Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DEP Extends Comment Deadline On Program To Compensate For Damage To Aquatic Resources

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday extended the comment deadline to June 23 on a new in-lieu fee program called the Pennsylvania Integrated Ecological Services, Capacity Enhancement and Support Program.
The program would allow applicants that are required to offset their aquatic resource impacts for both state and federal permit requirements to contribute monies to a program that meets the federal requirements for such activities instead of trying to restore or enhance aquatic resources through costly and ineffective independent efforts.
The program would be similar to the program for wetlands DEP has had in place since 1996.
The four related draft technical guidance were issued for public comment include: PA Function Based Aquatic Resource Compensation Protocol, Lacustrine Condition Level 2 Rapid Assessment Protocol, Riverine Condition Level 2 Rapid Assessment Protocol and a Wetland Condition Level 2 Rapid Assessment Protocol.
Click Here for copies of the proposed technical guidance.
Related Federal Action
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a notice April 11 opening a public comment period on a proposal by the Department of Environmental Protection a new in-lieu fee program called the Pennsylvania Integrated Ecological Services, Capacity Enhancement and Support Program to offset their aquatic resource impacts.  Comments are due May 11.

May 6 Webinar On DEP White Paper On Controlling CO2 Emissions From Power Plants

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a webinar starting at 9:30 a.m. on May 6 on  Pennsylvania’s 111(d) Air Emissions White Paper outlining our proposal to reduce emissions from existing power plants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution standards for both new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. The federal agency’s proposal for existing fossil fuel-fired plants is expected by be available June 1, 2014, with a final rulemaking due by June 2015.
In anticipation of EPA’s proposal, Pennsylvania submitted a plan for consideration that would achieve lower emissions from existing power plants by removing obstacles and encouraging efficiency projects. At the heart of Pennsylvania’s plan is efficiency and the preservation of states’ authority and discretion in the development and implementation of emissions control programs.
The webinar will provide an overview of Pennsylvania’s proposal to reduce not just CO2 emissions, but all pollutants, while creating cleaner air, lower prices and more jobs. The webinar is geared toward, but not limited to, environmental groups, industry groups and the general public.
            Click Here to register for the webinar which is limited to 200 participants.  Click Here for a copy of the White Paper.  Click Here for a fact sheet.

Report Due Thursday On State Revenues, Lawmakers Prepare For Bad News

Thursday the Department of Revenue is expected to report on tax receipts for the month of April and the Independent Fiscal Office holds a briefing at 3:00 p.m. on revenue projections for this fiscal year and next, but legislators who get daily reports on tax money coming in all said the same thing this week-- brace for bad news.
Senate Democrats say April revenues will be in the neighborhood of $477 million short of expectations and end of the fiscal year projections, they say, show a $600 million deficit.  March state revenues were $100 million below estimates.
Senate Republican Chair of the Appropriations Committee Jake Corman (R-Centre) said on the Senate Floor Wednesday new tax revenues from a natural gas severance tax, taxes smokeless tobacco or other measures will not be enough to fill the gaps.
Sen. Corman said there needs to be changes in the state’s pension systems and Medicaid spending to eliminate automatic growth in the budget.
Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said Wednesday the Governor is prepare to go back and re-examine the $29.4 billion spending proposal he outlined in February, but would not say what that amount would be.
At the mid-fiscal year budget briefing in December, Secretary Zogby had predicted a $232 million surplus for the year ending June 30.
Clearly “Mayday” may have a different meaning for state budget makers by the end of Thursday.

Rep. DiGirolamo Unveils Alternative Budget Proposal, Including Severance Tax

Citing the need to appropriately fund critical services in the Commonwealth, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) Wednesday unveiled his own budget proposal, which responds to the needs of most Pennsylvanians.
The DiGirolamo plan, called the Roadmap for a Stronger Pennsylvania, addresses the needs of middle-class residents.  Click Here for a 2-page summary of the proposal.
“Our middle class is bearing the brunt of the economic crisis we find ourselves in,” Rep. DiGirolamo said. “Across our great state, Pennsylvanians are struggling – whether it is paying for college, supporting their loved ones in long-term care, providing quality child care options to their kids, or ensuring a roof over their heads and food on the table. This budget proposal puts the average Pennsylvania at the forefront of budget discussions – where they should be.”
The budget plan seeks to make long-term, sustainable investments in our communities that are necessary to succeed. The plan would add about $1.1 billion in new revenue.
The budget focuses on better funding for education, human service needs, environmental protections and crime prevention while looking to viable alternatives for generating growing and reliable revenue streams.
The Bucks County lawmaker specifically cited additional revenue from closing outdated tax loopholes, enacting a Marcellus Shale severance tax, and maximizing the revenue generated by existing state assets. He anticipates this revenue to not only cover state expenditures for the 2014-15 fiscal year but to position the Commonwealth to better face needs in 2015-16.
Important elements of the plan would give additional financial support to:
— Education services, including $10 million for the Accountability Block Grant, $1 million more for libraries, $3 million for Pre-K Counts, $20 million more for community colleges, $5 million for early intervention services and $40 million for school construction projects.
— Special education, to be increased $20 million.
— Human Service Development Fund, which would be replenished by $84 million.
— Various health line items that were proposed to be eliminated. This includes funding for lupus, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy support, adult cystic fibrosis, hemophilia and sickle cell programs.
— Crime-fighting efforts through the attorney general’s drug task force, which would be raised another $5 million.
— Veterans housing assistance, which would increase by $3 million.
— Emergency drug and alcohol treatment, which would add another $20 million.
“My goal today is to share a roadmap for steps we can take to set us back on track as a Commonwealth toward fiscal stability – including greater tax fairness, economic revitalization, job growth and protecting Pennsylvania families against the ongoing harmful effects of severe cuts to the programs they need and deserve,” he explained. “This roadmap represents a more thoughtful and commonsense approach to fixing the issues we face and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration in creating a budget that best serves the needs of the Commonwealth.”
Rep. DiGirolamo has already begun the first steps of his budget plan by introducing legislation which calls for a 4.9 percent severance tax on Marcellus Shale. He estimates the severance tax to raise an additional $360 million in 2014-15.
Additional budget revenue will come from delaying the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax; removing the 1 percent vendor discount for sales tax remissions; upholding the sales tax on Internet-based companies called the Amazon law; removing the tax exemption of smokeless tobacco and imposing the cigarette excise on e-cigarettes; and strengthening the corporate add-back rules, which currently shifts the tax burden to thousands of Pennsylvania-based small businesses that follow the rules and pay their fair share of taxes.
Rep. DiGirolamo has also unveiled his alternative to liquor store privatization, House Bill 2184 (sponsor summary) a move that could raise about $185 million in state revenue, and expand the state’s Medicaid program to reap federal funds. A side benefit of Medicaid expansion is the creation of 35,000 quality health care jobs that will strengthen the state’s Personal Income Tax base.

Scranton Gets EPA Support For Green Infrastructure In Iron Arts District

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday announced the City of Scranton is one of 14 communities nationwide to receive EPA support to expand the use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The Scranton Sewer Authority will receive technical support of $25,000 to help incorporate green infrastructure into a comprehensive master plan for the newly-developing Scranton Iron Arts District. The green features are included in the city’s long term plan to control combined sewer overflows.
The EPA funding is in support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to identify climate-resilient investments such as agency grants and technical assistance for communities across the country.
“The EPA assistance will help the Scranton Sewer Authority realize its goals of reducing sewer overflows and increasing economic revitalization in the Iron Arts District,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Green infrastructure benefits cities like Scranton by reducing water pollution and energy consumption, improving economic activity, and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
According to the sewer authority’s application, the project merges master plan goals for the low-income Iron Arts District with the city’s strategies to reduce and treat combined sewer overflows and upgrade municipal stormwater compliance.
The EPA assistance will support the first large-scale development project in the Greater Scranton Area that incorporates green infrastructure in the design. The demonstration project will help the Sewer Authority measure and assess impacts of green infrastructure on a neighborhood-wide scale.
The project is expected to leverage additional funding to continue revitalization initiatives in the neighborhood that will improve aesthetics, direct runoff away from the combined sewer system and improve water quality, according to the application.
In the last three years, EPA has provided $2.2 million to 37 communities for green infrastructure. This new funding continues the agency’s support for communities using green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and protect human health while increasing economic activity, job creation, energy savings and open space.
Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure.
Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems.
For more information on the green infrastructure assistance, progress reports and strategy, visit EPA’s Green Infrastructure webpage.

DEP Fines Erie Environmental Laboratory $220,000 For Various Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday announced it has signed a Consent Order and Agreement  with Microbac Laboratories, Inc., Erie Division, which requires the lab to pay a civil penalty of $220,000 for various violations. The lab is also required to take actions to correct the violations.
“Accredited, independent laboratories are the centerpiece upon which all environmental protection programs depend,” DEP Bureau of Laboratories Director Martina McGarvey said. “Ensuring that labs are of the highest quality and integrity is crucial to the decisions we make to protect public health and the environment.”
During an on-site assessment in June 2013, DEP discovered that Microbac Erie failed to meet several standards. The lab, which was accredited under DEP’s National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program to test and analyze drinking water, non-potable water, and a variety of soils, chemicals and liquids, was found to be conducting improper sample analysis and reporting.
DEP found that the improper analysis may have led to false-negative bacteriological results for drinking water samples. DEP also found several instances of the failure to properly report positive bacteriological results in drinking water. As a result of DEP’s findings, in August 2013, Microbac Erie voluntarily relinquished its accreditations for drinking water bacteriological parameters.
DEP promptly provided notice of the violations to the laboratory’s public water system clients. The department requested that the water suppliers re-sample and analyze at least one drinking water sample as soon as possible to ensure public health would not be impacted. DEP is not aware of any waterborne illnesses reported during this time frame.
According to the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Act, an environmental laboratory must be accredited by DEP in order to generate data or perform analyses to be used to comply with an environmental statute.
Microbac provides testing and analytical support for a variety of clients who seek DEP permits and authorizations. The company operates other environmental divisional laboratories which the department accredits, that are not subject to this COA.
For more information, visit DEP’s Laboratory Accreditation Program webpage.

PA Manufacturers Work With PennTAP To Achieve Energy Savings

Two manufacturers working with the PA Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) at Penn State have received certification from the U.S. Department of Energy for significantly reducing their energy use.
Mack Trucks’ Macungie Cab and Vehicle Assembly plant, and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ Scranton operations are two of only 14 manufacturers in the United States to receive Superior Energy Performance (SEP) certification.
SEP certification includes certification to ISO 50001, the energy efficiency standard created by the International Organization for Standardization, additional requirements set by the American National Standards Institution and demonstration of verified energy savings.
“These two Pennsylvania companies have made significant investments and improved operations to achieve impressive reductions in energy consumption and improved energy efficiency, as well as long-term cost savings,” said Ralene Molina-Kreiser of PennTAP. “PennTAP is proud to be a part of this national and global effort to improve energy performance.”
Mack Trucks achieved SEP Platinum certification, the highest available certification, with energy reductions of 41.94 percent at the Macungie plant over a 10-year period. Plant investments included lighting upgrades and controls, a building automation system, air compressor management, changes in heat recovery during the manufacturing process and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system efficiency upgrades.
General Dynamics achieved gold-level SEP certification by achieving energy reductions of 11.9 percent over three years at its Scranton plant. General Dynamics was able to identify $536,000 in overall savings in the first year of implementation, with a payback period of just six months.
The facility implemented operational and management changes including weekend shutdowns, coordinated production schedules, employee cooperative programs and cooling tower temperature set points.
The companies worked with PennTAP as part of a demonstration project funded by the Department of Energy and the Department of Environmental Protection.
To become SEP certified, companies must improve energy performance by 5 percent over a three-year period or 15 percent over a 10-year period. A recent DOE study showed that facilities with annual energy costs of more than $1.5 million would recoup their investment in less than two years, while facilities with energy costs greater than $3 million would recoup their costs in one year or less.
For more information on how PennTAP can help businesses reduce energy use, visit the PennTAP website.

Pennsylvanians Invited To Complete Online Outdoor Recreation Survey

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti Wednesday encouraged Pennsylvanians to share what they like to do outdoors in a 5-minute, online survey that will assist with planning.
DCNR is working with experts across the state to develop the next Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan which will help to guide future recreation investments, policies and facilities.
“Five years after the current Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan was written, recreation interests and trends may be different,” Ferretti said.  “We’d liked to know if walking is still Pennsylvanians favorite outdoor activity? Do people still want trails and on-road bike lanes? “
Citizen feedback is an important component to building the goals of the plan. In addition to a scientifically conducted survey earlier this year by Penn State and a survey of recreation providers currently being performed, a general online survey is now open for Pennsylvanians wanting to share their opinions about outdoor recreation.
The survey is completely confidential and will just take a few minutes.  Click Here to take the survey.
After feedback from all three surveys is analyzed, a draft plan will be written in late summer and will be available for review and comment on the plan’s website.
Feedback sessions will allow citizens, providers and interested stakeholders to give their input before a final document is presented to the National Park Service later this year.
“Please make sure your voice is heard by taking the survey,” Ferretti said.
A new plan every five years keeps Pennsylvania eligible for federal Land and Water Conservation funding.
The current plan identifies walking for pleasure or fitness as the most popular outdoor recreation activity in Pennsylvania. Other popular activities include sightseeing, driving for pleasure, nature watching, swimming, picnicking and bicycling.
Past survey respondents listed bike lanes, dog parks, rental cabins and wildlife viewing areas as the facilities they would most like to see increased.
Studies show greater access to outdoor recreation facilities, particularly close-to-home walking and biking opportunities, makes our communities better places to live; can assist in combating obesity -- a serious health threat to adults and children; and also increase tourism potential, which can increase economic opportunities.
Visit the PA Outdoor Rec Plan website to learn more about the outdoor recreation plan and process.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Unveils Seasons Of Hawk Mountain Exhibit May 15

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary unveils "Seasons of Hawk Mountain," an exhibit of original juried works by members of the Berks Art Alliance during an opening reception held May 15 from 6 to 8 pm in the Hawk Mountain Visitor Center.
The exhibit is free and will be on display May 1 through August 24, to honor the 80th anniversary of the founding of Hawk Mountain.
The Berks Art Alliance coordinated several group trips to Hawk Mountain over the past 18 months where artists captured in plein-air or from photography the scenes, feelings and messages inspired by the Sanctuary, its conservation legacy and its programs.
From these visits came works in a variety of media including watercolor, oil, collage, acrylic mixed media, pastel, pencil, ceramic, composite photography, mixed media, encaustic mixed media, mixed media on silk, and mixed media lettering.
Hawk Mountain President Jerry Regan says the exhibit is great show of partnership and illustrates the Sanctuary’s legacy in Berks County.
“Dozens of artists from the Berks Art Alliance made a connection at Hawk Mountain and translated their impressions into a wide variety of mediums. We’re excited to display this diversity of work during our 80th anniversary and I encourage everyone to stop by during the opening reception,” he says.
During the opening, drinks and light refreshments will be served, and attendees will have a chance to meet the artists, to see up close and learn about a live raptor, and to hear a short program by Reading Eagle reporter Susan Miers Smith who followed a group of artists throughout the year.
More than 50 entries were exhibited earlier this spring at the Yocum Gallery, Wyomissing, where juror Richard Ressel selected 30 pieces for a traveling exhibition. This smaller exhibit opens May 1 to August 28 at Hawk Mountain, and concludes in September at the Schmidt Gallery at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading.
Those interested in attending the opening May 15 are asked to RSVP to Mary by sending email to: info@hawkmountain.org or 610-756-6961.
Celebrating 80 years in raptor conservation, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world's first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. The 2,500-acre Sanctuary, 8-mile trail system and Visitor Center is open to the public year-round. A trail fee or membership dues supports local to global conservation programs, including public education, professional training and scientific research programs.
To learn more, call 610-756-6961 or visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website.

Wildlands Conservancy Lehigh River Sojourn June 20-23

The Wildlands Conservancy will host the 2014 Lehigh River Sojourn June 20-23.  This annual 28-mile guided paddling trip begins in the Pocono Mountains and ends in Northampton traveling through the region’s metro-wilderness.  Click Here for more information.

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership April Newsletter Now Available

The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership April newsletter is now available.  Click Here to read a copy.

PA American Water Awards Environmental Grants To 6 Watershed Projects

PA American Water Wednesday announced six watershed initiatives across the state have earned financial support through the company’s 2014 Environmental Grant Program. The recipients will receive a share of grant funds totaling nearly $35,000 for their community-based projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds.
A panel of judges selected the winners from approximately 30 grant applications, which were evaluated on such criteria as environmental need, innovation, community engagement and sustainability.
PA American Water awarded its 2014 Environmental Grants to the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board (Lackawanna County), Brandywine Valley Association (Chester County), Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (Washington County), Londonderry Township (Dauphin County), Pennsylvania Resources Council (Allegheny County), and Plains Township (Luzerne County).
“This year’s grant recipients are making a real difference in their communities, and we are excited to partner with them to turn their plans into a reality,” said Kathy L. Pape, president, PA American Water. She noted that the Environmental Grant Program is in its 10th year supporting local watershed improvement projects across the Commonwealth.
The winning Environmental Grant projects are as follows:
— Abington Area Joint Recreation Board, Lackawanna County: With the funding, the organization will host an “Earth Camp” that focuses on environmental education, art and fitness for school children in grades fifth through seventh. Students will experience environmental studies and learn more about the water issues facing the world today.
— Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Washington County: The organization plans to protect and restore section of Dutch Fork, a tributary of the Buffalo Creek, by stabilizing stream banks, enhancing fish habitat and installing riparian buffer to improve water quality.
— Brandywine Valley Association, Chester County: The organization will use the funding to develop environmental educational programs for students in the Coatesville Area School District. Children will gain a better understanding of the watershed and learn stewardship practices to sustain the quality of the community’s water resources.
— Londonderry Township, Dauphin County: The grant will support restoration of the riparian buffer along sections of the Swatara Creek, with local volunteers planting native trees and shrubs to vegetate the restored floodplain.
— Pennsylvania Resources Council, Allegheny County: With the funding, PRC will implement a series of household chemical collection events in western Pennsylvania, as well as educate residents about minimizing the amount of waste generated and the health effects of using toxic materials.
— Plains Township, Luzerne County: The grant will enable the township to construct a rain garden and nature habitat in its municipal park. The project will provide an educational and educational experience for all ages to learn about sustainability, watershed protection, stormwater management and pollution control.
PA American Water is a subsidiary of American Water, which initiated the Environmental Grant Program in 2005 in Pennsylvania to support projects that protect or restore drinking water sources and surrounding watersheds. Since then, American Water has expanded the annual program to many of its state subsidiaries across the nation.
For more information, visit the PA American Water Environmental Grant Program webpage.

DEP Southeast Region Hosts Tossed & Found Recycled Art Exhibit

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo Wednesday joined students and faculty from eight Norristown area schools in the opening of “Tossed & Found,” an exhibit of student work made from repurposed and recyclable materials.
At an opening reception on April 29 in DEP’s Southeast Regional Office, Abruzzo told students, their teachers, and local government and recycling industry officials that the students’ work reflects a mindset that is needed to develop innovative approaches to managing waste.
“As a society, we have to get serious about reducing the amount of trash we generate, and what we can and should reuse or recycle. The students had fun with this challenge, while learning real lessons about the choices we all make,” Abruzzo said.
The exhibit, which will be on display through June at 2 E. Main St., Norristown, has received public and private support from a variety of enthusiastic partners.  Sponsorship for the opening of Tossed & Found and event coordination was provided by Waste Management of PA.
The project was embraced by art teachers from Paul Fly Elementary, Cole Manor Elementary, Gotwals Elementary, Hancock Elementary, Whitehall Elementary, Eisenhower Science & Technology Leadership Academy, East Norriton Middle School and Norristown Area High School.
Many of the participating classes were visited by Montgomery County’s Recycling Manager, Veronica Harris, to provide recycling education to complement the art experience.
“The skills that these students learn from their art classes – creativity, confidence, problem-solving, perseverance, focus, collaboration and accountability – are the same skills that will help all of us improve our daily lives,” Abruzzo noted.
The student’s work process and their final products have been filmed by Norristown Area High School’s Eagle Eye and will be available to view on the School District’s education channel.

Statewide Mentored Youth Fishing Day Set For May 10

Excitement is building among anglers and kids for the Fish and Boat Commission’s  popular Mentored Youth Fishing Day, which will be held on May 10 on 41 waters across the state.
So far, nearly 1,800 kids have obtained a free permit to fish on the day, and another 1,300 have purchased a voluntary youth fishing license.
“We’re excited that so many mentors and kids are making plans to participate in the program,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “This program is designed to encourage adults to take kids fishing, to show them that fishing is fun, and to promote active, outdoor recreation. With warmer weather now here, we are prepared to deliver a great experience.”
The program was originally scheduled over two days, March 22 and April 5, but was rescheduled into one statewide day because of unusually cold weather and unexpected ice cover.
“The pilot program last year was a huge hit with anglers and their friends and we have received nothing but positive comments about it,” Arway added. “Adults and kids are excited and we want to keep it that way.”
“To ensure kids and their mentors have an outstanding chance to catch fish on May 10, we will stock a fresh load of trout at each water on May 9,” he added. “Then the waters will be closed to all fishing from noon on May 9 until 8 a.m. on May 10.”
The program waters will be open on May 10 only for mentored youth day participants from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and anglers may keep two trout. After 7:30 p.m. the waters will be open to all anglers and the standard regulations on those waters will apply.
To participate, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or a voluntary youth fishing license.
Both are available at Gone Fishing PA or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
Also, the PFBC is reminding anglers that the process to participate this year has changed. Last year, participants registered online.
Because the program is expanding statewide this year, and with an eye to the future, the PFBC is now using the Pennsylvania Automated License Service (PALS) to issue youth permits and voluntary licenses.
“Issuing permits and licenses through PALS allows us to collect and manage information regarding youth anglers,” said Carl Richardson, PFBC education section manager. “Specifically, this process provides us with more customer data for better assessment of lifelong fishing license buying habits and to develop programs designed to retain anglers.”
As a result, anglers must create a separate customer account for each child in the PALS system. In order to obtain the permit or voluntary license, the youth’s address, social security number, date of birth, height and eye color must be provided at the time of the transaction. Phone number and email address are optional.
These may be added to the customer’s profile at a later time by following the instructions in Gone Fishing PA. Click here for detailed instructions.
For every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC will receive approximately $5 in federal revenue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Act program, which provides funds to states based on a formula that includes the number of licenses a state sells. All revenues earned from a voluntary youth fishing license will be dedicated to youth fishing programs.
Also, vouchers for the voluntary license will be available at the 900 license-issuing agents and online.  A voucher acts as a gift card and does not require any personal information at the time of sale. Clubs, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are interested in promoting youth angling can purchase quantities of voluntary youth license vouchers to distribute to children. Personal information is required at the time the voucher is redeemed and a customer identification number is issued.
“Based on last year’s event, we expect that lots of fish will be caught, many memories will be made and there will be plenty of fun to go around,” said Arway. “Don’t miss out on this special opportunity.”
More information about the program, including a list of the waters, is available at Gone Fishing PA website.

Wednesday NewsClips

Gasoline 37 Cents Higher Than Last Year
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DEP, DCED, PennDOT Participate In Council Of Great Lakes Governors Meeting

Representatives from the departments of Environmental Protection, Community and Economic Development and Transportation joined dignitaries from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin as well as Ontario and Quebec at the Council of Great Lakes Governors meeting on April 25 to 26.
This annual executive meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors focuses on environmental and economic issues impacting the Great Lakes. The theme of this year’s meeting was “accelerating progress”.
During the meeting, the states and provinces agreed to continue to advance several environmental and economic initiatives resulting from resolutions signed last year by the council members. These initiatives include:
-- A maritime initiative that is moving forward on a task force’s recommendations for improving the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River maritime system. This includes financing options for the maintenance or replacement of aging infrastructure. Pennsylvania has named Herb Packer, Director of PennPORTs, to represent Pennsylvania in this area.
-- Trade policy priorities to improve state trade and export promotion implementation and effectiveness.
-- Trade facilitation between Canada and the U.S. to increase trade between the U.S. and Canada.
-- Agreement to continue to partner on water monitoring and addressing nutrient enrichment and other water quality issues in the Great Lakes.
-- Aquatic Invasive Species Partnership Initiative that will formalize a partnership between the U.S. and Canada to work together on Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) through the development of a Mutual Aid Agreement.
-- A proclamation designating the first week of June as “Beach Safety Awareness Week,” a reminder of the importance of recognizing potential water hazards as the summer recreational season commences.
Most notably, a Mutual Aid Agreement for combating invasive species threats was signed by council members. This mutual aid agreement will be the first of its kind pledging mutual aid between states and provinces to combat AIS in the Great Lakes.
“The Mutual Aid Agreement will not only help protect the environment, it’s creative thinking that will allow us to more effectively address invasive species by sharing the capacity that we’ve all built individually,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said.
A highlight of the meeting was a roundtable discussion led by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that focused on “Growing Regional Manufacturing,” maximizing competitiveness and further attracting additional investments that support manufacturing jobs.
With a flexible and productive workforce, lower energy costs and a resilient corporate sector, the U.S., and specifically Pennsylvania, is becoming a more attractive place to manufacture goods consumed in North America. The demand for  high quality, U.S.-made products is also creating opportunities abroad and opening doors to new export markets.
“The Great Lakes region is home to some of the nation’s largest manufacturers, abundant natural resources and provides access to some of the largest markets – assets that are a key to bringing manufacturers back to the U.S.,” Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said. “Working as a Great Lakes region will strengthen our collective efforts to bring new investment and manufacturing jobs to the region which will result in a stronger Pennsylvania.”
The Council of Great Lakes Governors was established in 1983 to manage the environmental and economic challenges of the Great Lakes states. The council encourages and facilitates environmentally responsible economic growth through a cooperative effort between the public and private sectors among the eight Great Lakes States and with Ontario and Qu├ębec.
For more information, visit the Council of Great Lakes Governors website.

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