Friday, November 30, 2012

Dec. 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Dec. 3 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Advisory Committee Meeting Canceled On Proposed Drilling Reg Changes

The Department of Environmental Protection has canceled the December 11 Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting where they were due to roll out proposed changes to Chapter 78 regulations required by the Act 13 Marcellus Shale drilling law enacted in February.
DEP issued a white paper in August for the Advisory Board and the public outlining the agency’s proposed changes to regulations in response to Act 13.
The bulleted list of changes in the white paper covered application requirements, well location restrictions, proposed protection of water supplies, pre-drilling or pre-alteration survey requirements, erosion and sedimentation controls, wastewater control and disposal planning, standards for pit and tank containment and much more.
DEP originally said proposed language to implement these changes would be available online on or about September 14.
DEP had scheduled two additional Oil and Gas Board meetings to review the proposals on September 17 and October 15.  The proposals were also to be shared with DEP’s Small Business Compliance Assistance Advisory Committee on October 24.
DEP anticipated finalizing proposed language at the November 15 Oil and Gas Board meeting and then send it to the Environmental Quality Board on December 18 for their consideration.  (The December EQB meeting has been canceled.)
Keep watching the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board webpage for more information.

Dec. 1 Air Quality Action Day In 3 Regions

The Department of Environmental Protection is forecasting an Air Quality Action Day on Saturday, December 1 in the Lehigh Valley, Liberty-Clairton in Pittsburgh and the Susquehanna Valley regions.  Click Here for details.

Friday NewsClips

Click Here for a summary of Gov. Corbett's comments on issues in year-end interviews.
Heating Oil Prices Drive Users To Natural Gas
First National Offering Special Natural Gas Lease CDs
DCED's Alan Walker Hasn’t Given Up On Coal
Coal Ash Raising Solomon Creek
Mine Subsidence Found Under Hyde Park Houses
Group Goes To Bat For Expiring Wind Energy Credit
River Industry: Anti-Drought Efforts Hurt Commerce
Presque Isle Improvements Improve Bird Habitat
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, November 29, 2012

DEP Now Accepting Applications For Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday it will begin accepting applications December 1 for its Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program, which will provide up to $20 million over the next three years to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas fleet vehicles.
The deadline for applications is February 1.

“With this new technology coupled with grant money available, Pennsylvania is in a leadership position to wean our country from its dependence on foreign oil for transportation fuel,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Through Act 13, Gov. Corbett and the legislature moved us in the right direction by creating opportunities for converting vehicle fleets from imported oil to homegrown, clean-burning, cheaper natural gas.
“The next step was our standing-room-only series of seminars DEP hosted over the past few months to educate the public about the grant program and converting vehicle fleets to run on natural gas,” he said. “Now, our grant program will provide funding for local governments, schools and businesses to land lower operational costs, lessen dependency on foreign oil and clean the air all at the same time.”
In the first year, $10 million in grants will be available, $5 million of which is slated for local transportation organizations, including non-profit agencies providing public transportation services and public transportation, port and redevelopment authorities.
Non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, local transportation organizations, state-owned or state-related universities, commonwealth or municipal authorities and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will be eligible to apply for the remaining amount.
An additional $7.5 million in funding will be available the second year, with $2.5 million the third year.
Eligible vehicles must weigh 14,000 pounds or more and be fueled with compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas. Bi-fuel vehicles are also eligible.
Grant awards will be capped at 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle, with a maximum total of $25,000 per vehicle. The incremental purchase cost is defined as the difference between a vehicle eligible for these grants and one powered by traditional fuels, such as diesel or gasoline.
Grants will be awarded in late March.
To learn more about the program and complete the online grant application, visit DEP’s Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program webpage.

Thursday NewsClips

Conservationists Fight To Save One OF PA’s Gem Streams
Lessons On Saving The Chesapeake Bay Reveal Slow Learning Curve
Wetland Restoration Goal On Target, Buffer Goal Lags In Chesapeake
Beaver County Waits In Hope For Shell Plant
Community College Faculty Angry Over Marcellus Center
More Of Nation’s Gas Coming From Marcellus
Motorists On Pace To Spend Record Amount On Gasoline
Air Rule Fight Likely In Allegheny County
PA Hurricane Damage At $16 Million And Rising
November One Of Driest On Record
Costs Cloud Cleanup Of Parks Nuclear Waste Site
Charges Filed In WV Mine Disaster
Hanger Kicks Off Gubernatorial Campaign
Western PA Audubon Ready For Christmas Bird Count
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

John Hanger Launches Campaign To Unseat Gov. Corbett, Look At His Real Record

John Hanger Wednesday launched his campaign for governor of Pennsylvania at the Reading Terminal Market.
Hanger said he has has a 28-year record of accomplishments improving PA’s economy and environment, including serving as Commissioner of the Public Utility Commission, as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and as the Public Advocate for Philadelphia’s utility customers.
Real Hanger-Rendell Environmental Record
For eight straight years, Gov. Rendell and Secretary Hanger’s proposed budgets included cuts for the departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources.
A total of $1.3 billion was been diverted or cut from environmental programs to help balance the state budget or to fund programs that could not get funding on their own over the eight years of the Rendell Administration.
These Rendell cuts put appropriations for DEP at 1994 levels and for DCNR at 1995-96 levels, wiping out nearly a decade of steady growth in the state’s commitment to the environment.
Complement levels at DEP were reduced by over 378 positions from 3,211 in FY 2002-03 to 2,835 at the end of the Rendell Administration, even less if you take out the 105 positions DEP added for the Marcellus Shale drilling inspection and permit program during that time.
The FY 2009-10 budget cuts alone required DEP and DCNR to furlough or eliminate 333 full time positions.  DCNR had to eliminate or reduce hours for 1,131 seasonal workers.
During the eight years of the Rendell Administration, DEP's General Fund budget was been cut by 40.9 percent ($245.6 million to $147 million), DCNR by 23.7 percent  ($108.8 million to $82.4 million) and the Department of Agriculture by 35.2 percent ($76.1 million to $62.8 million) from the FY 2010-11 to FY 2002-03 budget.
One result of all these cuts is the  permit review backlog DEP said was already building in 2009 and in truth during the last 7 years of the Rendell Administration, delaying hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development projects across the state.
Click Here for more details on the real Hanger-Rendell environmental record.
Hanger Announcement Continued
Hanger, who lives in Hershey, said he’s taking the school bus between Philadelphia and Harrisburg to emphasize his commitment to public education.
“A good public education system is the foundation of a growing economy that generates good-paying jobs. Businesses today, and more importantly, the businesses of tomorrow need well-educated, high-skilled workers and will locate where those workers are,” said Hanger. “That’s why Tom Corbett’s attack on public schools and universities is so disastrous for every educational level and also for our future economic well-being.”
“We cannot afford another Corbett term in office,” Hanger continued. “Corbett’s education policies destroyed 19,000 education jobs, raised class sizes, and ended tutoring programs, language classes, arts programs and extra-curricular programs like sports. His education cuts also raised local property taxes. And local taxpayers are now paying more for less.”
“When elected governor, I will make our schools and universities the first priority for funding, not the last; I will make sure taxpayer money given to charter schools, including cyber charters, is not wasted or stolen; and, I will immediately end what ESPN Magazine called Corbett’s vendetta against Penn State.”
Hanger also supports Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane’s commitment to fully investigate the handling of the Sandusky case.
Hanger also said that his campaign will emphasize four main issues: education, the economy, energy and the environment.
“Under Gov. Corbett’s watch, we’ve gone from being a job leader in 2010 to a job-killing laggard,” said Hanger. “When the governor took office, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was below the national average and had been for four years. Now our unemployment rate is above the national average.”
Hanger pointed out that Gov. Corbett’s only economic development strategy is to rely completely on natural gas development while ignoring or harming education, agriculture, transportation, medicine, tourism and energy sources like renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“I have a vision for how to build a growing economy and a comprehensive strategy that makes key investments in rehabilitating roads, bridges, water and sewer systems and public education,” he said. “I will partner with private businesses to strengthen manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, health care, energy, education and others to create and implement a broad-based strategy to create tens of thousands of good jobs.”
A widely-respected energy expert, Hanger said that Pennsylvania’s diverse energy resources make the Commonwealth an energy powerhouse.
“We need a comprehensive energy independence strategy that ensures the safe production of natural gas; grows our supply of renewable energy including biodiesel; saves energy and money by cutting waste; and, diversifies our transportation fuels,” said Hanger. “Unfortunately, Governor Corbett has squandered the Commonwealth’s energy potential by neglecting or harming all our power resources other than natural gas.”
Hanger also supports taxing the extraction of natural gas and using the money for education, local communities and environmental conservation and restoration.
“Environmental quality and economic prosperity are dependent on each other – you cannot grow an economy on the barren soil of a degraded environment,” he continued. “Gov. Corbett clings to the old, discredited idea that you can’t have both a good environment and a growing economy.
“As governor I will increase the budget for the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure the department has adequate enforcement capacity; create a new Growing Greener III program that conserves and restores our air, land and water; protect state parks from gas drilling; continue the moratorium on further leasing of state forestland for drilling; create a Citizens’ Ombudsman to provide timely services to people in gas drilling areas who encounter problems; and, implement the actions identified in the state’s Climate Change Action Plan that cut pollution and save money.”
During the next several months, Hanger says he will travel the state meeting people and conducting town hall listening sessions.
“I want to be a governor for all Pennsylvanians,” he said. “And I look forward to meeting my fellow Pennsylvanians, learning from them and making them part of building a new Pennsylvania.”

Wednesday NewsClips

Lackawanna County Expands Paper Recycling
FEMA: Nothing Changed For West Pittston Flood Issues
Editorial: Climate Crock: Facts vs. Rhetoric
Op-Ed: Natural Gas Vehicles Coming To PA
Companies Profiting From Marcellus Shale
Drilling Leases Complicate Wills, Trusts
Ad Campaign Promotes NY Gas Drilling
Decreased Coal Value Hurts Greene County Tax Base
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nov. 26 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Nov. 26 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Election, Retiring Legislators Means Change Of Key Environmental Committee Leadership

With the retirement of two Chairs of the Senate and House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a switch from the House to the Senate for a third Chair, the new session of the General Assembly will mean an almost complete turnover of environmental leadership in the Senate and House.
Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, announced her retirement at the end of 2011.  She served as Chair of the Committee for 12 years.
Rep. Camille George (D-Clearfield), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, announced his retirement at the beginning of 2012.  He served as both Majority and Minority Chair of the Committee for 29 years.
Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, was elected to the Senate this month to replace Sen. Mary Jo White.  He served as Majority and Minority Chair of the Committee over six years.  He also served as Chair of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee for 11 years.
The only member likely to stay in a position of environmental leadership is Sen. John Yudiack (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  He has served as Chair since the retirement of Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne) in 2010.
Committee appointments should be announced at the latest in January when the new session convenes.

Friday NewsClips

Corbett: High Hopes For Shell Cracker Plant
Wyoming Natural Gas Facility Draws Emergency Crews
Environmentalists Again Upbeat About Green Energy
State Now Accepting LIHEAP Applications
North Branch Land Trust Gets P&G Grant
State To Offer Multiyear Fishing Licenses
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Applications For 2013 DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Grants Due April 10

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will begin accepting applications for the 2013 round of Community Conservation Partnership Grants on January 9.  The deadline for applications is April 10.
Grant Webinar
DCNR will host a webinar on November 29 at 10:00 a.m. to provide a general overview of the grant program, the types of grant projects, matching fund requirements, eligible applicants and projects, and how to create a “ready to go” competitive grant application. Availability is limited.

Pre-registration is required for either the webinar or the workshops, and can be done here. For more information, contact the Bureau of Recreation & Conservation’s Linda Manning.
Grant Workshops
DCNR will host a series of 7 regional grant workshops designed to assist potential grant applicants with preparing their applications and providing information about the program. The workshop dates and locations are:
-- Feb. 6: Conshohocken – Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus: Fire Academy
-- Feb. 7: Doylestown – Heritage Conservancy: Aldie Mansion
-- Feb. 13: Enola – Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors: Administration Building
-- Feb. 19: Boalsburg – Pa. Military Museum
-- Feb. 20: Nanticoke – Luzerne County Community College: Educational Conference Center
-- Feb. 26: Franklin Park – Franklin Park Borough: Blueberry Hill Park Activity Center
-- Feb. 27: Clarion – Clarion University: Gemmell Student Complex
For grant applications and instructions, visit the DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Grants webpage.

Help Wanted: PA Office Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of Pennsylvania Office Executive Director.
The PA Executive Director serves as the primary environmental advocate for CBF in Pennsylvania. Key responsibilities include: policy development and advocacy, media/spokesperson and staff management.
Additionally, the Executive Director oversees all lobbying, outreach,, advocacy and restoration efforts for CBF in PA; assists with fundraising  and communication efforts.
The former Executive Director, Matthew Ehrhart, has taken a position with the Strout Water Research Center.
Click Here for details on the position.  The deadline for applications is November 30.
Lee Ann Murray is now serving as Acting PA Office Executive Director.

DEP To Revise Permit Review Public Participation Policy

The Department of Environmental Protection notified the Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday it is in the process of updating the agency’s public participation policy on permit reviews.
DEP’s permit review public participation policy guides when and how the public is involved in decision-making in the agency on individual permit applications. It was last updated in 2005.
The policy addresses how and when public comment periods are held, when public information meetings and hearings are encouraged, how access to permit files is managed and requires the agency to respond to public comments.
The Council, as the primary body in DEP charged by statute to oversee public participation issues in the department, strongly requested DEP to make the Council its first stop for input in developing the new policy before it is published for public comment.
DEP said they hope to have the new policy ready for comment by the end of the year.

Statewide Brownfields Conference Rescheduled For Dec. 10-12 In Allegheny County

The Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the Engineers Society of Western PA, invites community leaders, industry professionals and other interested stakeholders to a statewide brownfields conference from December 10 to 12 at the Doubletree Hotel in Monroeville, Allegheny County.
The conference was originally scheduled for October 29 to 31, but was postponed because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
DEP’s Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation, Vince Brisini, will serve as master of ceremonies. Alisa Harris, DEP’s Special Deputy Secretary for External Affairs, will moderate a brownfields best practices panel.
“Pennsylvania is committed to being a leader in brownfield reclamation,” Brisini said. “This conference will offer a valuable forum for industry leaders and regulators to share ideas and discuss strategies to ensure that we remain a leader.”
Previously, DEP and the Engineers Society of Western PA held separate statewide conferences that appealed to the same audience. This is the first year the organizations have worked together on the conference, which uses an advisory panel of industry experts to develop conference content. They plan to hold the event in a different region of the state each year.
The theme of this year’s conference, “Marketplace Meets Brownfields,” will highlight current redevelopment topics, including the popular Extreme Makeover competition; mobile workshops; a video showcase of success stories; and technical updates on market trends and treatment options.
There will be a tiered track of courses available to provide continuing education credits for economic development agency personnel, local government organizations, planners, real estate professionals and engineering professionals.
Brownfields are properties where expansion, redevelopment or re-use are jeopardized because of the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Pennsylvania’s approach to brownfields redevelopment has proven to be a national model for transforming abandoned, idled properties into places of economic opportunity.
For more information, visit the Brownfields Conference webpage and to register or display an exhibit, contact the conference manager at 412-261-0710, ext. 11, or send email to:

Wednesday NewsClips

Corbett, Some Lawmakers To Decline Raises
Corbett Talks Transportation, Pensions To Counties
DEP Secretary Responds To Fracking Concerns (Video)
Crackers May Pop Up In Ohio, West Virginia
Maryland Gas Drilling Panel May Require Pollution Insurance
Philly Receives DOE Grant To Promote Natural Gas Vehicle
EPA Sets Up Precision Plating Cleanup Website
Oil Leak Forces PPL Nuclear Reactor Off Line
York County Sheetz Stations Have Gasoline Again
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nov. 19 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Nov. 19 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

DCNR Renames Tuscarora Forest Tract In Honor Of Late James Nelson

The Tuscarora State Forest Wild Area in Juniata County was renamed Wednesday in honor of the late James C. Nelson, Pennsylvania state forester from 1989 to 1994.
Nelson’s family members joined Department of Conservation and Natural Resources representatives in unveiling a new sign identifying the 5,382 acre-tract straddling the Juniata-Perry county line as the James C. Nelson Wild Area.
Nelson, who died in March at the age of 81, worked 42 years with the Bureau of Forestry and is credited with shaping many innovative state forest management principles. A native of Kane, McKean County, he last resided in East Berlin, Adams County.
“Forests such as the one behind me serve as beacons for recreation, watershed protection, employment and so much more,” DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said. “Mr. Nelson knew that. He worked tirelessly to make them shine.”
Located on the eastern end of Tuscarora Mountain, the former Tuscarora Wild Area consists of a single tract, a section of which borders the Juniata River. Timbered between 1902 and 1917, the tract was purchased by the state in 1964. Except for the remains of a logging railroad, there is little evidence of man-made disturbance, making primitive backpack camping in the area a popular pastime.
“I understand this was one of Mr. Nelson’s favorite areas, and he often talked about why he felt it should be set aside as a wild area,” Allan said. “It is truly fitting that it will now be known as the James C. Nelson Wild Area.”
Nelson is credited with creating and developing many new and groundbreaking forestry programs in Pennsylvania, including the State Forest Resource Management Plan; even-age timber management; Pennsylvania Heritage and Stewardship programs; Society of American Forester’s Sustainability Report; and the bureau’s Natural and Wild Area designation program.
Bureau of Forestry Director and State Forester Daniel Devlin identified his predecessor as “a pioneer” in so many ways.
“Many of the programs we work on today are a result of Jim’s foresight and vision,” Devlin said. “He was a great historian, and more importantly, loved to share his knowledge with anyone and everyone."
Across Pennsylvania, the state forest system contains 14 wild areas and 61 natural areas. All support unique biologic, geologic, scenic and historic features while often encouraging enjoyment of hiking, hunting, fishing and the pursuit of solitude. To retain the undeveloped character of the area, no permanent development is permitted.

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