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Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter
Nov. 12, 2012
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* Auditor General-Elect DePasquale Promises To Audit DEP Water Protection Programs

Eugene DePasquale, a member of the House and a former deputy secretary with the Department of Environmental Protection, was elected to the position of Auditor General Tuesday.  During his campaign he promised to use his office to monitor state agencies' efforts to protect Pennsylvania's natural resources.

* Attorney General-Elect Kane Promises To Use Laws To Protect Natural Resources

Kathleen Kane, a former assistant district attorney for Lackawanna County, was elected Attorney General Tuesday promising to use the state's environmental laws to protect citizens and natural resources.

* Unfinished Business: PA Supreme Court Decision On Marcellus Shale Drilling Law

On September 17 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the appeal of a Commonwealth Court decision in July striking down provisions of Act 13, the Marcellus Shale drilling law, restricting the application of local zoning to drilling operations and provisions requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to issue waivers to setback requirements.

* Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule

Republican and Democratic Caucuses in the Senate and House will hold leadership elections next week for the new 2013-14 legislative session due to begin on January 1.

* Joint Budget Committee Releases Reports On Forest Certification, Water Trail Impacts Nov. 14

The Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee meets on November 14 to discuss and release reports on the costs and benefits of FSC certification of DCNR forests and a PA recreational water trails economic impact study. 

* DEP Secretary Responds To Calls For Investigation Into Drilling Water Testing Program

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer Tuesday responded directly to charges made by Rep. Jesse White (D-Westmoreland) that DEP did not share full drilling water test results with homeowners.

* Carnegie Mellon: Bromide Down In Mon, Still Elevated In Allegheny River

The Tribune Review reported Friday a study by Carnegie Mellon University says a water pollution problem in the Monongahela River that may have been linked to Marcellus Shale drilling is going away, but is still elevated in the Allegheny River.

* PUC Releases Updated Distribution Of Drilling Impact Fees

The Public Utility Commission Wednesday released an updated distribution spreadsheet for Act 13 drilling impact fee for local governments and state programs.

* Conservation Districts Respond To Flooding From Hurricane Sandy

Everyday, the state’s 66 conservation districts work to preserve our natural environment. Efforts such as the design and implementation of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) as well as stream restoration, stream stabilization and erosion and sediment (E&S) controls are a part of their day-to-day operations.

* Stroud Scientists Sample Stormwater In Eye Of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has brought significant devastation to some East Coasters, but for scientists at Stroud Water Research Center, the University of Delaware, and the University of Exeter, it was another golden opportunity to collect stormwater data that will be pivotal in addressing issues related to climate change.

* State Parks, Forests Dodge Brunt Of Hurricane Sandy

Power outages, downed trees and limbs, and other wind damage were commonplace in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, but state parks and state forests were spared the severe damage associated with the historic coastal storm that struck October 29-30.

* Maintenance Help Now Available For Passive Mine Drainage Treatment Systems

Stream Restoration Inc. has received funding through DEP’s Growing Greener Program and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds to perform, upon request by a watershed group, maintenance on their passive mine drainage treatment systems.

* Holiday Gifts: Pottery With A Very Special Glaze To Support Watershed Restoration

Looking for a holiday gift that will please the most discriminating taste and help the environment? Consider pottery products from Clean Creek.

* Online Video: Field Survey Of Macroinvertebrates In Susquehanna River

Brianna Hutchinson, an Aquatic Ecologist with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, describes how SRBC surveys macroinvertebrates in the river to better understand the relationship between these aquatic species and the impacts of water pollution.  Click Here to watch the video.

* Entries Invited For Philadelphia Soak It Up! Design Competition

The Philadelphia Water Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Community Design Collaborative invites design professionals to enter Infill Philadelphia: Soak it Up!—an interdisciplinary design competition promoting the creative, innovative use of green stormwater infrastructure in Philadelphia and other cities.

* Penn State Extension: Pond, Lake Management Workshops Set For 2013

Penn State Extension sponsored or assisted with nine pond and lake workshops throughout Pennsylvania in 2012 which were attended by 433 pond and lake owners or managers representing over 1,300 acres of ponds and lakes.

* Meeting/Hearing Set On Marsh And Rock Creek Critical Area Resource Plan Dec. 12

The Department of Environmental Protection scheduled a public meeting and hearing on the Marsh and Rock Creek Critical Area Resource Plan for December 12.  The meeting will be held at the Adams County Agricultural Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg.  5:30. (formal notice)  Click Here for details.

* DEP Fines Beaver County Man $137,800 For Wetlands Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced Francois Bitz, of Baden, Beaver County, will pay $137,000 in civil penalties as part of a consent order and agreement for violating the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. 

* Revisions Proposed For Use Of PNDI During DEP Permit Reviews

The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice inviting comments on proposed changes the policy for using the PA Natural Diversity Inventory during permit reviews and evaluations in the November 10 PA Bulletin.

* American Water Works Assn Sponsors Marcellus Shale Webcast Nov. 14

The American Water Works Association will host a webinar entitled, “What the Frack?  The Real Deal With Fracking and the Water Industry,” November 14 starting at 11:00 a.m.

* DEP Reschedules Meeting/Hearing On Fayette Compressor Station For Nov. 13

The Department of Environmental Protection has rescheduled an open house and public hearing for November 13, about a permit application from Laurel Mountain Midstream LLC for the construction and operation of new equipment at its Shamrock Compressor Station in German Township, Fayette County.

* Keep PA Beautiful, Weis Markets Partner For America Recycles Day Events Nov. 10

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful local affiliates, in partnership with Weis Markets, will be holding special events in 5 counties on Saturday, November 10 to celebrate America Recycles Day and A Bag’s Life for Weis Markets’ customers recycling plastic bags. 

* EQB To Consider Air Quality Emission Fee Increases November 20

The Environmental Quality Board meets on November 20 to consider a proposed Title V Air Quality Emission Fee increases from $56 per ton to $85 per ton.  However, due to the decline in actual emissions, the revenue generated in 2014 will actually be less than in 2013.

* Coal Mining Permit Fee Increases Final, DEP Fee Increases Total $26.5 Million

The Environmental Quality Board published final regulations increasing permit review fee revenue  for surface and underground mining operations from about $50,000 annually to about $400,000 a year.  The final version of the fee increases were approved by the EQB in July (see the July EQB meeting agenda for more details).

* Natural Gas, Electric Suppliers Brief PUC On Winter Energy Supplies

The Public Utility Commission held its annual Winter Reliability Assessment Meeting Thursday where presenters reported that natural gas companies across Pennsylvania are prepared for this winter. 

* DEP At Home Webinar On Nov. 14 To Focus On Energy Conservation

The Department of Environmental Protection’s next “DEP at Home” webinar will be on November 14, at 7 p.m., to educate participants about ways to conserve energy and save money.

* DEP Awards Energy Efficiency, Pollution Prevention Grants To 56 Small Businesses

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday awarded $418,049 in grants to help 56 small businesses across Pennsylvania invest in energy-efficiency or pollution-prevention projects.

* Chatham University Receives STARS Gold Rating For Sustainability Achievements

Chatham University received a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education .

* PUC Issues Default Electric Service Proposal For Comment

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued for comment recommendations toward changing the default service electricity product that consumers receive, as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation designed to improve the state’s retail electricity market.

* PA Energy News Website Provides Latest Information On Energy Issues

The Pennsylvania Energy News website, sponsored by the Electric Power Generation Association, provides the public and decision-makers with the latest information on the rapidly changing energy industry in Pennsylvania.

* Conservation Landscape Summit Rescheduled For January 14-15

The Conservation Landscape Summit, postponed by Hurricane Sandy, has been rescheduled for January 14-15 at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Harrisburg.

* Former State Forester James Nelson To Be Honored November 14

Former State Forester James Nelson will be honored on November 14 during a dedication ceremony to rename the Tuscarora Wild Area the James C. Nelson Wild Area in Mifflin County.

* North America's Largest Predatory Bird To Visit Hawk Mountain Nov. 10

Visitors to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary will have a 100 percent chance of seeing North America’s largest predatory bird on “Golden Eagle Saturday,” held November 10 with one-day-only eagle programs presented at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

* Visitors Explore Geology At Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park visitors recently were invited to take a step back in time—way back in time—to trace the evolution of the landscape and other geologic history of the Fayette County park with the many rock formations.

* Funding For PA's Aquatic Resources In Cross-hairs Of Automatic Federal Cuts

Nearly a million dollars of contributions made by Pennsylvania’s anglers and boaters specifically to conserve aquatic resources, offer public access to waterways, and provide boating safety education will be withheld from the Fish and Boat Commission by the federal government in 2013 if Congress fails to pass a budget before the end of the year.

* Help Wanted: Penn State Director Of Agriculture & Environment Center

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences is seeking a qualified individual to serve as the Director of the Agriculture and Environment Center.

* Help Wanted: SRBC Desktop Support Specialist

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is seeking candidates to fill an entry-level Desktop Support Specialist position in its Information Technology Program.  Click Here for details.

* Your 2 Cents: Issues On Advisory Committee Agendas

This section gives you a continuously updated thumbnail sketch of issues to be considered in upcoming advisory committee meetings where the agendas have been released

* 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

The Environmental Quality Board meets on November 20 to consider a proposed Title V Air Quality Emission Fee increases from $56 per ton to $85 per ton.  However, due to the decline in actual emissions, the revenue generated in 2014 will actually be less than in 2013.

* 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 links to 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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