Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday PA Environmental NewsClips

State Budget
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday PA Environmental NewsClips

The Feds
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June 25 PA Environment Digest Is Now Available

The June 25 PA Environment Digest is now available.

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[ West Nile Virus ]

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Partnership For Delaware Estuary Accepting Schuylkill Shots Photo Contest Entries

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Friday announced it is now accepting entries for the Schuylkill Shots Photography Contest from July to August 31.
Photos should be taken in areas where the Schuylkill River or related streams flow — Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties, and part of Philadelphia.
Photo submissions will be judged in the following categories:
-- Wild & Scenic: Highlight the scenic beauty and wildlife thriving in the Schuylkill;
-- Splash of Fun: People recreating within, or around, the Schuylkill;
-- Urban Waters Environment: Highlight creeks, streams, and rivers in cities and towns that border the Schuylkill; and
-- People’s Choice: People will vote and choose their favorite photos from each of the above categories.
There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner for each of the three contest categories, and one “People’s Choice” winner from each category.
Anyone of any age, from anywhere can submit up to six photos.
Click Here to download the contest details.
More information will be posted on the Schuylkill Action Network’s Facebook page under Photo Contest.
For more information on the programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Partnership, Like the Partnership on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, Join them on Instagram or Subscribe to their YouTube Channel.  Click Here to support the Partnership’s work.

Bill To Limit Eminent Domain Use On Land Protected By Conservation Easements Goes To Governor

The Senate and House Friday passed and sent to the Governor House Bill 2468 limiting the use of eminent domain by government agencies on land with conservation easements for parks and open space purposes.
The bill was amended twice on the Senate Floor to exempt public utilities who condemn land (like pipelines) and exempt “emergency” condemnations from the provisions of the bill.
Two school districts in the state-- Cumberland Valley in Cumberland County and Lower Merion in Montgomery County-- have decided to use eminent domain to condemn privately-owned land permanently preserved by conservation easements held by local land trusts, over the objections of many residents of the communities. Other suitable non-preserved land in each vicinity is available, according to the bill sponsors.
The bill would require any government agency to obtain Orphans’ Court approval before using eminent domain to take permanently preserved land. The procedure is similar to that found in the Agricultural Area Security Law which requires additional scrutiny before condemnation of agricultural lands. The Orphans’ Court is given authority in the Donated and Dedicated Property Act over certain transactions related to publicly owned lands held for public uses.
The bill was introduced by Representatives Warren Kampf (R-Chester), Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) and Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery).
A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.

Alternative Utility Ratemaking Bill To Encourage Conservation, Infrastructure Investment Goes To Governor

The Senate Friday gave final approval and sent to the Governor House Bill 1782 (Delozier-R- Cumberland) authorizing alternative ratemaking by the Public Utility Commission for utilities it regulates, including electric, natural gas, water and wastewater services.
In the energy context, the bill is designed to allow utilities to encourage energy efficiency improvements, distributed and renewable energy projects.
The bill would allow the Public Utility Commission to approve the use of alternate ratemaking mechanisms by utilities, such as decoupling, performance-based rates, formula rates and multiyear rates.
It does not add to the amount a company is approved to earn or recover from ratepayers. This continues to be determined by the PUC. It also does not change the type of costs that may be recovered by a utility through rates.
The bill clarifies the PUC’s authority to approve the use of alternative rate mechanism. These mechanism could be used to recover capital costs and expenses to provide service as they do now, and the PUC retains the ability to approve such recovery.
The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.  A Senate Fiscal Note and summary is available.
Related Stories:
FERC Gives OK For Several Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Projects To Proceed Without Federal Power Licenses, Other Projects Move Forward

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