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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Feb. 2, 2009
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* Bad Budget News Keeps Coming Ahead Of Governor's Budget Address, Layoff Notices Go Out
In a meeting with state labor unions this week, Gov. Rendell gave formal notice of employee furloughs that could start in 30 days saying as many as 2,000 state workers (about 1 percent of the state work force) may be furloughed or have reduced work hours.
* Alternative Energy, Climate Change Bill Unveiled, Environmental Groups Opposed - Video Blog
A bipartisan group of House and Senate members introduced legislation endorsed by Gov. Rendell that wouldincrease Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard requirements on electric utilities and provide for the capture and sequestration of carbon, which ultimately contributes to combating climate change.

* PJM Study Says Federal Climate Control Legislation Will Dramatically Increase Electric Costs
A PJM Interconnection study released this week concludes the leading legislative proposals of the 110th Congress to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel generation plants could increase wholesale electricity prices from $7.50 per megawatt hour (MWh) to $45/MWh in 2013.

* DEP Invites Experts To Participate On Climate Change Advisory Committee
The Climate Change Advisory Committee at the Department of Environmental Protection is inviting technical experts and members of the public to help develop recommendations that may be included in an action plan for Pennsylvania to address this pressing environmental and economic challenge.

* Study From Leading Climate Scientist Says Climate Change Is Now Irreversible
A new study by Susan Solomon, among the world's top climate scientists, says global warming is irreversible and turning off carbon dioxide emissions will not stop climate change, even 1,000 years after emissions stop.
* Video Blog - WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, PA Environmental Council Partner On Earth Friend Awards
The Earth Friend Awards honor friends, neighbors, schools, and organizations improving the environment and greening the Pittsburgh Region. The awards are presented by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and WTAE-TV Channel 4 and supported by Sony.

* Live Online Video - Penn State EarthTalks Speaker To Address Water Demand With Marcellus Shale Drilling
Thomas W. Beauduy, deputy director and counsel of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, will discuss the anticipated demand for water in the basin with the development of the Marcellus Shale at 4 p.m. February 2 in 112 Walker Building on the Penn State Campus, State College.

* Live Online - Lunchtime Webinar Series: Manure Du Jour, Best Practices on Farm Conservation
Research and practices for Pennsylvania’s animal agricultural operations and best protection of air and water quality are the focus of a weekly lunch hour program, Manure Du Jour: Serving Pennsylvania’s Best Practices on Animal Ag, Water-, and Air Quality, offered now through April 16.

* Live Online Video - Watch Punxsutawney Phil's Big Prediction Live Feb. 2, Enjoy Other Groundhog Events
The state may have a $2.3 billion+ budget deficit, the economy is tanking and the Pittsburgh Steelers may or may not win the Super Bowl Sunday, but one thing's for sure-- Pennsylvania's own Punxsutawney Phil will come out of his burrow and give us his latest winter prediction.

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced
The next scheduled voting session day is February 2 for the Senate and House members.
* Rep. DeWeese Reintroduces Bill On Tax Assessment For Oil And Gas Reserves
In an effort to help counties, municipalities and school districts with their budgets, Rep. Bill DeWeese (D-Greene) said this week he is reintroducing legislation that would allow counties to assess value to natural gas, oil and coal-bed methane.

* House Names Members To All Standing Committees
House Democrats and Republicans this week named members to each of the standing committees, although there is still some jockeying for positions PA Environment Digest was told. Some committees had significant turnover. Here's the list as it stands this week for key committees of concern--

* Game Commission Delivers Annual Report To House Game And Fisheries Committee
Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe this week presented his agency's annual report to the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

* Commonwealth Court Invalidates PA Rule Limiting Mercury Emissions From Power Plants
Commonwealth Court this week declared Pennsylvania's state-specific regulation limiting mercury emissions from power plants as unlawful, invalid and unenforceable.

* Nominations For Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards Now Open
The Department of Environmental Protection this week announced it is now accepting applications for the 2009 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards. Nominations are due March 9.

* Philadelphia Sustainability Awards Name 12 Finalists
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and seven other regional organizations this week announced they have selected 12 finalists for the 2009 Philadelphia Sustainability Awards for businesses, individuals, academic institutions, community groups and government agencies from the greater Philadelphia region.

* Pennsylvania's Counties Unveil Priorities For 2009
County leaders from throughout Pennsylvania this week unveiled their list of nine key legislative priorities for 2009 aimed at improving tax equity for local residents, government efficiency and seeking cost savings while working to assure that funding decisions at the state level do not adversely impact local taxpayers.

* Illegal Dump Cleanup Grant Training Programs To Be Held Statewide in March
In conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection and its Illegal Dump Cleanup Grant Program, PA CleanWays will be presenting illegal dump cleanup trainings throughout the month of March at various locations across the state.

* Save The Date: PA ReMaDe Expo 2009 Where Recycling Means Business April 27-28
The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center will hold itsinaugural PA ReMaDe Expo 2009– Where Recycling Means Business Conference on April 27-28 at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg.

* RecycleBank Sees Massive Growth in 2008, Projects 100 Percent Expansion In 2009
RecycleBank, the leading green rewards and loyalty program that motivates people to recycle, this week announced significant growth figures for 2008, expanding service from 35 municipalities and 100,000 homes in 2007 to over 90 municipalities and 210,000 U.S. households in 2008. RecycleBank is poised to grow by over 100 percent in 2009.

* Mining Project Will Reclaim Abandoned Mine In Moshannon Creek Watershed
Dangerous abandoned mine lands with threatening, 115-foot high cliffs and 15 acres of acidic spoil that pollute the Moshannon Creek in Clearfield County will be reclaimed as part of a re-mining project that significantly reduces the reclamation cost while providing at least 10 mining jobs.

* DEP Lifts Drought Watch in 29 Pennsylvania Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection this week lifted the drought watch declaration for 29 counties in western and north central Pennsylvania citing improved groundwater and streamflow levels.

* PennVEST Announces $94 Million Investment In Water Infrastructure
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority this week announced the investment of $94 million in 22 clean water projects in 20 counties approving $75 million in low-interest loans and $19 million in grants at its quarterly meeting.

* PennVEST Approves $7.8 Million for Kreider Farms Dairy Project
On of the projects approved this week by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority was a $7.8 million loan to Bion PA for a livestock waste treatment system designed to generate nutrient reduction credits.

* Great Lakes Basin Program Accepting 2009 Project Proposals For Farm Erosion Control
The Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control on farms is now accepting applications for the 2009 funding cycle. The deadline to apply is March 1.

* DEP Invites Comments On TMDL Watershed Plans In 3 Watersheds
The Department of Environmental Protection invited comments on three watershed Total Maximum Daily Load Watershed Plans in Clarion and Jefferson, Clarion and Armstrong Counties. The watersheds included:

* Coastal Zone Land Acquisition Grant Requests Now Being Accepted
The Department of Environmental Protection announced it is now accepting grant proposals for land acquisition of ecologically valuable lands in the coastal zone areas of Pennsylvania. Proposals are due March 2.

* PUC Electric Price Comparison Report Shows Drop In Market-Based Electric Costs
The Public Utility Commission this week released another in its series of reports comparing current market prices for electricity with capped prices paid by consumers. The new figures reflect significantly lower market prices than those released last August.

* Allegheny Power Launches Enrollment For Voluntary Wind Energy Program
Allegheny Power’s Pennsylvania customers now have the option to enroll in a new wind energy program. Customers will receive information and enrollment forms with their February bill.

* Commonwealth Makes Investments Energy, Environmental Research
The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority this week approved investments totaling $6 million in alternative energy and environmental research and product development.

* Aerzen USA's Building Marks Highest LEEDCertification in PA for the Manufacturing Sector
Aerzen USA’s newly constructed building in Coatesville recently became Pennsylvania’s first manufacturing building to receive Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council under its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.

* Free Radon Test Kits Offered In Allentown
The Allentown Health Bureau is offering free radon test kits to residents on a first-come, first-served basis.

* New Farm Odor Management Regulations To Take Effect February 27
New regulations to manage odors from newly constructed animal barns and certain other agricultural operations will help minimize the potential for conflicts between neighbors, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said this week.

* Fish & Boat Commission Sets 8 Public Meetings Inviting Comments On Programs
The Fish and Boat Commission will be travelling across the state during the next two months, hosting a series of public meetings to update local communities about the agency’s work while also hearing directly from participants about sporting issues affecting them.

* Wildlands Conservancy Hosts the Banff Mountain Film Festival March 8
Join the Wildlands Conservancy when the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour brings the spirit of outdoor adventure to the Lehigh Valley, at Parkland High School on March 8.

* Game Commission Sets Deer Season Limits Similar To Last Year, New Deer Research
The Game Commission this week gave preliminary approve to deer season limits and outline a new cooperative deer research projects with the U.s. Geological Survey.

* Game Commission Board Takes Actions On Wildlife Habitat Agenda Items
The Board of Game Commissioners this week took several actions related to the management of game lands for the benefit of wildlife, approved several land exchanges and added more than a 1,100 acres to game lands in Monroe County. Here's a summary of the actions--

* Gregory Isabella Of Philadelphia Elected Chair Of Game Commission Board
The Board of Game Commissioners this week electedGame Commissioner Gregory J. Isabella, of Philadelphia, as president.

* Fish and Boat Commission Seeking Candidates For At-Large Boating Seat
The Governor's Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservationis seeking a qualified candidate to serve as the at-large boating commissioner on the board of the Fish and Boat Commission.

* Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation Names Three New Directors
Russell Schleiden, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation, announced the appointment of three new directors to the foundation board this week-- Jim Fish and James Davis of Waste Management, and Alan Griffith of ARAMARK were elected to the board at its December meeting.

* Society of Women Environmental Professionals Central PA Conference March 5
The Society of Women Environmental Professionals will hold its annual conference March 5 at Harrisburg Area Community College’s C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center.

* Bid Opportunity: Abandoned Gas Well, Westmoreland County
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of a bid opportunity for plugging an abandoned gas well in Westmoreland County.
* Opinion - DEP Proposes Weakening Clean Water Protections, Your Help Needed
By Kim Patten, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

* 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
No new regulations were published this week. Pennsylvania Bulletin - January 31, 2009
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice announcing that all permit applications for Marcellus Shale gas well development after January 31 must use the revised well permit application.
* 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-
* 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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