Monday, October 21, 2019

Agenda Added: House Environmental Committee To Hold Oct. 28 Hearing On Pennsylvania CO2 And Climate

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing October 28 on the broad topic of “Pennsylvania CO2 and climate.”
The Committee Chair has invited a broad range of individuals and groups who will either present arguments on behalf of environmental organizations, business interests, or share their scholarly research.
The individuals expected to present testimony include--
-- Patrick McDonnell, Secretary of DEP
-- Kevin Dayaratna, The Heritage Foundation
-- Dr. David Legates, Professor of Climatology, University of Delaware
-- Tom Schuster, Beyond Coal Campaign, Sierra Club
-- Rob Altenburg, Director Of PennFuture Energy Center
-- David Masur, Executive Director, PennEnvironment
-- Gregory Wrightstone, Wrightstone Geologic Consulting
-- Gordon Tomb, Commonwealth Foundation
-- Dr. Irina Marinov, Climate Scientist, University of Pennsylvania
-- John Walliser, PA Environmental Council
-- Marc Morano, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Founder Climate Depot
The hearing will be held in Room G-50 of the Irvis Building starting at 8:00. Click Here to watch the hearing live.
In response to Gov. Wolf’s recent announcement of an executive order directing DEP to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Majority Chair of the Committee, said, “Gov. Wolf’s unilateral decision to take the first step toward joining the RGGI illegally and unacceptably exceeds the authority of the executive branch and bypasses the General Assembly’s constitutional mandated responsibilities. 
“Gov. Wolf clearly does not have the authority to take this reckless action, which will cost average Pennsylvanians more of their hard-earned money through their energy bills, without legislative approval. His executive order will also cause our Commonwealth and the citizens to lose out on countless business and jobs opportunities to neighboring states that are not a part of RGGI. 
“As Majority Chairman, I will continue my fight to hold the Wolf administration accountable by ensuring that state regulations encourage, not discourage, job-creating energy producers, while protecting the health, wealth and safety of all Pennsylvanians.”
At an informational meeting held by the Committee on September 19, Republican members expressed concerns about the Wolf Administration taking unilateral action to enact a carbon tax or join RGGI.
In March, the Committee held an informational meeting on debunking modern myths surrounding climate change where the only presenter at the meeting said 140 million years of data on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere shows the “planet’s CO2 [carbon dioxide] levels have been in a significant and dangerous decline falling from 2,500 ppm” to about 412 ppm today, up from 280 ppm at the beginning of the industrial revolution.
On September 16, Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Fayette), a member of the Committee, joined Representatives James Struzzi (R-Indiana), Donna Oberland (R-Clarion) in announcing plans to introduce legislation to protect coal-fired power plants from any proposed carbon tax by requiring the approval of the General Assembly to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or similar programs.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to:
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[Posted: October 21, 2019]

Senate Passes Bill To Legalize Road Dumping Of Conventional Drilling Wastewater 26-23 Without Debate

On October 21, the Senate passed Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R- Jefferson) by a vote of 26 to 23 which sets environmental protection standards for conventional (not Shale gas) oil and gas well drilling and legalizes the road dumping of drilling wastewater from conventional wells.
There was no Floor debate on the bill.
Using a procedure usually used for last minute budget bills, the Senate took the vote immediately after the bill was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee without waiting.
Republicans generally supported the bill and Democrats opposed, both in the Appropriations Committee and in the final vote.
Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware) voted against the bill in Committee and Sen. Killion and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) voted against the bill on the final vote.
Having the General Assembly adopt unique and separate standards for conventional oil and gas wells, even though conventional wells are being developing using fracking, and legalizing road dumping of brine are major priorities for the conventional industry and they have been pushing the issue hard.
The bill has been vigorously opposed by environmental groups, including the PA Environmental Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, and most Democratic members of the Senate. 
The bill now goes to the House for action. A similar bill-- House Bill 1635 (Causer-R- Cameron)--  is pending in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Republicans Moving Other Troublesome Bills This Week:
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[Posted: October 21, 2019]

In Memoriam: Walter N. Peechatka

Long-time public servant and conservation leader Walter N. Peechatka passed away on Saturday, October 19.  
He served in a variety of positions in the Department of Environmental Resources; the Department of Agriculture, including Acting Secretary; the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America; on DCNRs Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council; and served as president of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association from 1973-1974.
Although he lived in Camp Hill, near Harrisburg, he was a native of Monroe County.  He served in the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant.
He graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Forestry in 1961 and his first job after the Army was as a service forester for the state Department of Forest and Waters from 1964 to 1969.
For the next 3 years, he was a program specialist for Watershed Programs for the state Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
He served as the first Director of the Bureau of Soil and Water Conservation in the newly created Department of Environmental Resources from 1971 to 1982.
Peechatka played a key role in the development of the original Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation Control Regulations and promoted the concept of having county conservation districts delegate authority to implement those regulations.
He was a champion for county conservation districts within state government.
In 1981, he moved to the Department of Agriculture as the Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry through 1991 where he was responsible for administering programs related to pesticides, feed and fertilizer, noxious weeds and bee inspections.
From 1982 to 1987, he also served as Executive Vice President of the national Soil and Water Conservation Society based in Iowa.
He became Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs at Agriculture in 1991 where he was responsible for the bureaus of Animal Industry, Food Safety, Plant Industry, Dog Law and Rides and Measurement Standards.
Peechatka served as Acting Secretary of Agriculture during the transition from the Casey to the Ridge Administrations.
In 1995 he became Executive Deputy Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, the number two official in the agency responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the Department and its regional offices.
He became Executive Vice President of the PennAg Industries Association from 1998 to 2007 and was responsible for representing the Association in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. 
After 2007, he was active in a number of capacities.
He became a member of the DCNR Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council in November 2007 and served until this year.  The November meeting was to be his final meeting.
Among his many awards for his service are: 1983 President's Citation, Soil Conservation Society of America; 1986 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Conservation Districts; Meritorious Service Award from Gov. Dick Thornburgh; Penn State Mont Alto 2003 Centennial Fellows Award; 2003 Penn State Agricultural Council Leadership Award; 2008 Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission's Distinguished Service Award; 2010 Penn State Armsby Honor Society; the 2017 Boyd Wolff Award for Service to Agriculture; and the 2017 Pennsylvania Forestry Associations Joseph T. Rothrock Award.
The citation on the 2017 Rothrock Award from the Pennsylvania Forestry Association sums up Walt Peechatka's contributions very well -- "Walt Peechatka has willingly accepted challenges and built partnerships with others who share his commitment to conservation.  Service has been the hallmark of his distinguished career with the Commonwealth as he championed the environment by working with forestry and agriculture communities. In the Rothrock tradition, Walt has demonstrated that partnerships are essential for the stewardship of our natural resources."
Walt Peechatka was a dedicated public servant, a common sense problem-solver, and almost everyone who has met him describes him as someone they admired and respected.
[Note: His formal obituary has not yet been published.]
(Photo: Walt Peechatka (right) receiving the PA Forestry Association’s 2017 Rothrock Award with PFA President Gene Odato.)
[Posted: October 21, 2019]

House Environmental Committee Meets Oct. 22 On Bill Allowing Longer Shale Gas Drilling Laterals

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet October 22 to consider Senate Bill 694 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) allowing for the accounting of natural gas production across longer Shale gas laterals.
The meeting will be held in Room 205 Ryan Building starting at 10:00.  Click Here to watch online live.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to:
[Posted: October 21, 2019]

EPA Accepting Applications For Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup Loans, Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for Brownfields Multipurpose Assessment and Cleanup Loans And Grants.  The deadline for applications is December 3.   
Entities eligible to apply include local governments, school districts, authorities, redevelopment agencies, nonprofit groups and private companies.
Click Here for all the details on eligibility and how to apply.
For more information on the federal and state brownfields programs, visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage and DEP’s Brownfield Redevelopment webpage.

PA Forestry Assn. Honors Mel & Marc Lewis With 2019 Rothrock Conservationist of The Year Award

Mel and Marc Lewis of Hillsgrove, Sullivan County were recipients of the 2019 Joseph T. Rothrock Conservationist of the Year Award presented at the Pennsylvania Forestry Association’s Annual Symposium at the Toftrees Resort in State College on September 27. 
The Rothrock Award given annually by PFA represents their highest recognition.
Joseph Rothrock is the founder of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association in 1886. His enthusiasm for forest conservation was contagious. 
As a professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania, he gathered around him a group of like-minded men and women, that became the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. He served as the first president. 
The association was the first such organization in America. This group sparked the forest conservation movement in Pennsylvania. Rothrock because of his influence became known as Pennsylvania’s Father of Forestry. 
Mel & Marc Lewis
Together Mel and Marc operate Dwight Lewis Lumber Company in Picture Rocks, Lycoming County, the first Forest Stewardship Council chain-of-custody certified sawmill in Pennsylvania. FSC certification is a process that requires time and commitment. 
Mel and Marc make the time and commitment to operate their sawmill and manage their company’s properties with an eye toward the future. 
FSC certification is just one example of this commitment to conservation and long-term management.
They also created and own Lewis Lumber Products, Inc. The hardwood store, as it is known, provides an outlet for not just their lumber, but other sawmill’s wood as well. 
The facility offers a quality product and expertise to assist local woodworkers, home remodelers, and craftsmen with materials and knowledge. 
By providing local wood (and other wood) that is easily accessible they are making it easy for people in the region and beyond to purchase and support Pennsylvania forests over plastic and forest products from other regions of the world.
Both Mel and Marc have served on the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy’s board of directors. During their tenures they promoted forest conservation and forest management. 
Mel and Marc both provided insight into forest management and forest regeneration, helping other board members from non-forestry backgrounds understand more and recognize the value of forest management.
Mel is also a member and former president of the Northeastern Logger’s Association. He also serves on the Sullivan County Planning Commission which allows him to encourage forest management and conservation.
Marc is a long-time board member of the Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association and now serves as the organization’s President. The watershed is largely forested and contains large portions of State Forest Land and State Game Lands. 
Additionally, Marc served on the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association board and oversaw the forestry committee.
In 2013 Penn State Mont Alto inducted Mel and Marc into the Penn State Mont Alto Distinguished Fellows Society for their “significant contributions and achievements in their careers and communities.” 
Marc has also been recognized as a Penn State ESM Outstanding Alumni.
Dwight Lewis Lumber Company has received the Northeastern Logger’s Association Outstanding Sawmill Operator award during Mel and Marc’s management tenure. The company has also been recognized with the Agribusiness Achievement Award.
Dwight Lewis Lumber Company owns and manages a significant amount of land. 
As the third generation to run the sawmill in Sullivan County, Mel and Marc understand their management and conservation efforts on their land today will determine what future generations of their family will be able to do. 
Both Mel and Marc have a son working at Dwight Lewis Lumber Company and learning about the sawmill operations and land management efforts.
Mel and Marc recognize the communities that are in or near the forest have a large impact on how forests are managed and how forest management can be perceived. To that end, they are both involved in the Sullivan County community. 
They both have served on the board of Sullivan County Action, Inc., a nonprofit working to expand access to health and dental care in the County. 
This community involvement and thinking about how to help their employees resulted in Mel and Marc receiving recognition as Sullivan County Businessman of the Year.
They both have served on the board of directors at Woodlands Bank. The bank focuses on being a community bank with local decision making. The local decisions for loans and lines-of-credit provide smaller businesses to grow and first-time home buyers (like their employees) to get a loan and begin to build equity and financial stability.
Wording On Rothrock Award Plaque
“Mel and Marc Lewis are stewards of the forest who have demonstrated their commitment to conservation and long-term management of Pennsylvania’s natural resources. 
“As the third generation to operate the family’s sawmill and lumber business, they willingly give support to a community of others who seek to manage forests well for future generations. 
“As trained foresters, they have received recognition from their alma mater Penn State University for their significant contributions and achievements to the profession and their communities. 
“Individually and together, they reflect Dr. Rothrock’s respect for the forest, its ecology, and the need to share their knowledge for the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s forests.”
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Pennsylvania Forestry Association website.
(Photo: Mel & Marc Lewis.)

(Reprinted from PA Forestry Association website.)
[Posted: October 21, 2019] 

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