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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
June 19, 2006
(6/16/2006)
PDF Version - PA Environment Digest 6/19/06
* Bipartisan Vote Moves Mercury Emissions Reduction Bill Out of Senate Committee
Legislation that would reduce mercury emissions from power plants by 86 percent from 1999 levels was approved in a 10 to 1 vote by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week without changes.
* On the Senate, House Agenda
Here’s what will be on the Senate and House agenda when they return to session on June 19.
* Senate/House Bills Moving/Introduced
Several environmental bills moved this week. Here’s the rundown….
* Senators, Environmental, Farm Groups Unveil 2nd Phase of Farmers First Agenda
Senators Waugh (R-York) and Wenger (R-Lancaster) this week unveiled the second phase of a comprehensive legislative agenda aimed at promoting agriculture in Pennsylvania and provided a status report on the laws already enacted from the first year of the program.
* Bill Creates New Conservation District Fund, Districts Request More Funding
Legislation was introduced this week to create a new Conservation District Fund, a special non-lapsing fund that will make it easier for county conservation districts to receive state appropriations.
* Groups Representing Sports Men and Women Support Hunting Fee Increase
Rep. Bruce Smith (R-York), chair of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, said this week many groups that testified before his Committee on June 8 supported in the increase in fees.
* House Transportation Committee Hosts Alternative Fuel Vehicle Showcase
Rep. Richard Geist (R-Blair), chair of the House Transportation Committee, this week hosted an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Showcase behind the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
* Native Plants Offer Five “Es” of Opportunity for Pennsylvania
The increasing the use of native plants offers Pennsylvania five “Es”—economic, environmental, energy savings, and education opportunities and the chance to teach a ‘land ethic,’ said Jim MacKenzie, President and Operations Manager for Octoraro Native Plant Nursery at this week’s Environmental Issues Forum.
* Senate Environmental Committee Sets Hearing on Tritium at Landfills
On June 28 the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a public hearing on levels of tritium in municipal waste landfills.
* 83% of Assessed Streams Meet Water Quality Standards in PA
Over 66,342 miles of stream-- 83 percent of the 79,746 miles of streams assessed so far-- meet designated water quality standards, and 53 percent of the 62,342 acres of lakes assessed meet standards, according to a new report issued by the Department of Environmental Protection this week.
* Delaware Estuary Program Releases New Natural Communities Guide
The Delaware Estuary Program has released a new “Guide to the Natural Communities of the Delaware Estuary” to make habitat restoration easier by standardizing references to native plant communities.
* Tributary Strategy Subject of June 23 Meeting
A combined meeting of the Point Source Workgroup and the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy Steering Committee will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., June 23 in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg.
* Basic, Advanced No-Till Training Courses Scheduled in August
The No-Till Partnership has scheduled two hands-on training courses in basic and advanced no-till planting techniques in August.
* October “Project Grass” Conference to Feature Alternative Energy
The 5th Annual Statewide Project Grass Conference will be held October 20-21 at Penn College in Williamsport. The conference is geared toward grassland agriculture businesses with grazing herds, though this year’s conference will have a new twist.
* McCoy-Linn Dam Removal Project Overview Meeting June 27
ClearWater Conservancy and Fish and Boat Commission are hosting an overview meeting for the McCoy-Linn Dam Removal Project at the Milesburg Community Center at 7:00 p.m., June 27.
* Hearings Set on Susquehanna River Withdrawal, Use Regulations
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has proposed comprehensive revisions to its regulations governing water withdrawal and consumptive use projects that are now open for public comment at three upcoming hearings.
* Cook Forest to Host Wetlands Delineation Workshop for Teachers
Cook Forest State Park will hold a wetland delineation teacher workshop for ACT 48 credits in conjunction with North Central Region Math/Science Education Collaborative on August 9.
* Cooperative Effort Leads to New BMP for Separating Sediment from Stormwater
Terre Hill Concrete Products, working with the departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, local governments and private industry developed a new solution for separating sediment from stormwater or runoff with fine particulates.
* Winners of 2006 Commonwealth Design Awards Announced
An Erie County project that gave a former drive-in movie theater a second act as the Tom Ridge Environmental Center has captured the top honor in the 2006 Commonwealth Design Awards.
* DCNR Salutes Individual and Group Volunteers in Parks, Forests
A York County woman who has dedicated the past 20 years of her life improving a nearby State Park and sharing its natural wonders with others has been named “2005 Conservation Volunteer of the Year” by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
* Regional Planning Comes of Age Conference – September 28-29
A special “Regional Planning Comes of Age” Conference will be held in New Brunswick, New Jersey on September 28-29 to explore the promise and practice of regional land use planning in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast States.
* Penn State Team in Top 5 of National Advanced Vehicle Competition
A team of Penn State students placed fifth overall at the 2006 component of “Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility” advanced vehicle technology competition earlier this month.
* Cumberland County Business First to Manufacture and Ship Soy Diesel
Keystone BioFuels this week became the state’s first company to manufacture and ship biodiesel made from Pennsylvania-grown soybeans.
* Ag Progress Days Will Feature Switchgrass for Renewable Energy Research Tour
The USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit at University Park, PA will feature a research tour on growing switchgrass for renewable energy each afternoon during Ag Progress Days -August 15, 16, 17.
* BP Pledges $500 Million for Energy Biosciences Institute
As part of its continuing drive to find longer term commercial alternatives to oil and gas, BP is to fund radical research aimed at probing the emerging secrets of bioscience and applying them to the production of new and cleaner energy, principally fuels for road transport.
* Lichvar Sworn in as Newest Fish and Boat Commissioner
Lenny Lichvar of Boswell, Somerset County, has been sworn in as the newest Fish and Boat Commissioner. Commissioner Lichvar fills a vacant seat for Commission District 4, comprised of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Somerset counties.
* See & Hear - Environmental Learning Doesn’t Just Happen in the Classroom
A special GreenWorks online video looks at four examples of environmental education centers in Pennsylvania where students and adults can have a hands-on environmental experience, and learn something!
* Feature - Celebrating Partnerships in the Bennett Branch Watershed
By Kim Lanich, Watershed Specialist, Elk County Conservation District
* Quick Clips
Here’s a selection of NewsClips on environmental topics from around the state.
* Watershed NewsClips
Read a sampling of NewsClips on watershed topics from around Pennsylvania.
* Regulations
DEP published notice of a draft 2006 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (formerly known as the 305(b) report) for public comment. Comments are due: August 16.
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published draft and final guidance documents covering a variety of programs, notice of renewal of a waste general permit and an updated list of firms authorized to do radon-related work in the state. Here’s the rundown…
* Calendar of Events
Upcoming conferences, meetings, workshops, plus links to other online calendars. Meetings are in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted. Go To: PA Environment Digest Calendar Page
* Stories Invited
Send your stories about environmental issues, programs and positive actions to PA Environment Digest - DHess@crisciassociates.com or go to www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com .

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