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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
October 26, 2009
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* Controversy Grows Around Environmental Funding Cuts, DEP Lost 434 Positions In Six Years
The 26 percent budget cut for the Department of Environmental Protection and the 18 percent cut for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week continued to generate concerns, news articles and questions about whether the agencies can fulfill their basic missions.

* Get Daily Updates On PA Environment Daily Blog, Twitter

* Growing Greener Anniversary- Miller Run – From Impaired Waterway To Wild Trout Stream
Celina Seftas, Watershed Specialist with the Huntingdon County Conservation District, submitted this story of how the Shoup's Run Watershed Association restored Miller Run to a Wild Trout stream in Huntingdon County. The Association has won a $250 Growing Greener Anniversary grant for their story.
* Growing Greener Anniversary- Ahead of the Curve – An Example of Foresight During the Early Years of Growing Greener
Kristin Sewak, Director of Natural Biodiversity, Windber, Pa, provided this story illustrating how the Growing Greener Program funded a new approach to restoring natural diversity to riparian areas in the Shade Creek Watershed in Somerset County. Natural Biodiversity has won a $250 Growing Greener Anniversary grant for their story.
* Growing Greener Anniversary Grant Applications Due November 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/Bills Introduced

Here's the latest session schedule, Senate and House Calendars and Committee schedules--

* Farmland Preferential Assessment Topic Of House Committee Hearing

The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee held a hearing this week on House Bill 1788 (Cutler-R-Lancaster) which would reimburse local governments with significant farm and forest lands in the Clean and Green preferential tax assessment program if they lose 10 percent or more of their property tax revenues as a result of the program.

* House Committee Holds Hearing On Electronic Sales Of Deer Hunting Licenses

The House Game and Fisheries Committee this week held a hearing on the Game Commission's new electronic deer hunting license sales system.

* Environmental Synopsis Features PA Forest Products, Recognition Of Joint Committee Members

The October issue of the Environmental Synopsis newsletter published by the Joint Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee features a discussion of forest products produced in Pennsylvania.

* PA State Parks Win National Gold Medal Award In Face Of Drastic Budget Cuts

* 2009 Watershed Challenge Winners Announced By Penn Ohio Watershed Association
The Penn Ohio Watershed Association hosted the 4th Annual Pymatuning/Shenango Watershed Challenge at Munnell Run Farm in Mercer County, Pa on October 21.

* PEC Report Identifies Ways To Fund Green Infrastructure In Philadelphia

* Green Infrastructure Symposium Demonstrates Value Of Greener Western PA Communities
Leading experts described the economic, cultural and environmental benefits of green communities this week at a Green Infrastructure Symposium hosted by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

* Become A Pine Creek Waterdog, Help Enforce Marcellus Shale Drilling Regulations
The Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group is holding its second training workshop for Waterdogs to help document and record possible environmental violations at Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations in the Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga county area.

* DEP Fines Cabot Oil And Gas Corp. $56,650 For Susquehanna County Spills
The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. $56,650 for three spills of a water/liquid gel mixture at its Heitsman natural gas well in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, last month.

* Online Education- October 28 Webinar On Wastewater Challenges In Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Drilling
Penn State Cooperative Extension will host an online webinar on October 28 entitled, "Treatment/Disposal Options for Wastewaters from Shale Gas Drilling," starting at 1 p.m..

* New Study Reports More Than 53,000 PA Jobs Supported By Natural Gas Drilling
More than 53,000 Pennsylvanians work in jobs supported by the natural gas industry, providing a significant impact to the state's economy, according to a new study released by IHS Global Insight.

* PennEnvironment: PA Needs To Do More To Prevention Waterway Pollution, Not Cut Budget

* Second Round Of Sinnemahoning Watershed Grants Now Being Accepted
The Headwaters RC&D Sinnemahoning Stakeholders Committee is now accept applications for the second round of grants under the Sinnemahoning Watershed Grant Program.

* Butler Area School District Completes Growing Greener Watershed Restoration Project
The Butler Area School District in the Connoquenessing Creek Watershed, Butler County, recently completed a Growing Greener II project which implements recommendations from the conservation plan prepared by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

* Penn State Receives U.S.D.A. Water Quality Education Grant
The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week awarded more than $11 million through the National Integrated Water Quality Program to address critical water resource issues including water quality protection and water conservation, including a $240,000 grant to Penn State University.

* TreeVitalize Volunteers To Plant Trees Along Harrisburg Greenbelt October 24

* Recovery Funds Used To Upgrade Wastewater Plant In Lehigh County
The Department of Environmental Protection and local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for a $7 million sewer project in Slatington Borough, Lehigh County, that will prevent untreated sewage overflows into the Lehigh River and create an estimated 150 jobs.

* Call For Presentations: PA Section American Water Works Assn. 2010 Conference
The PA Section of the American Water Works Association this week issued a call for presentations for its 2010 conference coming up in May in Lancaster.

* Registration Now Open For EPA Green Cleanup Symposium In February

* EPA Trailblazer Awards Honor Two Philadelphia Area Hospitals

* DEP Among 11 Organizations Honored By EPA For Improving Chemical Safety In Schools
The Department of Environmental Protection was one of 11 organizations recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for promoting responsible chemical management and helping remove potentially dangerous chemicals from K-12 schools in their communities.

* Natural Diversity Launches New Online Newsletter, Seeking Writer/Ilustrator
Natural Diversity, a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the native diversity of plants and animals in Pennsylvania, has announced the publication of a new online newsletter-- the Leaflet.

* Riverlife Group In Pittsburgh To Lead Friends Of The Fountain Fundraising Campaign

* DCNR Website Gets New Look
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website got a make-over this week to help better serve the public.

* Energy Conservation Plans Approved For Remaining Electric Utilities
The Public Utility Commission this week approved an energy efficiency and conservation plans as required by Act 129 of 2008 for Metropolitan Edison Co., Pennsylvania Electric Co., Pennsylvania Power Co. and Duquesne Light in Pennsylvania.

* PUC Urges Electric, Natural Gas Utilities To Help Consumers Prepare Now For Heating Season
The Public Utility Commission this week urged electric and natural gas utilities to take extra steps to help consumers “Prepare Now” for winter heating costs.

* PUC, Widener Law Announce Program to Provide Legal Help for Low-Income Consumers
The Public Utility Commission and Widener University School of Law this week announced a pilot program to help low-income consumers receive legal help in navigating the formal complaint process before the PUC.

* Penn State Awarded $5.5 Million In U.S. Department of Energy Grants
Penn State will receive two Department of Energy grants that place the University at the center of the nation's effort to become energy independent and develop clean energy sources, according to an announcement made by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

* NRC Renews Three Mile Island Unit 1 License For 20 Years

* New Report Ranks PA Second Nationally In Wind Energy Growth
A national report ranks Pennsylvania’s growth in wind energy generation as the second-most of any state in the third quarter of 2008.

* Pittsburgh Climate Initiative Partnership Plants Trees To Reduce Greenhouse Emissions
Pittsburgh's Higher Education Climate Consortium planted trees in partnership with the TreeVitalize project in the South Side neighborhood and working with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in two downtown community garden projects on October 24 for the Day of Action.

* Cumberland Trout Unlimited Sponsors 2010 Fly Tying Championship
The Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited is once again sponsoring the Pennsylvania State Fly Tying Championship at the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg on February 13 at 10 a.m.

* Spotlight- Water Resources Education Network Offers Rain Garden, Rain Barrel Info
Ever wonder how to plant a rain garden (or even what it is?) or how to properly install rain barrels? The PA League of Women Voters Water Resources Education Network offers a wealth of information on a special Rain Garden/Rain Barrel webpage.

* 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 Environmental Quality Board  published notice of final regulation adopting increased fees for oil and gas well permit processing.
* Technical Guidance & Permits
The Department of Environmental Protection  published notice of a proposed guidance on public water supply protecting zones for the deep mine program and notice rescinding two policies related to beneficial use of coal ash and review of surface mine permit applications on High Quality waters.
* 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 

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* 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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