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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
December 8, 2008
(12/5/2008)
CLICK HERE To Print This Week's Digest
* Rendell Freezes Wages, Cuts Another $128 Million As State Revenues Fall

* Video Blog - Inside Look At Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Drilling Operations
Get an inside look at a drilling operation looking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation on the Downey Farm and other properties in Susquehanna County, courtesy of this video from the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre.

* Video Blog - Meadville Market House Supporting Local Farmers
Meadville Market House supports local farmers by providing a customer-friendly market for local agricultural produce.
* New Items! Consider Holiday Gifts That Help Conservation, Protect PA's Environment
If you're looking for a gift that will bring a smile to someone's face this holiday season and help conserve our natural resources, cleanup abandoned mine discharges, improve recreation facilities and restore wildlife habitat, we have a few suggestions. Or you could get someone another tie.

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule
The House released its 2009 schedule for the next six months--
* On The Governor's Desk
The following bills of interest were given final approval and now go to the Governor for his action--
* Updated Environmental Legislative Accomplishments For 2008
This is an updated list of environmental legislation adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Rendell this calendar year.
* Environmental Issues Leftover For 2009-10 Legislative Session
While 2008 was a productive year in terms of environmental legislation, there were major issues not addressed before the General Assembly left town. They include:
* Senate Republicans Appoint Committee Chairs, Remaining Leadership Posts
Senate Republican Leadership this week appointed Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) Caucus Administrator and Sen. John Pippy (R-Allegheny) as Senate Republican Policy Committee Chair. They also appointed all committee chairs--
* 13 Environmental Groups Urge DEP, SRBC To Tighten Natural Gas Drilling Requirements
As a follow-up to a meeting in October, 13 environmental groups this week urged the Department of Environmental Protection and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to tighten natural gas drilling requirements covering Marcellus Shale in nine different ways.
* SRBC Strealines Natural Gas Well Development Applications, Protects Water Resources
At its quarterly meeting in Bel Air, Md., the Susquehanna River Basin Commission this week approved regulatory changes streamlining the review of consumptive water uses by the natural gas industry and further protecting the basin’s water resources.
* PA Coalition Seeking Statewide Streamside Buffer Regulations
A coalition of nonprofit organizations is pressing Pennsylvania to better protect its extensive network of waterways by requiring that a broad swath of trees be preserved-and planted if necessary-along streams and rivers that flow through construction sites.

* Home Depot, Arbor Day 2009 Trees for Success National Tree Planting Campaign
The Home Depot Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation strongly believe that the strategic planting and preservation of community trees has a positive impact on the health of local communities. To promote that policy, they have teamed up in the 2009 Trees For Success National Tree Planting Campaign.

* Reminder: Coldwater Heritage Partnership Watershed Grant Deadline December 15
The Coldwater Heritage Partnership is now accepting applications for the Coldwater Conservation Grant Program to protect and conserve the health of Pennsylvania’s coldwater ecosystems.

* DEP’s Mine Reclamation Efforts Featured on Scranton TV Program
Two projects underway by DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation will be featured on Scranton-based WNEP TV's “Power to Save” series airing in mid-December.
* Westmoreland County Facility Completes Next Phase of Drinking Water Safety Program
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County’s Indian Creek Water Filtration Plant recently completed the third phase of the Partnership for Safe Water Program, a voluntary effort to provide safe drinking water.
* Residents Invited to Envision a ‘New’ Donegal At Workshops In Westmoreland County
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is inviting Donegal-area residents to help develop a new vision for what the area should look like. PEC will conduct a Community Design Workshop or "charrette" December 15-17 at Highlands Hall Banquet Center, located at the intersection of Routes 31 and 381 in Westmoreland County.
* Marywood University Architecture Program to Emphasize Green Building
Marywood University in Scranton will open the region’s first School of Architecture in fall 2009, with an emphasis on environmental stewardship and “green building” principles of design.
* New LEED Rating System Resets The Bar For Green Buildings
LEED 2009, the long-awaited update to the internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building certification program, has passed member ballot at the U.S. Green Building Council, and will be introduced in 2009 as the next major evolution of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings.
* GIS Workshop Offered By Westmoreland Conservation District January 6
You don’t have to be a computer expert to tap into the wealth of information available through the Geographic Information System.
* Wissahickon Charter School Unveils EPA Funded Biodiesel Project
Staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined students and teachers from the Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Charter School to see how the schools' biodiesel processor turns waste vegetable oil from a local restaurant into fuel to power Outward Bound's van that is used for student field trips.
* PUC Seeks Comments On Rule Changes To Increase Natural Gas Market Competition
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase competition in the retail natural gas market, the Public Utility Commission this week initiated a rulemaking to change the level and forms of security needed by natural gas suppliers and revised a consumer protection guideline related to purchase of receivable programs.

* PUC Approves PPL Time Of Day Pricing Plan Test For 1,200 Customers
The Public Utility Commission this week approved a new demand side response rate (time of day pricing) for eligible PPL Electric Utilities customers.
* EPA Environmental Policing Nets Gains for Pennsylvania Worth $1.4 Billion
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3 concluded enforcement cases in fiscal year 2008 that will produce more than $1.4 billion in pollution controls and environmental cleanup protecting Pennsylvania's air, water, and land.

* December PA Center For Environmental Education Newsletter Now Available
The December issue of the EE Connections newsletter from the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education is now available online. This month's features include:
* DCNR Survey Asks Residents For Input On Enjoying The Outdoors
As part of the update to the Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is asking residents about their outdoor recreation activities and ideas about how to improve those opportunities in the state.
* HeritagePA Areas Unveil New Name, Logo, Website
Members of Pennsylvania’s twelve state and nationally-designated heritage areas and corridors recently announced that they have formed HeritagePA, an association that serves as a statewide resource network for the Pennsylvania heritage movement.
* New, Updated Pennsylvania Environmental Laws and Regulations Guidebook Available
The Pennsylvania Chamber's 2008-09 Guidebook On Pennsylvania Environmental Laws and Regulations is now available to provide a step-by-step comprehensive working resource to help business owners and others easily determine how environmental regulations apply to them.
* Spotlight - Audubon PA Annual Christmas Bird Count December 14 - January 5
Be a citizen scientist this holiday season by participating in the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations—the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count, December 14 - January 5.
* Spotlight - New Study Documents Job Creation, Money Savings, Benefits Of State Climate Plans
The Center for Climate Strategies, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, estimates the net national economic benefit of greenhouse gas reduction plans to be a net savings of $535.5 billiion through 2020, based on the 20 states that have completed comprehensive, multi-sector greenhouse gas reduction plans.

* Feature - Game Commission Releases Rehabilitated Bald Eagle Into The Wilds of Clearfield County
Game Commission officials proudly released a rehabilitated bald eagle back into the wilds at the Curwensville Dam, Clearfield County, on November 29 as many of the individuals responsible for this majestic bird's recovery looked on.
* 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 - December EQB Meeting Features Fee Increase On Natural Gas Drilling
The December 16 Environmental Quality Board meeting will feature a proposed increase in gas well permit review fees, drinking water system public notification rules, storage tank operator training requirements and VOC limits for certain products. Here is a list of rules to be considered:
* Technical Guidance & Permits
No new policies were published this week.
* 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.
* Guide To The PA Environment Digest Family Of Websites
Crisci Associates is pleased to provide our clients and the public with the latest, most comprehensive news on environmental issues, legislation and accomplishments through a family of websites. Sign up now to get the latest news, whether you want it daily, weekly or in video form--
* Supporting Member PA Outdoor Writers Assn./PA Trout Unlimited

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