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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
February 11, 2008
(2/8/2008)
PDF Version - PA Environment Digest 2/11/08
* Governor’s Environmental Budget Highlights Dam Repairs, Floodplain Mitigation
Gov. Rendell is again pushing several tax increases and more borrowing to get the new programs he wants enacted as part of the $28.3 billion state spending plan he announced this week. New taxes are proposed for his health care plan, his Energy Independence Strategy and for a new economic stimulus plan that includes a new program for dam repairs and flood mitigation project funded by a tax on residential and commercial insurance premiums.
* Individual Environmental Agencies Show Mixed Budget Results
Looking at individual budget requests for environmental agencies shows mixed budget results, but funds are still being diverted from watershed cleanup and abandoned mine reclamation projects to pay $29.2 million in debt service for Growing Greener II bonds.
* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Urges Environment Be Given More Priority
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation set letters to all members of the Senate and House and to Gov. Rendell urging Pennsylvania’s political leadership to make the environment more of a legislative priority, in particular the cleanup of our rivers and streams.
* County Conservation Districts Concerned with Gov. Rendell’s Proposed Budget
The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts expressed its disappointment and frustration concerning Gov. Rendell’s 2008-2009 fiscal budget proposal, which cuts soil and water conservation funding by $950,000 from last year’s final appropriation.
* PA Farm Bureau Concerned About Budget Cuts to Vital Programs
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau said that Gov. Rendell’s proposed Fiscal Year 2008-2009 state budget restores critical funding to help farmers acquire crop insurance, but continues the trend of funding cuts which impact agriculture, particularly for environmental programs.
* On the Senate/House Agenda/Bills Introduced
The Senate and House will return to voting session the week of February 11. The Senate will be in session February 11, 12, the House February 11, 12, 13 and added 14.
* Senate/House Bills Moving
These environmental bills of interest were considered by the Senate and House this week—
* Energy Bills Moving, Not Moving from House Committees
Several energy bills were moving in the House this week including part of the Governor’s Energy Independence Initiative, but legislation to provide a transition to market-based electric rates was taken off a committee agenda.
* House Environmental Committee Approves Coal Bed Methane, Rule Review Bills
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out legislation on property rights associated with coal bed methane and a bill to broaden the review of guidelines and policies published by state agencies.
* Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, Appalachian Trail Bills OK’d by Senate Committee
The Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week approved a resolution calling for totaling the costs of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and legislation requiring municipalities to do more to protect the Appalachian Trail.
* House Environmental Committee Takes Comments on Extending Electric Rate Caps
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a hearing on Special Session House Bill 54 (George-D-Clearfield) that would extend the existing rate caps on electricity prices from 2010 to 2013.
* Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Salutes 10 “Heroes of Green,” 6 From PA
Hunting, fishing and conservation go hand in hand. To recognize people they deem “Heroes of Green,” the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show presented by Chevrolet, awarded ten people with $100 in Sports Show Spending Cash for their work in conservation.
* PEC Accepting Nominations for 2008 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Dominion invite groups, individuals, companies, or organizations to apply for the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards.
* Game Commission Launches Second Round of Deer Management Open Houses
Following up on last fall's effort to explain the state's deer management program and meet interested residents closer to home, the Game Commission is once again hitting the road in coming weeks to hold six open houses across the state.
* Wildlife For Everyone Foundation Buys Excavator to Assist with Habitat Restoration
Vern Ross, Executive Director of the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation announced the Foundation has purchased a Caterpillar excavator to assist in completing wetland and stream restoration projects throughout the Commonwealth.
* DEP Invites Comments on TMDL Plans in 5 Watersheds, in 5 Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection this week invited public comments on Total Maximum Daily Load Plans for five watersheds in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Jefferson and Venango counties. (Pa Bulletin page 840-842)
* Schuylkill River Heritage Area Offers Mini-Grants, Regular Grants
The Schuylkill River Heritage Area is now accepting applications for two grant program-- mini-grants of $1,000 and regular grants that promote conservation in the group’s service area.
* Watershed Group to Sponsor Got Cabin Fever Stream Cleanup
The Watershed Alliance of York seeks volunteers for a "Got Cabin Fever" stream cleanup to be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. February 16 along Kreutz Creek in Hellam Township, York County.
* Students Invited to Apply for PA CleanWays’ Sue Wiseman Scholarship
PA CleanWays is now accepting applications for theSue Wiseman Scholarship, an annual $1,000 scholarship that recognizes youth who have demonstrated leadership and shown exceptional commitment and dedication to reducing litter and illegal dumping in their community.
* Rohm and Haas Implements Strategic Sustainable Development Practices
Rohm and Haas Company announced it has embarked on a comprehensive journey to develop and implement strategic, sustainable development practices across all areas of its businesses and operations.
* EPA Calculator Puts Greenhouse Gas Savings in Everyday Terms
Can you picture what it means to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1 million metric tons? News stories are packed with measurements of greenhouse gas reductions, but it can be difficult to understand them until now.
* Biofuels Could Nearly Double Greenhouse Gas Emissions
An article in the journal Science this week calculates the use of biofuels made from corn and cellulose will nearly double greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years.
* Wind Turbines, Important Bird Areas and Wildlife Program February 21
The Appalachian Chapter of Audubon Pennsylvania will hold a special Wind Turbines, Important Bird Areas and Wildlife Program on February 21 at 7:30 at the Christ Presbyterian Church, 421 Deerfield Road, Camp Hill (near Harrisburg).
* Great Backyard Bird Count Begins February 15
On February 15-18 bird watchers all across North America will be participating in the 11th annual Great Backyard Bird Count- what about you?
* Student Write On! Wetlands Challenge, the Illustrator’s Challenge
May is American Wetlands Month and students in grades K-9 can take part in two contests—one to demonstrate their writing skills and another their artistic skills to create a children’s book.
* Audubon PA Sponsors 1st Annual Educators Birding Seminar May 17 & 18
The first Annual Educators Birding Seminar sponsored by Audubon Pennsylvania will be held on May 17-18 at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Audubon, Pa..
* Spotlight - National Geographic Channel Program Re-Lives Quecreek Mine Rescue
On February 12 at 8:00 p.m. the National Geographic Channel will recreate the events leading up to and during the 2002 Quecreek Mine Rescue in Somerset County, Pa.
* Spotlight - Trout Are Thriving at the Cathedral School in Harrisburg
By Cyndi Camp, Doc Fritchey Chapter – Trout Unlimited
* Feature - People Don't See 'Seagulls'
By Joe Kosack, Wildlife Conservation Education Specialist, Game Commission
* 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 published comments on a proposed Environmental Quality Board air quality regulation covering consumer products. The Public Utility Commission published its order on energy conservation reporting and customer assistance programs.
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published a new final policy on Storage Tank Product Delivery Prohibition, a notice of availability for two General NPDES permts for Petroleum Product Remediation and Wet Weather Overflow Discharges, and a General Permit for waste composting.
* Calendar of 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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