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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
June 18, 2012
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* Legislators Continue Push To Protect Keystone Fund

Citing its value to citizens and communities across the Commonwealth, Reps. William Adolph (R-Delaware) and Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) Wednesday reaffirmed their support for funding the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund.

* Fiscal Office: FY 2012-13 Revenue Just Shy Of $1 Billion More Than Governor’s Estimate

The Independent Fiscal Office Tuesday reported its official revenue estimate for FY 2012-13 General Fund revenue is $28.10 billion, about $960 million more than the Governor’s $27.14 billion estimate.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced

Here are the Senate and House Calendars and Committee meetings showing bills of interest as well as a list of new environmental bills introduced--

* Governor's Desk

The following bills were given final approval by the Senate and House and now go to the Governor for his action--

* Senate/House Bills Moving

The following bills of interest saw action this week in the House and Senate--

* Stream Cleaning Bill Passes House

The House Monday passed House Bill 2359 (Causer-R-Cameron) to force the state Department of Environmental Protection to streamline the process for removing gravel bars and other obstructions from streams.

* Senate Passes Flood Control Legislation In Bipartisan Vote

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Wednesday praised the unanimous Senate passage of two critical pieces of flood control legislation.

* Sen. Vogel, Rep. Christiana Introduce Ethane Tax Credit Bill

Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) announced Wednesday he has introduced legislation-- Senate Bill 1563--  designed to attract investment into the growing ethane supply market in Pennsylvania.  The legislation is written as a way to encourage Shell and other ethylene producers and downstream manufacturers to locate their operations in Pennsylvania while at the same time protecting taxpayers.

* Keep PA Beautiful Now Accepting Applications For Fresh Paint Days PA Grants

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is now accepting applications for their 2012 Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania.  Applications must be received by July 31 and grants will be awarded mid-August.

* Stonycreek Celebration Highlights PA Rivers Month Activities

Fun on the Stonycreek River - from a canoe and kayak sojourn slicing though white water to leisurely tube floats - is expected to draw hundreds of paddlers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts to a waterway where wild and scenic beauty earned it Pennsylvania River of the Year honors for 2012.

* Reminder: Ohio River Sweep June 16

Volunteers are needed for the 22nd Annual River Sweep on June 16 from 8 a.m. to noon in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties. 

* DEP Invites Comments On TMDL Plans In Columbia, Montour, Snyder Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting comments on proposed Total Maximum Daily Load Plans for these watersheds-- Hoffer Creek Watershed in Snyder County; Montour Run Watershed in Columbia and Montour counties; and Mud Run Watershed in Columbia County.  (PA Bulletin page 3524Visit DEP’s TMDL webpage for copies of these proposed plans.

* PA Assn. For Sustainable Agriculture Supports Marcellus Moratorium

The Board of Directors of the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture recently adopted a policy statement on the topic of unconventional natural gas extraction after considering comments from the organization’s members and supporters.

* Corbett Administration Highlights Potential Of 20,000 Jobs From Shell Ethane Plant

Members of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Cabinet were joined by a coalition of supporters Thursday to discuss the importance of bringing a petrochemical complex to Pennsylvania that would create more than 10,000 construction jobs and up to 20,000 permanent jobs in spinoff production and manufacturing industries.

* Penn State Extension: Woodlots And Water Quality

Did you know that approximately 66 percent of Pennsylvania is still covered by forests? So much forested cover means that many land owners and farmers have small or even sizable woodlots on their property.

* Nutrient Management Training Helps PA Organic Growers

Organic farmers can access educational workshops and materials on nutrient management, thanks to a program developed by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

* Preservation Board Protects Nearly 2,400 Acres Of Prime Farmland

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board Thursday protected 2,389 additional acres on 28 farms from development through the state's nationally recognized farmland preservation program.

* PECO Funding For Open Space Projects Passes $1 Million Mark

PECO has provided 18 municipalities across the Greater Philadelphia region with $150,000 in grant funding as part of PECO Green Region, the company’s municipal open space and environmental grant program.

* Help Restore Pittsburgh's Urban Forest, The Sprout Fund

For five years Tree Pittsburgh has been working to restore Pittsburgh's urban forest by planting thousands of new trees from diverse stocks, maintaining the existing population of trees, and educating the public about the environmental benefits trees provide for the city.

* See Nature Thrive In Pittsburgh's East Liberty Neighborhood, The Sprout Fund

East Liberty Development, Inc. has brought a green roof bus shelter to the East Liberty neighborhood. First hatched in 2010 by Planning Coordinator Katherine Camp, the green roof bus shelter is unique to Pittsburgh. The Sprout Fund awarded ELDI a large grant through its Spring program to construct a bus shelter whose roof houses plant life, giving flora and fauna a foothold, creating stopping points for organisms to return to the urban environment.

* Try Your Hand At Growing Forgotten Foods Native To Southwest PA, The Sprout Fund

In 2011 Blackberry Meadows Farm started Heritage Seed Co., the first and only seed bank in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region focusing on providing local growers with seeds for heirloom varieties of plants native to the region. To help finance this project, Blackberry Meadows Farm received a large grant from The Sprout Fund's Spring program.

* Learn About the Diversity In Your Own Backyard, The Sprout Fund

Carnegie Science Center educates children, youth, and families about science by connecting it to everyday life. Among the center's methods of educating audiences are its traveling science programs.

* Help Pittsburgh Urban Farm Build Bioshelter, The Sprout Fund

Garfield Community Farm is an urban farming project revitalizing vacant land in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood. Led by The Open Door Presbyterian Church, the farm has been learning, practicing, and teaching principles of organic, permaculture gardening in the Garfield community since 2008.

* Help Create A Refuge For Pittsburgh's Natural Heritage, The Sprout Fund

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden has been working for several years removing old coal mines, renovating, and repopulating a section of Settler's Cabin County Park with a diverse array of plant life.

* Lesson Plan Reviewers Needed For Biodiversity Education Project

Natural Biodiversity is seeking teachers and environmental educators to review lesson plans geared toward 4th through 8th grades as part of the Biodiversity Education...the Creative Way project.

* DEP Now Accepting Applications For 2011 Recycling Performance Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for 2011 Recycling Performance Grants.  Applications are due October 1.  (formal notice)  Visit DEP’s Recycling Grants webpage for more information.

* University of Pennsylvania Joins Mark Group To Bring Sustainability Home

Mark Group, a leading global provider of home energy efficiency analysis and improvements, has joined with Penn Home Ownership Services at The University of Pennsylvania to offer 'Penn sustainability@ home.' 

* DEP Forecasts Air Quality Action Day On June 16 For Pittsburgh

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a code Orange air quality action day for ozone for June 16 in the Pittsburgh and Liberty-Clairton areas.

* DEP Sets June 27 Meeting/Hearing On Homer City Power Plant Proposal

The Department of Environmental Protection will host a public meeting and hearing on June 27, about EME Homer City Generation’s proposal to increase its permitted discharge of wastewater.

* DCNR Announces Grants Available For Protecting Non-Game Species

Marking its 30th anniversary of safeguarding Pennsylvania's non-game animals, native plants and their habitat, the Wild Resource Conservation Program again is accepting applications for grants to protect the state's native biodiversity.

* Habitat Work Underway On State Game Lands

As Pennsylvania hunters and trappers begin purchasing their 2012-13 licenses, Pennsylvania Game Commission teams of land managers, foresters and Food and Cover Corps crews are focusing their efforts – and the agency's license revenues – on a massive amount of habitat improvement projects on the more than 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands.

* Hawk Mountain Launches Pennsylvania Farmland Raptors Project

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, is in search of Pennsylvania farmers and rural land owners willing to help four farm-friendly raptors. In the spotlight are three species in sharp decline: the Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl and Northern Harrier, as well as the American Kestrel, a species that is still common but has shown a steady drop in populations.

* Feature- Game Commission Renews Effort To Protect Great Egrets, Night Herons

Game Commission officials Wednesday announced they, along with officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, have renewed a program to sustain and protect a historic nesting colony of great egrets and black-crowned night-herons - two state endangered species - on Wade Island, a three-acre isle near Harrisburg in the Susquehanna River.

* PA Parks & Forests Foundation June Newsletter Now Available

The June newsletter of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation is now available online.  Subscribe now to the PPFF’s regular Friday email as well as their regular newsletter by clicking here.

* Fish & Boat Commission To Host June 21 Meeting On Penns Creek Access

The Fish and Boat Commission is inviting private landowners who own stream frontage along Penns Creek in Centre and Union counties to attend an upcoming public meeting to learn about the benefits of the agency’s public fishing access and conservation easement programs.

* State Agencies Issue Alert To Contain Invasive Species In Youghiogheny

With the recent confirmation of the invasive aquatic alga known as didymo, or “rock snot,” in the Youghiogheny River, Fayette County, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are reminding anglers and boaters that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective means of preventing its spread to other waters.

* Feature- Habitat Loss: Can We Do More For Showshoe Hares In Pennsylvania?

At the direction of its Board of Game Commissioners, the Game Commission will take a closer look at what’s limiting the state’s indigenous snowshoe hare population. Insufficient quality habitat has been the primary suspect for some time.

* Opportunity To Bid On DEP, DCNR Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation project in Fayette County and a Lackawanna County mine reclamation project.

* Grants & Awards

This section gives you a heads up on upcoming deadlines for awards and grants and other recognition programs.  NEW means new from last week.

* Budget/Quick Clips

Here's a selection of NewClips on environmental topics from around the state--

* Marcellus Shale NewsClips

Here are NewsClips on topics related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling---

* Flooding/Watershed NewsClips

Here are NewsClips on watershed topics from around the state--

* Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits

No new regulations were published this week. Pennsylvania Bulletin - June 16, 2012

* Calendar Of Events

Upcoming legislative meetings, conferences, workshops, plus links to other online calendars.  Meetings are in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted.  NEW means new from last week.  Go to the online Calendar webpage.

* Stories Invited

Send your stories, photos and videos about your project, environmental issues or programs for publication in the PA Environment Digest to:

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

PA Environment Digest is a supporting member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, Pennsylvania Council Trout Unlimited and the Doc Fritchey Chapter Trout Unlimited.

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