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PaEnvironmentDigest July 8, 2013

PaEnvironmentDigest July 8, 2013

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A weekly newsletter on environmental issues in Pennsylvania, including Marcellus Shale natural gas development.
A weekly newsletter on environmental issues in Pennsylvania, including Marcellus Shale natural gas development.

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Published by: www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com on Jul 06, 2013
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PA Environment Digest
An Update On Environmental Issues In PA
Edited By: David E. Hess, Crisci Associates
Winner 2009PAEE Business PartnerOf The Year Award
 
Harrisburg, Pa July 8, 2013Corbett Signs FY 2013-14 Budget, Without R aising Taxes, Without Other Priorities
About 90 minutes before midnight on June 30, Gov. Tom Corbett signed the 2013-14 budget--HouseBill 1437(Adolph-R-Delaware), Corbett’s third on-time budget. Corbett said the budget helps our children receive the best education possible, helps those who need it most, and helps employers grow jobs - without raising taxes for working families.With the FY 2013-14 General Fund budget now on the books, we now know $1.9 billion has been cut or diverted from environmental programs over the last 11 years, starting with the record budget and staff cuts by Gov. Rendell in each year of his administration. (See related article.)Gov. Rendell's share of these cuts/diversions is $1.4 billion. Gov. Corbett's share is $533.5million, so far.Surrounded by Republican members of the House, but not the Senate, Corbett signed the$28.375 billion budget last Sunday evening June 30 in the Governor’s Reception Room.The Governor, however, went 0 for 3 in the legislative priorities he wanted to be adopted alongwith the budget-- pension reform, liquor privatization and additional transportation funding.The House Transportation Committee amended and reported outSenate Bill 1(Rafferty-R-Montgomery) on June 27 with a plan providing for $1.9 billion in additional highway, bridgeand transit funding after fully implemented in five years. (Click Herefor a summary.) The bill remains onthe House Calendar awaiting a full House debate before it would be referred to the HouseAppropriations Committee.The Senate and House also completed work on three of the four bills that implement parts of the budget agreement-- the Education, Welfare and Tax Code bills. The Fiscal Code bill was againamended by the Senate and must now return to the House for a concurrence vote. (See related article.)The Senate and House have both adjourned until September 23, but the House has scheduled anon-voting session day for July 8 and the Senate can be recalled if need be.Click Herefor an “enhanced” FY 2013-14 budget fact sheet from the Governor’s office.Click Hereto view a Senate Republican spreadsheet comparing FY 2012-13 and new FY 2013-14appropriations.Click Herefor the agency-by-agency budget spreadsheet which compares current year funding,the Governor’s request and the agreed-to budget numbers.Click Herefor House Democratic FY2013-14 budget spreadsheet.Click Herefor House Republicans budget spreadsheet.Some highlights include--
DEP
 
Conservation Districts- restored $2.5 million ($350,000 less than last year, but this is in addition toabout $5 million in Act 13 drilling impact fees going to conservation districts)Sewage Facilities Planning Grants- restored $200,000 (zeroed out last year) Natural Gas Drilling Research - new $150,000 (in Fiscal Code bill)Overall- $2.8 million increase
DCNR 
Heritage Parks - restored $2.2 million (zeroed out last few years)Overall - $22.7 million cut (General Fund monies were cut, but Oil and Gas Fund revenues were usedto support the DCNR budget. More than $106 million of DCNR’s roughly $300 million budget willcome from oil and gas royalties and lease payments in FY 2013-14)
Agriculture
Resource Enhancement and Protection Farm Conservation Tax Credit - retained $10 millionAgricultural Land Preservation- $35 millionConservation Districts- $869,000 ($150,000 less than last year, same note as above)Overall- $5.7 million cut ($3.4 million cut in General Govt. Operations)
Environmental Hearing Board-
$2.1 million ($181,000 more than last year)
Commonwealth Financing Authority-
$7.5 million less than last year 
NewsClips:
Corbett Signs $28.4 Billion BudgetCorbett Beats Deadline, Signs BudgetCorbett, House GOP Punts On Key PrioritiesCorbett Promises To Redouble Efforts On Liquor, TransportationChances For Transportation, Liquor Bills SlimCorbett Sees Hope For His AgendaCorbett Strikes Out On Top PrioritiesBudget Relies More On Gas Royalties To Fund DCNR DCNR Gets Lion’s Share Of Funding From DrillingWinners, Losers In PA BudgetState Budget Boosts Several Key AreasLegislature Fails To Act On Transportation FundingPennDOT Chief Warns Of Costs Of No Funding IncreaseHouse Fails To Take Up Transportation BillTransportation Bill Goes Nowhere In HouseGOP: House Dems Holding Transportation Funding Bill HostageAttention Sought For State’s Unpaved RoadsDrilling Costs Get Speedier Write-Off Corbett Abandoning State Employee 40-Hour Work Week 
Tax Code, Fiscal Code Bills Following Budget Contain Surprises, Like Always
Before adjourning for the summer on July 1, House Republicans amended and sent back to the Senate bills that amend the Tax Code, Fiscal Code, Welfare Code and Education Code with provisions
 
implementing parts of the General Fund budget or other provisions Senate and House Republicansagreed to include.The Tax Code and Fiscal Code bills typically contain a number of provisions on environmentalissues and this year was no exception. Normally these bills are agreed-to by the majority parties in the Senate and House and theGovernor’s Office, but this year there was some “miscommunication” on the Fiscal Code bill that willrequire the House to come back and vote again to finish out the related budget bills.The “miscommunication” involved language in the Fiscal Code bill related to payday lendingSenate Republicans said they never agreed to.The House has set July 8 as a non-voting session day, but it is unknown at this time whether they will take up the Fiscal Code bill before they return in September. Gov. Corbett Wednesday publicly urged them to take final action on the bill so the budget package is complete.Here are the environmental provisions in the Tax and Fiscal Code bills--
Tax Code:
 House Bill 465MacKenzie (R-Berks) amends the Tax Code was amended with a dozennew provisions, including: extending the Wild Resource Conservation Tax Checkoff until 2018, repealsthe never used Coal Waste and Ultraclean Fuels Tax Credit. A summary andHouse Fiscal Noteareavailable. The House amended the bill and returned it to the Senate which concurred in Houseamendments. The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.
Fiscal Code:
 Senate Bill 591(Vulakovich-D-Allegheny) budget-related amendments to the FiscalCode was amended and reported out of the House Appropriations Committee and was passed by theHouse. The bill includes provisions related to eliminating General Fund appropriations to DEP for theConsumer Energy Program for FY 2012-13 and FY 2013-14, appropriates $150,000 for independentresearch regarding natural gas drilling to DEP, gives priorities to municipalities in counties of the sixth,seventh and eighth class with approved applications for Sewage Facilities Planning Grants, extends the payback of the Storage Tank Fund to July 2029, $3 million was appropriated to the CommonwealthFinancing Authority for water and sewer projects costing between $50,000 and $150,000, directingDCNR to enter into an agreement to manage Washington Crossing Historic Park with the PA Historicaland Museum Commission.The bill was amended by the Senate to remove provisions related to payday lending and nowmust return to the House for a concurrence vote.
NewsClips:
Corbett Tells House, Senate To Send Him Fiscal Code BillSenate Takes Out Payday Lending Language From Fiscal Code
Growing Greener Coalition Praises Governor, General Assembly On Budget
ThePA Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservationorganizations in the Commonwealth, Sunday praised the Corbett Administration and the House andSenate for including critical conservation programs in the 2013-2014 state budget.Specifically, the general fund budget includes $2.25 million for the state’s Heritage Areas

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