Thursday, April 30, 2009

Southwest Air Quality Partners Hold Trip To The Strip Event May 2

The Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, Inc. will celebrate the National Air Quality Awareness Week with an Alternative Transportation Festival, “Trip to the Strip,” on May 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot next to the Firehouse Lounge at 2216 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.
The “Trip to the Strip” will offer information on car and van pooling, ridesharing, transit services, biking opportunities and other alternative transportation modes, as well as a free climbing wall and food.
“National Air Quality Awareness Week is a great opportunity for people to learn more about factors that contribute to ground-level ozone ways they can help make improvements in air quality in our region,” said Partnership chair Ann Gerace. “Simple changes in your daily activities such as ride sharing, carpooling or riding a bus to work can have a great impact on the air quality of our region.”
One bus can take 60 cars off the road. According to the Port Authority of Allegheny County, for every 10,000 solo commuters who utilize an existing public transportation service instead of driving for one year, the nation reduces fuel consumption by 2.7 million gallons.
The Trip to the Strip will feature a scavenger hunt with prizes and will include information and interactive displays from a number western Pennsylvania organizations including: a bus from the Port Authority of Allegheny County, a climbing wall from Venture Outdoors, a Zipcar, and information from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Allegheny County Health Department, Southwest Planning Commission’s Commute Info, Free Ride, and Fossil Free Fuels. B-94’s Melanie Taylor will make an appearance with the B-94 Prize Patrol.
(Click here for more information.)

EPA Seeking Environmental Award Nominations

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3 is once again conducting its external awards program to recognize individuals and organizations outside of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who are making significant contributions to improving the environment in the mid-Atlantic region. Nominations are due May 29.
An EPA panel of judges will select award winners in the following categories: Non-Profit or Volunteer Organization, Business and Industry and State, Local or Other Federal Government Agency.
Selections will be based on the following criteria:
-- Significant sustained, measurable, and replicable environmental results for a clearly defined environmental issue in the region (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia). These environmental results should relate to reducing pollution and/or protecting public health and the environment.
-- Innovative ideas, approaches, techniques, and/or technologies.
-- Demonstrated leadership and/or outreach to others.
Awards will be presented during a special recognition ceremony on September 16 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Nominations may be submitted online.

Thursday NewsClips

Philipsburg Takes Steps To Protect Cold Stream Area
Opponents Fear Proposed Mining Near Ohioplye
$7.3 Million In Stimulus to Boost Levee's Basin
Stay Clear Of Mine Areas
Mine Safety Program Launched
Officials Will Fill In Notorious Strip Mining Pit In Nanticoke
More Green Technology Sought For Railroad
Marcellus Shale Workshops Scheduled In Lock Haven By Penn State
Saving Local Roads From Gas Rush
Natural Gas Drilling Concerns Front Commissioners' Road Meeting
Marcellus Shale Brings Exploratory Companies To Hazleton
Towanda Seeks Full Ownership Of Gas Rights At Landfill

Save Energy, Save Money
RecycleBank Program Offers Cash For Trash
Girls' Idea For Recycling A Big Winner
Editorial: Refreshing Success
Exelon Wants 20 More Years For Limerick
DCNR To Put Gates At Bat Caves In Forbes State Forest

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday NewsClips

Proposed Tax On Natural Gas Production Debated
Pittsburgh's Peregrine Falcon Chicks Break Out For Webcams
$84 Millions Flows To Monongahela River Projects
Philly's Nutter Envisions Green City By 2015
Editorial: Aggressive Bay Cleanup Approach Deserves Support
Athens Wastewater Plant Upgrade To Cost $200 A Year
Editorial: Safe Water The Top Priority
Bids Sought For Mine Reclamation Cleanup
Tioga Resident Continues To Express Concern About Natural Gas Drilling
Palisades High School Student Ready To Get Muddy
Pulling The Plug On A Hydroelectric Plant
Pittsburgh No. 1 Again In Bad Air
Op-Ed: Clean And Green Makes Brighter Future In Harrisburg
Litz Isn't Giving Up On River Designation
Penn State Biofuel Work Gets Federal Funding
Rail Trail Committee Turns Down Hall Of Fame Designation
Coal Land to Transform Into Hardwood Forest

Mayor Announces Philadelphia Greenworks Plan

Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability today announced Greenworks Philadelphia, an ambitious, comprehensive framework to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the United States of America by 2015. It sets goals in five areas — energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement — and encompasses more than 150 initiatives.
Together, they will reduce the city’s vulnerability to rising energy prices, limit its environmental footprint, and reposition its workforce and job development strategies to build upon Philadelphia’s competitive advantages in the emerging green economy.
“Greenworks Philadelphia is a vision for how Philadelphia can and should seize this moment, building on the assets of the city left to us by the past and creating a better future for ourselves, our children and generations to come,” said Mayor Nutter. (Click here for full announcement)
Philly's Nutter Envisions Green City By 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Severance Tax Will Protect PA Taxpayers

A well-structured severance tax on natural gas production will protect Pennsylvania taxpayers from shouldering the public costs that come with increased drilling, according to a PBPC report released today.
"Natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale has substantial risks and substantial costs that have not yet been fully explored in the rush to drill,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the non-partisan policy research center. “A severance tax is a well-tested mechanism to shift these costs back to producers, where they belong.”
The report, “Responsible Growth: Protecting the Public Interest with a Natural Gas Severance Tax,” examines the potential costs of increased natural gas drilling on taxpayers and the environment, how severance taxes are structured in other states, and what lessons Pennsylvania can learn from them. (click here for full announcement and a copy of the report.)

Tuesday NewsClips

State Delays Adding Mussels To Endangered List
Environmental Concern: Kayakers Test Water
Caves Closed In National Forests For Bat Disease Study
April Showers Help Deter Drought
Clinton Conservation District Sponsors Conservation Leadership School
Mandatory Recycling Coming To Wellsboro
Landfill Trust Money Will Benefit Parks In Lackawanna County
Energy Conservation Week Proclaimed in PA
Boards OK Venango Tech Center Energy Upgrades
East Stroudsburg Company Expands Into Energy Efficiency Industries
PPL Teams Up With Libraries On Energy Conservation
Editorial: Worthy Appointees: Hanger, Vito Fill Needs
Energy, Environment Solutions Expo In NE PA
PennFuture Asks PA Supreme Cot To Reinstate Mercury Pollution Rule
Luzerne Wildfire Hits 2,200 Acres
NE Woman: Catherine Zenke, Birdwatcher

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday NewsClips

Quigley Nominated For DCNR Secretary
St. Vincent Wetlands Project Wins Award
Scranton Riverwalk
Wilkes-Barren Celebrates Arbor Day
Scranton Ups Energy Programs

RecycleBank Honored By United Nations

Today RecycleBank was recognized by the United Nations Environment Program as a 2009 Champion of the Earth for its development of economic models that provide incentives for people to take positive green action.
This is recognition is given by the United Nations each year to seven individuals or companies from around the world for their environmental stewardship.
RecycleBank provides dollar incentives to households and businesses to recycle. The more they recycle, the more dollar awards they receive.
Video Blog: Learn About RecycleBank And Single Stream Recycling
In Philadelphia, the RecycleBank program succeeded in tripling the amount of recyclables collected.
The only other Pennsylvania environmental program to receive United Nations recognition was the PA Senior Environment Corps in 1999 when it was added to the Global Honor Roll of 500. (click here for more.)

2 Grants A Month Now Available For Growing Greener Watersheds Celebration

The Growing Greener Watershed Restoration Program will be ten years old in December and to help celebrate 10 groups have come together to invite watershed groups to share their success stories on a special website.
Now thanks to the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, two $250 grants will be given to the watershed groups with the best article and photo or video each month through December. A second anonymous benefactor provided funding for the other half of the grants. (click here for more.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 27 PA Environment Digest Now Available

Go to to read this week's Digest.
Click here to print the Digest.
Selected Headlines--
The Nature Conservancy Recognizes PA Companies
Governor's Environmental Award Winners Celebrate - Video
2 Grants A Month Now Available for Growing Greener Watersheds Celebration
Senate Confirms John Hanger as DEP Secretary
Gov. Rendell nominates John Quigley for DCNR Secretary
EarthTalks Colloquium on Marcellus Shale April 27
Joint Conservation Committee Hears Review of Recycling Law - Video
TreeVitalize Program Expanded
DCNR Warns of Spring Wildfire Danger
Susquehanna River Basin Commission Seeks Water Use Reduction Contractor
Girl Scouts Sign Up For 10,000 Hours of Earth Day Service
Warmer Weather Brings Ozone Action Days Saturday, Sunday, Monday
Mercury Bounty Continues in Lancaster
Attorney General Distributes $100,000 To Environmental Groups
DEP Citizens Advisory Council 2008 Annual Report Now Available
Feature - Tales From the Creeks, County Watershed Specialists

Gov. Rendell Nominates John Quigley for DCNR Secretary

Gov. Rendell today announced the nomination of John Quigley to be the secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Quigley has served with DCNR for the past four years, most recently as the chief of staff and prior to that as the director of Legislation and Strategic Initiatives and of Operations.
The Governor also announced that Karen Miller of Reading, a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs, will serve as the DCNR chief of staff. (click here for full announcement.)

Friday NewsClips

Lycoming Officials Tout Regional Approach To Bay Cleanliness
Commissioners To Send Letter To Support Loyalsock Watershed Plan
Greenway President Blasts DEP On Drilling
Will DEP's New Drilling Wastewater Strategy Protect PA Waters?
Editorial: Townships Right To Toughen Zoning Law To Deal With Drilling
Luzerne's Solicitation For Gas Bidders Comes Up Dry
Teacher Wins Governor's Environmental Award
Banff Film Festival An Environmental Experience
Businesses Cold Pool To Save On Electricity
Athens Energy Program Continuing To Pay Dividends
Wayne County Sets Wind Energy Forums
Union County Plan Focuses On Green
Earth Day A Year-Round Philosophy For Lycoming County
Harrisburg Falcon Egs Expected To Hatch On Mother's Day
TreeVitalize Grants Headed To NE Region
Op-Ed: Arbor Day, Time To Reflect On What Forests Do For Us
T. Boone Pickens Offers Energy Answers
Student Social Networking Site Promotes Energy Awareness

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Nature Conservancy Recognizes PA Companies For Conservation Initiatives

The Philadelphia Phillies and five other Pennsylvania-based organizations have been honored for their investment in our natural resources and our economy by taking top honors in a statewide Investing in Nature Awards program. The Nature Conservancy announced the top business conservation initiatives in six categories today.
The Nature Conservancy and Journal Publications Inc. launched the statewide program to recognize and honor exemplary company initiatives in Pennsylvania that are improving the bottom line while achieving tangible, lasting conservation results. Nominations were limited to organizations that are headquartered in, or have significant operations in, Pennsylvania. (click here for full announcement.)

Thursday NewsClips

Allegheny County Businesses Awarded For Pollution Prevention Practices
Tobyhanna, Sanofi Gain Green Awards
B.Braun Moves Are Eco-Friendly, Fiscally Sound
DEP Rollback Of Clean Water Protection
Land Would Protect Drinking Water
Kanjorski Encourages Funding For Land Protection, Conservation
Earth Day Reconnects Us With Nature
Earth Day, Once A Year Is Not Enough
Environment Daily Concern
Students Share Earth Day Message
Students Urged To Go Green, Hug A Tree
Penn State Pledges Sustainability
Penguin Fans Will See Gold In Green Arena
Penguins Seeking Top Green Building Rating For Arena
Tamaqua Area Cranks Up Energy Efficiency Project
Emmaus Students Advance In Envirothon
Students Showcase Eco-Smarts On Earth Day
Gas Drilling Drops Off
Looking For Pros, Cons Of Injection Wells
Penn State Car Gets First Place IN Shell Eco-Marathon
From Bootlegging To Biodiesel
Op-Ed: Much-Needed Smart Grid Will Likely Face Hurdles In PA
Lock Haven, Corps Halt New Floodplain Construction
Spraying Along River Will Target Black Flies
DEP Earmarks Funding For Illegal Dump Cleanup
Monroe County Gets State Money To Clean Up Dumps

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

John Hanger Confirmed As DEP Secretary

The Senate today confirmed John Hanger as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection by a vote of 45-5. Senators Earll (R-Erie), Folmer (R-Lebanon), Robbins (R-Mercer), Don White (R-Indiana) and Mary Jo White (R-Venango) voted in the negative.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Solar Energy, High Performance Building Funding Guidelines

The guidelines for two Commonwealth Financing Agency alternative energy programs approved last week are now available online through Crisci Associates--
$80 Million Solar Energy Program
$25 Million High Performance Building

Chesapeake Bay Clean Up On WITF Radio Smart Talk April 21

Chesapeake Bay clean up: For more than 20 years, Pennsylvania along with the states of Maryland and Virginia and the District of Columbia have been spending millions of dollars and implemented dozens of environmental changes, all designed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. According to its annual report, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says the nation's largest estuary is still in danger and gave the bay a "D" grade. The report says the bay continues to be harmed by high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that come from sewage plant discharges, lawn and farm fertilizers and animal waste. After 20 years, is there hope?
Guests: Matthew Ehrhart, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Office, and Hedrick Smith, Producer, Frontline: Poisoned Waters. (click here for more.)

Applications Due For Grassland Reserve Program

Representatives from Pennsylvania's USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency today announced they are accepting applications for the first ranking of the Grasslands Reserve Program.
The deadline for the first round of applications is May 29. Applying for GRP is continuous; however, ranking dates are established to evaluate and select applications for funding.
Interested landowners can contact theirlocal NRCS or FSA office listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture, or find general program information is available at the Grassland Reserve webpage.

Monday NewsClips

Editorial: River Cleanup Necessary Evil
Luzerne Conservation District Sees Promise In Grass Pellets
Op-Ed: Climate Action Will Cost And Benefit Consumers
The Business Of Recycling
Lackawanna County Plans Tire Collection
Stores Recycle Plastic Shopping Bags Into Benches
What's Greener: Shop At Store Or Ship To Door?
Earth Day Soaks Up Sun, Fun
Alternative Energy, Green Jobs Way Out Of Economic Mess
PA-Friendly Biofuel In The Works
Editorial: Casino's Billboards Could Mar The Riverfront
Black Bear Population Steadily Increasing
Apollo Residents Still Suffer From Nuclear Radiation Despite Settlement

Friday, April 17, 2009

April 20 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 20 PA Environment Digest
Click here to print this week's Digest
Selected Headlines--
Celebrate A Decade Of Growing Greener Watersheds, Earn $250 For Your Group
A Decade of Growing Greener- What's The Deal With The String?
2009 Governor's Awards For Environmental Excellence
DEP Permits Waived To Apply For Federal Green Project Reserve Funding
Video - 10 State of the Chesapeake Bay Report Not Good
Video - Teachers, Students Learn Outside With CBF, Apply Now
Academy of Natural Sciences Previews New Watershed Assessment Tool
DEP To Set New Wastewater Standards For Drilling
New Flood Flow Statistics Tool Now Available
2nd Watershed Management Workshop For Teachers
DCNR Invites Students To Apply For Environmental Careers Camps
25th Anniversary of PA Safe Drinking Water Act Celebrated May 5
PA Providing Producers Grants To Transition to Organic Farming
PA CleanWays Announces 2009 Litter Hawk Youth Award Winners
Guidelines OK's For $80 Million Solar Funding
Guidelines Approved For $25 Million High Performance Building funding
DEP Requests Comments On Draft PA Climate Impact Assessment
Audubon PA At Home Lists Native Plant Sales Throughout PA
Spotlight - Sustainable Landscapes Conference
Opinion- Improving Tax Equity In Communities, The Impact of Drilling

Friday NewsClips

Dickinson Recognized For Green Practices
Marcellus Discharge Standards Debated
Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Marcellus Shale Gas Reserves
Editorial: Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Is Costly
Stimulus Funds Will Also Flow To Improve Area Creeks
Flood-Proofing Bucks Homes Gets Stimulus Funds
Bucks County Envirothon Creates Competitive Environment
Work To Prolong Delaware Canal Continues
Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority Matches Volunteers With Earth Week Projects
Cleanups Scheduled Saturday In Harrisburg
You Can Help Mother Earth
Wayne Groups Celebrate Earth Day
Littering Case Pits District Attorney, Monroe County Waste Authority
Wilkes Forum Encourages Dialogue On Green Energy in NE PA
Wolf Lodge Earns Environmental Seal Of Approval
Carlisle School Board Gives Land For Trail

DEP Seeks Comments On Climate Impacts Report

The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice today requesting comments on a draft Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment required by the PA Climate Change Act of last year. DEP will accept comments until May 18.
Some of the conclusions in the report include:
-- It is likely that annual precipitation will increase in Pennsylvania and very likely that winter precipitation will increase;
-- Warming will lead to a longer growing season of 3 to 5 weeks lengthening, respectively, by late century and corresponding frost day decreases are 4 and 6 weeks;
-- It is likely that Pennsylvania’s precipitation climate will become more extreme in the future, with longer dry periods and greater intensity of precipitation;
-- There is substantial uncertainty in projections of future tropical and extratropical cyclones for Pennsylvania. Current research suggests fewer storms but with increases in intensity.
-- Changes will cause certain species of northern hardwood trees to be reduced; and
-- Increases in stream water temperatures will stress aquatic ecosystems and fisheries as well as wetlands;
The 311-page Impacts Assessment was put together by group of nine professors at Penn State University.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Celebrate A Decade Of Growing Greener Watersheds, Earn $250

The Growing Greener Watershed Restoration Program will be ten years old in December and to help celebrate 10 groups have come together to invite watershed groups to share their success stories on a special website. As an incentive, a $250 grant will be given to the watershed group with the best article and photo or video each month through December.
Funding for the grants was provided by an anonymous benefactor.
The groups partnering to sponsor the celebration include: the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, Stream Restoration, Inc., the Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Eastern Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the PA Association of Conservation Districts, LandStudies, Inc. and PA Environment Digest.
Go to the Growing Greener website for details.

Academy Previews New Watershed Assessment Tool

The Academy of Natural Sciences this week previewed a new watershed restoration assessment tool called SWIM - Streamlined Watershed Integrated Model during a hearing by the House Republican Policy Committee.
Dr. Jerry Mead described the SWIM tool as a GIS-based system that evaluates the current state of a watershed and simulates the results of changes made to the watershed during restoration, for example adding forested riparian buffers and using other best management practices to specific areas in a watershed. SWIM analyzes the changes and estimates the water quality changes specific restoration techniques would make in the stream using eight different environmental indicators. (click here for a copy of the testimony.)

Thursday NewsClips

Nazareth Middle School Students Release Trout They Raised Into Bushkill
County Commissioners Object To DEP Action
Editorial: What Part Of Protection Don't They Understand?
Op-Ed: Climate Initiatives Will Foist Unnecessary Costs On Consumers
Foundation Releases Annual Chesapeake Bay Report
PA Tops In Trash Cleanups
King's College To Celebrate Earth Day
Green Drinks Harrisburg Celebrates Earth Day
Tis The Season For Wildfires

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DEP Sets New Permit Limit For Drilling Wastewater

The Department of Environmental Protection today announced new discharge standards for industrial wastewater that is high in total dissolved solids, or TDS, will take effect by January 2011. The standards primarily impact wastewater from Marcellus Shale drilling operations.
The department made the announcement at a public meeting of the Marcellus Shale Wastewater Technology Partnership and said the new limits will protect aquatic life and drinking water supplies.
The new permitted limit for discharges of high-TDS wastewater will be 500 milligrams per liter of TDS and 250 mg/l for both chlorides and sulfates. By January 2011, all facilities accepting high-TDS wastewater for treatment must meet these discharge limits.
DEP will develop a proposed rulemaking to amend the water quality regulations this summer with an opportunity for public comment. (Click here for full announcement)

PA CleanWays Litter Hawk Youth Award Winners

PA CleanWays today announced the winners of this year’s Litter Hawk Youth Award Program. The Litter Hawk program gives children and teens a chance to illustrate their concern about littering and illegal dumping prevention, recycling, proper disposal, beautification, and stewardship through visual arts, language arts, and community outreach activities. (Click here for full announcement.)

SRBC Takes Action Against Natural Gas Driller

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission today initiated enforcement action against Ohio-based Belden & Blake Corporation, a natural gas drilling company, for using water without approval from SRBC to hydraulically facture the Marcellus shale formation in Smithfield Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. SRBC also ordered the company to immediately stop consumptively using water in any projects targeting the Marcellus or Utica shale formations.
The violation occurred when Belden & Blake Corporation used 600,000 gallons of water this February to target the Marcellus formation in an existing natural gas well it drilled in 1995 into the Oriskany formation. The company recompleted the well to target the Marcellus formation without SRBC approval. Belden & Blake Corporation has 15 days to respond to SRBC. (click here for full announcement.)

Chesapeake Bay Scores 28 Out Of 100 In Health Index

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation today released its 10th annual State of the Bay report, scoring the Chesapeake again this year a 28 on a scale of 100. Because the report showed no significant progress, CBF is challenging the federal Environmental Protection Agency to use its regulatory authority immediately to take aggressive new action to reduce pollution.
CBF president Will Baker told the press, “That the Chesapeake Bay, a national treasure, remains in critical condition is outrageous. It is a national disgrace. Who are we kidding! It is 2009 and this national treasure is still getting trashed, while government refuses to use every possible tool available to stop it. When will EPA exercise its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to set strict a strict pollution reduction mandate and enforce it? Do laws mean nothing when it only nature that is getting injured?” (click here for full announcement.)

Wednesday NewsClips

Environmental Excellence Award Winners Announced
EPA: PA Drilling Wastewater Wells Not Causing Problems So Far
WV To Monitor Gas Drillers' Wastewater
Township Completes State's First Electronic PennVEST Application
Officials Seek Federal Money For Flood Prevention
Pollution Law Changes Would Give Allegheny County Free Rein
Trainer Is Cleaning Up
Op-Ed: The Bright Future Of Ethanol
PA Solar Rebate Funding Approved
Op-Ed: Forget Cap And Trade, Enact Carbon Tax
ESU Seminar On Greener Classes
Genesis Wildlife Center To Close
Chesapeake Watershed Lawsuit In PA Clears Hurdle

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Governor Announces Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Gov. Rendell today recognized fifteen Pennsylvania businesses and organizations that are adopting environmentally friendly practices and technologies and are working to revitalize communities, reduce pollution, and educate the public on the benefits of being good stewards of the state’s natural resources.
“What these businesses and organizations and one inspiring educator all have common is their ability to view environmental challenges as opportunities to do things differently,” said Governor Rendell in announcing the recipients of the 2009 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. “Their leadership is inspiring and together we will continue to preserve and protect the commonwealth’s precious natural resources.”
This year, the Department of Environmental Protection received 40 applications from businesses and organizations across the state. The projects were judged on environmental protection, teamwork, public service, environmental education and outreach, pollution prevention, economic impact and innovative technology. (Click here for a list of award winners.)

Permits Waived For May 18 Green Project Reserved Applications

In a briefing today, Paul Marchetti, PA Infrastructure Investment Authority, announced PennVEST was waiving the requirement for DEP permits to be in-hand by the May 18 deadline for federal Green Project Reserve stimulus funding applications.
At a previous briefing, PennVEST had said DEP permits had to be in-hand at the time applications are submitted.
PennVEST, however, is still expecting applicants to have DEP permits in-hand by the time their Board considers the projects for funding in mid-July. They are still looking at permit status as an indicator the project is "shovel-ready."
PennVEST and DEP will have a revised Q/A sheet posted on the PennVEST website following up on the briefing held today. The next briefing will be an online webinar April 20. (Click here for the latest on Green Project Reserve Funding.)

Tuesday NewsClips

Counties Oppose DEP Eliminating Permits Issued By Conservation Districts
Allegheny Forest Drilling Policy Explained
Residents Remove Rubbish From Renovo Riverbanks
PA Solar Rebate Funding Guidelines Approved
Editorial: Municipalities Should Form Alliance To Buy Electricity
Editorial: Smarter Use Of Landfill Gas
Allegheny College Workshop Combines Faith, Environment
Editorial: Harrisburg, Time To Revive Environmental Advisory Council
Thousands Live In Sunbury Danger Zone
Editorial: Do Not Wait For Sunbury Floodwall To Fail
Academy Of Natural Sciences Observes Earth Day

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guidelines For Solar, Green Building Funding Programs OK'd

The Commonwealth Financing Authority today approved guidelines for a new $80 million Solar Energy manufacturing and equipment program and a $25 million high performance green building program. Click here for details on the Solar Program, Click here for the Green Building Program. The Guidelines will be posted on the CFA webpage.

Path To Organic Farming Grants Available

Pennsylvania producers working to transition their conventional operations to certified organic farms may be eligible for grants under the Path to Organic Program to offset the costs of making the change, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today. The application deadline is July 31. (Click here for more information.)

Applications Due For Stimulus Clean Diesel Funding Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced it is now accepting applications under the 2009 Recovery Act‘s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions, maximize job creation/preservation and economic recovery through a variety of diesel emission reduction strategies. The deadline for applications is April 28.
Eligible to apply are regional, state, local or tribal agencies or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality, and nonprofit organizations that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or mainly promote transportation or air quality. (Click here for more information)

More Green Project Reserve Information Available

The PA Infrastructure Investment Authority and the Department of Environmental Protection have made available more information on the federal stimulus water infrastructure program Green Project Reserve on a special webpage.
The next briefings to update stakeholders will be April 14 at 1:00 in the Auditorium of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg and April 20 at 2:00 via a webinar online. (Click here for more information.) (Click here for previous PA Environment Digest story.)

Monday NewsClips

200 Western PA Communities To Conduct Cleanups
Illegal Dumping Ground In Hughestown Cleaned Up
Recycling A Success At Schools
Gas Drilling In The Spotlight
Carbon Opposes DEP Decision To Take Away Conservation Districts' Drilling Permits
Carbon Joins Opposition To DEP's Gas Permit Decision
Carbon County Joins Opposition To DEP's Gas Permit Decision
Forest Service Settlement On Gas Drilling Issues May Not Be Over
Don Welsh To Head State Environmental Group

Friday, April 10, 2009

April 13 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 13 PA Environment Digest is now available.
CLICK HERE to print this Digest.
Selected Headlines--
Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen Nutrient Credit Trading Program
Counties Oppose DEP Action to Eliminate Permits By Conservation Districts
DEP Sets Meeting With Industry On Marcellus Shale Drilling Wastewater
Seneca Resources Will Not Sign $31 M State Forest Land Lease
Video - Gateway To PA Trash Sweep
Online Radio - Allegheny Front Highlights Laurel Hill Creek
PA Applies For Stimulus Funds for Fish Ladders, Dam Removals
More Bad News For The Chesapeake Bay
Exelon Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 35 Percent+
PEDA Soliciting Proposals For $21 M for Energy Projects
NRCS To Provide $1.3 M To Protect PA Farmland
$1.4 M Wetland Development Grants Available
Meadville Water Authority Receives Award
EPA Publishes New Watershed Management Website
Help Plant A Riparian Buffer In Lebanon County April 25
PPL Reapplies For Holtwood Hydroelectric Plant Expansion
PA Receives $1.7 Million Clean Diesel Federal Stimulus Funding
Banking Dept. Approves First Green Triple BottomLine Bank
PEC Set To Honor Winners of Governor's Environmental Award April 22
2009 State Park, Forest Award Winners Celebrated May 5
Partnership Sustains Timber Production, Protects Wildlife Habitat
Ralph W. Abele College Scholarship Applications Due April 30
Donald Welsh Named PEC CEO
John Quigley Named Acting DCNR Secretary
Mine Water Powers Geothermal System for Pittsburgh Church
Feature - Birding Opportunities Soar in the Alleghenies
Feature - The Red Coats Are Coming! Hummingbirds That Is

Friday NewsClips

Scranton Going Green In Recognition Of Earth Week Gala
Gas Firm Says It Will Not Sign $31 Million Lease For State Forests
Officials Raise Concerns About Drilling At Senate Hearing
Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Marcellus Shale Gas Reserves
PPL Electric Rates To Go Up 30%, Rather Than 36%
George Asks To Consider Delay On Electric Rates Based On Texas Actions
Quigley Adjusting To DCNR Role
DCNR Acting Secretary Stresses Renewable Energy
Former Hazleton Mayor Keeps Focus On Clean Energy At DCNR
Trees Tangle Lackawanna Riverbank Trail Project
Alliance Landfill To Use Trash For Power
Hopewell Twp. Methane Payouts On Their Way
Foster Wheeler Makes EPA List
DEP Challenges Open Records Ruling
Judge Halts Genesis Wildlife Center Moves And Euthanizing

PEDA Solicits For $21M In Advanced Energy Funding

The PA Energy Development Authority this week announced it is accepting applications for $21 million in funding for innovative, advanced energy projects. Proposals are due May 29.
Eligible projects may include: solar energy; wind; low-impact hydropower; geothermal; biologically derived methane gas, including landfill gas; biomass; fuel cells; coal-mine methane; waste coal; integrated gasification combined cycle; demand management measures, including recycled energy and energy recovery, energy efficiency and load management; and clean, alternative fuels for transportation.
Priorities include distributed generation for critical public infrastructure.
Under this solicitation, PEDA may award financial assistance in the form of grants of up to $1.5 million. Funding for projects may be used for capital equipment, construction associated with capital projects and land acquisition. (formal notice)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 30 Deadline For Ralph W. Abele College Scholarships

High school seniors and current college students have until April 30 to submit applications for a Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarships.
The Abele Scholarship was formed in 1991 as a living memorial to Ralph W. Abele who provided extraordinary leadership to the Fish and Boat Commission and to Pennsylvania’s conservation movement.
Abele scholarships are considered for students giving a priority to seniors or graduates of the Greenwood Area School District in Perry County, second preference to residents of Perry County and children of employees of the Fish and Boat Commission and then other residents of Pennsylvania. (click here for details.)

Clean Water Coalition Applauds Nutrient Trading Bills

The PA Fair Share for Clean Water Coalition today applauded bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland) and Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) that would strengthen the state's Nutrient Credit Trading Program, which would in turn help reduce the cost of complying with Chesapeake Bay and watershed cleanup requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and allow for future economic development and job creation in a large portion of Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 767 and House Bill 1213 were introduced this week to create a Nutrient Credit Trading Bank to serve as a clearinghouse between buyers and sellers of nutrient credits. (click here for full announcement)

State Forest Gas Lease Falls Through

The Associated Press today reported Seneca Resources Corp. refused to sign a $31 million lease it had won last year to drill for Marcellus Shale natural gas on State Forest land.
This story confirms comments by DCNR Secretary Michael DiBeraradinis in February not to expect any windfall from future State Forest land leases on natural gas drilling.
87% of the public supported a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production in a recent poll, a more reliable way for the environment to benefit from the development of this resource.

Thursday NewsClips

Getting Dirty, Cleaning Up Across Pennsylvania
York Springs Water Once Again Best Tasting In The State
Rainfall Still Lags
Flood Warning Gauges On Delaware River Saved
Wyalusing Township Readies For Gas Invasion
State's Latest Wind Farm Going Up In Somerset
Solar Panel Maker Eyes NE
Wildlife Center's Funding At Risk
Clinton Foundation Plans To Develop Clean Coal Technology
Laurel Mountains Summit To Focus On Natural Resources
New Green Look For Carlisle Wardecker Building
Tamaqua Jumps Into Energy Pool
Montco Site Added To Superfund List
Mountain Top Site Proposed For Superfund List
State College Transit Receives Natural Gas Buses
Green Energy Revolution

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Help Plant A Riparian Buffer In Lebanon County On April 25

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other partners need volunteers to help plant 300 native trees and shrubs in a riparian stream buffer on the Hess Farm* along Conewago Creek near Palmyra in Lebanon County from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
This project will restore several thousand feet of stream bank, reduce erosion and shade the stream to maintain cooler water temperatures that help keep these ecosystems healthy. (Click here for details)
*No relation to the editor

Parks, Forest Awards To Be Presented May 5

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation today announced the recipients of the 2009 state park and forests awards this week which recognize eight groups, facilities and individuals for exemplary service, programs and work to protect and enhance our state park and forest system.
The top honor, the Keystone Legacy Award, sponsored again this year by Woolrich, Inc., will be presented to Joe Healey head of the Keystone Trail Care Crew. Established in 1984 by the Keystone Trails Association, the Keystone Trail Care Crew is an all-volunteer group who have pledged to be the expert SWAT team for hiking trails throughout Pennsylvania. (Click here for full announcement)

Wednesday NewsClips

Water Worries, Conservation Urged
Stimulus Fund Could Go For Flood Prevention
Fish Ladder Takes Step Forward With Stimulus Funds
Stimulus Money Could Help Fish Migration In Susquehanna River
Fish Ladders Could Become Reality With Stimulus Money
Editorial: A Scenic Creek Needs Protection Before It's Too Late
Deal Reached On Flight 93 Parcel
URA Grant To Make Hotel Green In Pittsburgh
Consol, AES Debut Pollution Control Technology
Middletown Electric Customers Demand Answers
Retailers, EPA Working To Increase Cell Phone Recycling
Nay Aug Wildlife Housing Has Long, Troubled Past
Funding For Wildlife Center Fuels Debate
A Mighty Oak

PEC Names Don Welsh New President & CEO

Paul M. King, Board Chair for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), announced today that, following a unanimous vote from the PEC Board of Directors, the organization has hired Donald S. Welsh as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Welsh will officially begin his new role in the Harrisburg office on Monday, April 27th.
“We are very pleased to have Don join PEC as our new President and CEO. He brings a wealth of experience and personal commitment to environmental and natural resource management,” said Paul M. King, “He has great stature in the environmental community with over 30 years experience at the Federal, State and Local levels.”
Welsh, who resides in Kennett Square in Chester County, comes to PEC with vast experience, leadership and expertise. Immediately prior to accepting the leadership role with PEC, he worked for eight years as a Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that role, he led the environmental protection efforts for six states in the mid-Atlantic region.
Welsh’s prior work experience includes serving as the Deputy Secretary for State/Federal Relations for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and as the Chief of Government Affairs for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Don started his career working for Congressman Bud Shuster in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Chief Legislative Assistant. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
"PEC's demonstrated ability to solve problems through its project work and policy development is what attracted me to the organization,” said Welsh. “I'm honored to have this opportunity to help bring citizens, businesses and policy-makers together to find innovative solutions to the environmental challenges facing our state. PEC has always stood for innovation and cooperation, with a broad base of members and partners and a first-rate staff." (click here for full announcement)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

DEP Meeting On Marcellus Shale Wastewater Policy April 15

The Department of Environmental Protection today announced an April 15 meeting of the Marcellus Shale Wastewater Partnership meeting will be held at 1:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg.
The Department will present a Permitting Strategy for High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Wastewater Discharges (Permitting Strategy). The goal of this permitting strategy is that new sources of High TDS wastewaters will be prohibited from Pennsylvania’s waters by January 2011. To achieve this goal, the Department proposes to amend Chapter 95 – relating to wastewater treatment requirements – to establish new effluent standards.
In addition, to assure the protection and attainment of all designated stream uses, the Department proposes to develop new numeric water quality criteria for TDS and Chlorides, and amend Chapter 93 – Water Quality Standards – to include these criteria. Amendments to Chapters 93 and 95 will be completed prior to January of 2011 through separate regulatory processes. Those processes will allow for public participation and comment. (click here for full announcement) Meeting materials will be posted online by DEP.

John Quigley Named Acting DCNR Secretary

John Quigley has been named by Gov. Rendell as acting Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to replace departing Michael DiBerardinis.
Quigley joined DCNR as Director of Operations in February 2005, and was named Director of Legislation and Strategic Initiatives in July 2006. He assumed the responsibilities of Chief of Staff in March 2008.
During his first four years with DCNR, Quigley closely guided some of the department’s priority projects, most importantly working to help Pennsylvania address the impacts of climate change, which is the biggest potential threat to the health of our natural resources. Quigley was an instrumental figure on alternative energy initiatives, including the impact of windmills on wildlife; the use of biomass as an alternative fuel; and most recently efforts to determine if there are suitable underground areas in the state for the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. (click here for more on Quigley)

Tuesday NewsClips

Warning Signs Flash For Somerset Creek
Laurel Hill Creek A River At Risk
Clearfield Seeks Millions In Grants To Meet Nutrient, Other Upgrades
Upper Delaware Group Concerned Over River Gauge Funds
Stop Trashing The Neshaminy Creek
Letter: DEP Is Taking Action On Drilling
Chesapeake Energy Urges Township Not To Pass Drilling Ordinance
Unusual Recyclables To Be Accepted At Pittsburgh Event
Energy Management Workshops Scheduled In Bradford County
Prices Drop In Fifth Round Of PPL Purchases For 2010
Op-Ed: Alternative Energy Will Make State A Leading Competitor

NRCS Provides $3.1 M To Protect Farmland

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications now through June 1 for approximately $3.1 million available to protect Pennsylvania's agricultural land through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).
FRPP provides matching funds to help eligible entities purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. The program is open to state or local governments, Tribes, and non-governmental.
Interested landowners need to apply and work with an eligible entity. To be eligible for FRPP, an entity must have an established farm and ranch land protection program; the authority to hold and manage easements; the capacity to acquire, manage, and enforce the easements; and the funds to match the Federal contribution of up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the farm's easement.
Land proposed for funding in FRPP must meet one of three eligibility categories: contain at least fifty percent prime, unique statewide or locally important farmland; contain historic or archeological resources; or contain land that supports the farm and ranch land protection policies of state or local programs. (click here for more information)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bills Introduced To Create Nutrient Credit Trading Program

Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland/York) and Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) recently introduced legislation that seeks to strengthen Pennsylvania's existing nutrient credit trading policy.
A more robust nutrient credit trading program is seen as providing a lower cost alternative for some wastewater treatment plant upgrades prompted by implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy. It also can provide a mechanism to accommodate growth because additional nutrient discharges associated with new housing must be offset by reductions elsewhere.
Senate Bill 767 and House Bill 1213 establish authority for the nutrient credit trading program in statute and require its formation through the regulatory process, to allow stakeholders to have more input into its design. The bills also create a state board that would be authorized to serve as a clearinghouse for the purchase and sale of credits as a supplement to direct exchanges between buyers and sellers. The Department of Environmental Protection currently maintains a nutrient credit trading program; however, it exists only as a department policy.
"Ratepayers ultimately benefit from the availability of alternatives to costly facility upgrades," Vance said. "One of the barriers to a successful nutrient trading program is uncertainty. If farmers are uncertain about the market for credits, they will not make the investments necessary to create them. Municipal authorities cannot make plans to use credits in place of wastewater treatment plant capital upgrades unless they are sure the credits will be available when they are needed."
"Nutrient credit trading holds promise as a cost-effective way to meet the mandated nutrient reduction targets," DePasquale said. "However, the promise has not yet been fulfilled on a wide scale. Our legislation proposes reforms that will improve the program and help us to address the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay." (click here for full announcement)

Monday NewsClips

Air Quality Improves As Economy Worsens
DEP Takes Over Environmental Monitoring, Conservation Districts Shut Out
DEP Changes To Oil And Gas Permits Raise Concern
Editorial: Conservation Districts Can Help DEP
Editorial: Room To Finesse Electricity Rate Crunch
No Funds Yet For PA Solar Plan
2008 Busy Year For Lycoming Conservation District
Editorial: Balance Needs Of Farmers, Neighbors
Consumers Going Light On Green Living
Naturalists Treated To Salamander Love
Genesis Wildlife Center: A Decent Life For Wildlife? - Pt. 1
Scranton's Commitment To Wildlife Center Faulted - Pt. 2
Bluebirds Get Help In Feeding Young
Possible Future For Affordable Green Homes In Kensington
Kathleen McGinty: Going Private With A Green Consciousness

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 6 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 6 PA Environment Digest is now available.
Click Here to print this Digest.

Selected Headlines
DEP Rollback On Marcellus Shale Drilling Illegal, Irresponsible
Agriculture Budget Critical To Restoring Water Quality - Video
Groups Briefed On Green Stimulus Funding Requirements - Video
Local Governments Urged To Take Advantage Of Federal Energy Funds
Video - Stormwater PA's New Blog, Case Study
Video - Energy Star Energy Saving Tips
Committee Reports John Hanger Nomination To Full Senate
House Committee Hears Comments On Drilling, Moves Recycling Fee
Robert Hughes, EPCAMR, Honored By Susquehanna River Basin
PA Farmers Recognized For Improving Water Quality
Northeast Environmental Partners Seek Award Nominatinos
Susquehanna River Basin Assesses Shortfalls In Rain
Nominations Sought For Friend Of The Lehigh River Award
Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grant Applications Due May 1
Connecting Communities To Creek Conference Adds Workshop
PA Resources Council Holds Rain Barrel/Watershed Workshops
PA Center for Environmental Education Newsletter Available
Western PA Well-Positioned For Green Economic Growth
Prices Drop In PPL Power Purchases For 2010
Businesses, INdividuals Can Benefit From REAP Tax Credit
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Educators Prepare For New Season

Susquehanna Basin Drought Group Recommends Conservation

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission today reported it convened its interagency Drought Coordination Committee to assess growing impacts to water resources in the Susquehanna basin dususquehane to ongoing precipitation shortfalls.
Three consecutive months of shortfalls have caused streams and groundwater levels to drop well below normal for this time of the year, particularly in the Lower Susquehanna region in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
If below normal precipitation persists through spring, there could be water challenges that impact domestic water supplies, agriculture and other water-dependent businesses, aquatic habitat, recreation and other activities.
Given the current stresses on water resources in the lower Susquehanna region, SRBC is encouraging water conservation. (click here for full announcement)

Friday NewsClips

Report: Chesapeake Bay Remain Unhealthy
Who Gets What From Marcellus Gas Bed?
Schuylkill River: Is Phoenixville Ready To Tackle Drinking Water Issues?
Schuylkill River Faces Risks Every Day
Local Group Warns Action Is Necessary To Save Schuylkill River
Alcosan Sewer Work Tops Out At $50 Billion
Editorial: Freezing The Clariton Project Doesn't Mean Bad Air
PPL Says 2010 Rate Hike Will Be Less Than Expected
PPL Lowers Rate Hike Estimate
Power Plants Should Be Aware Of Environmental Issues
Delaware County Church Installs Solar Power System
Studies Show Where The Trout Are
Trout No. 150,000 Awaits The Hook
Rendell's Budget Has Farmers Asking: Where's The Beef?
State Reps Weigh In On Economic Access To Allegheny National Forest
Wind Turbines Blowing Into Sayer Area

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Energy Stimulus Grants For Local Governments

Gov. Rendell today encouraged local and county governments to take advantage of $102 million in energy efficiency block grants and other funding opportunities in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Governor said that the Commonwealth will host Web-based sessions on April 8 and 28 for local governments that will guide municipal officials through the Recovery Act and the grant application process.
The block grant program assists local governments with reducing fossil fuel emissions and total energy use, and with improving energy efficiency for buildings and transportation.
Grants may be used for a variety of energy efficiency projects, including residential and commercial building energy audits; energy efficiency retrofits and conservation programs for existing facilities; developing and implementing transportation programs; implementing energy distribution resources to increase efficiency; material conservation programs; and replacing traffic signals and street lighting, among others. (click here for full announcement)

Thursday NewsClips

Senate Committee Advances Controversial Environmental Head
Senate To Vote On DEP Nominee
Hanger Clears Committee Vote To Be DEP Secretary
Senate Panel Advances Nomination Of Acting DEP Chief
Environmental Groups Condemn DEP Changes In Regulations Of Gas Drilling
Editorial: Greening PGW
Company Drops Tioga Gas Drilling Push
A Sobering Look At Gas Drilling
PA Natural Gas Wells Still Sought Despite Price Drop
California Firm See Clear Future For Window Industry
Outcry Over Agriculture Budget Cutbacks
Economic Downturn Affects Trash Deliveries At Centre Landfill
Clinton County CleanScapes Schedules Two Cleanup Events
Artists Lend Talent To Downtown Trash Cans
Putting Stormwater To Work For You
Precipitation Down 50 Percent In The Valley
Mandate Rule To Protect Fish
Luzerne County Alters Levee Fee Proposal

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Call For Nominations For Northeast PA Environmenal Partnership Awards

The Northeast Environmental Partners is seeking nominations for the Nineteenth Annual Environmental Partnership Awards and the Fifteenth Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award. The deadline for submissions is June 15.
The Northeast Environmental Partners include: Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council's Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University
The awards will be presented at the Partnership's October 22 dinner in Wilkes-Barre. (click here for details)

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