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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
March 30, 2009
(3/27/2009)
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* Environmental Educators Recognize Outstanding Contributors To Their Field - Video Blog
At their conference this past weekend, the PA Association of Environmental Educators recognized outstanding contributions by individuals, programs and businesses to the field of environmental education.

* Give Yourself A Pat On The Back - PA Environment Digest Wins PAEE Award
The PA Association of Environmental Educators this week recognized the PA Environment Digest for its role in providing information on environment issues, legislation, programs and much more to the public.

* House Republicans Unveil State Forest Marcellus Shale Leasing Proposal - Video Blog

* Senate OKs Transfer Of $174 Million Natural Gas Leasing Revenue To General Fund
In line with the request by Gov. Rendell, the Senate this week voted 33 to 17 to approve legislation-- Senate Bill 490 (MJ White-R-Venango)-- which transfers $174 million in natural gas leasing revenue from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to the General Fund to help fill a budget gap for this fiscal year (2008-09).

* DCNR Advisory Committee Asks For Temporary Hold On Leasing State Land For Drilling

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced
The Senate and House return to voting session on March 30 and then have a two week Easter break.
* Senate/House Bills Moving
The following legislation was considered this week--

* House Committee Holds Hearing On Bill To Phase In Expected Electric Rate Increases
The House Consumer Affairs Committee this week held a hearing on House Bill 20 (McCall-D-Carbon) which would cap rate hikes at no more than 15 percent per year for a three-year period, allow customers to choose to pre-pay – and earn 6 percent interest on those payments – to reduce the impact of increased rates, and prohibit power companies from putting the burden of recovering long-term rate recovery costs on the consumer.

* House Environmental Committee OKs Bills On Prescribed Burn, Energy Assistance
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week reported out bills regulating prescribed burning and to establish an energy efficient home assistance program. The bills include:

* House Committee Sets Hearing On Marcellus Shale Drilling, To Consider Several Bills
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets Tuesday to hold a hearing on Marcellus Shale drilling and three bills dealing with bioenergy crops on reclaimed mine lands, State Park fees and extending the $2/ton Recycling Fee.

* Senate Environmental Committee Sets Hearing On John Hanger As Secretary of DEP
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nomination of John Hanger as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on April 1.

* March Environmental Synopsis Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

* New State Water Plan Outlines Statewide, Regional Water Priorities - Video Blog
As demand grows for Pennsylvania's water resources, the Commonwealth is offering comprehensive recommendations to help policymakers balance the demands of competing interests while protecting the quality and supply of water for residents and businesses, Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger said this week in announcing the new State Water Plan.

* Middle, Lower Susquehanna Named 2009 River Of The Year
The middle and lower Susquehanna River, a watershed that has shaped countless community lifestyles in central Pennsylvania and is emerging as a recreational treasure of the future, was recognized this week as Pennsylvania's River of the Year for 2009.

* PennVEST Sets May 18 Deadline For Green Infrastructure Projects Funded By Stimulus
The PA Infrastructure Investment Authority this week told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Impact and Infrastructure it has set a May 18 deadline for applications for water infrastructure and green infrastructure projects funded using federal stimulus dollars.

* PA American Water Accepting Environmental Grant Applications
Pennsylvania American Water announced this week they are accepting applications for its 2009 Environmental Grant Program to support innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds and community drinking water supplies.

* NRCS Calls for Proposals and Comments for Agriculture, Forestland Conservation Program
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is requesting grant proposals from potential partners to enhance conservation outcomes on agricultural and nonindustrial, private forestland through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative.

* Lehigh River Sojourn - An Affordable Educational Summer Vacation Right in Your Backyard!

* Take a Walk On the Stormwater Trail In Westmoreland County April 7

* PA Environmental Council Urges Prompt Consideration of Stormwater Legislation
Sen. Ted Erickson (R-Delaware) and Rep. Robert Freeman (D-Northampton) have reintroduced planning and implementation legislation to provide local governments greater resources to address stormwater impacts from existing and potential sources.

* Westmoreland County Residents To Benefit From $1.35 Million In Water Quality Projects
From Lower Burrell in the northern part of Westmoreland County to Scottdale in the south…and from Irwin in the western part of the county to Derry Township in the east…. citizens all across Westmoreland County are set to benefit from an investment of more than $1.35 million in six separate projects to improve water quality.

* Film Festival Takes Attendees on the Ride of Their Lives
More than 1,000 Lehigh Valley residents experienced the thrill and passion of the Banff Mountain Film Festival hosted by Wildlands Conservancy on March 8. More than $8,000 was raised by the event to support the programs and services offered by the Conservancy.

* PA Environmental Council Launches Green Business Program
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council this week announced the launch of the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program, a new initiative aimed at committing area businesses to reducing the impacts of their office practices on the environment.

* Rachel Carson Building Earns EPA Energy Star Rating For Superior Efficiency
The Rachel Carson Building has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's prestigious Energy Star rating, becoming the first state-owned building in Pennsylvania to receive the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection, Department of General Services Secretary James P. Creedon announced.

* PUC Establishes Energy Consumption, Peak Demand Reduction Goals Under Act 129

* Proposed Regulatory Changes To Promote Competition For Retail Natural Gas Market
As part of its ongoing efforts to create a more level playing field in the retail natural gas market, the Public Utility Commission this week began the process of making regulatory changes to promote competition for natural gas suppliers.

* DEP Offers Energy Workshops To Help Small Businesses Improve Efficiency, Cut Costs
The Department of Environmental Protection will sponsor seven workshops in April, May and June to help small- and medium-sized businesses reduce energy costs and increase profits.

* Onorato Applauds $8.1 Million in Federal Funds for Energy Efficiency Projects
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato this week thanked U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis for $8.1 million from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant program, which will fund energy efficiency and conservation projects in Allegheny County.

* Philadelphia Gas Works Proposes Largest Natural Gas Energy Conservation Plan
Philadelphia Gas Works this week announced it will file Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas energy conservation plan with the Public Utility Commission. The proposal, if approved by the PUC, will launch a portfolio of seven programs to help 85,000 PGW residential and business customers become more energy efficient.

* EPA Accepting Applications For Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance Programs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pollution Prevention Program, which supports technical assistance programs that help businesses identify environmental strategies and solutions to reduce or eliminate waste at the source, is announcing the availability of pollution prevention grants.

* Penn State Conference Explores Solar Power's Bright Prospects in Pennsylvania May 6-7
Recent state and federal economic incentives are improving the viability of solar power and brightening the prospect of solar business in Pennsylvania.

* Montgomery Community College To Host Sustainability Lectures In April
The Global Climate Change Education and Action Group at Montgomery County Community College will host two sustainability lectures in April.

* Turn Off Your Lights For Earth Hour - March 28
Just a reminder that the Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council is promoting Earth Hour this March 28 at 8:30 p.m. to raise awareness about energy usage and waste.

* PUC Keystone Connections Newsletter Is Now Available Online
The Public Utility Commission's quarterly newsletter Keystone Connection is now available online featuring a summary of the "State of the Commission" report from Chairman James H. Cawley.

* Philadelphia Group Gets EPA Funding For Environmental Work
Neighborhood Interfaith Movement, a non-profit in Philadelphia, is one of 40 organizations across the country to get federal funding for community-based environmental work.

* EPA Launches Video/Photo Project in Celebration of Earth Month
These projects are part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s multi-event celebration of Earth Month and of EPA’s 39 year history – filmmakers and photographers around the world to submit their own videos and photos documenting what steps they take to protect the water they drink, the air they breathe and the overall environmental health of their communities.

* Lancaster County Waste Authority, Covanta Lancaster, Inc. Offer A Mercury Bounty In April
Throughout April 2009, during regular customer hours, Lancaster County residents can deliver mercury thermostats and/or thermometers from their homes to the Resource Recovery Facility in Bainbridge or the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Lancaster and receive a $5 gift card to Lowe’s and a digital thermometer.

* Centre County To Hold Household Hazardous Waste Collection May 1-2
The Centre County Solid Waste Authority will hold a household hazardous waste collection event May 1-2 at the authority’s facility on Transfer Road near the Nittany Mall off Route 26.

* PennDOT Seeks Volunteers To Build On Roadside Cleanup Success
The Department of Transportation is inviting Pennsylvanians to build on Adopt-A-Highway cleanup efforts by participating in "Pick It Up PA Days" from April 25 through May 9.

* Coalition Unveils Green Jobs Campaign To Ensure Pennsylvania Works! For All

* Looking For Something To Do This Spring? Check Out Special State Park Events
Pennsylvania's State Parks might not be ready for swimming yet, but there are lots of educational programs and activities you and your family can take advantage of before warmer weather arrives.

* DEP Solicits Contractors For Bid Opportunity In Fayette County
The Department of Environmental Protection this week published notice of a bid opportunity for contractors for an acid mine drainage abatement project in Fayette County.
* Spotlight - Energy Harvest Grant Helping Cumberland County Farm Save, Produce Energy
Officials toured a Cumberland County farm this week to see first hand how an Energy Harvest Grant is helping to reduce emissions and energy costs while generating power. The Mains Dairy Farm in Newville converts manure into electrical energy through the anaerobic digestion process.

* Opinion - Three Mile Island: What Has It Taught Us?
By David A. Smith, MD, Medical Editor, Pennsylvania Medical Society
* 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 28, 2009
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of recent actions under the Nutrient Credit Trading Program and a notice approving the State Water Plan.

* 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.
* The PA Environment Digest Now Twitters!
Crisci Associates is pleased to provide our clients and the public with the latest, most comprehensive news on environmental issues, legislation and accomplishments. This week we're adding Twitter to our family of websites so you can get updates on key issues on your phone and online.
* Supporting Member PA Outdoor Writers Assn./PA Trout Unlimited
PA Environment Diges tis a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited and the Doc Fritchey Chapter Trout Unlimited.

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