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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
July 20, 2009
(7/20/2009)
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* House Democrats Adopt Budget Diverting, Cutting $459 Million In Environmental Funding
House Democrats this week approved a budget bill, largely mirroring Gov. Rendell's proposal, that cuts and diverts over $459 million from environmental programs to help balance the state budget. The proposal all but zeros out DCNR's Oil and Gas Fund, taking and additional $143 million.

* Drastic Budget Cuts Will Hurt Environmental Programs Mandated By Law - Video Blog
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation expressed great concern this week over drastic cuts to environmental funding that have been proposed during the budget process. Some of the cuts will threaten key pollution-reduction programs that the Commonwealth committed to implementing over the next two years, and which are mandated by federal law.

* Environmental Groups Urge Governor, Legislators Not To Mortgage PA's Future - Video Blog
Environmental, sportsmen and conservation groups joined several members of the General Assembly to call on the Senate, House and Gov. Rendell to pass a budget with judicious program cuts balanced with new revenue to avoid damage to our land, water and communities.

* Budget: PA Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy Urge Investment In Future

The Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council sent this urgent message to members of the House urging them to invest in essential environmental programs by passing a natural gas severance tax and reject budget cuts that would jeopardize vital natural resource assets and critical services. 

* PA Environment Daily Blog, Twitter, Updates During This Extended Legislative Session

* Submissions For Growing Greener Anniversary Grants Due July 20

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule

The House is technically in voting session every day through July 31. The Senate has scheduled voting session on July 19, 20-23 and thereafter as needed. 

* On The Governor's Desk

These environmental bills of interest were passed by both the House and Senate and now go to the Governor for his action-- 

* Senate/House Bills Moving/Bills Introduced

The following bills of interest saw movement this week-- 

* House Passes Bill Requiring Use Of Green Building Standards
The House this week passed House Bill 444 (M.Smith-D-Allegheny) requiring all buildings constructed or refurbished with state funds to be "green" -- environmentally responsible and energy efficient.

* Joint Conservation Committee July Environmental Synopsis Available
The Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee this week published its July Environmental Synopsis newsletter.

* Proposed Change To Clean and Green Program Will Improve Soil, Water Quality
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation this week applauded the introduction of House Bill 1823 by Rep. Michael Sturla (D-Lancaster), a bill requiring all farmers participating in the “Clean and Green” preferential tax assessment program to have a soil erosion control plan in place for their land.

* Fish And Boat Board Asks Doug Austen To Step Down As Executive Director
The Board of Commissioners of the Fish and Boat Commission asked Executive Director Dr. Douglas Austen to step down from his position and reassigned him to a new position.

* Montgomery County Community College Offers Water Management Certificate Programs
Montgomery County Community College is offering a 10-month online certification program beginning fall 2009 to meet the growing demand for licensed operators in the water management field.

* Economic Stimulus Funding Helps Correct Erie County Water Problem
In a demonstration of federal recovery funds already at work improving infrastructure and creating jobs in Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection Regional Director Kelly Burch this week helped celebrate a project that will bring a reliable source of pure drinking water to McKean Township and McKean Borough, Erie County.

* Next H20 Water Infrastructure Funding Applications Due August 4, 2010, CFA OKs Projects

* Comments Invited On Federal Stimulus Water Infrastructure Projects, Meeting Set
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority and the Department of Environmental Protection will accept public comment on proposed drinking water and wastewater projects slated to be funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, DEP Secretary John Hanger announced this week.

* PA CleanWays Announces New Washington County Chapter

* Philadelphia Sets All-Time Record For Recycling
Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced this week residential recycling in Philadelphia has reached an all time record with a 46 percent increase in household recycling over the last year.

* Recycling Performance Grant Applications Due To DEP September 30
September 30 is the deadline for submitting recycling performance grant applications to the Department of Environmental Protection for calendar year 2008. (formal notice)

* DCNR Seeks Comment On Right-Of Way Process For State Parks, Forests

* Game Commission Adds Habitat Happenings To Website, New Habitat Improvement Signs
In its ongoing efforts to inform the public about work to improve wildlife habitats on State Game Lands, the Game Commission website now features a "Habitat Happenings" section. The Commission also unveiled new habitat improvement signs.

* Emerald Ash Borer Found In Armstrong, Washington Counties; Quarantine Expanded
Emerald Ash Borer beetles have been found near Brownstown, Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County, and Finleyville, Union Township, Washington County, bringing to nine the number of counties where the ash tree-destroying pest has been identified, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said this week.

* Court Decision Upholds Constitutionality Of Philadelphia Outdoor Advertising Controls
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox issued an Opinion on July 9 upholding the ZBA's denial in 2006 of a variance for a 9,750 square foot commercial advertising wall wrap, SCRUB announced this week.

* PUC Sets Public Hearings On Energy Efficiency, Conservation Plans
The Public Utility Commission has scheduled 10 hearings to receive public comment on the remaining six proposed energy efficiency and conservation plans filed by the state’s electric distribution companies as required by Act 128.

* PA's Solar Capacity To Triple With Help Of New State Investments
Pennsylvania will triple its solar capacity with the announcement of nearly $23 million in new grants and loans for companies throughout the state this week.

* 8th Graders Are Learning And Earning At Environmental Camp
For some it may be a best-kept secret. But for years, Larry Brown has been spreading the word about a summer program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that pays students to learn.

* Save The Date: PA Environmental Educators Conference March 12-13
The PA Association of Environmental Educators will hold their 2010 conference on March 12-13 at the Normandy Farm in Blue Bell.

* EPA Awards $9.2 Million In Clean Diesel Stimulus Fund To PA Projects
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mid-Atlantic regional office has awarded $16.1 million to seven significant projects to reduce diesel pollution. These clean diesel projects will create jobs while protecting air quality.

* Bid Opportunity For DEP Project In Lackawanna County
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Lackawanna County.

* 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 Department of Environmental Protection  published notice of actions taken under the nutrient credit trading program, notice of changes to radon-related activities registrations (PA Bulletin page 4174) and  notice and opportunity to comment on the 2009 Water Quality Assessment and Listing Methodology.  The Department of Transportation  published notice of changes in public transportation sustainable mobility requirements.  The Public Utility Commission published formal notices of energy efficiency and conservation plans for public comment (PA Bulletin pages 4196-4197)

Pennsylvania Bulletin - July 18, 2009      

* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection  published notice of a proposed change in policy relating to the use of waste derived liquid fuels,  published notice of approval for certain wetland replacement projects in Westmoreland County and  published notice of ownership change for wind energy facilities.  The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has  published notice of a proposed state-private land exchanged in Cambria, Indiana, Perry and Venango counties (PA Bulletin page 4113 and 4114).
* 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. 

* 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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