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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
December 06, 2004
PDF Version PA Environment Digest 12/06/04
* Now It Is Over, Done
The 2003-04 session of the General Assembly was history this week as of midnight Tuesday. The House and Senate did not come back as requested by Gov. Rendell to deal with the mass transit funding issue or the Growing Greener II environmental spending proposal.
* Bills Signed into Law
Here's a rundown on the environmental bills signed into law by Gov. Rendell this week--
* Bills Still on Governor’s Desk
Mass Transit Districts: House Bill 994 (Rubley-R-Chester) authorizes the creation of public transportation districts to work cooperatively with counties, local governments, transportation authorities, the private sector, AMTRAK and other providers of public transportation and passenger rail services. The bill is on the Governor’s Desk. (Last day for Governor’s action December 10.)
* Signing of Alternative Energy Act “a Big Step Forward” Toward Greener Future
Rep. Ross (R-Chester) hailed the signing of the Alternative Energy Bill, Senate Bill 1030 (Erickson-R-Delaware), by Gov. Rendell this week. The act mandates that 18 percent of energy sold by electric energy suppliers in Pennsylvania will be from alternative energy sources such as wind power, solar power, and cogeneration.
* Governor Signs Fishing & Boating Funding Bill
Gov. Rendell has signed House Bill 2155 into law this week, providing much-needed operating revenue for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) through modest increases in the fees charged for fishing licenses and boat registrations.
* Legislation Creates New Chesapeake Bay Education Program
Rep. Zug (R-Lebanon) has successfully promoted legislation to create the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education Program from concept to law. Zug’s House Bill 2775was signed into law by the governor this week.
* Make This a Greener Holiday
Holiday Waste Reduction Tips
* 2004 State of the Bay Report Finds No Change in Health of the Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2004 State of the Bay Report gives the health of the Bay a below passing grade. The report, released this week, grades the health of the Bay a “D,” with a health index rating of 27, the same as last year’s score.
* New Bay Council Chair Named
Rendell Named Chair of Chesapeake Bay Council
* Student Leader Wanted
Chesapeake Bay Citizens Advisory Council Seeks Youth Representative
* EPA Emergency Preparedness Conference Meets in Philadelphia
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mid-Atlantic region will hold its annual emergency preparedness and prevention conference at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia on December 5-8.
* Volunteers Needed to Deal with Wildlife Impacts of Delaware River Spill
Over the next few days, weeks, and months, you can be instrumental in helping to document the extent of damage, oiled wildlife, and the long-term presence of oil over time related to the recent oil spill on the Delaware.
* PUC Approves PPL Rate Increase, Including Sustainable Energy Funding
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) this week approved a request from PPL Electric Utilities to raise distribution rates beginning Jan. 1 by $137.1 million (7.18 percent), approximately $27.3 million less than the company had requested.
* Pocono Creek Sustainability Pilot Project Begins
A kick-off meeting of the steering committee for the EPA Region 3-funded Pocono Creek Sustainability pilot project was held November 22, at the Delaware River Basin Commission offices. The project will evaluate the effects of growth and land use change on ground water, stream flow, and the ecology of Pocono Creek.
* DEP Solicits Proposals for Innovative Abandoned Mine Reclamation Projects
The Department of Environmental Protection this week began soliciting for proposals for innovative mine reclamation projects in two categories--
* Comments Invited on TMDL Plans in Allegheny, Beaver, Washington Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting public comments on two proposed Total Maximum Daily Loading Plans for –
* Officials Convene to Sign Great Lakes Declaration
In an unprecedented display of intergovernmental and multi-state collaboration, dozens of government officials and tribal representatives signed a Great Lakes Declaration and a framework document for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration to restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Officials in attendance included members of President Bush’s cabinet and senior staff, United States senators and congressmen, Great Lakes governors, Tribes, mayors, state senators and representatives.
* LEED Green Building Standards – Process, Future Developments
On December 15 Peter Templeton, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Director of LEED & International Programs, will lead a discussion of LEED Green Building Standards at the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh.
* Schools Join EPA to Improve Indoor Air Quality for Millions Of Children
Working with EPA to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for millions of American school children, more than 500 school representatives and health, technical and environmental experts will participate in EPA’s 5th Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium this week.
* New Grants To Reduce Lead Poisoning in High-Risk Communities
EPA is making available $750,000 to prevent lead-based paint related poisoning in high-risk areas. Under a new competitive lead grant program, the agency will provide funding to communities having high rates of elevated blood-lead levels, as well as to communities where there are conditions associated with elevated blood-lead levels.
* EPA Issues High Production Volume Chemical Challenge
EPA released a report this week that highlights the accomplishments of a collaborative partnership between EPA, the chemical industry and the environmental community in making data publicly available on high-production volume (HPV) chemicals.
* Business Actions to Address Climate Change: Case Studies of Five Industry Sectors
Curious how U.S. companies are managing their climate risk in the absence of Kyoto-style emissions regulations? A new report on U.S. business actions to address climate change was published in November by ) examines the climate management strategies of five industry sectors in the U.S. -- aluminum, chemical, electric power, paper products and forestry, and pharmaceuticals. Industry-specific sections end with an in-depth case study from a major player in each sector.
* $1.2 Million in Wild Resource Conservation Grants
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week announced 36 grants totaling more than $1.2 million to conserve Pennsylvania's rich diversity of native plants and animals through the Wild Resource Conservation Program.
* Agriculture Celebrates Bicentennial Farm Program `200 Years of Progress'
The Department of Agriculture this week celebrated "200 Years of Progress" in the agricultural industry by designating the William and Catherine Shirk Farm in East Earl, Lancaster County as its Bicentennial Farm of the year.

* Op-Ed: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

By Donald S. Welsh, U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator

* Quick Clips
Oil Prices, Landfills, Future Cars, eFACTS, Waste Plan Changes, Dredge Standard Review
* Taking Positive Action - Armstrong Recycles Over 20 Million Square Feet of Old Ceiling Tiles
Armstrong World Industries this week announced that its Ceiling Recycling Program has now diverted more than twenty-million-square-feet of old acoustical ceiling tiles from landfills.
* Watershed NewsClips
A collection of NewsClips on watershed topics from around the state.
* Regulations
Here's the latest on proposed and final regulations of DEP, PUC, the upcoming Environmental Quality Board agenda.
* Technical Guidance & Permits
No new guidance documents were published.
* Calendar of Events
Upcoming conferences, meetings and events, plus links to other calendars.
* Contributions Invited
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