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An Update On Environmental Issues In PA
Edited By: David E. Hess, Crisci Associates
Winner 2009 PAEE Business Partner Of The Year Award Harrisburg, Pa May 9, 2011
DEP Secretary Corrects The Record At House Environmental Committee Hearing The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week gave Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer the opportunity to correct the record on a number of issues facing the agency and to outline his priorities. Video Blog: Watch Krancer's Opening Comments In an opening statement, Krancer said DEP "must be on the forefront of protecting the public and the environment and must be open and transparent involving public and stakeholder participation while doing so. We owe it to the citizens of Pennsylvania to strive all the time for consistency in decision-making which leads to strong enforcement of the law." He said his priorities for the agency include: 1. A back to basics approach to management, focusing on getting the basic program administered by the department running effectively; 2. Priorities within DEP will be: regulating the natural gas industry, protecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and revitalizing brownfield and grayfield properties; and 3. The budget. Krancer also said he thinks environmental education needs to be a priority again, along with compliance assistance and pollution prevention. He said he hopes to bring more of a crossmedia approach to environmental protection, not separating programs into silos for air, water and the other programs. Krancer outlined a number of instances where he said the agency and staff were unfairly attacked since taking office in January. He also gave two examples of where opponents have used "bad science" to criticize agency policies. Back To Basics: Krancer said his agency's staff is anxious to get back to working on its main mission-- protecting the environment. He related a story of a geologist he met in one regional office who said she spends half her time some weeks being an funding administrator for a solar energy project. "If she wanted to be a loan officer, she would have gone to work for a bank, but that's not what she came to DEP for," Krancer said. Over 100 DEP Air, Waste and Water Quality field staff use all or part of their time to act as managers for federal stimulus projects, projects funded by the Energy Harvest and PA Energy
Development Authority programs taking time away from permit reviews, inspections and compliance activities. Maybe once these projects end, Krancer said, "I'll get fewer calls about permits stuck in the review process." Marcellus Permit "Rubber Stamp:" Krancer said a recent news article attacked four DEP staff by name for what it said was rubber stamping Marcellus Shale permit reviews, when in fact it was a lawyer attempting to try an appeal of a DEP action taken by the previous Administration in the press. The reporter just took the quotes from the lawyer at face value and did not know the Marcellus gas permit is not only reviewed by a geologist, but for meeting well casing requirements, water quality, erosion and sedimentation and other requirements. Krancer said it's his job to take on attacks like that, not his employees. He said he told his employees if they do their job, he will "have their backs." He also said he inherited a "balkanized" Oil and Gas Program where three different regions and Central Office each have pieces of the program. "I'm not happy with that, we need more focus and need to be coordinated," Krancer said. "Any ideas I'm delighted to have (for changing the program)." Marcellus Shale Enforcement: Krancer said it was never his order to review all notices of violation before they were issued in the Oil and Gas Program as reported in news articles. "I'm here to tell you inspectors were never under an order or directive or anything else to clear through Mike Krancer or anybody else in Central Office to write notices of violation. That story was blown way out of proportion; it was never the case," said Krancer. He said what he is doing is focusing on consistency and making sure notice of violations and enforcement actions stand up when they are challenged in court. He noted the state Oil and Gas Act requires the DEP Secretary to approve well shutdown orders and his agency has already taken a number of actions this year to shutdown operations not complying with the law. Krancer read a letter to the Committee from the Galeton Water Authority thanking DEP staff for taking prompt action in one recent case to shutdown an operation. He also pointed to the recent call to Marcellus Shale drillers to stop taking their wastewater to public treatment plants exempted from complying with the new Total Dissolved Solids water quality standards by the previous Administration. "We got compliance in 28 hours, not 28 days" using the approach we did, Krancer said. Krancer objected to assertions by some that Pennsylvania's Marcellus regulations are inadequate and said the Commonwealth now compares well with other states. He said his main job in regulating Marcellus Shale drilling is to protect the water. "At the end of the day, my job is to make sure gas is done and gas is done right," said Krancer. General Approach To Enforcement: As another example of his general attitude on enforcement, Krancer pointed to an opinion he wrote as an Environmental Hearing Board judge- DEP v. Leeward Construction (2001 EHB 870)-- where he asked the question about whether the penalty imposed in the case was high enough given the flagrant and deliberate nature of the violations by the defendant.
In particular, he said, he encouraged DEP staff throughout his career as a judge to bring him evidence of any economic benefits a violator gained by not complying with the law. The opinion says in part, "Allowing Leeward in these circumstances to have profited at all from this transaction is not only wrong, but also it puts at a competitive disadvantage companies that take the steps and incur the costs to perform their activities in a law abiding fashion. This latter situation creates a synergy of adverse effect by simultaneously promoting the degradation of the environment and undermining the competitive free market system." "I want to leave a legacy as a good enforcer," said Krancer. Oil and Gas Act Penalties: Krancer said in response to a question Gov. Corbett supports an increase in penalties under the Oil and Gas Act. Click Here for Gov. Corbett's natural gas regulation campaign commitments. Adequacy Of Oil and Gas Enforcement Staff: When asked if DEP had enough staff to enforce Oil and Gas Act requirements, Krancer said the agency is constantly looking at enforcement and permitting capabilities and will adjust its staff accordingly. He noted well permit fees make the Oil and Gas Program self-funding and natural gas severance tax proposals typically do not help fund DEP staff. Reuse Of Water: Several members of the Committee suggested there may be barriers to reusing public wastewater treatment effluent, treated acid mine drainage and treated drilling wastewater as fracking water and for other industrial process waters. Krancer said he would look into the issues because reusing water would be a win for everyone. Chesapeake Energy Well Blowout: Krancer told the Committee the agency needs answers to hard questions about how the Chesapeake Energy Marcellus well in Bradford County got out of control, spilling thousands of gallons of fracking water. He said he wants to know the answers to questions like, "Why did it take so long get a well capper out there." He noted all of Chesapeake Energy wells in Pennsylvania are now shut down pending the investigation of the blowout, which was verified by DEP staff. Working the Federal Government: Krancer said it has been difficult, at times, to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Office of Surface Mining when they suddenly, it seems, came to the conclusion that Pennsylvania is doing things wrong in regulating Marcellus gas wells and in issuing NPDES water quality permits. He said officials, like Steve Heare, head of EPA's Drinking Water Protection Division, said just a year ago that DEP was doing a good job. He also pointed to the non-profit review group STRONGER which also concluded Pennsylvania was doing a good job regulating Marcellus Shale. He said the day-to-day working environment with EPA is being made more difficult when staff level discussion "transcripts" on issues related to Marcellus Shale suddenly end up in articles published in the New York Times out of context. Krancer said House Resolution 87 (Pyle-R-Armstrong) which urges EPA to stop its oversight of state NPDES water quality permits and restore the federal-state relationship of past
years is a good message for the state to send. (The resolution was adopted by the House this week.) He also noted EPA's approach to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay does not recognize the fact that Pennsylvania has thousands of local governments and frequently does not count the good work done by the state's farmers to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution. "Suddenly DEP has gotten feckless and incompetent since January 19 (Gov. Corbett's swearing in day)," said Krancer. "The Department is on the job and doing a good job. We have 2,600 of some of the best employees." Energy Policy Formulation: Krancer said there will be significant changes in the way the state's energy policy is done. In the past, the DEP Secretary was the be-all and end-all for energy policy. "You're not going to see that anymore," Krancer said. He said he will be part of a team, working with the Governor's Energy Executive Patrick Henderson, to address energy issues. He noted Pennsylvania needs a diversified energy portfolio-- nuclear, coal, natural gas, solar and wind-- for the future. Examples of Bad Science: Krancer pointed to two recent examples of what he called "bad science" which attempt to influence public policy. One was a Cornell University study which wrongly concluded the carbon footprint of natural gas was even larger than coal. Independent analysts concluded the study overstates the carbon emissions by at least 75 percent. The other was a report by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on hazardous chemicals and carcinogens in Marcellus Shale fracking fluids which Krancer called "unconscionable" for its misrepresentation of basic information and the public health risk. Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee and Rep. Camille George (D-Clearfield) serves as Minority Chair. NewsClips: DEP Chief Defends His Agency On Gas Drillers Corbett: Drilling Violations Didn't Need OK From Top Governor Backs DEP's Drilling Citations State Kills Directive On Shale Violations DEP Ends Drilling Violation Approval Procedure Editorial: Siding With Drillers Senate Committee Unanimously Supports Richard Allan For DCNR The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week unanimously supported the nomination of Richard Allan for Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. A video of the hearing is available on the Committee webpage. A resident of Cumberland County, Allan has served as executive director for the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, members of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and on the boards of the Recycling Markets Development Center, PA Environmental Council and PA Resources Council.
Acting Secretary Allan was a founding member of Back Mountain Recreation, Inc., a recreation and environmental facility in Luzerne County. He was also a founding member of the North Branch Land Trust, which provides management to more than 10,000 acres of land in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In an opening statement before the Committee, Allan said, "The agency’s programs and services are steeped in history, with parks and forests programs dating back more than 100 years. "Our mission is just as important now as it was then, and will continue to play a vital role in the future of Pennsylvania: maintaining and improving State Parks; managing State Forest lands to assure their long-term health, sustainability and economic use; administering grant and technical assistance programs that promote land conservation and sustainable communities; and providing outdoor connections for our citizens and visitors. "DCNR has transitioned itself from a land management model to an agency that not only protects and enhances the state’s irreplaceable natural treasures, but also improves the health and quality of life of our citizens and supports communities, economies and industries. "We are not without out challenges. Being from the coal regions, I understand how resource extraction can have a long-term impact on people and landscapes. I know that we will need to continue to be vigilant about managing and monitoring natural gas activities on our public lands, and to the greatest extent possible limit its impacts on our sustainable community and conservation landscape efforts." He called to the attention of the Committee the fact that the state's forests were recently re-certified as well-managed by an independent organization, the Outdoor Recreation Plan will be recognized at the end of May as the best in the nation by the National Association of Recreation Planners and Pennsylvania's State Parks were given the national Gold Medal Award. Recent studies, he said, concluded for every dollar invested in State Parks and Forests, it returns $9 in economic activity generating more than $928 million in local visitor expenditures. In addition, Pennsylvania's certified well-managed State Forests support a multi-billion timber and energy industry as well as providing clean water and air, hiking and other outdoor activities, scenic beauty and habitat. "My vision for this department is to hold it up as the best conservation agency in the country, because how we manage our lands; protect our open spaces; grow our communities; inspire our citizens; and preserve precious habitat will shape our future as Pennsylvanians," said Allan. Here is a quick summary of issues were brought up in questions by Committee membersClosing State Parks: Allan said he does not anticipate closing any State Parks due to budget cuts. Although there were cuts to the State Parks' operating budget, expenses will be made up with a proposed transfer from the Oil and Gas Fund. Marcellus Shale Leases: The DCNR budget anticipates receiving about $27 million in royalties from Marcellus gas leases by June 30 and another $65 million in the next fiscal year and those revenues will be available to help keep up with operational expenses. Allan said revenue estimates have been very conservative given the volatility of the natural gas market, but he expects the revenues could double in the next few years.
Marcellus Drilling Coordination With DEP: Allan said DCNR did an environmental assessment on State Forest lands before any leasing was done by the agency. He called a recently rescinded drilling permit policy the Rendell Administration had adopted for DEP and DCNR redundant because the environmental assessment already done by DCNR. He noted DCNR recently developed detailed guidelines and best management practices to cover drilling operations. Heritage Area Funding: Even though the line item for Heritage Areas is proposed to be zeroed out next year, Allan said they are still eligible to apply for Community Conservation Partnership Grants. Ridley Creek State Park Upgrades: In response to a question about upgrading facilities in the park and rented out to the PA Resources Council, Allan said he was very familiar with the Park because he was there many times as a member of the PRC board. He said he hopes to be able to expand environmental education opportunities and make repairs to other buildings at the site. Moratorium On Drilling: Allan said there have been no discussions about changing the moratorium on Marcellus drilling on State Forest lands [enacted a month before the November election by the Rendell Administration]. He said he and his staff have been focusing on developing best management practices and a better drilling monitoring program. State Park Drilling: Even though the state only owns 15 percent of the mineral rights under State Parks, Allan said they will be able to control the impacts of drilling under Parks through agreements with drilling companies. He noted the state owns 85 percent of the mineral rights under State Forest lands. Natural Gas Pipelines: Allan said any pipeline companies seeking to run gathering or interstate pipelines through State Forest land will have to follow all the guidelines and best management practices DCNR has developed for drilling operations so they can avoid or limit those impacts. He noted the environmental assessments already done on State Forest lands will help avoid averse impacts on sensitive areas. State Park Use: Allan noted State Park visitation is increasing, in part because of the economy is discouraging citizens from travelling out of state. He said the agency is focused on giving visitors a variety of experiences. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is responsible for maintaining and preserving the 117 State Parks; managing the 2.1 million acres of state forest land; providing information on the state's ecological and geologic resources; and establishing community conservation partnerships with grants and technical assistance to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, regional heritage parks, open space and natural areas. Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango) serves as Majority Chair and Sen. John Yudichak (DLuzerne) serves as Minority Chair. Copies of amendments and a video of the hearing are available at the Committee webpage.
Related Stories Senate Committee OKs Bills On Other State Land Drilling, Gas Leasing Payments, Other Issues 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-Session Schedule Here is the Senate and House schedule-- 21 voting days until budget deadline. Senate May 9, 10, 11, 23, 24 June 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30 House May 9. 10, 11, 23, 24, and 25 June 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, and 30 Bill Calendars House: House Bill 170 (Miller-R-York) to improve safety on the roadways for Pennsylvania bicyclists. <> Click Here for full House Bill Calendar. Senate: Senate Bill 292 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) Amends the Flood Control Law by increasing the minimum amount which must be bid through a public advertising process from $4,000 to $25,000 for flood control projects performed by the Water and Power Resources Board; Senate Bill 308 (Pippy-R-Allegheny) further providing for the eligibility of sewer laterals for funding; Senate Bill 367 (D.White-R-Indiana) authorizing the leasing of mineral rights on other state lands and depositing the proceeds in the Environmental Stewardship Fund; Senate Bill 460 (Yaw-R-Bradford) requiring when payment is made for oil or gas production to an interest owner, itemized deduction information will be included on the check stub or an attachment to the form payment; Senate Bill 469 (Argall-R-Schuylkill) Allows walking, jogging, bicycling, exercising and horseback riding on nature trails as a recreational purpose by limiting liability and was changed by a technical amendment; Senate Bill 618 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne) providing independent counsel for Environmental Quality Board; Senate Bill 791 (Earll-R-Erie) Amends the Bluff Recession and Setback Act by further defining "bluff recession hazard area," "bluff toe" and "shoreline;" and Senate Bill 898 (Tomlinson-R-Bucks) Amend the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act to provide that all municipal subdivision and land development ordinances are pre-empted by the Noncoal Act. <> Click Here for full Senate Bill Calendar. Committees
House: the House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing Marcellus shale natural gas drilling tax in Bethlehem. <> Click Here for full House Committee Schedule. Senate: the Appropriations Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 151 (Pileggi-RDelaware) providing for sharing Air Pollution Control Act penalties with municipalities. <> Click Here for full Senate Committee Schedule. Bills Introduced The following bills of interest were introduced this week-DEP Annual Reports: House Bill 1416 (Evankovich-R-Armstrong) requiring annual reports from DEP on Clean Water Fund, Solid Waste Abatement Fund and Clean Air Fund (TitleIV). Well Operation Response Team: House Bill 1427 (Conklin-D-Centre) establishing a Well Operation Response Tame within the Department of Labor and Industry. Appliance Energy Standards: House Bill 1432 (Briggs-D-Montgomery) establishing appliance energy efficiency standards. Municipal Aggregation: Senate Bill 1034 (MJ White-R-Venango) amending the public utility code to provide for municipal aggregation of electric generation supply. Keep PA Beautiful: Senate Resolution 111 (MJ White-R-Venango) congratulating the thousands of volunteers and organizations involved in the Great American Cleanup of PA (was already adopted this week by the Senate).
Bills On Governor's Desk
The following bill was given final action and is now on the Governor's desk for his approval or veto-Natural Gas Well/Coal Spacing: Senate Bill 265 (MJ White-R-Venango) updates the Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act to establishing adequate and safe spacing between Marcellus Shale natural gas well clusters and workable coal seams. The Governor has until May 13 to act on the bill.
Senate/House Bills Moving
The following bills of interest saw action this week in the House and Senate-House
Bike Safety: House Bill 170 (Miller-R-York) to improve safety on the roadways for Pennsylvania bicyclists was reported out of the House Transportation Committee and is now on the House Calendar for action. EPA Interference: House Resolution 87 (Pyle-R-Armstrong) urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop its unlawful interference in DEP permitting processes was adopted by the House. Senate Flood Control Projects: Senate Bill 292 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) Amends the Flood Control Law by increasing the minimum amount which must be bid through a public advertising process from $4,000 to $25,000 for flood control projects performed by the Water and Power Resources Board was reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action. Sewer Lateral Funding: Senate Bill 308 (Pippy-R-Allegheny) further providing for the eligibility of sewer laterals for funding was reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action. Drilling On Other State Lands: Senate Bill 367 (D.White-R-Indiana) authorizing the leasing of mineral rights on other state lands and depositing the proceeds in the Environmental Stewardship Fund. The bill was amended to require a minimum of 50 percent of revenue received from bonus and lease payments to go to the Environmental Stewardship Fund or the Key '93 Fund. The remaining revenue will go into the General Fund. All money derived from the PA State System of Higher Education land will be deposited into the Key '93 Fund. The bill was then reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action Gas Lease Payments: Senate Bill 460 (Yaw-R-Bradford) requiring when payment is made for oil or gas production to an interest owner, itemized deduction information will be included on the check stub or an attachment to the form payment. The bill was amended to further defines and details "division order", "interest owner" and the items listed on the check stub, including contact information. Removes Section 3.3 through Section 3.9 dealing with late payments and dissolution of the lease. The bill was then reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action. Landowner Recreation Liability: Senate Bill 469 (Argall-R-Schuylkill) Allows walking, jogging, bicycling, exercising and horseback riding on nature trails as a recreational purpose by limiting liability and was changed by a technical amendment and was reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action. EQB Counsel: Senate Bill 618 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne) providing independent counsel for Environmental Quality Board was reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.
Erie Bluff Recession: Senate Bill 791 (Earll-R-Erie) Amends the Bluff Recession and Setback Act by further defining "bluff recession hazard area," "bluff toe" and "shoreline" was reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action. Noncoal Mining: Senate Bill 898 (Tomlinson-R-Bucks) Amend the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act to provide that all municipal subdivision and land development ordinances are pre-empted by the Noncoal Act was reported out by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action. Keep PA Beautiful: Senate Resolution 111 (MJ White-R-Venango) congratulating the thousands of volunteers and organizations involved in the Great American Cleanup of PA was adopted by the Senate.
News From The Capitol
Senate Committee OKs Bills On Other State Land Drilling, Gas Leasing Payments, Other Issues The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week approved eight bills on a variety of topics including authorizing drilling on other state lands, making sewer laterals eligible for funding, redefining the definition of shoreline along Lake Erie and other issues. The bills included: -- Senate Bill 292 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) Amends the Flood Control Law by increasing the minimum amount which must be bid through a public advertising process from $4,000 to $25,000 for flood control projects performed by the Water and Power Resources Board; -- Senate Bill 308 (Pippy-R-Allegheny) further providing for the eligibility of sewer laterals for funding; -- Senate Bill 367 (D.White-R-Indiana) authorizing the leasing of mineral rights on other state lands and depositing the proceeds in the Environmental Stewardship Fund. The bill was amended to require a minimum of 50 percent of revenue received from bonus and lease payments to go to the Environmental Stewardship Fund or the Key '93 Fund. The remaining revenue will go into the General Fund. All money derived from the PA State System of Higher Education land will be deposited into the Key '93 Fund; -- Senate Bill 460 (Yaw-R-Bradford) requiring when payment is made for oil or gas production to an interest owner, itemized deduction information will be included on the check stub or an attachment to the form payment. The bill was amended to further defines and details "division order", "interest owner" and the items listed on the check stub, including contact information. Removes Section 3.3 through Section 3.9 dealing with late payments and dissolution of the lease; -- Senate Bill 469 (Argall-R-Schuylkill) Allows walking, jogging, bicycling, exercising and horseback riding on nature trails as a recreational purpose by limiting liability and was changed by a technical amendment;
-- Senate Bill 618 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne) providing independent counsel for Environmental Quality Board; -- Senate Bill 791 (Earll-R-Erie) Amends the Bluff Recession and Setback Act by further defining "bluff recession hazard area," "bluff toe" and "shoreline;" and -- Senate Bill 898 (Tomlinson-R-Bucks) Amend the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act to provide that all municipal subdivision and land development ordinances are pre-empted by the Noncoal Act. Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango) serves as Majority Chair and Sen. John Yudichak (DLuzerne) serves as Minority Chair. Copies of amendments and a video of the hearing are available at the Committee webpage. Senate Confirms Agriculture Secretary, 6 More Corbett Cabinet Nominees The Senate this week voted 50 to 0 to confirm seven more of Gov. Corbett's cabinet nominees, this time for Aging, Agriculture, Banking Corrections, Health, Revenue and the Adjutant General. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee recommended the approval of Richard Allan as Secretary for Conservation and Natural Resources and and the Senate Judiciary Committee also reported out the nomination of Linda Kelly for Attorney General and the sending both nominations to the full Senate for action. The Senate voted unanimously to approve these nominees: -- George Greig as Secretary of Agriculture; -- Daniel Meuser, Secretary of Revenue; -- Brian Duke as Secretary of Aging; -- Glenn Moyer as Secretary of Banking; -- John Wetzel as Secretary of Corrections; -- Dr. Eli Avila as Secretary of Health; and -- Major General Wesley Craig as Adjutant General of Pennsylvania. Nominees previously approved include: -- Ronald Tomalis, Secretary of Education; -- Michael Krancer, Secretary of Environmental Protection; -- Michael Consedine, Insurance Commissioner; and -- Carol Aichele, Secretary of the Commonwealth. -- C. Alan Walker, Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development; -- Barry Schoch as Secretary of Transportation; -- Sheri Phillips as Secretary of General Services; and -- Frank Noonan as State Police Commissioner. Nominations reported out of Committee -- Richard Allan as Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources Nominations to come before a Committee--- Gary Alexander as Secretary of Public Welfare (scheduled for May 11); and -- Julia Hearthway as secretary of Labor and Industry. The only major nomination left is for the new Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs which comes into existence in May.
Bicycle Bill Part Of Transportation Safety Package OK'd By House Committee The House Transportation Committee on this week reported out House Bill 170 (Miller-R-York) to improve safety on the roadways for Pennsylvania bicyclists. "Bike coalitions from around the Commonwealth support this legislation, as does the Pennsylvania Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee," Rep. Ron Miller said. "More people are using bicycles as a means of transportation, both recreationally and for commuting to and from work. They and automobile drivers need to respect and make accommodations for each other's space on our highways to co-exist." Rep. Miller's legislation amends the Vehicle Code to accomplish the following: -- Establish a minimum four-foot distance for motor vehicles while passing a bicycle; -- Prohibits motorists from making sudden right turns in front of a cyclist who is proceeding in the same direction; -- More clearly defines the requirement that bicyclists operate on the far right side of the roadway when proceeding at less than the prevailing speed; and -- Permits a vehicle to pass a bicycle in a no passing zone. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration. Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Planning Topic Of House Committee Hearing The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week held an informational meeting on nuclear power plant emergency preparedness and response capabilities "After seeing what occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, it is only natural to want to scrutinize our own nuclear power facilities and systems," said Rep. Stephen Barrar (RChester), Majority Chair of the Committee. "I was extremely impressed by the industry's training, cooperation and preparedness. The facilities frequently run drills to prepare for all types of scenarios, and they are constantly working with emergency responders in the community." Here's a quick summary of the testimony heard by the Committee. Alex Marion, with the Nuclear Energy Institute, provided an overview of the situation with the Fukushima Daiichi power plants in Japan and the steps taken so far by the utility to deal with the conditions created by the earthquake and tsunami. Joe Grimes, with Exelon Nuclear which has three nuclear facilities in Pennsylvania, outlined emergency planning requirements established by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the safety standards established by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. James Lash, with FirstEnergy Generation which operates the Beaver Valley power station, said his organization has 20 employees dedicated to emergency response planning and related exercises. He said full-scale exercises are conducted annually and evaluated by the NRC every two years. Tim Rausch, with PPL's Susquehanna Station, said safety was the ultimate requirement for operation and emphasized the importance of open communications with emergency response organizations, the state and local governments, the public and all stakeholders. Henry Tamanini, Chief, PEMA Technological Hazards Division, said as a result of the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island emergency planning in Pennsylvania has undergone a higher
level of scrutiny than elsewhere. The accident resulted in a significant upgrade in the capacity of state and local governments to handle emergencies of this type. David Allard, Director of DEP's Bureau of Radiation Protection, said DEP works to ensure the public's safety around each of the state's nuclear power plants, the nuclear research lab at Penn State University and at the nuclear facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Allard provided an overview of DEP's role in emergency planning, maintaining independent oversight at each power plant and maintaining an environmental monitoring program. Randy Glockley, Director, Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency, said there were many lessons learned in the 1979 accident at TMI about communication, warning the public and emergency planning. "Pennsylvania's nuclear facilities are very well equipped to manage an emergency, including a possible off-site power outage," said Rep. Barrar. "Pennsylvania residents should feel confident in the safety of these facilities, the oversight provided by the federal government regarding facility operations and the emergency response capabilities of our first responders. "One area I would like to learn more about is what would happen in the event of a largescale evacuation. I am interested in finding out who would bear the financial responsibility for feeding and housing evacuees. I am going to continue to pursue that information because I believe it is a vital part of our emergency planning and response." Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Beaver) serves as Minority Chair of the Committee. Senate Resolution Congratulates 186,000+ Great American Cleanup Of PA Volunteers The Senate this week unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 111 congratulating the more than 186,000 volunteers and supporting organizations which contribute to the success of the Great American Cleanup of PA. The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. The test of the resolution follows-A RESOLUTION Recognizing the volunteers participating in Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful's "Great American Cleanup of PA," March 1 through May 31, 2011. WHEREAS, The Great American Cleanup of PA is celebrating its ninth anniversary of involving people all across this Commonwealth in the cleanup of litter and trash along our roadsides, streams, beaches, parks, forests and neighborhoods to make our communities clean and beautiful; and WHEREAS, Since 2003, more than 1,100,000 volunteers have participated in the cleanups; last year alone, more than 186,000 individuals, members of Adopt-A-Highway groups, municipalities, conservation, school and youth groups, businesses, hunting and fishing clubs, community and civic organizations and sports teams were involved; and
WHEREAS, These cleanups have resulted in removing more than 54 million pounds of litter and waste from Pennsylvania's landscape since 2003, including 12 million pounds of litter during nearly 5,000 registered events in all of this Commonwealth's 67 counties last year; and WHEREAS, The Great American Cleanup of PA was organized with the help of a broad partnership of State agencies, nonprofit groups, businesses and other associations, including Keep America Beautiful, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Beverage Association, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, Waste Management, Keystone Sanitary Landfill, Steel Recycling Institute and the American Chemistry Council; and WHEREAS, The Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, including Keystone Sanitary Landfill and Waste Management, arrange for the free disposal of trash collected during the special "Let's Pick It Up PA-Everyday" initiative from April 16 through 30, for groups registered in the Great American Cleanup of PA; and WHEREAS, The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation and national Keep America Beautiful corporate sponsors provide free supplies to participants; and WHEREAS, In 2011, the national Great American Cleanup initiative of Keep America Beautiful held its kick-off event in Philadelphia to showcase the city's 250 volunteer cleanup events; and WHEREAS, In 2010, Keep America Beautiful recognized the Department of Transportation for its exemplary contributions and support of the Great American Cleanup of PA and the national Great American Cleanup for the eighth year in a row; and WHEREAS, In 2010, Keep America Beautiful recognized Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful for 100% county participation in the Great American Cleanup of PA; and therefore be it RESOLVED, That the Senate recognize the more than 186,000 volunteers, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and all the participating and supporting agencies and organizations of the "Great American Cleanup of PA" and "Let's Pick It Up PA-Everyday" initiatives for their contributions to keep Pennsylvania beautiful. Senate Committee Approves Bill To Allow Mineral Development On Other State Lands The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week approved Senate Bill 367 (D.White-R-Indiana) which would provide new options for the leasing of state-owned real property for mining and other resource extraction operations. “This legislation provides an opportunity currently available only to state game lands, state parks and state forests to generate revenue,” said Sen. Don White, sponsor of the bill. “My legislation does not require the state to lease or sell any mineral property rights, rather it provides them with new opportunities. Senate Bill 367 simply affords the option, one that in certain cases can supply the Commonwealth with much needed revenue while giving a boost to our state economy through the creation of new jobs. Equally important, much of the revenue generated from these leases will be used to boost Pennsylvania’s environmental protection efforts.”
Currently, only a few state agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission are authorized by law to enter into leases for mineral resource development. The bill was amend in Committee to require a minimum of 50 percent of revenue received from bonus and lease payments to go to the Environmental Stewardship Fund or the Key '93 Fund. The remaining revenue will go into the General Fund. All money derived from the PA State System of Higher Education land will be deposited into the Key '93 Fund; The Department of General Services would have the option to make and execute contracts or leases for the mining or removal of any valuable resources that may be found in state lands. SB 367 is almost identical to Senate Bill 1159; legislation introduced by Senator White last session and approved by the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in March 2010. “This fits well with the proposals recently made by the Governor when he urged state universities to consider drilling for natural gas below campus to help solve their financial problems,” Sen. White said. “This legislation would give SSHE (State System of Higher Education) schools that option and allow the system to benefit from the royalties.” The bill now goes to the full Senate for action. Sen. Brewster To Introduce Marcellus Severance Tax Bill To Fund Education Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) this week announced he will introduce legislation to place a 7 percent extraction tax on gas drilling to restore education funds, initiate public works projects that benefit local municipalities and protect Pennsylvania’s environment. Sen. Brewster’s legislation would also mandate that those who work at drilling sites be trained to prevent and respond to drilling-related emergencies. “Instituting a moderate tax on Marcellus shale drilling companies would ensure that we have the financial resources to restore education funds, pay for adequate environmental protection and fund local road, bridge and sewage system improvements,” Sen. Brewster said. “There is no reason why we should not pursue a reasonable extraction tax that meets the needs of Pennsylvania. The Marcellus and Utica shale deposits are a resource that will serve us throughout this century," said Sen. Brewster. "It’s a resource that belongs to all Pennsylvania and all of our taxpayers should benefit. It’s time Pennsylvania joins all other gas-producing states in implementing a reasonable tax on drilling companies.” The legislation calls for a 7 percent Marcellus Shale extraction tax that would generate up to $280 million annually. His proposal is modeled after an extraction tax plan-- Senate Bill 1155- that passed the state House last year. Sen. Brewster’s bill differs in that it would fund education and enable gas drilling companies to reduce their tax liability by hiring Pennsylvania workers and investing in community projects such as parks, libraries and other facilities. “We want to reward companies that hire Pennsylvania workers and invest in Pennsylvania communities,” Sen. Brewster said. “My plan offers these companies tax credits that could cut their overall tax liability to as little as 5 percent.”
The proceeds of the revenue will be split three ways: 50 percent will be earmarked for education; 25 percent is targeted for state environmental protection and support of environmental programs as well as an escrow account specifically set aside for emergencies, and 25 percent of the revenue will be placed in a local government services account. In addition to the severance tax, bill requires additional training for any employee who works or has access to well-sites and drilling pads. Under the proposal, all workers would be required to complete a health and safety apprenticeship training program coordinated through local unions and community colleges. “The health and safety component of my legislation is an important part of protecting workers, local citizens, our waterways and environment,” Sen. Brewster said. “The new training component would ensure that workers who are in the field are trained to handle on-site emergencies that may arise.” “Pennsylvania finds itself experiencing what is a current day gold rush within our state; gas extraction from Marcellus shale. This new industry has the opportunity to grow in wealth and revenue for at least the next 50 years,” said Sen. Brewster. “In addition, we find our most cherished institution, public education, in need of funding. The new revenue from the gas extraction tax can be used to fund education and enable our schools to continue educating our leaders of tomorrow, as well as, train our workforce for the gas extraction industry. These two entities are perfect partners.” Sen. Brewster made his announcement at the Boyce Campus of the Community College of Allegheny County. He was joined by Dr. Charles Martoni, the school’s president. Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich (D-Lackawanna), who is working with Brewster on the legislation, unveiled the House version of the legislation at a news conference Friday in Scranton.
News From Around The State
Marcellus Commission Sets Work Group Meetings In May, June The Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission this week announced a series of meeting dates for its four working groups in May and June. Work group meetings will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., unless otherwise noted. The meeting dates are: -- May 9 - Infrastructure; -- May 10 - Public Health, Safety and Environmental Protection; -- May 11 - Local Impact and Emergency Response; -- May 12 - Economic and Workforce Development; -- June 6 - Local Impact and Emergency Response, 2nd Floor Training Room, 2nd Floor RCSOB; -- June 7 - Public Health, Safety and Environmental Protection; -- June 8 - Infrastructure; -- June 9 - Economic and Workforce Development; -- June 27 - Local Impact and Emergency Response, 2nd Floor Training Room, 2nd Floor RCSOB;
-- June 28 - Public Health, Safety and Environmental Protection; -- June 29 - Infrastructure; and -- June 30 - Economic and Workforce Development. For more information, visit the Marcellus Shale Commission webpage. Renew Growing Greener Coalition Recognizes Scarnati Impact Fee Proposal The Renew Growing Greener Coalition issued the following statement from Executive Director Andrew Heath in response to Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati's (R-Jefferson) release of his Marcellus Shale Impact Fee last week: "The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is pleased that Sen. Scarnati is getting involved in the Marcellus Shale discussion – this is a positive step forward. We also appreciate that Senator Scarnati has made numerous comments in the press over the past year expressing the importance of funding Growing Greener. "The Coalition has concerns about the legislation, but look forward to learning more about the environmental funding component and how the legislation will fund Growing Greener. “Although the proposal does not specifically mention the Environmental Stewardship Fund, nor Growing Greener, we are hopeful that the Governor and members of the legislature will recognize the significant benefits of addressing environmental, conservation and recreation priorities at the same time that our environment and communities are being impacted by the rapid development of Marcellus Shale gas.” Being offered as an Impact Fee, the Senator’s proposal is the first of its kind. Severance Tax proposals have been offered by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Rep. Camille George (DClearfield), Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) and each include funding for the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener). Details on how Sen. Scarnati’s Impact Fee will fund Growing Greener are still unknown. The Governor's proposed budget shows $27.4 million available for Growing Greener, an 82 percent reduction in funding from its average of $150 million a year over the last six years. The reduction is due to the Growing Greener II Bonds being depleted and the diversion of Growing Greener I funds to pay the Growing Greener II Bond debt service payment. Using funds from an impact fee or severance tax to fund the Environmental Stewardship Fund would ensure that Growing Greener continues to maintain the environmental health of our communities and to protect the natural resources that are critical to the future of the Commonwealth, its economic well being and quality of life for our citizens. The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing more than 250 organizations and government entities. NewsClips: Lycoming County Supports Growing Greener Op-Ed: Renew State's Growing Greener Program Op-Ed Restoring Funding For Growing Greener Rep. Harper Introduces Bill To Tax Marcellus Shale Gas Well Impact Fee Proposal Dodges T-Word
Column: Scarnati's Marcellus Impact Fee Pragmatic Option Impact Fee Plan May Exclude Pittsburgh From Proceeds Want To Ban Drillers? No Impact Fee Money For You! Blog: Corbett, What's Difference Between Fee, Tax? Op-Ed: Marcellus Impact Fee Should Only Be A Start John Baer: Time For Ringmaster Corbett To Begin Budget Circus Op-Ed: No More State Forest Marcellus Leasing Editorial: An Impact Fee For Shale Drillers Editorial: Enact Severance Tax For Marcellus Gas Editorial: Drilling Impact Fee Is A Good Start Editorial: Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Is Best Bet At This Point Editorial: Flawed Drilling Impact Fee Bill PA Conservation Districts Applaud Sen. Scarnati's Marcellus Fee Proposal Reinforcing his strong support of the environment and the 66 conservation districts across the Commonwealth, Sen. Joseph Scarnati (R-Jefferson) proposed a vital, permanent source of revenue that aims to protect and serve Pennsylvania’s communities, local governments and environment for years to come. “The new impact fee proposed by the Senator sends a clear message to his colleagues in the Senate and House that a new stream of funding from the valuable Marcellus Shale resource is indeed the right thing to do for Pennsylvania, its communities and environment,” said Robert B. Maiden, Executive Director of the PA Association of Conservation Districts. “If Pennsylvania is to develop this industry responsibly, organizations like the Conservation Districts and local governments must have the essential tools and capital available to continue to protect, preserve and enhance our environment. Senator Scarnati’s proposal does just that.” Sen. Scarnati’s plan provides a base $10,000 fee per gas well, with mechanisms in place for the fee to be raised depending on the life of the well and the price of natural gas. An estimated $121.2 million in fees would be collected by March 1, 2012, including a retroactive $45 million generated from wells drilled in 2010. Most of the revenues would be distributed to local governments through a Local Services Fund, with smaller portions of the fee distributed to county conservation districts and statewide environmental and infrastructure impacts. As the Marcellus Shale development continues and expands, so does the responsibility of the Conservation Districts to the region’s they serve. The proposed fee would allow the District’s to continue to provide vital services from permitting to improving water quality, open space, farm land preservation, air quality and streambank erosion programs. These programs, in addition to the myriad of other services that the District’s offer to their communities, will be guaranteed to expand and grow with the implementation of an impact fee. NewsClips: Lycoming County Supports Growing Greener Op-Ed: Renew State's Growing Greener Program Op-Ed Restoring Funding For Growing Greener Rep. Harper Introduces Bill To Tax Marcellus Shale Gas Well Impact Fee Proposal Dodges T-Word Column: Scarnati's Marcellus Impact Fee Pragmatic Option Impact Fee Plan May Exclude Pittsburgh From Proceeds
Want To Ban Drillers? No Impact Fee Money For You! Blog: Corbett, What's Difference Between Fee, Tax? Op-Ed: Marcellus Impact Fee Should Only Be A Start John Baer: Time For Ringmaster Corbett To Begin Budget Circus Op-Ed: No More State Forest Marcellus Leasing Editorial: An Impact Fee For Shale Drillers Editorial: Enact Severance Tax For Marcellus Gas Editorial: Drilling Impact Fee Is A Good Start Editorial: Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Is Best Bet At This Point Editorial: Flawed Drilling Impact Fee Bill Revenue: Drilling Industry Paid More Than $1 Billion in State Taxes Since 2006 At the direction of Gov. Tom Corbett, the Department of Revenue this week released an analysis showing that companies engaged in and related to natural gas drilling activities in Pennsylvania have paid more than $1.1 billion in state taxes since 2006. Those taxes came on top of the billions of dollars of infrastructure investments, royalty payments and permit fees paid by the industry. The Revenue Department’s analysis, which breaks out tax payments from oil and gas companies and their affiliates through April 2011, indicates that 857 of these companies have already paid $238.4 million in capital stock/foreign franchise tax, corporate net income tax, sales/use tax and employer withholding to the state in 2011. These figures from the first quarter of this year already exceed by nearly $20 million the total tax payments made in all of 2010. The department’s analysis also identified $214.2 million in personal income taxes paid since 2006 attributable to Marcellus Shale lease payments to individuals, royalty income and sales of assets. A comprehensive analysis of personal income tax paid on Marcellus Shale business profits is not feasible because the department cannot conclusively determine what profits from Marcellus Shale partnerships, S corporations and LLCs were passed through to individuals as opposed to C corporations, which are taxed at 3.07 percent and 9.99 percent, respectively. However, the department can determine that these oil and gas companies, and their affiliates, include 1,096 pass-through businesses. These businesses reported $675.4 million in 2008 income. These numbers will be updated monthly. Reaction Sharon Ward, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, said the Department of Revenue's report goes well beyond the taxes paid by drilling companies. The Center issued a report last week saying 85 percent of natural gas drilling companies paid nothing in taxes in 2008. She issued this statement on the agency's report: "The Department of Revenue's new analysis makes an apples to oranges comparison of the taxes paid by companies engaged in natural gas drilling. "It alters the definition of drilling companies from what was reported in the Governor's budget just two months ago. The definition was expanded to include companies that do not drill
at all and would not be subject to a drilling tax, such as pipeline operators and suppliers of sand used in the fracking process. It also counts taxes paid by individuals and customers as taxes paid by the industry. "The Department's analysis obscures as much as it illuminates. The largest tax contributions in each category come from a group of taxpayers identified as "other," which is not defined. The analysis tells us how many filers pay taxes but not how many filers owed nothing in taxes, which is a departure from previous Revenue analyses. When pressed, the Department indicated that only 20% of corporate tax filers paid any corporate income tax in 2010, which is fairly consistent with 2008 Revenue data cited in a report we released last week. "It's also important to remember that the natural gas industry is thriving in states with robust drilling taxes and we would expect that to be the case in Pennsylvania too. According to World Oil Online, gas companies drilled more wells in West Virginia, which imposes a drilling tax, than they did in Pennsylvania last year. Credible studies and comments by industry analysts indicate that a tax will not deter development of the Marcellus Shale. "We welcome responsible drilling to the commonwealth, but believe that any analysis of the impact of a drilling tax should start with an understanding of the actual taxes paid by the companies that would be directly impacted." NewsClips: Marcellus Tax Payments In Spotlight Revenue Dept. Overs View Of Marcellus Shale Tax Payments Editorial: State Cooks Tax Numbers With Gas Revenue Department April Collections 9% Above Estimates, 2.3% Ahead For Year Pennsylvania collected $3.3 billion in General Fund revenue in April, which was $273.2 million, or 9 percent, more than anticipated, the Department of Revenue reported today. Fiscal year-todate General Fund collections total $22.5 billion, which is $505.9 million, or 2.3 percent, above estimate. NewsClips: Corbett Cautions Against Plans To Spend Surplus PA Running $500 Million Ahead Of Tax Projections April Tax Collections Good News For Cash-Poor PA State Budget Surplus Tops $500 Million State Has Big Surplus Thanks To April Taxes Susquehanna Basin Commission Now Requires Permits For All Natural Gas Shales The Susquehanna River Basin Commission published a notice this week in the PA Bulletin requiring all natural gas well development projects targeting the Antes, Burkett, Geneseo, Mandata, Middlesex, Needmore, Rhinestreet as well as the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations to apply to SRBC for permission to withdraw water. The action was taken in response to interest in these formations by the natural gas industry, according to Thomas Beauduy, Deputy Executive Director and Counsel for SRBC. Several permits have already been issued in these formations by the Department of Environmental Protection.
As a result of the notice, SRBC requires anyone withdrawing 100,000 gallons of water per day and having a consumptive use of 20,000 gallons per day to get a permit for natural gas development in any shale formation. SRBC plans a formal change to its regulations to cover the other natural gas formations. Their regulations now only cover Marcellus and Utica shales. Visit SRBC's natural gas well development webpage for more information. Game Commission Announces Distribution Of $18 Million From Gas Leases Following recent approval of $18 million in gas lease agreements involving State Game Lands, Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe this week announced the agency will direct nearly $7 million into third-party, interest-bearing escrow accounts to be used exclusively to purchase replacement acreage for the State Game Lands system. This initial, one-time payment of $18 million was for the bonus and rental consideration of restricted use of both the surface and subsurface of the leased areas of State Game Lands. “Our policy continues to be that the wildlife resources and hunter and trappers, which may potentially be impacted by these leases, must be compensated by purchasing additional State Game Lands for wildlife habitats and public hunting and trapping areas,” Roe said. Roe also stated more than $11 million of this one-time payment will be deposited into the Game Fund, which is the agency’s operating budget, to be used to, among other things, increase to 200,000 the number of pheasants the agency raises and releases for small game hunters, beginning with the 2012-13 license year. As announced on April 12, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved four agreements involving oil and gas extraction on State Game Lands in Lycoming, Bradford and Tioga counties that will raise more than $18 million to support the agency’s mission of managing all wild birds and mammals and their habitats for current and future generations of Pennsylvanians. “The Game Commission, through Board actions, approved the purchase of nearly 10,000 acres to proactively fulfill our obligation to hunters and trappers to offset temporary recreation and habitat losses from oil, gas and mineral extraction previously approved on various State Game Lands throughout the state,” Roe said. “Much of the money used for these purchases was the result of recent Board actions to lease agency-owned rights to gas, oil, coal and minerals on State Game Lands. “By directing nearly $7 million into these interest-bearing escrow accounts, we will continue to fulfill our obligation to license-buyers and to meet our obligations in managing all wild birds and mammals for the Commonwealth.” Roe also noted, of the agreements approved by the Board on April 12, two will have no impact on the State Game Lands, as all drilling will be conducted from sites already under lease on private properties adjacent to the State Game Lands. “This means in two of the State Game Lands leases recently approved, there will be no surface disturbances, while the wildlife mission of the Game Commission will benefit from the much-needed revenues,” Roe said. “Without a proactive approach to lease these State Game Lands, much of the Game Commission’s potential oil/gas revenues would have been jeopardized by adjacent private oil/gas development that could have drained the Game Commission-owned oil/gas reserves.
“The ‘do nothing’ option would abdicate our fiduciary responsibility to both the state’s wildlife resources and our license buyers, who fund the acquisition of State Game Lands.” As has been the policy of the Game Commission in the past, portions of these upfront proceeds will be used as third-party commitments to acquire more parcels for the State Game Land system and directly support a multitude of wildlife resource management programs throughout the state. Roe said placing the remaining $11 million into the Game Fund will enable the agency to adequately fund many important programs and projects for wildlife and that license buyers expect from the agency. “One of those programs will be a return to raising and releasing 200,000 pheasants for the 2012-13 season,” Roe said. “While it is too late in this year’s pheasant production cycle to increase production for the 2011-12 license year, we will be able to return to the 200,000 pheasant stocking level for the subsequent hunting seasons. When the General Assembly last approved a license fee increase, which took effect in 1999, the Game Commission said that the revenue increase derived from that increase would need to be revisited in 2004. “Now, more than seven years beyond that time, the Game Commission has continued to fulfill its mission by tightening its financial belt and making cuts in programs and services,” Roe said. “Some of those cuts have been painful, such as the reduction in the agency’s pheasant production program, which took effect in 2005. At that time, we cut the production level from 200,000 birds down to 100,000. “When the cut was made in 2005, we pledged to revisit the decision if and when we received a license fee increase. Thanks to the revenues from these recent leases, we now have the resources to fulfill our commitment to our license buyers without having to wait for a license fee increase.” Roe stressed, however, that while the new revenues enable the agency to catch up on some of the valuable work that the agency does for wildlife and license buyers, it is by no means a solution. “These are one-time payments that serve as a temporary solution to a long-term need, and do not reflect a steady stream of adequate funding,” Roe said. “We recognize that everyone is facing difficult financial times, and we will do our best to make wise spending decisions with the monies entrusted to us by our license buyers. “But the $18 million in new revenues is equal to what one year’s worth of increased revenue would have been had a license fee increase been enacted in 2006. So, even with this one-time cash infusion, we still are four years behind where we should be if a license fee increase had been implemented.” At its April 2010 meeting, the Board unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Game Commissioner David Schreffler urging caution regarding development of Marcellus Shale gas resources on the agency’s State Game Lands system and reiterating the Agency’s policy to replace and potential disturbance to existing State Game Lands. For details on the lease agreements approved by the Board, go to the Game Commission’s website. NewsClip: Game Commission Details Gas Money Plans Registration Now Open For Sportsmen Marcellus Shale Summit June 14 In Johnstown
The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation is now accepting registrations for the Marcellus Shale Summit on June 4 at the University of Pittsburgh campus in Johnstown. In the heart of the Marcellus Shale region, sportsmen and women, and conservation groups are working together to identify and propose solutions to mitigate the impacts from gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing on hunting, fishing and trapping experiences. The groups in the Alliance include: Trout Unlimited, The Izaak Walton League, Quality Deer Management Association, PA Council of Trout Unlimited, The Wildlife Society, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and the New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited. For more information or to register, visit the Marcellus Shale Summit webpage. Chesapeake Bay Commission Urges More Federal Support To Clean Up Bay Members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack in D.C this week urges federal agencies to give more support to the six states and D.C. that are subject to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, a mandatory Clean Water Act pollution reduction plan. Recognizing current fiscal constraints, Commission members mainly focused on recommending modifications to existing programs, but also suggested creation of a Regional Innovative Technology Fund. Long term easements and set asides are used to protect fragile land in the watershed and prevent runoff and erosion, but high land prices in the Bay region hamper protection efforts. To increase the acres of protected lands and target vulnerable lands, the Commission recommended variable tiered payments based on the lands erosion, nutrient leaching or runoff to the Bay, and a higher geographic rate cap for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. To help farmers more quickly adopt innovative pollution control practices, Commission Chairman, Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster, photo), suggested that EPA compile results from the massive amounts of agricultural research on nutrient and sediment management, conservation best practices and ecosystem market opportunities, and quickly deliver this information to agencies and individuals that assist farmers with conservation planning. EPA and USDA were urged to continue their current efforts to work with the Bay states to provide farmers who meet nutrient and sediment loss baselines with a safe harbor, or “certainty” from further regulation. They were also asked to reconcile the findings from two different models often used to report on the success of pollution control efforts made by agriculture, the EPA Chesapeake Bay Model and the USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Report. Conflicting reports on Bay cleanup progress, and the resulting rhetoric clouds cleanup efforts, and understanding between federal and state agencies, farmers and environmentalists. Delegate Jim Hubbard (MD) and Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (VA) asked Jackson to make sure that federal installations follow through on their plans to reduce pollution to the Bay. The Commission also requested that EPA hold firm to pollution reductions required at the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant under the facility’s new permit, which will result in
a total reduction of approximately four million pounds of nitrogen per year to the Chesapeake Bay, the single-largest reduction of nitrogen loadings in the entire watershed. To help the states understand whether, and by how much, nutrient trading could reduce the economic burden of the mandatory clean up plan, the Commission recommended that EPA take the lead in a nutrient trading market analysis, taking into consideration environmental impacts that ensure the protection of local waters. One of the few suggestions for new spending was for a $30 million Regional Innovative Technology Fund to accelerate commercial adoption of emerging technologies that create alternatives to land application of manure, and that could have additional economic and environmental benefits such as electricity generation, carbon trading, nutrient trading, or production of organic soil amendments that could displace imported nutrients. The fund could also promote widespread production and use of biofuels, which could create new markets for farmers, incentivize winter crops, and stabilize fuel costs and would help states achieve clean water and energy independence goals. The Commission asked EPA to prepare an analysis of federal policy changes that could promote this type of innovation. Click Here for a copy of the requests to EPA. Click Here for a copy of the requests for USDA. NewsClips: Report Raises Concerns About Effectiveness Of Chesapeake Bay Plan Study Backs National Strategy To Clean Up Chesapeake Bay Groups Seek Impact Statement On Effects Of Marcellus Drilling National Research Council Sizes Up Chesapeake Bay Program After TMDL Process, Chesapeake Bay Program Is At Crossroads National Academy Of Sciences Releases Chesapeake Bay Program Evaluation The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences this week released a pilot study that contains science-based conclusions and recommendations to help the Chesapeake Bay Program evaluate its efforts to achieve nutrient reduction goals and clean up the Bay. The study, “Achieving Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Goals in the Chesapeake Bay: An Evaluation of Program Strategies and Implementation,” validates and provides constructive feedback on the work the Bay Program has undertaken during the last 18 months to improve accountability. “While supporting the program’s current efforts, the report also points out some critical challenges to consider in making decisions moving forward,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA regional administrator and chair of the Bay Program’s Principals’ Staff Committee. The NAS study results reinforce the partnership’s current work, including the Chesapeake Bay “pollution diet,” or TMDL; the Bay jurisdictions’ Watershed Implementation Plans; and two-year milestones. According to the report, the milestone strategy improves upon past strategies by committing states to tangible, near-term goals, but consequences for not attaining the goals remain unclear. NAS recognized the Bay watershed’s complexity and the equally intricate tracking systems needed to accurately report on restoration progress, as well as the fact that the Bay Program is in the process of better integrating its voluntary and regulatory work.
The study also provides suggestions for strengthening processes for tracking and accounting of best management practices; assessing two-year milestones; adaptive management; and implementation strategies. The report says that nearly all states have insufficient information to evaluate their progress in reducing nutrient pollution, limiting their capacity to make mid-course corrections. Additionally, tracking and accounting issues lead to an incomplete and possibly inaccurate picture of the bay jurisdictions' overall progress in meeting program goals. For example, jurisdictions face challenges tracking practices that are not cost-shared and verifying that practices are correctly implemented and maintained. Another main concern of the report's authoring committee is the possibility of overly optimistic expectations among the public. While science and policy communities generally recognize the inherent uncertainties in modeling water quality, the general public "will almost certainly be frustrated" if they expect visible, tangible evidence of local and bay water quality improvements in short order. Legacy effects of nutrient pollution already in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will significantly delay results from the program's efforts. "Sustaining public and political support for the program will require clear communication of these uncertainties and lag times and program strategies to better quantify them," the report states. The report highlights approaches for improving the tracking and accounting of pollution control practices, including creating a consolidated regional best management practices program and increasing use of intensive small-watershed monitoring. The committee also concluded that establishing a Chesapeake Bay modeling laboratory would likely build credibility with the scientific, engineering, and management communities and improve the integration of modeling and monitoring. In addition, the report identifies potential strategies that could be used to meet the Chesapeake Bay Program's long-term goals. The strategies, meant to encourage further discussion, include improving manure management in agriculture, curbing residential fertilizer use, and exploring additional air pollution controls. “As the states continue to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, we must regularly review and take steps to improve the management of our resources to achieve the most cost-effective results for our citizens and the Bay," said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers. “We believe a healthy Chesapeake Bay is finally within our sights, and we look forward to working with our partners to determine how the Academy's recommendations can help.” Reaction Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement following the release of the National Academy of Science evaluation of the Chesapeake Bay Program. “CBF commends EPA for inviting this serious and substantive scientific review. While identifying some areas for improvement, the most important takeaway message from the report is that the new direction for Chesapeake Bay restoration, implemented over the last two years, is the right one. The report supports the establishment of the Bay’s pollution budget as well as the states’ plans to achieve that goal. “The report also says that the two-year milestones are an improvement over past efforts. They are. But unless there are consequences that follow if the states fail to deliver on those commitments the milestones will be ineffective guideposts for restoration. The report also notes
that the first milestones will be the easiest for the states to achieve and that reaching the longterm goals will require all who live in the watershed to do their part. “CBF encourages EPA and the states to accelerate the pace in order to achieve the milestones set in 2009.” Within 90 days, the Bay Program will provide a written response to all of the study’s recommendations. The Bay Program solicited this self-evaluation in 2009 after the Chesapeake Executive Council requested at its 2008 annual meeting that a nationally recognized, independent science organization evaluate the program’s efforts to accelerate implementation of nutrient reduction goals to restore the Bay. The evaluation was jointly funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia. For more information, including a link to a "report in brief," visit the National Academies website. NewsClips: Report Raises Concerns About Effectiveness Of Chesapeake Bay Plan Study Backs National Strategy To Clean Up Chesapeake Bay Groups Seek Impact Statement On Effects Of Marcellus Drilling National Research Council Sizes Up Chesapeake Bay Program After TMDL Process, Chesapeake Bay Program Is At Crossroads ARIPPA, WPCAMR, EPCAMR Accepting Applications For Mine Reclamation Grants Applications are now being accepted for grants of up to $5,000 to watershed organizations or conservation districts for either abandoned mine reclamation or acid mine drainage abatement projects, one each in the anthracite and bituminous coal regions. Proposals are due June 30. Projects must be completed between August 2011 and August 2012. The grants are sponsored by the Anthracite Region Independent Power Producer's Association and the Western and Eastern Coalitions for abandoned mine reclamation. The amount granted is dependent upon demonstrated need. Applying organizations must support the mission of ARIPPA, including the removal and conversion of waste coal into alternative energy and the beneficial use of CFB ash for AML/AMD reclamation. ARIPPA facilities remove and utilize coal refuse from both past and current mining activities abating acid mine drainage from coal refuse piles. ARIPPA reports that 145 million tons of coal refuse has been processed and converted into alternative energy by their member plants from 1998 to 2008. For more information, download the grant announcement and visit the WPCAMR website for application forms and instructions.
Allegheny Valley Land Trust Converts Rail Line, Abandoned Mine Land For Trails
The Allegheny Valley Land Trust recently completed a project to convert over 90 miles of rail line into a recreation trail, including the purchase of 269 acres of abandoned mine lands which contains 48 miles of rail-trail. The abandoned mine land property also contains historically significant treasures, among the relics are a tunnel built in 1915, a rail car turn table, rail line bridges, and coke ovens used in the 1800’s. Environmentally unsound, unregulated coal mining practices of the past have Western Pennsylvania with a legacy of polluted waters, scarred landscapes, and health and safety hazards. The decrease in productive, valuable land has, in turn, impacted the regional economy. However, the region's inherent, wild beauty offers many recreational opportunities. RailTrail organizations have identified this potential and have been remarkably successful in converting abandoned mine lands, including rail lines into recreational havens. Click Here to watch video. (Reprinted from Abandoned Mine Posts, Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation) Clean Creek Pottery Offers Special Sale Prices In May Clean Creek Products is offering special product discounts of up to 20 percent on selected items during May. Free shipping is also being offered on purchases of $50 or more. Clean Creek makes products made from pigments using manganese reclaimed from systems treating abandoned mine discharges in Western Pennsylvania. Your purchase supports efforts to help restore streams impacted by acid mine drainage. These special offers end May 31. Use the code FREESHIP at checkout to take advantage of the free shipping offer. Get up-to-date information on Clean Creek Products on Facebook. Over 300 Volunteers Clean Up Wissahickon Creek On April 30 Over 300 volunteers worked throughout the morning of April 30 pulling trash and debris out of Wissahickon Creek during the Annual Creek Clean Up, organized by the Friends of the Wissahickon and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association. Among the volunteers were employees from Prudential Fox & Roach Trident Group, students from Germantown Friends School's Environmental Action Club, and employees from REI Conshohocken, a sponsor of the clean up efforts in Wissahickon Valley Park. This spring marks the 41st anniversary of Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association’s annual Creek Clean Up, and the second year that FOW has teamed up with WVWA to clean the Wissahickon Creek from top to bottom. Volunteers of all ages cleaned the creek, the surrounding trails, and the many tributaries of the Wissahickon Creek. Armed with bags, volunteers collected some unusual items, including: a couch, playhouse, deep fat fryer, I-Phone, bike frame, and countless golf balls. “The most interesting thing found in Wissahickon Valley Park today was a huge carpet,” says David Bower, Volunteer Coordinator for Fairmount Park. “It had probably been in the
creek for a number of years and it took about 15 people to dig it out of the silt and the mud and cut it up into smaller pieces and drag it up out of the park.” Following the clean up, volunteers shared stories at WVWA’s Talkin’ Trash picnic in Fort Washington State Park, with food provided by Whole Foods Market of North Wales. For more information on the Friends of the Wissahickon and to view a video of Creek Clean Up 2011, visit the FOW website. (Video will be posted soon.) For more information about the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association website.
Penn State Extension Upcoming Watershed Webinar: Octoraro Watershed May 26 The Penn State Extension Discovery Watershed Webinar Series will host a program May 26 on the Octoraro Watershed: Outreach and Tech Transfer in a Plain Sect Community in Lancaster County starting at noon. Other upcoming webinars include: June 29- Success at the Streamside - PA Riparian Buffers That Work and coming in July, the Conewago Creek Initiative. You can also view passed webinars on the Discovery Watershed webpage, including: April 28 - The Lycoming County Experience - Farms, WWTPs and Streams and Environmental Markets, March 23 - Marcellus Monitoring in Small Streams and Lessons From the Land, Sharing Stories of Pennsylvania's Successes and Challenges Across the Landscape. To visit the webinar series webpage, you must create a Friends of Penn State Account, then go to the PA Watersheds webpage. Visit the Penn State Discovery Watersheds webpage.
Students Recognized For Protecting Drinking Water In The Schuylkill Watershed The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized three schools and an individual in the Schuylkill River Watershed this week for developing educational environmental projects that help protect drinking water. Those receiving the Schuylkill Action Network Drinking Water Scholastic awards included: -- Miquon School, Philadelphia School District - The Schuylkill Stories Video Contest Award; -- Hereford Elementary School, Upper Perkiomen School District; -- Upper Perkiomen High School; and -- Amy Goldfischer, Havertown (home schooled). “Education plays an enormous part in protecting and restoring the Schuylkill Watershed,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator William C. Early. “Schools in the Watershed are not only educating students about pollution sources and environmental protection, they are leading by example.” The students initiated innovative approaches to educating other students and the community about source water protection, such as creating a campus rain garden and monitoring
water chemistry in streams. All of the winning projects contribute to protecting the Schuylkill River. Video Contest Winners Here are links to the video contest winners--- Voices of the Watershed, How We Are All Connected: A video project to show how we are all connected through water. This video was filmed, written, and illustrated by 3rd and 4th graders at The Miquon School; -- Anya's Watershed Video: This video was created by Anya, a fifth grade student at The Miquon School. She used Scratch, a programming language for young learners from M.I.T., to tell her watershed story; and -- This Is Our Watershed: This video was created by 5th and 6th grade students at The Miquon School. Visit the Celebrating Schuylkill Waters webpage to see other articles and videos about the Schuylkill River and its tributaries. The Schuylkill River and its tributaries provide drinking water to 1.5 million people who live in the 11 counties and 232 municipalities included in the watershed. The awards are presented on behalf of the Schuylkill Action Network as part of the celebration of National Drinking Water Week, May 1-7.
Get Paid For Planting Streamside Tree Buffers To Improve Water Quality, Habitat Spring is the perfect time to plant trees. And establishing a streamside forested buffer will not only help protect water quality, it will attract wildlife by providing much-needed habitat. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a federally funded program, provides landowners and farmers with the resources to design and install these buffers. CREP also pays annual rental payments to the landowner. There are many benefits to forested buffers, including preventing pollutants from reaching streams, creating wildlife habitat, and improving water quality. Streamside trees also help reduce stormwater and flooding problems by slowing down and absorbing rainwater as it moves across the land. Buffers also provide recreational opportunities like wildlife and bird watching, and they improve property values. Streamside trees provide an aesthetically pleasing environment, while helping to keep the soil in place. Eroding stream banks mean property loss, both in physical acreage and value. Stephanie Eisenbise, Pennsylvania CREP Outreach Coordinator with CBF, works with groups and individuals throughout the region to introduce them to the program and help them establish buffers on their properties and in their communities. From watershed groups restoring streams to sportsmen's groups creating native wildlife habitat—CREP is an excellent resource to help landowners plant trees along streams.
Groups have held community meetings, events, and even hosted volunteer plantings in order to help Eisenbise get others involved. "It's exciting to help landowners get started with CREP," says Eisenbise, "and even more so to see the results and local water-quality improvements." For more information, visit the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program website. PA Association Of Water Companies Honors Former DEP Secretary John Hanger The National Association of Water Companies, Pennsylvania Chapter this week recognized former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John R.Hanger with its James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence. The organization honored Hanger during its awards luncheon at the NAWC Annual Meeting in the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. The James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence is the highest honor bestowed by NAWC. The industry association presents the award each year to a resident of Pennsylvania who most exemplifies dedication to promoting the availability of safe drinking water in the Commonwealth. “The water industry and all Pennsylvanians owe a debt of gratitude to John Hanger for his leadership and years of public service protecting our environment, preserving water resources and supporting infrastructure investment,” said NAWC, Pennsylvania Chapter Chairman David Lewis. John Hanger is one of two Pennsylvanians who served both as a Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and as a Commissioner of the Public Utility Commission. As a Commissioner from 1993 to 1998, he supported the Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) for infrastructure improvements and repairs for water companies’ facilities. Hanger also championed programs that assisted low-income customers to avoid utility shut-offs. As Secretary of DEP from 2008 to 2011, Hanger was in charge of permitting and regulation of Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. He led a complete review of regulations governing gas drilling and enacted major new rules governing drilling of wells, the withdrawal of water for drilling and the disposal of drilling wastewater. The NAWC Annual Meeting also featured presentations by Public Utility Commissioner James Cawley; Department of Environmental Protection Acting Deputy Secretary for Water Management Kelly Heffner; Department of Environmental Program Analyst Ann Roda; and NAWC President and President and CEO of Connecticut Water Eric W. Thornburg. Past Winners Past award winners include: 2010 former PUC Commissioner Kim Pizzingrilli, 2009 Rep. Bud George, 2008 Rick Rogers, U.S. EPA Region 3, 2007 Paul K. Marchetti, 2005 Rep. Carole Rubley, 2004 Terrance J. Fitzpatrick, former Chair PUC, 2003 Fredrick A. Marrocco, DEP, 2002 David E. Hess, DEP Secretary, 2001 John M. Quain, former Chair PUC, 2000 Sen. Raphael J. Musto, 1999 Walter A. Lyon, 1998 Michael D. Klein, 1997 David A. Long, PhD, 1996 Gov. Tom Ridge, 1995 Sen. David J. Brightbill, 1994 Wendell F. Holland, 1993 William
R. Shane, 1992 William R. Lloyd, 1991 Edith D. Stevens, 1990 Dr. Ruth Patrick, 1989 Gov. Robert P. Casey, 1988 Sen. D. Michael Fisher, 1987 George I. Bloom, 1986 Clifford L. Jones, DER Secretary, 1985 Dr. Maurice K. Goddard, DER Secretary, and in 1984 Gov. Dick Thornburgh. The NAWC represents all aspects of the private water service industry including ownership of regulated drinking water and wastewater utilities and the many forms of publicprivate partnerships and management contract arrangements. The Pennsylvania Chapter consists of 10 member companies that provide safe and adequate drinking water service to approximately 3.1 million Pennsylvanians in 485 communities in 39 counties. In addition, three member companies provide wastewater service to approximately 155,000 Pennsylvanians in 24 communities across seven counties. CFA Approves $172 Million In H2O Water Infrastructure Projects, Funding Gone The Commonwealth Financing Authority has approved $172 million through the H2O PA program to fund 160 water infrastructure projects in 51 counties. With these project approvals, the H2O Water Infrastructure Program has exhausted all funds as is closed. The Solar Energy Program applications is also closed. “Pennsylvania’s limited construction season gives urgency to the projects approved this week. I am glad we were able to quickly and efficiently get these critical funds into the hands of our communities,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker. “These investments will be a great help to cash-strapped municipalities that need to upgrade their aging and deteriorating water infrastructure systems.” H2O PA provides grants for flood control projects, construction of drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer projects and high hazard or unsafe dam projects. The new awards range from a $52,405 grant to make improvements to an inefficient sewer system in Montgomery County to a $4 million grant to construct five pump stations in Northumberland County. The projects approved this week are in the following counties: Adams, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Tioga, Venango, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and York. A complete list of projects approved is available online. Treasured Landscapes In The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program May 12 The importance of protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed will be the focus of the next lecture in the South Mountain Speakers Series on May 12 in Gettysburg. The series is sponsored by the South Mountain Partnership. Jonathan Doherty, of the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office, will offer a free lecture, "Conserving Treasured Landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed," beginning at 7
p.m. at the Adams County Agricultural and Natural Resources Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg. Doherty will discuss efforts to protect the treasured working and natural landscapes in the watershed, including expanding public access to the bay and its rivers as well as creating a public-private partnership to leverage land-conservation funding. "Pennsylvania doesn't border the Chesapeake Bay, but more than half of the state lies within its watershed," said Allen Dieterich-Ward, an assistant professor of history at Shippensburg University and the chair of the South Mountain Partnership committee on the speaker series. "All of waterways in the South Mountain region eventually reach the ocean through the Chesapeake Bay, so it's not only important to care about our open space protection and water recharge areas for ourselves, but also for our downstream neighbors." The Chesapeake Bay watershed is a large ecosystem that encompasses approximately 64,000 square miles in six states -- Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and New York. The Susquehanna River basin is the largest tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. After the lecture, Doherty will be joined by Brenda Barrett, director of DCNR's Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, to discuss new ways to appreciate the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Pennsylvania and answer audience questions. This is the second year for the South Mountain Speakers Series, envisioned as a revival of the talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forests and natural landscape. Rothrock, a Pennsylvania native, was a pioneer in forest management in the United States and is often referred to as the state's "Father of Forestry." This lecture is sponsored by Adams County Environmental Services, the Land Conservancy of Adams County, DCNR, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the South Mountain Partnership. The partnership is a group of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the landscape. The South Mountain Partnership was sparked by DCNR's Conservation Landscape Initiative-- an effort to engage communities, local partners, state agencies and provide funding opportunities to conserve the high-quality natural and cultural resources while enhancing the region's economic viability. The series will continue next month with "South Mountain History Ramble," to be held June 11 at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County as part of its National Get Outdoors Day event. For more information, visit the South Mountain Partnership Blog or call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 717-258-5771. May Issue Of PCEE Environmental Ed Connections Newsletter Now Available The May EE Connections newsletter is now available from the PA Center for Environmental Education. Here are just some of topics covered in this month's newsletter-General News: PASA Western Region Awarded a $50,000 Colcom Grant, Ground Broken for Model of Sustainable Park in Philadelphia, Conservation Groups Unite for Delaware River Watershed, Rachel Carson 'Sense of Wonder' Contest Accepting Entries
K-12 News:Natural Biodiversity Releases 'BioBullies' Supplement,'Get to Know' Contest Extends Video Submission Deadline, Environmentally-themed Summer Camps for Children Start Higher Education News: Lackawanna College Offers New 'Green Degree,' Region’s Largest Solar Thermal System Planned for College, Bucknell University Opens Marcellus Database Professional Development for Educators: DEP Sponsors Alternative Energy Workshops, Project Wild Aquatic Workshop Comes to Pittsburgh, Educators Can Become 'Watershed Explorers' Other Professional Development: 'Mob Grazing' with Ian Mitchell-Innes Hosted in Ligonier, Berks County Welcomes 'Bio-Fuels for the Future' Conference, Alternative Fuels Summit to Take Place in Hershey Grants and Awards: Brower Youth Awards Application Deadline is May 16, NAAMLP Offers Mine Land Reclamation Scholarships, Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants Now Available Contributions welcome! The Center receives news and information from a variety of sources across Pennsylvania and beyond. We appreciate all of the organizations, agencies and individuals who provide EE services and share their relevant information. If you would like to contribute to future issues of EE Connections, please submit your article before the 15th of the month. Articles should be of statewide interest and are subject to space availability. Share EE Connections! If you know of others who would appreciate receiving EE Connections, please complete the online form or call 724-738-9020. To see all of the resources available on the PCEE website. PA Center For Environmental Ed Forming Certification Group Over the next month, the PA Center for Environmental Education and PA Alliance for Environmental Educators will be looking for interested non-formal environmental educators to contribute to the environmental education certification development process. Regional focus groups will be held between May 18 and June 30 in locations around the state. See this article for more information. For questions or to sign up for an evening regional focus group, contact project coordinator Chris Tittle by sending email to: email@example.com. June 16 Environmental Educator Workshop Offered In Mechanicsburg The Department of Environmental Protection, Mechanicsburg Middle School and Mechanicsburg Area Parks and Recreation Department are sponsoring a free Outdoor Learning Areas Workshop for Educators on June 16 in Mechanicsburg.
This workshop is geared for K-12 teachers and non-formal educators. Workshop participants will learn about creating, funding and maintaining outdoor learning areas on school grounds through presentations, hands-on activities and a field trip to the Trails and Trees Environmental Center. Because of budget cuts, many schools are considering cutting outdoor environmental education field trips and experiences, although research shows that environmental education improves student learning. The workshop will be held from 8:30 – 2:30 p.m. Teachers will be eligible for 5.0 Act 48 credit hours. To register or for more information, contact Ann Devine, Environmental Education Coordinator DEP by sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 717-772-1644. Recyclebank, Lunear Lighting Create Green Schools Energy Challenge Recyclebank has launched the Green Schools Energy Challenge with Lunera Lighting, Inc., a Silicon Valley company that designs, manufactures, and markets next-generation LED lighting. The contest is designed to benefit schools nationwide with energy retrofits to help make classroom lighting state-of-the-art green. To enter, teachers and school administrators should submit a video entry showcasing classrooms that already have an ongoing commitment to sustainability by May 20 at the Green Schools Energy Challenge webpage. Those with the most inventive and active "green rooms" can win the green makeover, valued at up to $5,000 per classroom. This spring, five classrooms will be selected as winners for the Lunera-sponsored LED lighting energy retrofit. "Through our Green Schools Program, Recyclebank has a long-standing commitment to communities, schools, and students—our environmental leaders of the future," said Jonathan Hsu, CEO at Recyclebank. "We've helped sponsor environmental education projects in more than 65 communities over the last five years. This spring, we're excited to partner with Lunera in the Green Schools Energy Challenge, providing an opportunity for students and teachers to take the next step in creating a more sustainable and improved classroom environment." Lunera provides LED lighting solutions that are environmentally friendly, reduce energy costs, and provide superior near daylight quality light that can help student productivity and performance. An energy retrofit from Lunera will not only reduce classrooms' environmental footprint, it will provide high quality, near daylight illumination right to a student's desktop, helping to make the classroom a better place to learn. "We have partnered with Recyclebank to offer classrooms a solid state lighting retrofit to demonstrate the energy efficiencies and improved light quality that LED lighting provides," said Karen Owyeung, CEO at Lunera Lighting. "The cost savings of Lunera's LED lighting systems are impressive, they offer up to 15-years of maintenance-free quality light that can save up to 50 percent of energy costs. Lunera's LED lighting systems provide near-daylight illumination compared to traditional lighting systems for students and teachers alike." Lunera's award-winning, fully recyclable, LED lighting fixtures feature carefully designed optics, edge-lit design, U.S. manufacturing and quality testing. Lunera uses its truLITE Color Consistency Process to ensure color consistency. The lights dramatically reduce energy consumption, while providing voluminous daylight-quality light. The fixtures contain no harmful
chemicals and generate less heat than comparable incumbent lighting technologies lowering HVAC costs. Substantial energy savings combined with the elimination of maintenance costs enables Lunera to lower a facility's operating expense while reducing its carbon footprint, visually demonstrating its commitment to sustainability. Semi-finalists will be announced and public voting will start in early June. Semi-finalists are encouraged to get friends and family to visit Recyclebank.com to vote on their video, and the video with the most votes will be the fan favorite and win an Energy Retrofit by Lunera. There will be a total of five winning classrooms in the spring semester 2011. Winners will be announced in late June, and classroom retrofits will take place over the summer. For information, visit the Green Schools Energy Challenge webpage for guidelines, applications, judging, and retrofits of the winning classrooms. PRC, Partners Hold Hard To Recycle Events In Western PA May 14 and 21 The Pennsylvania Resources Council and its partners will sponsor Hard To Recycle Collection events in Washington County on May 14 and May 21 in Cambria County. May 14 The Washington County event will be held at Steel City Harley Davidson in Washington, Pa from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The public can drop off electronic waste, tires, batteries, fluorescent lights and more for recycling and medical supplies, usable building material and gently used furniture for reuse. More details are available online. May 21 The Cambia County event will be held at Concurrent Technologies Corporation in Johnstown, Pa. The public can drop off household chemical products for proper disposal or recycling. More details are available online. Centre County Household Hazardous Waste Event Collects 40,000 Pounds Folks from 877 households took advantage of Centre County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program this weekend at the Centre County Solid Waste Authority. Approximately 40,000 pounds of material was collected during the 2-day event. In all, 742 vehicles brought hazardous chemicals from 877 households. Residents from 28 of the county’s 35 municipalities participated. “Centre County residents showed up in force and really showed their environmental caring.” said Joanne Shafer, Centre County’s Deputy Executive Director/Recycling Coordinator. “The volume of household hazardous waste has decreased in the last year showing that Centre Countians have really embraced the reduce, reuse, recycle ethic.” We also had a handful of people drive in from out of county to participate. The contracted hauler was PSC of Hatfield, Pa, and was part of a seven county RFP for household hazardous waste disposal and recycling services. Volunteers from Penn State Environmental Health and Safety were on-site to assist in checking vehicles and several volunteers from Department of Agriculture were also on hand.
The event was co-sponsored by Centre County Solid Waste Authority and the Department of Environmental Protection. Collection and disposal costs of all 40,000 pounds will be split between the Household Hazardous Waste Fund and DEP. If you missed this collection, look for information next spring. The Centre County Solid Waste Authority will be holding another Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event in 2012. PROP Publishes Schedule Of Upcoming Recycling Certification Courses The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania this week published an updated list of upcoming certification courses starting May 11 through June 29. Click Here to see the schedule and registration information. Trail Connectivity With Alex Doty Of Bicycle Coalition Of Greater Philadelphia May 11 The Friends of the Wissahickon are offering a free lecture on Philadelphia Trail Connectivity with Alex Doty, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition. The lecture is part of FOW’s lecture series, Valley Talks, sponsored by Valley Green Bank. The presentation is free and open to the public and will take place at Valley Green Inn on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments to follow. The Bicycle Coalition promotes bicycling as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentallyfriendly form of transportation and recreation. Doty’s presentation will focus on connecting trails in the park and efforts to improve trail connectivity throughout the city. Valley Green Bank, a locally-owned and operated Pennsylvania commercial bank, is headquartered in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia at 7226 Germantown Avenue with a branch located in Chestnut Hill at 23 W. Highland Avenue. There is a commercial loan office in Radnor and a recently opened commercial loan office in Center City. The Bank offers a traditional mix of deposit accounts, including non-interest and interestbearing checking accounts, savings, money market and certificate of deposit accounts. It also offers customers individual retirement accounts. Valley Green Bank is a member of FDIC. Valley Green Inn is located on Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park. Register for this event by contacting FOW by sending email to: email@example.com or 215-247-0417 ext 104. Spaces are limited. Penn's Landing Get On The Water Program Opens In Philadelphia The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation are partnering to bring back the popular "Paddle Penn's Landing" program, which features kayaks and foot-pedaled swan boats. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, outdoor enthusiasts, families and kayakers of all levels can rent boats and enjoy the river in a safe and supervised environment. The program will be operated on-site by Hidden River Outfitters, Philadelphia's premier kayak outfitting company. "As part of Philadelphia's goal of becoming the greenest city in America, we want to encourage those who live in, work in and visit Philadelphia to participate in the many outdoor activities our city has to offer," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "Over the past two years, nearly
4,000 people have participated in the experience, and I applaud the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Delaware River Waterfront Corporation for their continued efforts in creating outdoor recreation opportunities. Let's get paddling on the river and have some fun!" The "Paddle Penn's Landing" program is open to the public on Fridays from 4:00 -8:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon - 8:00 p.m. The kayaks and swan boats launch from the Penn's Landing Marina, just south of the Independence Seaport Museum and Ferry Dock, where the water is calm and where boaters will be far removed from the boat traffic of the Delaware River. The kayaking program is available for experienced and first-time paddlers, however, participants must be 12 years of age or older. Kayak rental is $8 per person and includes a 10-minute overview introduction to the sport, as well as instruction on basic strokes, safety tips and supervision while on the water. Eight solo kayaks and three two-person kayaks are available for rent. The pedal swan boats also cost $10 per person and are ideal for families with children under the age of 12, or for boaters who would like to leisurely experience the Delaware River and enjoy the great views. The 12 swan boats available for rent are easily powered by foot pedals and can seat two people and a small child. All kayak and swan boat participants will be required to wear life jackets. "Too few Philadelphians get to experience the Delaware River, and PEC is determined to change that," said Patrick Starr, Senior Vice President of PEC's Southeast Region. "Paddle Penn's Landing is a way for folks to 'get their feet wet' and will be transformative for them as they touch the water and learn about the River's importance to their lives. It's our goal to get 5,000 people on the water this year!" "Paddle Penn's Landing" staff will also educate participants about the environmental and economic value of the Delaware River. In addition to being available to the public, DRWC and PEC will offer free kayaking and swan boating to Philadelphia Parks and Recreation teen campers in July and August on Friday mornings before the program opens to the public, enabling City teens to enjoy the river and to help them be more active and fit. The fun begins with an educational scavenger hunt throughout the Independence Seaport Museum, which is filled with nautical art, artifacts, and intricate ship models. Following the scavenger hunt, campers will have the option of participating in a half-hour introductory kayaking program or taking to the water in foot-pedaled swan boats. Last year's program filled quickly. With additional funding from DuPont Clear Into the Future, the free program will expand this year to provide kids from Camden with the opportunity to experience Paddle Penn's Landing. "This program furthers the civic vision and mission of DRWC: to reconnect Philadelphia with the river," said Tom Corcoran, President of DRWC. "We are excited to team up again with PEC, the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation and the Independence Seaport Museum to offer a free waterfront educational program for teens that includes kayaking with instruction along with interactive educational programs produced by the Philadelphia Water Department and the Independence Seaport Museum." For more information on "Paddle Penn's Landing," visit the Delaware Water Trail website. Click Here for information on other water trails in Pennsylvania.
Western PA Conservancy, Ligionier Camp Partner To Conserve Land And Water Two farms and property owned by the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County are permanently protected through conservation easements completed yesterday by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. "These easements will protect three important places in the Ligonier community," said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. "The farm easements will conserve prime agricultural land and all three will help protect the undeveloped, scenic character of the valley." These three most recent conservation outcomes build upon the Conservancy's longstanding focus on the Ligonier Valley, bringing total acres conserved since 1979 to more than 8,000. The two farms will be protected under agricultural conservation easements, voluntary agreements with landowners that keep property in private hands while permanently restricting future uses to farming or sustainable forestry. WPC acquired the easements in collaboration with the Westmoreland County Agricultural Lands Preservation Board, which will assume stewardship responsibilities for the easements. Kevin and Debra McVicker own more than 139-acres of picturesque sloping hills that roll through Westmoreland County. Their farm is one of several highly visible farms that surround Ligonier Township. The land includes a section of Hanna's Run, a tributary that drains into Upper Loyalhanna Creek. The second farm is a 48-acre property owned by sisters, Julie and Ann Donovan that includes a house, barns and outbuildings. The property shares about one mile of the Loyalhanna Creek with the Camp and Conference Center property. "My sister and I appreciate the Conservancy's commitment toward the preservation of our great-grandfather's farm, which is one of the Ligonier Valley's original homesteads," said Julie Donovan. "I think that it is especially important that this beautiful land which is located along a main entrance to Ligonier will remain intact." The conservation tool used by the LCCC, a donated conservation easement, provides the property owner with the best of both worlds: continued private ownership and permanent protection of the land's conservation values. The privately owned 58-acre property, which is used for camp operations, includes 2,000 feet of stream frontage and is easily viewed from Route 30. The property is also historically significant. The pond on the property was constructed in the 1880s for ice harvesting. The harvested ice was stored in an ice house, and in the summer was shipped to Pittsburgh by train. A spur of the Ligonier Valley Railroad once ran around the lake. The conservation easement not only ensures that this land will be conserved for the benefit of future generations, it also protects water quality in the upper Loyalhanna Creek watershed. It is located next to several other conserved properties in the Laurel Highlands, so it expands the zone of protected lands and serves as a link between them. These broader swaths of conserved lands and waterways also benefit wildlife by safeguarding habitats. "We greatly appreciate the McVicker and Donovan families as well as our friends from Ligonier Camp and Conference Center for their help in adding to the Conservancy's conservation
efforts in the Ligonier Valley," said Mike Kuzemchak, the Laurel Highlands Project Director at WPC. "These beautiful properties, which reflect the rural character of the Ligonier Valley, fall within the Conservancy's Laurel Highlands conservation priority area. Close to 82,000 acres are already protected by WPC in the Laurel Highlands." The easements reflect a growing trend in the Laurel Highlands and nationwide, as more private landowners learn about the effectiveness of conservation easements in safeguarding cherished family lands. The Conservancy has been working with landowners for decades to establish conservation easements tailored to meet their objectives, and has helped to usher in the significant increase in use of this proven conservation method in Western Pennsylvania. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy welcomes inquiries from landowners interested in learning more about conservation easements. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Conservancy at 412-288-2777 or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the Laurel Highlands Regional Office at 724-238-2492 or send email to: email@example.com. Latest Community Forestry Newsletter Now Available The Spring issue of Community Forestry News is now available from PA Community Forests, a non-profit group which encourages sustainable community forest programs. This edition of the newsletter features articles on tree tenders, the TreeVitalize Program, education courses offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension, Allentown's Street Development Committee and much more. A copy is available online or go to the PA Trees website for more information. Green Building Alliance Announces Winners Of Innovation Grants Green Building Alliance this week announced the five newest recipients of its Product Innovation Grants. Selected through a competitive process, these Pennsylvania-based award winners will share a total of $250,000 to address challenges in the fast-growing green building marketplace. The targeted innovations include advanced energy efficiency solutions, improvements for indoor air quality, lighting that mimics daylight, and recycled and bio-based inclusions for concrete-type products. GBA's Product Innovation Grants are designed to help recipients accelerate the introduction of green building products to the market while encouraging growth in Pennsylvania's manufacturing sector. This is the fifth round of grants awarded since GBA began its Green Building Products Initiative in 2006. In total, 24 Pennsylvania projects have received more than $1.2 million through the program. "Pennsylvania has always been a leader in innovative products and manufacturing. We are excited that these grants can help continue this legacy by accelerating growth of local organizations in the development of new green building products for the local, national, and international markets," said Mike Schiller, GBA's Executive Director. "Our unique Product Innovation Grant program has encouraged collaborations between private-sector companies and
university teams throughout Pennsylvania, advancing state-of-the-art technologies and creating revenue and jobs across the green building spectrum." For this fifth Product Innovation Grant round, five proposals were selected to receive grants, including: -- $100,000 to Thar Geothermal LLC to implement and evaluate a novel ground-source CO2 geothermal heat pump system at a commercial scale. Carnegie Mellon University will partner with Thar to monitor and verify the system's performance and to assist with building integration and optimization. -- $100,000 to Energy Wall to efficiently manufacture and beta test a passive heat and moisture transfer membrane for ventilation air recovery. Energy Wall will collaborate with The Pennsylvania State University to monitor and evaluate the ventilation systems for residential, commercial, and industrial building markets. -- $20,000 to Drexel University to develop an automatic diurnal/seasonal daylight-matching LED luminaire in collaboration with Appalachian Lighting and other partners. This project will produce a prototype for installation and evaluation in interior spaces. -- $20,000 to EcoBuilt Efficient Buildings to test, evaluate, and market "MaqCrete" postindustrial/bio-fiber structural insulating masonry blocks. EcoBuilt will work with Drexel University to evaluate the patented MaqCrete formula for strength and energy efficiency. -- $10,000 to Pennsylvania State University to investigate the possibility of utilizing recycled gypsum in concrete, which may ultimately reduce the amount of drywall waste sent to landfills. This project will collaborate with USA Gypsum to advance gypsum recycling initiatives by testing and developing a use for recycled gypsum in concrete building products. "Over the past five years we have been very impressed by the quality and quantity of applicants for this competitive grant program," stated Dr. Aurora Sharrard, GBA's Director of Innovation. "Since GBA is involved in all aspects of green buildings, we look forward to helping products and technologies from our newest and past Product Innovation Grant recipients enhance many pioneering green building projects throughout Pennsylvania." Product Innovation Grant proposals submitted for this round were assessed based on the criteria of green building leadership, technical merit, commercialization plan viability, partnership resources, and potential market impact. Grant award decisions were made at the discretion of GBA on the recommendations of the Product Innovation Grant Review Committee, which is comprised of a variety of manufacturers, investors, economic development stakeholders, academic researchers, and consultants. For more information, visit the Green Building Alliance website. Opportunity To Bid On DEP Mine Reclamation Projects In Armstrong, Westmoreland The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of an opportunity to bid on a mine reclamation projects in Armstrong County and Westmoreland County.
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. May 9-- John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award May 18-- PROP 2011 Waste Watcher Awards May 19-- DCNR Volunteer Fire Assistance Program May 20-- Wildlands Conservancy Friend Of The Lehigh Award May 20-- NEW. Recyclebank Green Schools Energy Challenge May 26-- EPA i6 Green Challenge Grants May 31-- Fish & Boat Commission Boating Facility Grants Unknown-- EPA Be An Energy Star Video Contest June 1-- NE Environmental Partnership Awards June 17-- DEP Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants June 30-- DEP Nitrogen Tire Inflation System Grants June 30-- NEW. ARIPPA, WPCAMR, EPCAMR Reclamation/AMD Grants July 11-- PROP Annual Recycling FilmFest Competition No Deadline-- DEP County Waste Planning Grants August-- EPA/American Rivers Potomac Highlands Restoration Grants August 26-- Foundation for PA Watersheds Grants September 4-- Chester County Green Business Awards December 31-- President's Environmental Youth Awards -- Visit the DEP Grants and Loan Programs webpage for more ideas on how to get financial assistance for environmental projects.
Here's a selection of NewClips on environmental topics from around the state-Budget Lycoming County Supports Growing Greener Op-Ed: Renew State's Growing Greener Program Op-Ed Restoring Funding For Growing Greener Rep. Harper Introduces Bill To Tax Marcellus Shale Gas Well Impact Fee Proposal Dodges T-Word Column: Scarnati's Marcellus Impact Fee Pragmatic Option Impact Fee Plan May Exclude Pittsburgh From Proceeds Want To Ban Drillers? No Impact Fee Money For You! Blog: Corbett, What's Difference Between Fee, Tax? Op-Ed: Marcellus Impact Fee Should Only Be A Start John Baer: Time For Ringmaster Corbett To Begin His Budget Circus Op-Ed: No More State Forest Marcellus Leasing
Editorial: An Impact Fee For Shale Drillers Editorial: Enact Severance Tax For Marcellus Gas Editorial: Drilling Impact Fee Is A Good Start Editorial: Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Is Best Bet At This Point Editorial: Flawed Drilling Impact Fee Bill Game Commission Details Gas Money Plans Marcellus Tax Payments In Spotlight Revenue Dept. Overs View Of Marcellus Shale Tax Payments Editorial: State Cooks Tax Numbers With Gas State Has Big Surplus Thanks To April Taxes Corbett Cautions Against Plans To Spend Surplus PA Running $500 Million Ahead Of Tax Projections April Tax Collections Good News For Cash-Poor PA State Budget Surplus Tops $500 Million State Has Big Surplus Thanks To April Taxes Other Recycling Pays For Derry Township Penn State's Zero Waste Goal More Than A Dream Community Cleanup Turns Into Big Mess New Field Of Green At Longwood: A Solar Farm Editorial: Mass Transit's Future, Can You Say Private? First Flex-Fuel Pump In PA Open In Harrisburg Electric Cars Buzz Through Macungie Editorial: Green Piece NJ Wants Homer City Power Plant Closed Crowd Pushes For Strong Air Quality Measures DEP Extends Permit For Fly Ash Disposal Site Editorial: Lung Assn. Sees Only Worst Case Air Pollution Pollution Credit Swaps Contested In Bankruptcy Op-Ed: Forward Thinkers See The Light With Solar Power Developer Plans Erie Region's First Large Wind Farm Exelon Does Outreach As Limerick Looks At Renewal Postgreen's Darling Says Green Building Is About Money (Video) Study Checks On Scranton's Forest Bethlehem Unveils 10.9 Mile Heritage Trail Farm Preservation Effort Not Hit Hard By Cuts To Budget Presque Isle Welcomes Birders For Festival Bin Laden's Death Sparks Trip To Flight 93 Crash Site Hundreds Flock To Flight 93 Site
Marcellus Shale NewsClips
Here are NewsClips on topics related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling---
Are Environmental Concerns About Drilling Wastewater Overblown? DEP Chief Defends His Agency On Gas Drillers Corbett: Drilling Violations Didn't Need OK From Top Governor Backs DEP's Drilling Citations State Kills Directive On Shale Violations DEP Ends Drilling Violation Approval Procedure DEP Rolls Back Shale NOV Approvals PA Oil And Gas Inspectors Free To Issue Violations Mixed Messages On DEP's Violations Policy Editorial: Siding With Drillers Editorial: An Impact Fee For Shale Drillers Editorial: Drilling Impact Fee Is A Good Start Editorial: Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Is Best Bet At This Point Editorial: Flawed Drilling Impact Fee Bill Blog: Corbett, What's Difference Between Fee, Tax? John Baer: Time For Ringmaster Corbett To Begin His Budget Circus Editorial: Enact Severance Tax For Marcellus Gas Editorial: State Cooks Tax Numbers With Gas PA Group Wants Stronger Limits On Gas Drilling Environmental Group Wants Tighter Limits On Gas Drilling Group Raises Alarm Over Gas Wells Near Schools, Hospitals Report: Gas Wells Drilled Near Schools, Hospitals DEP Still Awaiting Chesapeake Blowout Response Some Seekers Of Rural Life Move Out Of PA As Gas Rigs Move In Groups Seek Impact Statement On Effects Of Marcellus Drilling Experts Address Benefits, Hazards Of Drilling At Slippery Rock Op-Ed: NE Residents To Create Ordinance To Ban Fracking Op-Ed: Markets Ignited The Shale Revolution Out West, Campus Gas Wells Not New Editorial: Corbett Plan For Campus Gas Wells Lacks Details Chief Submits Plans For Dallas Twp Pipeline Pipeline Plans Filed Under Protest Weatherly Students Research Marcellus Shale Collier Approves Gas And Oil Drilling Ordinance Fitzgerald Raps Foe On Shale Drilling Plan Dallas Twp Strikes Down Gas Law, Adopts New Tactic Limits On Gas Drilling Adopted In Ohio Township MIT Web Tools Help Landowners Navigate Gas Leasing Marcellus Shale Boom Creates Business For Lawyers Williams Not Tapping Utica Shale Op-Ed: Natural Gas Has Vital Role In U.S. Future Clean Streams Offers Marcellus Wastewater Recycling Other States Maryland Mulling Lawsuit Over Area Fracking Spill
Maryland AG Will Sue On Chesapeake Energy Spill On Susquehanna Maryland May Sue Company Over Well Accident Financial Statoil Says It Could Drill 17,000 Marcellus Wells EXCO Resources Reports 1st Quarter Results Chief Oil And Gas Announces Sale Of 228,000 Acres Of Shale Chevron Expands Marcellus Interest In State Consol Pitches Gas Role To Industry Consol: Marcellus Shale A Baby
Here are NewsClips on watershed topics from around the state-After TMDL Process, Chesapeake Bay Program Is At Crossroads National Research Council Sizes Up Chesapeake Bay Program Report Raises Concerns About Effectiveness Of Chesapeake Bay Plan Study Backs National Strategy To Clean Up Chesapeake Bay Groups Seek Impact Statement On Effects Of Marcellus Drilling Are Environmental Concerns About Drilling Wastewater Overblown? Coldwater Grants Boost Grassroots Conservation Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Receives EPA Award Think Global-Act Local On Water: Vivian Williams Clearing Up Four Mile Creek Project Caernarvon Twp Discusses Clean Streams Effort Scranton Group To Hold Riverfest Next Week PA Initiatives, Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program In PA, Water Is Becoming Big Business Fallbrook Creek Watershed Assessment Underway Bucknell Environmental Center: Take Me To The River Rain Barrel Workshop At Conneaut Lake Wetlands Festival At Wildwood Park Residents Seek Fixes For Hicks Creek Flooding Sunbury OKs Floodplain Building Buyout
Regulations, Technical Guidance & Permits
The Environmental Quality Board meets May 18 to consider five agenda items: final regulatory packages making groups of redesignations (Clarks Creek and Fishing Creek stream groups), final regulations covering PM 2.5 new source review air quality rules, final rulemaking for Muddy Run unsuitable for surface mining designations and consideration of the Mill Creek, Berks County rulemaking petition.
No new regulations were published this week. Pennsylvania Bulletin - May 7, 2011 Proposed Regulations Open For Comment - DEP webpage Proposed Regulations With Closed Comment Periods - DEP webpage Rolling Regulatory Agenda - DEP webpage
Technical Guidance & Permits
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission published notice requiring natural gas well development projects targeting the Antes, Burkett, Geneseo, Mandata, Middlesex, Needmore or Rhinestreet shale formations to apply to SRBC with permission to withdraw water. Technical Guidance Comment Deadlines - DEP webpage Copies Of Draft Technical Guidance - DEP webpage Copies of Final Technical Guidance - DEP webpage
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. Click on Agenda Released on calendar entries to see the NEW meeting agendas published this week. May 9-- NEW. Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 151 (Pileggi-RDelaware) providing for sharing Air Pollution Control Act penalties with municipalities. Rules Room. Off the Floor. May 9-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Infrastructure Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. May 10-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Local Impact and Emergency Response Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. May 11-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Public Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00.
May 11-- Delaware River Basin Commission holds a hearing on the Flexible Flow Management Plan and considers other water withdrawals. West Trenton, NJ. (formal notice) May 12-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Economic and Workforce Development Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. May 12-- House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing Marcellus shale natural gas drilling tax. Bethlehem City Hall Town Hall, 10 East Church St., Bethlehem. 1:00. May 12-- CANCELED. DEP Solid Waste Advisory Committee meeting. The next scheduled meeting is September 15. (formal notice) May 18-- Agenda Released. Environmental Quality Board meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 9:00. June 6-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Local Impact and Emergency Response Work Group meeting. 2nd Floor Training Room, Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 7-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Public Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 8-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Infrastructure Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 9-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Economic and Workforce Development Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 10-- CANCELED. DEP Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. (formal notice) June 27-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Local Impact and Emergency Response Work Group meeting. 2nd Floor Training Room, Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 28-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Public Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 29-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Infrastructure Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. June 30-- NEW. Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Economic and Workforce Development Work Group meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. August 23-- DEP Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. (formal notice)
September 16-- CANCELED. DEP Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. (formal notice) December 6-- DEP Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting. Room 105 Rachel Carson Building. 10:00. (formal notice) DEP Calendar of Events Environmental Education Workshop/Training Calendar (PA Center for Environmental Education) Senate Committee Schedule House Committee Schedule
You can watch the Senate Floor Session and House Floor Session live online.
Send your stories, photos and videos about your project, environmental issues or programs for publication in the PA Environment Digest to: DHess@CrisciAssociates.com. PA Environment Digest is edited by David E. Hess, former Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and is published as a service to the clients of Crisci Associates, a Harrisburg-based government and public affairs firm whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. For more information on Crisci Associates, call 717-234-1716. PA Environment Digest was the winner of the PA Association of Environmental Educators' 2009 Business Partner of the Year Award.
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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