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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
December 17, 2007
(12/14/2007)
PDF Version - PA Environment Digest 12/17/07
* Senate Passes Alternative Energy Investment, Biodiesel Mandate Bills
In the final hours of the 2007 session, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $650 million initiative to promote the development of alternative sources of energy and add funding for low-income heating assistance and energy conservation programs.
* House OKs Senate Bill to Fund Hazardous Site Cleanups, Going to Governor
Citing the need to prevent the shutdown of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program, the House this week put aside partisan bickering and approved a Senate proposal to fund the Program and sent it to the Governor before adjourning for the year.
* Session Schedule
The Senate and House will return to voting session January 14, 2008.
* On the Senate/House Agenda
The Senate and House has these bills scheduled for committee or on their calendars for action—
* On the Governor’s Desk
These bills are on the Governor's desk awaiting action--
* Senate/House Bills Moving/Bills Introduced
The following bills and resolutions moved in the Senate and House this week—
* House Environmental Committee Approves Great Lakes Compact Bill
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week approved legislation adopting the Great Lakes Compact on water withdrawals from the portion of Pennsylvania draining into Lake Erie.
* $850 Million Alternative Energy Program, Smart Meters OK’d By House Committee
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week approved a variety of Special Session Energy bills, including the Governor’s proposed $850 million alternative energy investment program. The bills include:
* Freeman Bill to Allow Moratoriums on Development Approved by Committee
House Bill 904 (Freeman-D-Lehigh), allowing municipalities to declare temporary moratoriums on development while they rewrite their land-use ordinances, was reported out of the House Local Government Committee this week
* Meetings on REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit Program During Farm Show
Farmers can learn more about the Resource Enhancement and Protection tax credit program at two separate meetings that will be hosted by the State Conservation Commission during the 2008 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
* Federal Farm Bill Contains Historic Funding for Conservation, Chesapeake Bay
The U.S. Senate and House have both passed different versions of the 2007 Farm Bill that include historic levels of funding for conservation and Chesapeake Bay cleanup that must now be reconciled.
* Penalty Settlement Provides $9 Million to Cleanup, Protect Wissahickon Watershed
A settlement of water quality violations by Merck and Co., Inc. in Montgomery County has yielded $9 million in environmental projects to cleanup and protect the Wissahickon watershed.
* Save the Date: PA Rural Water Assn. Annual Conference April 1-4
The Pennsylvania Rural Water Association will host its annual conference on April 1-4 at The Penn Stater Conference Center in State College.
* Record Number of Farms Preserved in Pennsylvania in 2007
Pennsylvania continued protecting valuable farmland this week by permanently preserving 51 more farms under its nationally recognized Farmland Preservation Program. In all, a record 351 farms were preserved in 2007.
* PPL Permanently Protects 3,500 Acres Along Lower Susquehanna River
PPL Corporation will transfer about 3,500 acres of company-owned land to the Lancaster County Conservancy along the lower Susquehanna River as part of a broad public-private initiative that will preserve and protect this valuable land while enhancing its benefits.
* DCNR Advisory Council Makes Recommendations on Trails, Greenways
A new report by the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said trails and greenways programs should be better coordinated between agencies and that DCNR should be a one-stop information source for trails.
* New PCEE Environmental Ed Connections Newsletter Now Online
The December EE Connections, the environmental education newsletter published by the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education, is now available online.
* PUC to Utilities: Help Consumers to “Prepare Now” for Costs of Winter Heating
The Public Utility Commission this week urged electric and natural gas utilities to take extra steps to help consumers to “Prepare Now” for the higher costs of winter heating.
* PPL Electric Utilities Gives Away 65,000 Energy-Saving Light Bulbs, So Far
PPL Electric Utilities announced this week they have already given away more than 65,000 fluorescent light bulbs to 32,500 customers as part of its E-Power initiative.
* DEP Advantage Grants Help Small Businesses Conserve Energy, Reduce Expenses
The Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of 48 Small Business Advantage Grants to small businesses totaling $300,000 to reduce energy costs and prevent pollution.
* Green Building Alliance Announces $448,000 in Product Innovation Grants
Green Building Alliance this week announced a total of $448,000 in Green Building Product Innovation Grants for seven projects that seek to develop and introduce new and enhanced green building products.
* Automated Online Application Process for Waste Hauler Authorizations
A new online application system for waste hauler authorizations is expected to improve processing times and better ensure that haulers comply with state laws designed to protect the public’s health and safety, and the environment.
* Allegheny County PA CleanWays Chapter Adopts New Name
PA CleanWays of Allegheny County, Inc.,” an affiliate of PA CleanWays” is a bit of a mouthful… and all too often abbreviated to PA CleanWays, which created more confusion with the state PA CleanWays organization.
* PROP Offers Advanced Composting Course in March
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania will offer a new class March 6 that focuses on aerated static piles for composting at the Montgomery County Extension Office in Collegeville.
* Help Wanted: Parks and Forest Foundation Bookkeeper
The Pa Parks and Forests Foundation is seeking a part time book keeper—about 15 hours or so a week—for this Harrisburg-based non-profit organization.
* Spotlight - Family Budget Burden for Energy Costs is on the Rise
Family budgets are increasingly strained by energy costs, some to the breaking point, a new report reveals. The results produce a sound argument for the continuation of coal as the backbone of Pennsylvania's energy policy, says Americans for Balanced Energy Choices.
* Grants & Awards
This section gives you a heads up on upcoming deadlines for grants and financial assistance as well as nominations for awards and other recognition programs. NEW means from last week—
* 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
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission issued comments on proposed odor management regulations by the State Conservation Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection published an updated list of certified emission reduction credits (Pa Bulletin 6598) and notice of companies certified to perform radon-related activities (Pa Bulletin 6608).
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published draft guidance on financial assurance and bond adjustments for mine sites with post-mining discharges for comment.
* Calendar of Upcoming Events
Upcoming conferences, meetings, workshops, plus links to other online calendars. Meetings are in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted. NEW indicates new from last week. 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 .
* Supporting Member PA Outdoor Writers Association
PA Environment Digest is a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.

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