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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
May 11, 2009
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* More Severe Environmental Funding Cuts Looming For 2009-10 Budget
Senate Republicans followed Gov. Rendell's lead this week by making significant, additional cuts to environmental funding, doubling the already deep $77 million cut the Governor proposed in the 2009-10 state budget by adding another $77.4 million in cuts.

* $250 Grants Available To Celebrate A Decade Of Growing Greener Watersheds
The Growing Greener Watershed Restoration Program will be ten years old in December and to help celebrate 10 groups have come together to invite watershed groups to share their success stories on a special website.

* Webinar - PA Land Trust Assn. -- When They Drill, Who Pays The Bill? May 11, 13
On May 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and May 13 from noon to 1:00 p.m., the PA Land Trust Association is hosting an online webinar on the impacts of natural gas drilling and information on the proposed natural gas severance tax.

* Webinar - Penn State Extension Webinar Covers Government Roles In Gas Rush May 21
Local governments' roles in the regulation and implementation of gas drilling in Pennsylvania are a growing concern for residents and lawmakers alike, according to an expert in the Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

* Video Blog - Volunteers Help Install State Police HQ Rain Garden
Andy Gavin, Chief of the Restoration Section at the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, talks about the installation of a rain garden project at the State Police Headquarters Building in Harrisburg.

* Video Blog - Peregrine Falcon Banding Event – View it Live! May 27
On May 27 the Department of Environmental Protection and the Game Commission will host its annual Peregrine Falcon banding event in the Rachel Carson State Office Building's auditorium in Harrisburg from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced
The House returns to voting session on May 11. The Senate returns on June 1, after they canceled session for next week.
* Senate/House Bills Moving
These bills of interest saw action in the Senate or House this week--

* Senate Environmental Committee Moves Climate, Well Production, Other Bills
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out bills on a variety of topics this week including: oil and gas well production reports, authorizing the Heritage Area Program in law, additional reporting from the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund, prescribed burning, additional protection for the Appalachian Trail and requiring a comment period on the proposed climate change plan.

* Medical Sharps, County Waste Fee Reported From House Environmental Committee
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week reported out legislation creating a program to dispose of home-generated medical sharps and a bill authorizing county waste management fees. The bills include:

* House Designates Eastern Box Turtle As Official State Reptile

* Fish And Boat Commission Presents Annual Report To Senate Committee
The Fish and Boat Commission this week provided the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee with an update on its activities and a copy of its 2008 annual report.

* House Agriculture And Rural Affairs Committee Reviews Marcellus Shale, Wind Energy Bills

* Rep. George Honored By PA Chapter National Association Of Water Companies
The National Association of Water Companies, Pennsylvania Chapter this week recognized Rep.Camille “Bud” George (D-Clearfield) with its James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence.

* Middle, High School, Community College Students Honored For Protecting Schuylkill River

* Draft Permit Issued For Drilling Water Treatment Plant on West Branch Susquehanna

* DEP Extends Comment Period on Proposed General Stormwater Permit, Schedules Hearings
The Department of Environmental Protection has extended the public comment period for proposed revisions to the General NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (PAG-13). Comments will now be accepted until July 6.

* DEP Publishes Final Walnut Creek Watershed Protection, Restoration Plan Erie County
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of the final Walnut Creek Watershed Protection and Restoration Plan in Erie County. (PA Bulletin page 2400)
* Downingtown East High School Champions Of The Chester County Envirothon
Congratulations to the championship team, Downingtown East High School, and all the participating teams!

* State Supreme Court Affirms Farm Bureau Position On ACRE Law
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau praised a state Supreme Court ruling that enables the state Attorney General to challenge local ordinances which illegally restrict agriculture, regardless of when they were adopted.

* NRCS Offers Over $880,000 For Organic Practices In PA, 3 Week Sign Up Period
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service officials in Pennsylvania this week announced a special 3-week sign-up period for a new Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative.

* Cambria County 4-H, Conococheague FFA Winners In Grassland Evaluation Contest
Cambria County 4-H team members Ben Bard, Robert Veneskey, Annie Cekada and Mark Mastrine took first place in the 2009 Grasslands Evaluation Contest held at Penn State University on May 5. Earning a $500 college scholarship each, the team’s cumulative score was 878 points out of a possible 1200.

* Reinvigorated PA Habitat Alliance Meets On Marcellus Shale Drilling
In April, the Pennsylvania Habitat Alliance met for the first time since December 2007 with the primary goal to address the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources gas lease issue, which was elevated when Gov. Rendell and a majority of the Senate moved to strip $170 million in gas lease funding from the agency and distribute it across the state.

* Carnegie Science Center Announces 2009 Carnegie Science Awards
The Carnegie Science Centerthis week announced the winners of the 2009 Carnegie Science Awards at Carnegie Music Hall. The environmental award was given to Rebecca Flora, formerly with the Pittsburgh Green Building Allianceand now the U.S. Green Building Council. (Photo: Flora)

* Wildlands Conservancy Hosts Native Plant Sale May 15 - 16

* Parks And Forests Foundation Sponsors Native Plant Sale May 17
The PA Parks and Forests Foundation will sponsor a Native Plants Sale at Meadowood Nursery in Hummelstown/South Hanover Township near Hershey on May 17 from 10:00 a.m until 3:00 p.m..

* Conservation Easement Workshops Set For Western PA
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is holding Conservation Easement Workshops for legal, appraisal, financial and real estate professionals, as well as anyone who is interested in an in-depth look at land protection options, including conservation easements.

* Conservation Deal Protects Hang Gliding, River And Forest Access At Hyner View State Park
Hang-glide pilots who catch the wind at Hyner View State Park will have a safe place to land, thanks to an agreement between The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

* PA Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Input Sessions Scheduled
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources staff, along with Penn State University researchers, will host three public input sessions to provide comment and recommendations for the 2009 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

* Fish & Boat Commission Announces $1.06 Million In Boating Facilities Grants

* PA's Network Of Trails, Walkways Beckon During Hiking Week
Urging Pennsylvanians to embrace healthy lifestyles while enjoying the outdoors, organizers of Hiking Week 2009 are offering participants a chance to pick their path and pace in at least 100 hikes when the statewide event begins May 23.

* The Alleghenies Unveils New Multiuse Trail System
The Alleghenies announces the grand opening of the Allegrippis Trail System on May 9. Working in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and the International Mountain Bicycling Association's Trail Solutions, the Friends of Raystown Lake and other trail contracting firms have built more than 30 miles of single track at Raystown Lake.

* Innovators In Smart Growth To Be Recognized In June By 10,000 Friends Of Pennsylvania
Entrepreneurs, builders, elected officials and individuals who practice and promote “Smart Growth” policies will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the state capital June 9 at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg.

* Two Energy-Efficient PA Sports Facilities Earn Accolades
Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College is the first professional -- and college -- baseball stadium to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the United States Green Building Council for the green techniques used in its construction and operations.

* Living Cities, Philadelphia Engage In Wide-Ranging Green Economic Agenda

* DCNR Report Says PA Geology Could Support Storing Carbon Dioxide Underground

* EPA Announces $4 Million For Brownfields Projects In Pennsylvania
Ten communities in Pennsylvania will share an estimated $4 million to help assess, clean up and revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties into productive community use.

* Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event In Centre County A Success
Folks from over 700 households took advantage of Centre County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program this past weekend at the Centre County Solid Waste Authority.

* PA Resources Council Sponsors May 16 Hard To Recycle Collection Event In Pittsburgh
On May 16, Pittsburgh area residents can dispose of a wide variety of materials at the first of four 2009 “hard to recycle” collection events sponsored by the Pennsylvania Resources Council and its campaign partners.

* Small Businesses Receive Energy Efficiency Grants
The Department of Environmental Protection this week awarded 53 Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants to companies in 29 counties totaling nearly $500,000.

* Department of Agriculture Sets Hearings On Biodiesel Infrastructure
The Department of Agriculture has scheduled three hearings during the week of May 18 to assess the capabilities of Pennsylvania’s motor fuels storage and distribution system to provide sufficient infrastructure for distribution of B2 blends of biodiesel statewide. (formal notice)

* PECO Pays 6 Percent Interest To Help Customers Pay Their Energy Bills, Enrollment Now Open
Enrollment begins in May for PECO’s Early Phase-In program, a new payment option to help customers prepare for the beginning of market-based rates on January 1, 2011.

* Gov. Rendell Honors DEP, Game Commission Employees
Gov. Rendell this week announced the recipients of the third annual Governor's Awards for Excellence and praised all state employees for their dedication to service during national Public Employee Recognition Week.

* DEP Notice Of Bid Opportunity For Oil And Gas Well Plugging, McKean County
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of a bid opportunity for plugging 39 abandoned wells in McKean County.

* Spotlight - Game Commission Springtime Alert: Do No Disturb Young Wildlife

* Opinion - Let's Establish Local Revenue Sharing For Communities Impacted By Marcellus Shale
By Ed Troxell, PA State Association of Boroughs
* Grants & Awards

* 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 final revisions to Safe Drinking Water Public Notification regulations. The Fish and Boat Commission published a notice finalizing the list of changes to the classifications of Wild Trout Streams.

* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice extending the comment period and public hearings on revisions to the General NPDES Permit For Stormwater Discharges to a Municipal Sewer System.

* Calendar Of Events

* Stories Invited
Send your stories about environmental issues, programs and positive actions to PA Environment Digest-
* PA Environment Digest Family Of Websites

* 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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