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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 23, 2009
(3/20/2009)
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* 87 Percent Support Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Tax For Environment - Video Blog
A coalition of environmental, conservation, and sporting groups; municipal officials and state legislators this week launched a campaign in support of a severance tax on natural gas drilling saying a new poll shows 87 percent of the public supports a severance tax if it benefits the environment.

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced
The Senate and House return to voting session on March 23.
* Senate/House Bills Moving
The following legislation was considered this week--

* Senate Environmental Committee Reports Out Oil & Gas Transfer, Other Bills
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out bills related to brownfield liability, flood control projects, coal bed methane disputes and transferring $174 million from the Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund as proposed by Gov. Rendell.

* House Environmental Committee Reports Out Green Building, Energy Office Bills
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out bills setting incentives and requirements for green buildings and establishing a State Energy Office. They include:

* Rep. Pallone Calls For State To Participate In Earth Hour 2009
Rep. John Pallone (D-Westmoreland) announced this week the House adopted House Resolution 146 to recognize 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 28 as Earth Hour 2009 in Pennsylvania.

* House Democratic Leaders Introduce Bill To Cap Expected Electric Rate Increases
House Speaker Keith McCall (D-Carbon) and Majority Leader Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne) this week announced the introduction of legislation that would protect customers of some of the state's biggest electricity generating companies from massive rate hikes when rate caps expire.

* House Environmental Committee Meets On Prescribed Burn, Flood, Energy Bills
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets Tuesday to consider bills regulating prescribed burning, the purchase of property to mitigate flood hazards and to establish an energy efficient home assistance program. The bills include:

* Conservation Districts Honor House Speaker McCall, Sen. Wonderling
The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts this week honored House Speaker Keith McCall (D-Carbon) and Sen. Rob Wonderling (R-Montgomery) with the 2009 PACD Legislator Recognition Award.

* Conservation Districts Lobby In Capitol, Support Natural Gas Tax For The Environment
The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts held a Capitol Day in Harrisburg this week focusing on key legislative issues important to conservation districts across the Commonwealth.

* Watershed Engineering Technical Assistance Program Report Now Available
The PA Association of Conservation Districts this week published the 2008-2009 annual report on its watershed Engineering Technical Assistance Program that was continued this year due to a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection's Growing Greener Program.

* Susquehanna River Basin Receives $1 Million For Flood Mitigation, Water Supply Protection
Congressman Tim Holden (D-Schuylkill) and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission this week announced the restoration of SRBC’s federal funding through the FY-09 Omnibus spending bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last week.

* Delaware River Basin Commission Announces Restoration of Federal Funding Support
Delaware River Basin Commission Executive Director Carol R. Collier has announced that the U.S. Congress approved legislation providing $715,000 to fulfill the federal obligation to support the commission’s current expense budget for the first time since 1996.

* Protecting Public Drinking Water: Source Water Protection Workshop April 22
The Water Resources Education Network and other partners will hold a workshop on April 22 at the Borough of Charlerol in Allegheny County on Protecting Public Drinking Water:Source Water Protection Solutions.

* DEP Schedules Regional Water Resources Technical Subcommittee Meetings In April
The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled meetings for each of its six Water Resources Regional Technical Subcommittees in April--

* DEP Takes Over Marcellus Shale Gas Well Permit Reviews From Conservation Districts
The Department of Environmental Protection took action this week to consolidate the review of Chapter 102 and 105 erosion and sedimentation and stormwater permits for Marcellus Shale gas drilling permits under DEP's Regional Oil and Gas Program staff, rather than have county conservation districts do those reviews.

* Onorato to Host Regional Strategy Session On The Green Economy March 27
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato will host a regional strategy session entitled “Growing a Greener Economy” on March 27, from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

* Contact List Allows Interested Parties To Help Develop Energy Efficiency, Conservation Plans
The Public Utility Commission this week informed interested parties that a list is available of electric utility contacts to allow interested parties to be engaged in the utility's development of energy efficiency and conservation plans under Act 129.

* Contractor Registration Now Open For Solar Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal Installers
The Department of Environmental Protection this week encouraged contractors installing solar photovoltaic and solar thermal (hot water) equipment to register with the department to be eligible to do work under the Commonwealth's new $100 million grant program to promote solar energy.

* Insurance Department Approves First-Ever Green Discount For Homeowners Insurance
Pennsylvania homeowners who are going "green" may be eligible for an insurance discount now that the Insurance Department has approved the first energy-efficient discount of its kind, according to Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario.

* Great PA Cleanup! Cleanup Events Set In Clinton, Lycoming, Juniata, Perry, York Counties And More!
Spring is in the air and you know what that means-- cleanup events are happening all around the state. See just a few of the cleanups scheduled below or go to the Great American Cleanup of PA website for more in your area or register your cleanup event now!

* 2009 Waste Watcher Award Nominations Now Being Accepted
Nominations for the 2009 Waste Watcher Awards to recognize municipalities, counties, businesses, schools, non-profit groups or individuals who have made a significant contribution to recycling, composting and waste reduction and reuse are now being accepted.

* PROP Sponsors Recycling, Composting Certification Classes
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania are sponsoring a series of professional certification classes across the state on composting, recycling and related topics.

* Organics Mortality Composting Roundtable Set For April 21 In Gettysburg
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania will sponsor an Organics Mortality Composting Roundtable April 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Adams County Ag & Natural Resources Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, Pa.

* Recycler's Business & Industry Committee To Hold First Meeting On March 30

* PA Resources Council Sponsors Backyard, Worm Composting Classes In April, May
The Pennsylvania Resources Council will sponsor a series of backyard and worm composting classes

* Green Recycler eLoop Holds Electronics Recycling Event In Plum March 28
On March 28 eLoop and Construction Junction in Pittsburgh will hold an electronics recycling event at 155 Plum Industrial Court, Pittsburgh to recycleold TV’s and computer equipment.

* State Envirothon May 19, Pennsylvania Hosts National Envirothon In 2012
The Pennsylvania State Envirothon will be held on May 19 at Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County bringing together thousands of high school students from all across the state to demonstrate their environmental knowledge.

* 10,000 Friends Of Pennsylvania Calls For Entries For 2009 Commonwealth Awards
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is seeking innovative smart development and design projects and the visionaries who are leading the way on smart growth from around the state to be considered for the 2009 Commonwealth Awards.

* DCED Awards $1.6 Million In Land Use Planning Grants
The Department of Community and Economic Development this week announced $1.6 million in grants to 43 communities in 25 countiesto help breathe new life into downtowns, convert brownfields into shovel-ready land and improve the quality of life for residents.

* PA Industries Reduce Waste Disposal, Toxic Releases By Nearly 71 Million Pounds
Pennsylvania business and industry have reduced their on-site and off-site disposal and release of waste and certain chemicals by nearly 71 million pounds from 2006 to 2007, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Release Inventory.

* Independent Review Praises Sustainable Management Of State Forests
State Forester Daniel Devlin this week applauded an independent environmental review team's decision to again certify state forestlands as well managed, noting the decision affirms the state's efforts to conserve these resources and ensure their long-term health and sustainability.

* Game Commission Figures Show Deer Harvest Increased 4 Percent in 2008-09
The Game Commission this week reported that hunters harvested an estimated 335,850 deer in the state’s 2008-09 seasons. That’s up four percent from the previous seasons’ harvest of 323,070.

* Pittsburgh, Harrisburg Falcon-Cams Make Seasonal Debuts
Live, 24-hour webcasts of three Peregrine falcons nests in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh resumed this week.

* Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation Announces Partnership With Woodcock Limited
Russ Schleiden, President of the Board of the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation, announced the Foundation is joining with Woodcock Limited of Pennsylvania to support ongoing efforts to restore habitat for American woodcock, golden-winged warblers, white-throated sparrows and other species that depend on shrubs and young forests.

* Allegheny Mountains Celebrate Outdoor Heritage Month In April
Natural Biodiversity, Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team, Johnstown Area Heritage Association, and many other committed partners are pleased to announce April as Outdoor Heritage Month in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains!

* PA Environmental Professionals Hold Pittsburgh Networking Event April 3
The PA Association of Environmental Professionals will sponsor a Pittsburgh Networking Session on April 3 at the Phipps Conservancy in Pittsburgh.

* Cathy Myers Named Special Assistant for Pennsylvania's Recovery, Aunkst Acting Deputy
Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced this week Cathy Myers has been named Special Assistant to the Secretary for Pennsylvania's Recovery. Myers had been Deputy Secretary for Water Management.

* Help Wanted: PA Farm Bureau Looking For Natural Resources Director
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is looking for an experienced professional with expertise on environmental laws and issues related to agriculture to fill the position of Natural Resources Director.

* Bid Opportunities For Projects In Butler, Clearfield, Luzerne Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of bid opportunities for several projects this week:

* Feature - Wildlife Housing Market In Slump Too
While news about the housing market can be found in just about every newspaper, or seen or heard on the radio and television news, you don't hear much about the concerns in the wildlife housing market.

* 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 - March 21, 2009
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published draft guidance on the land treatment of wastewater, environmental laboratory accreditation proficiency test study requirements and notice of the final general permit for beneficial use of gypsum wallboard.

* 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 toPA EnvironmentDigest-DHess@CrisciAssociates.com.
* Guide To The PA Environment Digest Family Of Websites
Crisci Associatesi s 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 Digesti s a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited and the Doc Fritchey Chapter Trout Unlimited.

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