Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
The April 1 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click Here to print entire Digest.
Long-Time SRBC Executive Director Paul Swartz Retiring This Fall
Susquehanna River Basin Commission Chairman Dr. Robert Summers Thursday announced that Executive Director Paul Swartz is retiring this November.
“I join my fellow commissioners in congratulating Paul and thanking him for his untiring and passionate dedication to the Commission these past 21 years,” said Chairman Summers. “Under his leadership, the Commission grew into a very effective agency that balances the competing uses of the Susquehanna basin’s water resources for healthy ecosystems and a vibrant economy.”
“Over the years, Paul has done an exceptional job leading the agency’s staff in its mission to manage water resources responsibly and equitably, without regard to sectors and political boundaries. He has inspired and promoted the Commission’s values of ‘Teamwork, Professionalism, and Quality’ and has assembled a very strong team that is driven by those values everyday as they serve the public.”
Swartz has served as SRBC’s executive director since 1992.
Among his varied responsibilities, Swartz oversaw the progressive and responsible growth in SRBC’s regulatory, planning, water quality monitoring, information technology and public information programs.
“Because of Paul’s hands-on and decisive management skills, he will leave the Commission in an excellent position both fiscally and programmatically. In today’s tough financial climate, no one can take those qualities for granted, and we commend him for that,” said Chairman Summers.
Prior to joining SRBC, Swartz directed the Bureau of Soil and Water Conservation in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. He also served as the Executive Secretary to the Pennsylvania Conservation Commission.
Swartz, a 1970 graduate of Gettysburg College, and his wife, Patsy, have three sons and a grandson.Until Swartz retires in November, the SRBC commissioners will actively seek his replacement. SRBC released the Executive Director job announcement this week, including posting it on SRBC’s website.
Three Mile Island Accident Resonates 34 Years Later
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The April 5-6 Pennsylvania Watersheds Advocate, Communicate, Transform Conference registration fees have been reduced and the deadline to sign up has been extended through Monday, April 1.
Student registration is now only $10. Non-profit representatives can get in for a mere $25. Don't miss this opportunity to learn new skills to advance the mission of your non-profit organization.
Special registration rates are available for Conservation District Watershed Specialists, and West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition members.
Advocate, Communicate, Transform (ACT!), to be held at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA, is a unique and exciting gathering where we will celebrate the good work being done by our water watchdogs, learn from each other how best to solve the myriad of challenges facing clean water advocates, hear from experts in advocacy, and build collective solutions to shared challenges.
Sponsors of the Conference include the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, and the Colcom Foundation.
The agenda was guided by a steering committee composed of representatives of Trout Unlimited, the Eastern and Western Pennsylvania Coalitions for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the Fayette County Conservation District.
Join us as we welcome keynote speaker Josh McNeil of the PA League of Conservation Voters who will tell us about current issues and how to best take action!
Nationally recognized expert on nonprofit advocacy, Marcia Avner, will share time-tested principles of effective advocacy.
Ten workshops present a variety of opportunities for gathering new information about environmental issues or helping to further your effectiveness as an advocate, board member, or environmental champion.
Topics include implementing abandoned mine drainage education programs, how to advocate for policy changes that protect water quality, why Federal Environmental Good Samaritan protection is important to you, how to promote your organization and mission through social media, how to communicate through conflict, and much more.
There will also be a networking reception and a poster session.
Although the deadline to reserve a room has passed, special rates were offered at the Nittany Lion Inn and if you act fast, may still be available. The Block Code to use to receive the group rate is FOUD13A. Reservations can be made online at www.pennstatehotels.com or by calling 800-233-7505 using the code.To Register, call the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at 412-397-6000 or go to the Conference registration webpage.
DCNR Chief Defends Drilling Royalties Funding Shift
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The Citizens Advisory Council to the Department of Environmental Protection is asking the public for ideas on how to improve public participation in developing environmental regulations and policies, according to John Walliser, Council Chair.
“The Department of Environmental Protection is now updating the agency’s public participation policies which have not seen significant changes in more than a decade,” said Walliser. “The Council believes this is a unique opportunity to ask the public for ideas on how they can be better informed about regulations and policies under development and how they can offer their comments and suggestions.”
Walliser noted DEP is also updating its public participation policies covering permit reviews and environmental justice reviews, but the Council and the public will be reviewing those changes separately.
“Giving the public-- from individual citizens to affected businesses-- the opportunity to have an impact on regulations and policies developed by DEP is a fundamental principle the agency has embraced,” said Walliser. “At the same time, the Council is aware there is always room for improvements.”
DEP now has 22 active advisory committees with over 300 members covering issues as varied as waste management, air pollution, coal mine safety, environmental justice, low-level waste disposal and radiation protection, oil and gas management, on-lot sewage systems and water quality.
DEP has also developed tools like the Public Participation Center on its website, its six-month Regulatory Agenda and a Regulatory Update to keep the public informed of regulatory and policy development. In addition, it also publishes proposed regulations and policies in the Pennsylvania Bulletin for review and holds hearings on key proposals.
Through DEP’s eNOTICE email notification service, the public can sign-up for email notices of regulations and policies going through the process.
In recent years several issues related to the regulatory and policy development process have been brought to the attention of Council which might help guide the public in making suggestions for improvement:
-- Infrequent updating of advisory committee webpages to include advisory committee agendas and handouts in time for public review before meetings and basic information like committee membership and agency contacts;
-- Lack of public notice for some advisory committee and subcommittee meetings and conference calls;
-- The eNOTICE system could be used more effectively to provide information growing through the regulatory and policy development process; and
-- The lack of a single calendar of upcoming advisory committee and subcommittee meetings and conference calls on the agency’s website.
“For the next 30 days we are inviting the public to email the Council their suggestions for improvements to the regulation and policy development process,” said Walliser. “The Council will also be contacting each member of DEP’s advisory committees for their first-hand suggestions on improving public involvement.”
The Council has established a special webpage at: http://goo.gl/UuOEu for background on existing DEP public participation requirements and an email address for submitting improvement ideas: RAfirstname.lastname@example.org. Public suggestions are due April 26.
“The Council will collect and evaluate all the ideas we receive and forward the recommendations to DEP and the General Assembly,” said Walliser.
Walliser noted once formal changes to the regulatory and policy development public participation process are proposed by DEP they will undergo their own comment period managed by the department.For more information, visit the Citizens Advisory Council webpage.
Some Common Ground Over Susquehanna Water Quality
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) Tuesday unveiled legislation designed to make natural gas service available to more Pennsylvanians.
During a Tuesday morning press conference at the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus in Williamsport, the legislators announced the introduction of two bills which will foster the extension and expansion of natural gas distribution systems to un-served and under-served residential, commercial and industrial sites.
“There is widespread interest in seeing locally produced natural gas used locally to benefit our area businesses and homeowners,” Sen. Yaw said. “Senator Pileggi and I are pleased to stand before you today to unveil this legislation that will benefit residents all across Pennsylvania.”
“Pennsylvania is fortunate to have access to the abundant resources of the Marcellus Shale formation,” said Sen. Pileggi. “We should encourage and make smart investments so that the affordable energy provided by natural gas is available to as many Pennsylvanians as possible. These bills will foster economic growth across the state.”
Senate Bill 738, the Natural Gas Consumer Access Act (not yet online), will require every natural gas distribution utility operating in Pennsylvania to submit a three-year plan to the Public Utility Commission, outlining the utility’s plans for extension and expansion projects.
The first such plan would be due by January 1, 2014, with additional plans required every two years thereafter. The PUC will have the option to reject, revise or order the utility to submit a revised plan for adequacy and completeness and do periodic reviews.
Senate Bill 738 will also create a system providing for expedited extension or expansion projects if an economic development agency or a large number of residential, commercial or industrial entities want to seek to obtain natural gas service.
Senate Bill 739 (not yet online) will amend the Alternative Energy Investment Act to provide for $15 million for grants to schools, hospitals and small businesses to obtain access to natural gas service. The funding will come from existing, under-utilized programs. Grants made under Senate Bill 739 may provide up to half of the cost of a project.In March the Senate passed Senate Resolution 29 (Yaw-R-Bradford) directing the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to study the potential for increased extension of natural gas distribution infrastructure by natural gas utilities to un-served and under-served areas.
PennDOT is seeking volunteers for this year’s Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania effort that runs through May 31.
The cleanup event is an annual effort sponsored by PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Department of Environmental Protection and other partners. Groups involved in PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, which involves volunteers cleaning roadsides year round, are also encouraged to participate in the cleanup.
“These cleanup programs play a huge role in keeping Pennsylvania beautiful through cleaner roadsides and communities,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “It’s my hope that more individuals get involved and join the thousands of dedicated volunteers that participate in these efforts year after year.”
Interested individuals can find a listing of cleanup events, resources for organizing a cleanup, and other information about the effort online.
Groups interested in adopting a section of highway are encouraged to contact their local PennDOT County Maintenance office and ask for the AAH coordinator, or visit the Highway Beautification webpage.
During last year’s Great American Cleanup, 6.7 million pounds of litter was collected from Pennsylvania’s roads, trails and shorelines by more than 141,000 volunteers. PennDOT’s AAH program contributed nearly 78,000 volunteers who cleaned up nearly 53 percent of the collected litter on 10,960 miles of cleaned up roadway.
This year, cleanup partner Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is hosting its first-ever Great American Cleanup Video Contest. Interested individuals can send a three-to-five-minute video of their cleanup event to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful by May 24, with eventual voting on the group’s Facebook page.
Through the AAH program, volunteers collect litter on a two-mile section of state highway four times a year. The program currently has nearly 7,000 participating groups, more than 125,000 volunteers and 15,834 miles of adopted state-maintained roadways.In addition to the event, during the “Pick it Up PA Days” from April 20 to May 6 registered events have access to free disposal at participating landfills. PennDOT provides gloves, trash bags and safety vests to AAH and Great American Cleanup of PA groups.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, an interstate water resources management agency, seeks an Executive Director.
This position performs highly responsible administrative and professional work directing the agency to develop and effectuate plans, policies, and projects relating to the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.
The Executive Director is also responsible for coordinating water resource plans and programs of the SRBC’s member jurisdictions to avoid duplication of efforts. Subject to review by the SRBC Commissioners, the Executive Director works independently within the framework of the SRBC Compact, regulations, and policies. This position is located in the SRBC’s offices in Harrisburg, PA.
The position includes, but is not limited to, the following duties:
-- Promotes the SRBC’s mission, goals, and values in all aspects of his/her work.
-- Directs the activities of a 60-person technical and professional staff responsible for the development, coordination, and promotion of policies and standards for the conservation, utilization, development, management and control of the basin’s water resources.
-- Develops and maintains a strong working relationship with the SRBC Commissioners through conference calls, personal meetings, and quarterly business meetings.
-- Ensures good internal communication among SRBC staff.
-- Cultivates working relationships with state and federal legislators, governors’ offices and other officials of the SRBC member jurisdictions; community and business leaders; other river basin commissions and relevant professional organizations.
-- Gives speeches and presentations on behalf of the SRBC at various meetings and conferences.
Eligibility requirements for this position include:
-- A minimum of 15 years progressively responsible experience in the field of water resources management, including planning, law, geology, aquatic biology, water quality or related field; and,
-- A minimum of 10 years as a senior executive in a public sector agency or a private organization with the primary mission of natural resources utilization and protection, directly involved with water resources.
-- Minimum of a master’s degree. Professional license or certification preferred.
-- Excellent management skills that demonstrate the ability to include staff in planning, decision making, and process improvement.
-- Extensive knowledge of current water resource management programs and issues.
-- Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with officials of other agencies, professional associations, state and federal legislators, and the general public.
-- Demonstrated working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs.Send cover letter with salary expectations and resume emphasizing relevant experience, to email@example.com by April 26, 2013. Attn: Human Resources Manager, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 1721 N. Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17102. SRBC is an equal opportunity employer.
Corbett Makes DEP Secretary Job Part-Time For Now
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, a leading environmental education provider for the Philadelphia region, seeks a passionate and energetic naturalist/educator to engage school children in meaningful and innovative learning experiences in nature. Click Here for details on available positions.
The Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, PA, ancestral home of conservationist and Pennsylvania Gov. Gifford Pinchot, has from 1 to 5 student intern positions to serve 12-week internships from May-October.
Students will live on the estate of this 1886-mansion and be immersed in the history of forestry in America. They will have an opportunity to learn and improve skills in such areas as interpretation, public speaking, communication, research and related programs. Students of forestry, environmental, history, art, interpretive/recreation or museum studies programs are sought.Deadline for applications is April 1. Click Here for details.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Editorial: Solve Sewer Overflows With Cooperation
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Editorial: Best Drilling Practices Should Be Standard
Saturday, March 23, 2013
DEP Secretary Krancer Leaving To Join Law Firm