir Says ‘Little Confidence’ The Plan Can Be Implemented Without Dedicated Funding

On May 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its evaluation of a draft plan to compensate for more than 6 million pounds of Chesapeake Bay pollutants no longer being trapped in a reservoir behind the Conowingo Dam located on the Susquehanna River just south of the Pennsylvania - Maryland border.

* Bay Journal: PA Natural Gas Industry Embarrassed By 3 Environmental Scandals In 15 Months

By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal

* DEP: June 16 Virtual Hearing On Mariner East Pipeline Water Quality Permit Changes In Chester County Related To Marsh Creek Lake Spill

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of a June 16 virtual public hearing on proposed amendments to the Chapter 105 (Water Obstruction) and 102 (Erosion and Sedimentation) permits covering Mariner East Pipeline construction in Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County related to Marsh Creek Lake. (PA Bulletin page 2557)

* DEP Posts Final-Form Reg. Cutting Carbon Pollution From Power Plants For 2 Advisory Committee Meetings

Two DEP advisory committees are scheduled to meet in the near future on the draft final-form regulations reducing Carbon Pollution from Power Plants consistent with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

* Gov. Wolf: 2021 Climate Impacts Report Projects Pennsylvania Will Be 5.9° F Warmer by Midcentury, Precipitation To Increase, Targets Areas to Reduce Risk

Pennsylvania’s average temperature will be 5.9° F higher by midcentury, with significant consequences for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians, especially those living in Environmental Justice communities, and for ecosystems, agriculture and other areas, according to Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment 2021, released May 5 by the Wolf Administration.

* 50 PA Forest Landowners Enroll Over 7,000 Acres In Family Forest Carbon Program, Over 700 More Landowners Interested

The PA Forestry Association recently reported 50 Pennsylvania forest landowners have enrolled over 7,000 acres in the Family Forest Carbon Program designed to pay landowners to implement sustainable forestry practices that sequester carbon.

* Environmental Quality Board Meets May 19 On Proposed Radiation Safety, Air Pollution Reduction Regulations

The Environmental Quality Board is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on May 19 to consider proposed radiation safety and RACT Air Pollution Reduction regulations.

* DEP Processes Nearly 41,000 Permits During Pandemic Closure - 93% On Time

From March 16, 2020 to May 4, 2021 Department of Environmental Protection employees have been teleworking and using COVID-19 mitigation measures to continue to fulfill its mission.  DEP staff have--

* Earth Conservancy Holds Info Sessions On Environmental Workforce Training Program; Now Accepting Sign Ups In NE PA

The Luzerne County-based Earth Conservancy is now accepting sign ups for its Environmental Workforce Training Program and is holding a series of information sessions on the program for interested applicants.

* Keep PA Beautiful: The Consequences Of Illegal Dumping Trash, Tires - Abandoned Mine Fire In Northumberland County

Illegally dumped tires may be fueling a fire located inside an abandoned mine opening south of Trevorton in Zerbe Township, Northumberland County. The underground fire is thought to have spread to a coal seam.  Read more here.

* Solar Energy Industries Assn. New Traceability Protocol Allows Solar Companies To Ensure Ethical Supply Chain; Updated Standards For Recycling

On April 27, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released a new tool to increase supply chain transparency and help ensure that all solar components are made ethically throughout the solar value chain.

* Deadline Extended: Nominations Now Being Accepted For Regional Women In Conservation Awards From Northeast

PennFuture is now accepting nominations for regional Women In Conservation Awards from Northeast Pennsylvania.  The deadline is now May 17.

* Pike County Task Force Releases Results Of First-Of-Its-Kind Baseline Tick-Borne Illness Study

On May 5, the Pike County Tick Borne Diseases Task Force released the results of a first-of-its kind baseline study of tick-borne illness.

* Penn State Extension Webinar Series Highlights Tick Safety In Pennsylvania

By Kelly Jedrzejewski, Penn State News

* PA Capitol & COVID Weekly Report: No $7 Billion Plan; We’ll Take The 5th; Fundraising In The Wild West; ID Papers Please

[ Because In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else ] Republicans that run the Senate and House still have not released a plan yet for how they want to spend the $7.4 billion (or so) in federal stimulus money the state government will receive. Read more here.

* Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

The following bills of interest saw action last week in the House and Senate--

* 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 Republicans Oppose Fees Funding Water Quality Protection Programs; Write RGGI On Authority For Regs To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Power Plants

On May 4, the Republican members of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved two letters expressing their opinions on water quality permit fees and statutory authority for adopting regulations to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

* Republicans On House Committee OK Bill To Roll Back Environmental Protections From Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling, Legalize Road Dumping Of Drilling Wastewater

On May 4, Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved and reported out  House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) which would not only roll back environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas wells, but would also make road dumping of drilling wastewater legal again.

* Environmental Defense Fund, PA Environmental Council Say Conventional Drilling Bill Would Result In Dramatic Reductions To Environmental Protection Standards

On May 3, the Environmental Defense Fund and the PA Environmental Council wrote to members of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee urging them to vote against House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) setting standards for conventional oil and gas drilling because the bill would result in “dramatic reductions to health and environmental protections that are unwarranted and unsafe.”

* Berks Gas Truth: Thousands Tell House They Don't Want Road Dumping Of Conventional Drilling Wastewater

On May 4, 78 organizations, institutions, and businesses and more than 3,150 concerned citizens called on state representatives to vote no on a bill that would roll back rules on conventional drillers, many that have been in place for decades.

* House OKs 4 Bills On Killing Regulations By Doing Nothing; Shielding Law Violators; Mandating Private Review Of DEP Permit Applications

On May 4, the House approved four bills by mostly party-line votes-- Republicans supporting-- to allow the General Assembly to kill final regulations by doing nothing, provide a shield to law violators and mandating private review of DEP permit applications.

* PA Environmental Council, Environmental Defense Fund Oppose House Bills Curtailing Regulations, Permitting Programs Protecting Environment & Public Health

On May 3, the PA Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Fund wrote to all members of the House opposing five House Bills they said would “impede agency function and curtail environmental and public health protections” by changing the way regulations are adopted and how permits are reviewed.

* Joint Conservation Committee Held Informational Meeting On Harmful Algal Blooms

By Sakura Ung, Committee Project Manager

* Senate Local Govt., Environmental Committee Hold May 11 Hearing On Bill To Preempt Local Governments From Requiring New Buildings Use Climate-Friendly Energy Sources

The Senate Local Government and Environmental Resources and Energy Committees are scheduled to hold a hearing May 11 on Senate Bill 275 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) which would prohibit local governments from adopting requirements that new buildings use climate-friendly energy sources.

* Senate Agriculture, Environmental Committees May 12 Hearing On Bonding Solar, Wind, Biomass, Energy Efficient Products To Slow Growth Of Renewable Energy In PA

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees are scheduled to hold a joint hearing May 12 on Senate Bill 284 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) which imposes new bonding requirements on solar electric generation, biomass, coal waste and other renewable energy projects of any type included in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards, plus other products and services.

* Senators Santarsiero, Collett To Reintroduce Bills To Give Attorney General Direct Jurisdiction Over Prosecuting Environmental Crimes

Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) and Maria Collett (D-Montgomery) announced they plan to introduce legislation to allow the state Attorney General to more directly investigate and pursue polluters, and others who damage our land, waterways and drinking water.  Read more here.

* PA Dept. Of Human Services Urges Renters To Apply For Federal Utility/Rental Assistance

On May 7, the Department of Human Services reminded Pennsylvanians who need assistance paying utility bills and rent they can apply for help through the federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

* Lower Susquehanna RiverKeeper, EIP File Complaint In Federal Court Over City Of Harrisburg 800 Million Gallon Sewage Overflows

On May 6, the Lower Susquehanna RiverKeeper Association, represented by the Environmental Integrity Project, filed a complaint against the City Of Harrisburg in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking to intervene in a six-year-old federal and state sewage lawsuit against Harrisburg that so far has failed to produce any real progress in halting overflows that average about 800 million gallons a year.

* 2021 Riparian Forest Buffer Summit Presentations Now Available On Demand

Fifteen webinars from the 2021 Riparian Forest Buffer Summit in March are now available on demand at the Pennsylvania Clean Water Academy website.

* Save The Date: 9th Annual Del-AWARE River Watershed Forum Set For Sept. 28 & 29, Oct. 1

The 9th Annual Del-AWARE River Watershed Forum set for virtual and in-person sessions on September 28, 29 and October 1 with the theme-- Building Inclusive Partnerships to Defend, Protect, and Restore a Great Water.

* Penn State Center For Agricultural And Shale Law: Agricultural Law Weekly Review

For those who have not discovered it, the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law Agricultural Law Weekly Review is an extremely valuable source of information on state and federal legal issues affecting agriculture in Pennsylvania.

* No Pennsylvania Photos Won 2021 Chesapeake Bay Foundation Save The Bay Photo Contest

No Pennsylvania photos won the 2021 Chesapeake Bay Foundation Save The Bay Photo Contest.

* Volunteers Needed: Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Assn. Creek Cleanup May 15 In Cumberland County

The Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association invites volunteers to help with its first creek cleanup of the season-- May 15 at Willow Mill Park from 9:00 a.m. to Noon in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.

* PUC Highlights Recent Actions To Protect Drinking Water For Drinking Water Week

On May 6, the Public Utility Commission highlighted the recent “Drinking Water Week” in the Commonwealth as part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness about the importance of safe drinking water.

* Lackawanna College Environmental Education Center Summer Day Camp Registration Open

This summer, local youths ranging from ages five through 13 will have the opportunity to participate in summer day camps, which are focused on connecting children to nature. They will take place at the Lackawanna College Environmental Education Center in Covington Township, Lackawanna County.

* Gifford Pinchot's Grey Towers Hosts Virtual Seminar May 11 By Michael Wojtech On The Growth Of Trees A Journey Through Time

Before the visitor season begins in earnest, Gifford Pinchot’s Grey Towers Heritage Association in Pike County will offer a free, virtual seminar on May 11 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. entitled, “The Growth of Trees: A Journey Through Time.”

* PA Forestry Assn. Discovering PA's Forest Heritage Video Series: Civilian Conservation Corps Video Now Available

The PA Forestry Association, in cooperation with the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, is proud to bring you the third video in the Discovering PA’s Forest Heritage Series-- the Civilian Conservation Corps.

* Washington County Volunteers Conquered Trash Mountain!

On May 3rd and 4th, Independence Conservancy teamed up with Washington County Conservation District, Range Resources, and Washington County Parks to tackle "Trash Mountain" on the Panhandle Trail near Weirton, West Virginia.

* PA Resources Council Holds May 15 Household Chemical Collection Event In Cambria County

The Pennsylvania Resources Council will host a one-day household chemical collection event on May 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Concurrent Technologies Corporation in Johnstown to provide Pennsylvania residents with an opportunity to safely and cost effectively dispose of a wide variety of materials.

* DEP Blog: Air Quality In Pennsylvania - How To Be Air Aware

By Ashley Schalleur - Environmental Protection Compliance Specialist, Southeast DEP Regional Office; Jillian Gallagher - Air Quality Environmental Group Manager SERO, and John Repetz - Community Relations Coordinator, Southcentral Regional Office

* PUC Seeks Comment On Further Modifying Current Moratorium On Door-to-Door Energy Sales, Marketing Activities

On May 6, the Public Utility Commission approved a Tentative Order seeking public comment from interested parties on further modifying and eventually lifting the Commission’s March 16, 2020 Emergency Order prohibiting door-to-door, public event, and in-person sales and marketing activities by jurisdictional competitive energy suppliers.

* Northampton Community College ETAC Offering Energy Assessments To Agricultural Producers, Rural Small Businesses & Manufacturers In PA

By Katherine Noll, Northampton Community College

* Join PennTAP's Free PA Industrial Energy Readiness Cohort To Develop An Energy Management System For Your Business

The Penn State Technical Assistance Program is offering a no-cost program for industrial and manufacturing businesses to receive free training using U.S. Department of Energy-developed resources to support your organization as you improve your energy management and performance.

* SEEDS, The Highlights Foundation Virtual Update On Sustainability Initiatives At Boyds Mill Retreat Center In Wayne County May 11

On May 11 SEEDS of Northeastern PA will host The Highlights Foundation in a virtual update on its sustainability initiatives at the Boyds Mill Retreat Center in Wayne County starting at 8:00 p.m.

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

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

* May Is State Parks BioBlitz Month, Download iNaturalist App And Submit Your Results

Join the fun of counting all the diverse species at six PA State Parks by downloading the iNaturalist App and participate in the State Parks BioBlitz during May.

* May 7 Take Five Fridays With Pam Now Available From PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The May 7 Take Five Fridays With Pam from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation features articles on--

* Delaware Highlands Conservancy Announces 2021 Upper Delaware River Photo Contest

On May 5, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced the 4th annual juried Upper Delaware River Photography Contest.  Entries will be accepted from August 2 to 31.

* Allegheny County Conservation District Names Erin Copeland New Assistant Director

On May 7, the Allegheny County Conservation District announced Erin Copeland will be serving as the new Assistant Director. 

* Interns/Help Wanted: PA Sustainable Agriculture Association Interns, Development Director

The PA Sustainable Agriculture Association is seeking qualified candidates to fill a Development Director position and several intern positions.

* Interns Wanted: Ernst Conservation Seeds, Crawford County

Are you interested in or already studying civil engineering or environmental science? Are you looking for an experience that will help you stand out in those fields?

* Help Wanted: Lebanon Valley Conservancy Executive Director

The Lebanon County-based Lebanon Valley Conservancy is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Executive Director.

* 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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* 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.

* Supporting Member PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers; PA Outdoor Writers Assn.; PA Trout Unlimited

PA Environment Digest is a supporting member of the PA Organization for Watersheds & Rivers, PA Outdoor Writers Association, PA Council Trout Unlimited and the Doc Fritchey Chapter Trout Unlimited.

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