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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
January 18, 2010
(1/18/2010)
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* DCNR Natural Gas Leases Take In $128.3 Million To Balance State Budget

* Trout Unlimited Concerned About Impact Of State Forest Drilling
Pennsylvania's plan to award gas drilling rights on 32,000 acres of state forest land to energy companies for Marcellus Shale drilling could have a detrimental effect on fish and wildlife habitat.

* Governor Again Calls On General Assembly To Pass Natural Gas Severance Tax
At a press conference this week announcing $128.3 million in revenues from State Forest Marcellus Shale natural gas leasing, Gov. Rendell called on the General Assembly to pass a natural gas production severance tax. In a letter to the General Assembly the Governor said in part--

* Governor Cuts $5 Million More From Environmental Agencies

* Sierra Club Urges Restoration Of Funding To State Parks, Forests, Adoption Of Severance Tax

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* On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule

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

* Budget Hearings Announced By House, Senate Appropriations Committees

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees this week announced their schedule of agency budget hearings for 2010. Those related to environmental agencies include: 

* House Environmental Committee Sets Jan. 20 Hearing On State Energy Procurement Bill

On January 20 the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1909 (George-D-Clearfield) establishing a Commonwealth Energy Procurement and Development Agency and a Commonwealth Energy Advocate.

* Miller Appointed Minority Chair of House Game And Fisheries Committee
Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) has been named Minority Chair of the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

* February 8 Environmental Forum Features Regupol America, Scrap Tire Recycler
The Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee will hold its first Environmental Issues Forum of 2010 on February 8 at 12:00 noon in Room 205 of the Matthew J. Ryan Building.

* PA Counties Identify Marcellus Shale, Recycling Fee Issues As Priorities
County leaders from throughout Pennsylvania this week unveiled their list of ten key legislative priorities for 2010 aimed at assuring adequate funding for human services, tax equity for local residents, government efficiency and seeking cost savings while working to assure that funding decisions at the state level do not adversely impact local taxpayers.

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission Orders Tioga County Driller To Shut Down
On January 12, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission ordered Texas-based Novus Operating, LLC, a natural gas drilling company, to immediately cease all water-related activities at two drilling pad sites in the Marcellus shale formation in Brookfield Township, Tioga County, who began drilling two wells without prior approval from SRBC.

* PEC, Duquesne University To Host Marcellus Shale Policy Conference May 3-4

* League Of Women Voters Sponsors Scranton Natural Gas Forum January 20
The League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County will present a forum on Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction on January 20, at 7:00 p.m. in Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall at the University of Scranton in Scranton.

* Webinar- Penn State Marcellus Shale Webinar Series Continues On January 21, 27
An ongoing series of monthly, web-based seminars addressing issues surrounding Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas boom will continue through the winter.

* In-Person Information Meetings On Marcellus Shale Sponsored By Penn State Extension
The Penn State Cooperative Extension is sponsoring a series of live, in-person informational meetings at various locations around the state on issues related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. Here is a schedule of upcoming meetings:

* Columbia County Landowners Coalition Hosts Marcellus Shale Meetings January 28

* Talisman Energy To Invest C$1 Billion In PA Marcellus Shale Development

* Cabot Plans $585 Million Capital Budget In 2010, Most For PA Marcellus Shale Drilling
Cabot Oil & Gas plans to expand its drilling in the Marcellus Shale in 2010. The company has 180,000 net acres in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. In 2009, the company drilled 56 wells, 33 horizontal and 23 vertical. In 2010, the company will drill 83 wells, 73 horizontal and 10 vertical.

* Marcellus Shale Wells Started In PA During December - 144, Will Double In 2010
The Department of Environmental Protection reports 144 Marcellus Shale natural gas wells were started in December. DEP weekly reports on oil and gas well activity are available online.

* Marcellus Shale Coalition Announces Kathryn Klaber As New President
The Marcellus Shale Coalition this week announced Kathryn Klaber as the new organization's first President and Executive Director.

* No-Till Acreage Increases Significantly In PA During 2009
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Pennsylvania Field Office reported this week no-till farming was practiced on 56.8 percent of major crop acreages in the Commonwealth and other conservation tillage practices on the remaining 21 percent.

* Southwest Regional No-Till Conference Set For February 3
The 2010 Southwest Regional No-Till Conference will be held on February 3 At Giannilli's II, Route 30, East of Greensburg, Pa.

* USDA: Farmers Within Chesapeake Bay Watershed Should Signup For Conservation Program
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service's Acting State Conservationist, Dave Brown, is encouraging Pennsylvania agricultural producers located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to apply for conservation assistance under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative.

* Video Feature - EPA Highlights Babb And Pine Creeks As Success Stories

* Feature- Stream Restoration Saves Water Main And Environment In Valley Forge National Park
A custom-designed and constructed stream restoration project, installed this past Autumn to save a major water main, has won the praises of the National Park Service.

* Water Resource Webinars Coming Up By Penn State Cooperative Extension
The Penn State Cooperative Extension Water Webinar Series continues over the next few months with topics relating to septic systems, water conservation, drinking water safety and managing ponds and lakes.

* More Information Available On National Assn. Of Abandoned Mine Land Program Conference
Check out more details on the upcoming Conference of the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Program on September 19-22 in Scranton by going to the Conference website.

* May 6 PA Water Symposium Organizers Issue Call for Abstracts
The Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center and the Department of Environmental Protection are seeking abstracts for the 2010 Pennsylvania Water Symposium on May 6 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College.

* Game Commission Offers Seedlings For Schools Program
Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe this week announced the agency will be helping Commonwealth school students learn about the vital role of trees in the environment through its “Seedlings for Schools” program, in which students will be able to plant a variety of tree seedlings at home, on school grounds or in their community.

* Nearly $1 Million In Grants For Flood Protection Projects
The Department of Environmental Protection this week announced $1 million in grants to 35 flood protection projects in 16 counties.

* Wanted: Opinions On Tidal Delaware River Boating, Fishing Experiences
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Fish and Boat Commission are looking for volunteers to participate in a focus group study about recreation along the Tidal Delaware River.

* EPA Announces 4th Annual Rachel Carson Contest
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites the public to submit creative projects to the 4th annual Rachel Carson intergenerational “Sense of Wonder” contest.

* North Penn School District Recognized By EPA For Indoor Clean Air
School districts leading the way to prevent and solve indoor air quality problems in schools were honored at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 10th Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium in Washington, D.C. this week.

* More Details Available On iConservePa.org Earth Day 40 Challenge For Schools

* 2nd Air Quality Action Day This Week Forecast In 3 PA Regions For Saturday, January 16

* Onorato Accepts Air Quality Report, Asks Board of Health To Review Toxics Guidelines

* ClearWater Conservancy Wants Unique Natural Resources On Rockview Lands Protected

* Green Life PA Video- Create A Backyard Habitat With Audubon PA
Audubon Pennsylvania is an organization that looks to conserve and restore natural ecosystems around the state of Pennsylvania. This organization, through different strategies, aims to preserve the wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

* Game Commission Tracks White-Nose Syndrome In Bats, Needs Your Help
White Nose Syndrome has caused cave bat population reductions in New York and New England over the past three winters. It surfaced near Albany in 2006. Game Commission officials say that they are expecting cave bat mortalities this winter if the disorder spreads through hibernacula as it did New York and New England over the previous winters.

* Punxsutawney Phil To Text His Groundhog Day Prediction

* Do Something Wild! Subscribe To Keystone Wild!Notes
If you want to get “Wild” in Pennsylvania, the Wild Resource Conservation Program can help. Subscribe today to Keystone Wild!Notes, a free online publication about Pennsylvania’s wildlife and native plants.

* Governor Calls On General Assembly To Strengthen Alternative Energy Standards
In a letter to the General Assembly, Gov. Rendell this week called for an increase in the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to require electric utilities to buy more solar and wind energy.

* PUC Seeks Comments On Weatherization Training Standards for Electric, Natural Gas Workers
The Public Utility Commission this week sought comments on a proposal to explore whether electric and natural gas utilities that conduct weatherization audits would benefit from training certifications already required for workers participating in the federally funded Weatherization Assistance Program.

* State Treasurer Joins World's Largest Investors To Call For Strong Climate Change Policies
Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, along with other U.S., European and Australian investor groups responsible for managing $13 trillion in assets meeting at the United Nations, this week issued a statement calling upon the U.S. and other governments to take rapid action on national climate change policies that will spur clean energy investment and economic growth opportunities.

* Governor's Council Seeks Southeastern Candidates for Fish And Boat Commission Board Seat
The Governor's Advisory Council on Hunting, Fishing and Conservation is seeking qualified candidates to fill a vacancy on the board of the Fish and Boat Commission for District Eight, which includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties.

* Help Wanted: Project Manager, LandStudies, Inc
LandStudies, Inc., Lititz, Pa is seeking a professional engineer or environmental scientist with experience in water and environmental resource related projects. Experience and proficiency in Microstation and processing projects through the Maryland State Highway Administration is preferred.

* 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--

* Marcellus Shale NewsClips
Here's a selection of NewsClips on topics related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling--

* Watershed NewsClips
Read a sampling of NewsClips on watershed topics from around Pennsylvania--

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

* 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. 

* Supporting Member PA Outdoor Writers Assn./PA Trout Unlimited

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