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PaEnvironmentDigest Feb. 27, 2012

PaEnvironmentDigest Feb. 27, 2012

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Published by: www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com on Feb 25, 2012
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PA Environment Digest
An Update On Environmental Issues InPA
Edited By: David E. Hess, Crisci Associates
Winner 2009PAEE Business PartnerOf The Year AwardHarrisburg, PaFebruary 27, 2012DEP Secretary: I'm Bullish About This Budget And In Our Ability To Deliver
Secretary of Environmental Protection Michael Krancer told the Senate AppropriationsCommittee Wednesday DEP has the resources and personnel to properly regulate and protect pubic health and safety and the environment in all areas of the department, including MarcellusShale."I'm bullish about this budget and in our ability to deliver."A copy of Secretary Krancer's formal budget statementis available onlineand a summaryappears below.Video of the Senate budget hearings for theDepartment of Conservation & Natural ResourcesandDepartment of Environmental Protectionare available online. Here are some highlights of the Committee's two hours of questioning on DEP's proposed budget--
Drilling Wastewater Treatment:
Drilling companies have complied with the request to notsend their wastewater to public wastewater treatment facilities without the ability to properlytreat the water.He said it is one of the real success stories that happened without the need toissue orders.90 percent or more of the wastewater is being recycled and about 10 percent is being sent for disposal.He also said there are facilities being developed in-state specifically for treating drilling wastewater.He added DEP is continuing to monitor rivers like the Monongahela River for the impactof the drilling wastewater policy, but it is too early to draw any conclusions from theinformation.This issue was also addressed in Secretary Krancer's written opening statement (below).
County Option Marcellus Fee:
In response to a question about what happens if counties likeBradford do not adopt the new impact fee, Secretary Krancer said the funds DEP expects aresupplementing the funding they have now.The revenue from the impact fee is not "backfilling"funding that is not there.
Coordination With PUC On Impact Fee:
Secretary Krancer said he has a good personalrelationship with the Chair of the PUC Robert Powelson and talks to him almost every day socoordination on implementing the new impact fee should not be a problem.
 
Marcellus Shale Air Inventory:
In answer to a question about the Marcellus Shale air emissioninventory DEP is working on, Secretary Krancer said it will yield important data about the natureand extent of emissions related to the industry.This issue was also addressed in Secretary Krancer's written opening statement (below).
Uniform State vs. Local Regulation:
Asked whether the limits on local regulation of MarcellusShale drilling would be replicated for other industries, Secretary Krancer said he had no way to predict whether it will be expanded to other industries.He noted a similar concept was appliedto farming.
Marcellus Well Inventory:
In response to a question about a newspaper report that 495Marcellus wells were not in the DEP database, Secretary Krancer said DEP is working on itsdata management system which is always an issue.He said the agency does not make decisions based on newspaper articles.This issue was also addressed in Secretary Krancer's written opening statement (below).
Encourage Natural Gas Use:
Secretary Krancer agreed there should be more end use of naturalgas and its byproducts, but decisions about its use should be left up to the market to decide.
DRBC Drilling Regulation:
Secretary Krancer said he does not know when the Delaware River Basin Commission will finalize its drilling regulations.He said it should have been done lastyear.He noted other states have reduced their funding to DRBC by 70 percent (Delaware) whenPennsylvania only reduced it by 5 percent.
Drinking Water Well Standards:
In response to a question about the need to set drinking water well construction standards, Secretary Krancer said the Center for Rural Pennsylvaniadocumented the many issues with private water wells and that DEP has testified infavor of legislationsetting water well standards.
Permit Review Times/Consistency:
The reorganizationof the agency last year was aimed in part at making improvements in the consistency of permit reviews between regions SecretaryKrancer said.He also said an enforcement and permit process review in the agency founddifferent ways of doing the same things and those are in the process of being corrected.He said permit processing time depends on the quality of the applications coming in thedoor.Applicants need to give the department a good product to work with, said SecretaryKrancer.He also noted the agency is developing an e-permitting application process for certain programs.This issue was also addressed in Secretary Krancer's written opening statement (below).
Hazardous Sites Cleanup:
Secretary Krancer said with the phase out of the Capital Stock andFranchise Tax there will need to be a conversation on how to fund the Hazardous Sites CleanupFund, although the new Marcellus impact fee does provide some funding for the program.
Flood Recovery Funding:
Secretary Krancer said the cuts to the flood control and stormwater funding line items will not have a bearing on funding projects related to last year's flood damage.
 
It was noted the House is getting signals from the Corbett Administration they do not think anymore needs to be done on flood control projects, part of the six bill bipartisan package passed bythe Senate last September.Secretary Krancer said he would be happy to talk about the issue.This issue was also addressed in Secretary Krancer's written opening statement (below).
Delaware River Flooding:
In response to a question about New York reservoir releasescontributing to flooding along the Delaware River, Secretary Krancer said Pennsylvania has beenworking with New York under the flexible flow management agreement to provide better controlof Delaware River levels.
Riparian Buffers:
Secretary Krancer said they are looking to see how the requirement includedin Chapter 102 regulations requiring riparian buffers works in practice before he considerschanges.
Federal Mine Reclamation:
DEP expects about $67 million in federal mine reclamation fundsin FY 2012-13, up from $47 million in the current year.
Sewage Facilities/Operating Grants:
Secretary Krancer said the reality is the sewage relatedline items have been going down for some time.He noted local governments could supportthese with fees.This issue was also addressed in Secretary Krancer's written opening statement(below).
Expanding Recycling:
In response to a question about whether the state should expand therecycling program, Secretary Krancer said he would like to take that as a homework assignment
Formal Opening Statement
In hisformal budget statement, Secretary Krancer highlighted many different initiativesundertaken in the agency over the last year to improve operations and address major issues in thedepartment--
DEP Reorganization:
The objective of the reorganizationwas aimed a recasting DEP to reflectGov. Corbett's and his policy priorities of, among other things, getting DEP back to its basicmission, consistency in the application of rules and regulations and emphasizing brownfieldsredevelopment.
Flood Response:
The budget request includes the necessary state funding needed to trigger matching funds from the federal government for flood recovery.Secretary Krancer noted DEPhad a major role in flood recovery in response to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,including issuing over 1,000 emergency permits for flood debris cleanup, distributed about 3,000drinking water well test kits, enhanced vector control programs to monitor and spray in 18counties, helped facilitate county-centralized debris collection centers and secured a gasolineshortage declaration for Western PA.
Drilling Wastewater:
Secretary Krancer said the call to drillers tocease delivering wastewater to 15 water treatment facilities previously exempted from Total Dissolved Solids regulations was

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