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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
October 12, 2009
(10/12/2009)
CLICK HERE To Print Digest
* DEP Cut Over 26 Percent, DCNR Cut 18 Percent In Final Budget

* $60 Million Expected From Leasing State Forest Land For Drilling, No Severance Tax

* Governor's Deputy Resigns To Take Job With Natural Gas Drilling Firm
Scott Ray, Gov. Rendell's Deputy Chief of Staff, resigned this week to take a position with Range Resources, Inc., one of the major firms drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale fields.

* Final Budget Cuts REAP Tax Credit Program By 50 Percent
Final approval was given to changes in the Tax Code in House Bill 1531 (George-D-Clearfield) which makesa 50 percent cut in funds available to the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) farm conservation tax credits, much steeper cuts than other tax credit programs.

* $980 Million Diverted, Cut From Environmental Programs Over Last 7 Years
With the budget for 2009-10 now finalized we can now total up the score for environmental programs and it is not pretty-- over the last seven years $980 million has been diverted or cut from environmental programs to help balance the state budget or to fund programs that could not get funding on their own.

* Get Daily Updates On PA Environment Daily Blog, Twitter

* Growing Greener Anniversary Grant Applications Due October 20

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 Growing Greener website.

* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule

NOTE: Due to the unpredictable nature of the Senate and House Committee schedule, meetings will be scheduled and cancelled quickly. The Calendars and Committee schedules this week are only a snapshot in time. 

* On The Governor's Desk

The following bills received final approvals by the Senate and House and are now on the Governor's desk for his action.  They were all signed into law.

* Senate/House Bills Moving

The following bills of interested saw action this week-- 

* Senate Confirms Nominees To Environmental Hearing Board

The Senate confirmed the Governor's nominations to the Environmental Hearing Board. The nominees are: Thomas W. Renwand, Michaell A. Colman, Michael L. Krancer and Richard P. Mather.

* House Insurance Committee Approves Bill To Create Landslide Insurance Program
The House Insurance Committee amended and reported out legislation this week to establish a Pennsylvania Landslide Insurance and Assistance Program within the Department of Environmental Protection.

* Video Blog- Volunteers In Perkiomen Watershed Remove Aquatic Invasive Species
The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy recently organized volunteers to remove European Water Chestnut aquatic plants from Lake Delmont in Montgomery County.

* Video Blog- Agriculture And Environment Center Develops Farm Conservation Practices
The Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center works to facilitate ecosystems based management across the state. Listen to Penn State researchers, Matt Ehrhart from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Susan Marquart, PA Association of Conservation Districts, Paul Swartz, Susquehanna River Basin Commission and many others discuss nutrient run-off and its effect on local watersheds, as well as the downstream waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

* Dr. William E. Sharpe Wins 2008 Ralph W. Abele Award

* DEP Accepting Comments On Proposed Critical Water Planning Areas, Meetings Set
The Department of Environmental Protection and the six Regional Water Resource Committees are soliciting public comments at meetings and hearings on the watersheds nominated for consideration of Critical Water Planning Area designation, in accordance with the Water Resources Planning Act.

* Penn State Agricultural Research Tour Tackles Water Quality, Emerging Issues
Understanding the implications of the H1N1 flu, responding to federal clean water mandates and managing Pennsylvania's natural gas rush were among the pressing issues addressed during the Penn State Agricultural Council's annual College of Agricultural Sciences Research Tour at Penn State's University Park campus recently.

* Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited Is Recipient Of Best PA Chapter Award
At the annual meeting of Trout Unlimited’s PA Council on October 3, the Doc Fritchey Chapter in Central Pennsylvania was honored to receive the Edward J. Urbas Award for Best Pennsylvania Chapter.

* Aquatic Invasive Species Early Response Workshop Set For October 28-29
The PA Invasive Species Council and other partners will hold an Aquatic Invasive Species Early Response Workshop on October 28-29 in Bellefonte, Pa.

* EPA Sustainability Partnership Website Now Available From EPA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3’s Sustainability Partnership website is now available to introduce the public and private organizations to EPA’s sustainable approach to reducing pollution and improving an organization’s environmental footprint.

* 3 PA Projects Funded Under Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants

* Fish & Boat Commission Acquires Easements In Erie County, Adopts Trout Management Plan
The Fish and Boat Commission voted this week to acquire two easements along Crooked Creek in Erie County as part of the agency’s strategy to improve public fishing and boating access and also adopted a five-year strategic plan for trout management.

* Additional 6,496 Acres Preserved On 69 Farms In 28 Counties
Prime farmland in 28 counties will remain available for future agriculture production after the state’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board this week voted to protect an additional 6,496 acres on 69 farms, acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced.

* Clarion, Crawford Land Exchange To Benefit Missions Of DCNR, Game Commission

* 2009 PA Community Forestry Conference

* Visit A Pennsylvania State Park Every Month With 2010 DCNR Calendar
Breathtaking vistas, spectacular seasonal shots and wildlife are on display in the 2010 Pennsylvania State Parks calendar, which is now available for purchase from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

* DCNR Rangers Switch To Lead-Free Ammunition
As part of efforts to practice conservation, rangers in Pennsylvania state parks are now using lead-free ammunition for training and practice, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

* DEP Approves Plans To Collect And Recycle Mercury Thermostats
The Department of Environmental Protection has approved two plans to collect and recycle mercury thermostats, which will reduce the amount of mercury released into the environment.

* Green Computing Through Green Purchasing Workshop November 11
The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center, in conjunction with Penn State Harrisburg’s Office of Continuing Education, will offer a workshop on purchasing green computing products using the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.

* EPA Awards Grants To Students For Sustainability Projects

* Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Will Open Nov. 2, Crisis Program Jan. 4
Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program will open for the 2009-10 heating season on November and the Crisis Program will open January 4.

* PA Energy Authority Accepting Applications For Energy Projects In Duquesne Light Area
The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority is now accepting applications for $1.2 million for innovative, advanced energy projects and for businesses interested in locating their advanced energy operations in the Duquesne Light service territory.

* PECO Launches 6-Megawatt Competitive Purchase for Solar Credits
PECO is looking for current and future solar energy producers to submit bids as the company seeks to purchase 6-megawatts of solar power. The action is part of the company’s overall environmental efforts and supports Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards.

* PUC Investigates PPL’s Proposed Time-of-Use Rate Option
The Public Utility Commission this week voted to investigate a proposal to allow PPL customers the option of time-of-use rates.

* Philadelphia Receives $14.1 Million In Energy Efficiency, Conservation Recovery Funding
Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced this week the City of Philadelphia will receive $14.1 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.

* Solar Power Installation Training Workshop Set For Pittsburgh, Clarion
Conservation Consultants, Inc. and other partners will sponsor solar power installation training workshops in Pittsburgh on November 16-20 and in Clarion on December 7-11.

* PPL Completes Final Supply Purchase For 2010, Average Rate Increase 30 Percent
PPL Electric Utilities this week completed its sixth and final competitive electricity purchase for 2010. This helps to fulfill the company’s requirement for purchasing electricity in the wholesale market for its customers who do not choose an alternative supplier.

* DEP Asks For Comments On PA Climate Change Action Plan
The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting comments on the Pennsylvania Climate Change Action Plan. Comments are due by November 9.

* New Campaign Launched To Reduce Air Pollution From Diesel Engines In Pittsburgh
Environmental groups, Allegheny County and universities in Pittsburgh have launched the Breathe Easey, Stay Healthy campaign this week to help reduce air pollution from diesel engines.

* DEP Citizens Advisory Council Fall Newsletter Available
DEP's Citizens Advisory Council now has available its fall newsletter the Advisory which features the Council's work on issues related to Marcellus natural gas drilling, air quality regulations and State Forest land leasing for natural gas drilling.

* DEP Notice Of Bid Opportunity In Schuylkill County

* Spotlight- Not All Pretty Streams Are Healthy Streams - StreamVitalize
By Donna Morelli, Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay's Pennsylvania Office
* 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 proposing to establish a baseline of water withdrawals in the Lake Erie Basin for individual water users and  notice of ozone emission limits for nonelectric generating units.  The Susquehanna River Basin Commission  published notice of changes to project review regulations.
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Agriculture  published notice certifying the availability of infrastructure to handle the biodiesel mandate.  The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provided notice it is executing oil and gas leases in Lycoming County (notice 1notice 2).
* 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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