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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
January 12, 2009
(1/9/2009)
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* Chesapeake Bay Foundation Files Lawsuit Against EPA On Bay Cleanup - Video Blog
After 25 years of watching promises broken and commitments unfulfilled, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation this week filed a lawsuit in federal court to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the law and reduce pollution sufficiently to remove the Chesapeake Bay from the federal ‘impaired waters’ list.

* Point/Counterpoint - DEP Responds To Campaign For Clean Water Letter On Proposed Clean Water Rollback

* Video Blog - Abandoned Mine Posts: Somerset Summit Highlights Water Quality Improvements
In the newest installment of the Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation Video Diaries,we visit the Somerset Watershed Summit and go on a tour of the Casselman River watershed in southern Somerset County to learn about water quality projects going on there.

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule
The next scheduled session day is January 26 for the Senate and House.

* Senate Appoints Members To Standing Committees
The Senate Leadership this week appointed members to fill out each of its standing committees. Here are the assignments made to key committees involved in environmental issues--
* House Finishes Committee Chair Appointments, But Not Committee Members
The House Democrats this week appointed their committee chairs, but naming actual committee members may be delayed until later in the month over a Democratic proposal to reduce the size of standing committees from 16 to 13, eliminating two Republican and one Democratic seat on each committee.

* Governor Re-Nominates John Hanger As DEP Secretary
Gov. Rendell began the new legislative session this week submitting five nominees for various cabinet positions to the Senate for their consideration, including John Hanger at the Department of Environmental Protection.

* House Appropriations Releases 2009 Budget Hearing Schedule
The House Appropriations Committee Majority Chair Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) this week released its 2009 budget hearing schedule. Here are some key hearings which will all be held in Room 140 of the Capitol Building--
* Nominations For Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award Due February 13
The Fish and Boat Commission is seeking nominations for the 2008 Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award, the highest recognition conferred by the agency.

* DCNR Secretary DiBerardinis Provides Accomplishments Report For 2008
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis this week issued a special report outlining the accomplishments of his agency and its partners in 2008. A special message from the Secretary introduced the report--
* Rendell Administration Issues 2008 State Government Performance Report
With the weak economy putting increased pressure on state revenues, Gov. Rendell this week released the latest Governor's Report on State Performance.

* Rivers Conservation Fly Fishing Youth Camp Applications Due March 15
The Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp is now accepting applications for its 2009 camp to be held June 21-26 at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Pa.

* DEP Invites Comments On TMDLs In Carbon, Luzerne, Schuylkill, Westmoreland Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection this week invited public comments on three proposed Total Maximum Daily Load watershed plans in Carbon, Luzerne, Schuylkill and Westmoreland counties.
* Farm Show: Youth To Showcase Environmentally-Friendly Agricultural Technology
Life-size exhibits created by Pennsylvania FFA chapters will showcase agricultural advances that are improving the environment during the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show's Agricultural Technology Display competition.

* Farm Show -- 900 Pounds Of Butter Turned Into Biofuel
The 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show will get underway in Harrisburg on January 10 and will last until the 17th. Traditionally, the Farm Show is known for its bad weather and for its food court.

* Farm Show: DEP Exhibit Highlights Energy Independence, Cleaner Fuels
The Department of Environmental Protection will energize the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show with a display that teaches visitors to make the connections between climate change, energy conservation and renewable energy.

* PA Sustainable Agriculture Farming For The Future Conference February 5-7
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture will hold its annual conference in State College on February 5-7 and for the first time will offset the electricity and transportation used during the conference with carbon credits.
* Fish & Boat Commission Seeks User Input Through Online Survey
The Fish and Boat Commission is soliciting input from partners and stakeholders for its strategic plan development. The survey will be open through January 9.

* Central PA Sustainable Landscapes Conference Set For April 1
Sustainable Landscapes Conference will be held in Hershey on April 1 to help municipal officials, park staff, planners, landscape architects, environmental advisory council members, farmers and others manage landscapes in a healthier, more environmentally friendly way.

* January 14 Workshop On Renewable Energy Systems In Schools, Businesses
Pennsylvania Fuels for Schools and Beyond, a statewide multi-organization initiative promoting energy alternatives to Pennsylvania schools and businesses, is holding a public information meeting on January 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Adams County Agriculture and Natural Resource Center in Gettysburg.

* Penn State: Modified Plants May Yield More Biofuel
Plants, genetically modified to ease the breaking down of their woody material, could be the key to a cheaper and greener way of making ethanol, according to Penn State researchers who add that the approach also could help turn agricultural waste into food for livestock.

* Mid-Atlantic Agreement to Develop Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Standard
Pennsylvania has signed a letter of agreement with 10 Mid-Atlantic states that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels and other sources by developing a comprehensive, regional low carbon fuel standard, Gov. Rendell announced this week.

* DEP Now Accepting Applications For Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants
The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for $3 million in Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants. The deadline for submitting applications is May 1.

* EPA Sponsors National Green Building Design Competition
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is co-sponsoring a nationwide "Lifecycle Building Challenge"  competition in partnership with the American Institute of Architects, West Coast Green, and others.

* Sustainable Energy Fund Helps Lancaster Wire Plant Become More Energy Efficient
To mitigate the risk posed by the upcoming PPL Electric rate increase,Mount Joy Wire Corp. of Lancaster County recently took action to upgrade its facility with energy efficient lighting and motion sensors financed by Sustainable Energy Fund.

* Inexpensive Test Can Help Prevent Lung Cancer Caused by Radon
Using a simple, inexpensive test to detect radon gas seeping into homes could help prevent lung cancer and save thousands of lives, Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said this week.

* Chester County Offers Free Certified Master Composting Classes In March
The Chester County Board of Commissioners, through the Chester County Solid Waste Authority, is now offering free Certified Master Composting Classes at three convenient locations during March.

* PA Resources Council, Partners To Hold Television Recycling Events February 21
The Pennsylvania Resources Council, Waste Management, Inc. and the City of Pittsburgh will hold a television recycling event on February 21 at two locations.

* Underground Coal Mine Safety Board Holds First Meeting
A seven-member board established under Pennsylvania's new bituminous mine safety law met for the first time this week to begin making the state's deep underground coal mines safer for those who work there.

* Notice Of Bid Opportunity For Abandoned Oil And Gas Well Plugging
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of a bid opportunity to plug abandoned oil and gas wells in Washington, Fayette and Allegheny Counties.
* Spotlight - 8,300 Volunteers Turn Out to Plant Western PA Conservancy Community Gardens in 2008

* Spotlight - Nature Abounds Launches Ice Watch In PA, Gathering Senior Environment Corps Members
Nature Abounds, a national non-profit organization led by Pennsylvania native Melinda Hughes-Wert, has chosen Western Pennsylvania for its national headquarters and future training center. Two of its first projects are to implement the volunteer-based IceWatch USA in the state and to pull together volunteers from the Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps involved in water quality monitoring and other projects.

* 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 Environmental Quality Board published notice of proposed changes to hazardous waste management regulations. The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of a proposed general air quality permit covering offset lithographic printing presses.

* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources published notice it is applying for a license to transport radioactive material from the Quehanna Wild Area. The Department of Environmental Protection published policies on air quality monitoring and reuse of treated wastewater and a separate notice on recent Nutrient Credit Trading Program actions.
* Calender 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.
* 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
PA Environment Digest is a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited and the Doc Fritchey Chapter Trout Unlimited.

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