Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Opinion: Decades of Environmental Progress Threatened by State Budget Cuts

By: Larry D. Myers, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Resources Council

Budget cuts now being considered by the General Assembly and Gov. Rendell are threatening to undermine more than 20 years of environmental progress by transferring money from the Recycling Fund and proposing cuts to the Education Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) to balance the state budget.
The General Assembly and Governor transferred nearly one-third-- $15 million-- from the Recycling Fund to help balance the 2008-09 budget and more cuts are anticipated. Those funds were originally intended to support the recycling, waste reduction and anti-litter programs which over the last 20 years has resulted in recycling more than 45.3 million tons of municipal waste.
Disruptions in funding will send community recycling programs into a tailspin and increase their cost. Like sewage and water supply, it’s not a service that can be stopped and restarted without dire consequences.
Cuts to the EITC Program are also being considered that could dramatically reduce the support businesses provide to educational programs, in particular environmental education program which help local school districts meet state-mandated curriculum requirements.
The Pennsylvania Resources Council, just one of hundreds of qualified EITC providers, has provided supplemental, in-classroom programming to over 25,000 students in the past six years. Those programs help student meet the new academic standards for Environment & Ecology as well as Science and Technology. Students will be tested on those new standards and their school will be evaluated on how well they perform.
Over $784 million, in environmental funding, have been diverted in recent years to balance the state budget or to provide funding for programs that could not get funding on their own.
If these new threats to environmental funding are successful, the environmental progress we have made will start to decline for the first time in the 39 years since the first Earth Day.
Call your state Senate and House member and Gov. Rendell and urge them to:
-- Make certain budget cuts do not disproportionately target environmental programs and services like they already have;
-- Restore at least a portion of the $15 million redirected from the Recycling Fund and resist any further attempts to use those funds for any programs not specifically identified in Act 101;
-- Support legislation that removes the sunset date of December 31, 2011 for the $2/ton recycling fee mandated by Act 101;
-- Keep the EITC program, and specifically the EIO side, intact and resist efforts to reduce and/or eliminate the credits now offered to businesses throughout Pennsylvania;
-- Support legislation that institutes a severance tax on natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale to mitigate the environmental impact from natural gas production and to support other environmental programs; and
-- Resist reallocation of funds generated via the sale of Marcellus Shale gas leases on State Forests to help balance the General Fund.

Tuesday NewsClips

The Budget Brokers
Budget Passage A Protracted Process
Late-Night Budget Meeting Yield Small Compromises
Natural Gas Drilling May Employ 13,000 By 2012
Little Blue Run Ash Reservoir Called Hazard
14 Wind Turbines Approved In Fayette County
PUC Worried About PJM's Wholesale Electricity Price Plan
Western PA Recycler Exports Improper: EPA
Preserving Historic Resources

PennFuture Now Accepting Nominations For Green Power Awards

PennFuture is now accepting nominations for its Green Power Awards to honor those individuals, institutions, organizations and companies building the new energy economy and creating green jobs here in Pennsylvania.
Nominations are due by July 31. For more information and to fill out a nomination form, go to PennFuture's Green Power Awards webpage.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Philadelphia Mayor Welcomes Delaware River Sojourn Kayakers

At the conclusion of the Delaware River Sojourn Saturday, Mayor Michael Nutter announced a free kayaking program coming to Penn's Landing this summer, presented by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.
The Mayor made the announcement as he greeted nearly 60 kayakers who participated in the final day of the Delaware River Sojourn, a week-long paddle down sections of the Delaware River. The Mayor was also recognized as one of the Sojourn's Lord High Admirals, an honor bestowed upon those who have made contributions to the Delaware River and its protection.
"Today's sojourners had the opportunity to kayak on the Tidal Delaware Water Trail, one of Pennsylvania's 20 designated water trails," explained Patrick Starr, Senior Vice President of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a co-organizer of both the Sojourn and the free kayaking program. "We're showing people that they can have fun on the river in Philadelphia -- whether it's a day-long trip like the sojourn, or 20 minutes of free paddling in the marina."
The free kayaking program will begin July 11th (anticipated start date). It will offer Philadelphians and visitors the opportunity to paddle around the Penn's Landing Marina under the supervision of trained kayak staff.
Kayaking will be offered Thursday and Friday evenings from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be six solo kayaks and one tandem kayak available.
"During the Civic Vision planning process, Philadelphians overwhelmingly expressed their desire for better access to the Delaware River," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "We're excited to bring this new free kayaking program to Penn's Landing, not only bringing residents and visitors to the Delaware River, but enabling them to enjoy a new amenity where they can actually get into the Delaware River."
Funding for the free kayak program comes from the Take Me to the River grant program, administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission with funding from the William Penn Foundation.
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is a nonprofit corporation organized exclusively for the benefit of the City of Philadelphia and its citizens. DRWC acts as the steward of the Delaware River waterfront to provide a benefit to all of the citizens and visitors of the City.
PEC recently released the Tidal Delaware Water Trail map and web site, which guides boaters, sailors and kayakers to boat launches, amenities, safety considerations, and nearly 40 points of interest along the Delaware River from Morrisville to Marcus Hook.

Sunday NewsClips

Will State Budget Pass On Time?
What's The Holdup? About $2 Billion
Officials: Flood-Prone Towns Lack Disaster Plans
Editorial: EPA Fingers Allegheny County's Toughest Air Challenge
Rift Over Allegheny Forest's Future Divides Communities
Environmental Efforts Get Lift At PA Ski Resorts

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 29 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The June 29 PA Environment Digest is now available. CLICK HERE To Print This Digest.

Selected Headlines--
House Committee OKs Natural Gas Severance Tax With Environmental Funding Set Asides
Governor Announces Additional Environmental Funding Cuts
Submissions For Growing Greener Anniversary Grants Due July 20
Senate Environmental Committee Unanimously Reports Out Quigley As DCNR Secretary
Joint Conservation Committee Releases Survey On State Parks
Resolution Adopted To Evaluate Growing Greener, Community Conservation Grant Programs
Schuylkill Action Network Honors Local MVPs-- Most Valuable Partners
Wildlands Conservancy Announces 2009 Friend Of The Lehigh River Award Recipients
Gas Drilling Wastewater Banned From Jersey Shore Borough Treatment Plant
DEP Holds Public Meeting On Drilling Wastewater Treatment Plant July 8
$17.1 Million In State Grants Awarded For Five Schuylkill County Dam Projects
Westmoreland Conservation District Offers Tips On Repairing Flood Damaged Driveways
Water Resources Education Network Leaders Hold Successful Conference
Ron Mordosky Recognized With R. Emmet Doherty Award
Carnegie Mellon Prof Wins 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award
DEP Now Accepting Applications For PA Energy Conservation Works Grants
Western PA Energy Consortium Awarded EPA Green Power Partner Recognition
Economic Recovery Funding Will Energize Bucks County Research Park
PPL, Interstate Waste Services, Adams Electric Partner On Landfill Gas Project
Waste Transportation Safety Annual Report Shows 32,847 Waste Trucks Licensed In PA
Geologists Offer Programs On Marcellus Shale, Uniform Environmental Covenants Act
Game Commission 2009 Citizen Advisory Committee Reports Posted Online
Prowl The Sproul State Forest Activities Set For July 17-19
DEP Hosts Minority, Women-Owned Business Solicitation Workshops For PennVEST Projects
Help Wanted: Executive Director Jacobs Creek Watershed Association
Feature - Live Bluebird Nestbox Camera Debuts On Game Commission Website

Governor Announces Additional Environmental Funding Cuts

As promised last week, Gov. Rendell this week released a list of cuts totaling $500 million to his proposed 2009-10 fiscal year budget, including cuts to environmental programs in the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources.
The additional cuts are also made to the PA Center for Environmental Education and zeroed out the repayment of the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund which cleans up leaking storage tanks..
Combined with more than $500 million in spending eliminated during the current fiscal year, plus other reductions that he previously announced to his projected budget, the Governor has now trimmed $2 billion from state spending during the current national economic downturn.
“Like so many of the cutbacks that we have made before, these reductions are painful to me and I understand they will be painful to the people who benefit from the affected programs. But the reductions are necessary,” Gov. Rendell said. “I want Pennsylvanians to know that we continue trying to spread the burden of balancing our budget as fairly and evenly as possible.
“This proposal cuts or completely eliminates nearly 80 percent of all General Fund budget lines from their current level in the budget that was signed into law last July. Twenty-six percent of all budget lines are completely eliminated and of the remaining appropriations that we propose to fund, 70 percent will be reduced from their 2008-09 enacted budget levels,” the Governor said. “We cut further, accepted or partially accepted 53 percent of the cuts that were proposed in Senate Bill 850.”
Overall, 229 line items would be impacted by the latest round of spending reductions. Compared to the current fiscal year, the Governor has now cut three out of every four line items, totally eliminating 163 of them and reducing another 328.
While making the cuts, the Governor preserved funding for K-12 education, economic development programs that are crucial to helping the state pull out of the recession, and key social safety net programs. He avoided actions that could lead to higher property taxes at the local level, or the elimination of services to the most vulnerable citizens of the state.
Here are the specific additional cuts to the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection, Conservation and Natural Resources--
-- Agriculture - $5 million Overall
$219,000 - General Government Operations
$114,000 - Transfer to Conservation District Fund
$100,000 - Transfer to Nutrient Management Fund
$100,000 - Farm-School Nutrition Initiative (zeroed out)
$12,000 - Agricultural Conservation Easement Administration
$8,000 - Nutrient Management Administration
-- Environmental Protection - $7 million
$2.1 million - General Government Operations
$2.1 million - Environmental Protection Operations
$1.7 million - Black Fly Control
$1.1 million - Environmental Program Management
$28,000 - West Nile Virus
$19,000 - Chesapeake Bay Pollution Abatement
-- Conservation & Natural Resources - $4 million
$1.4 million - State Park Operations
$1 million - State Forest Operations
$1 million - Forest Pest Management
$512,000 - General Government Operations
-- PA Center for Environmental Education - $18,000
-- Underground Storage Tank Insurance Fund Repayment - $1 million (zeroed out)

Friday NewsClips

Agencies, Workers Brace For July 1 With No Budget
State Workers, Vendors Brace For Budget Impasse
Senate Committee OKs Acting DCNR Secretary
EPA Recognizes Pittsburgh, Allegheny County As Green Power Partners
Emergency Management Teams Assess Damage From Storms
Pressure Grows To Find Suitable Treatment Of Gas Well Wastewater
School Board Urges State To Pass Natural Gas Revenues To Local Government
Gas Drilling To Start Near Blossburg
Natural Gas Will Stay In Water For Now
FORE... The Environment
Electronics Recyclers Mine Waste For Profits
Judge Denies Electronic Billboard In Pittsburgh
Rate Hikes, Grant Sought For Manheim Sewer Service
Column: Windmills Are Less Offensive In Kansas

DEP Now Accepting Applications For PA Energy Conservation Works Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for $22.2 million in grants under its PA Conservation Works Program to fund energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy projects by local governments and nonprofit organizations.
Applications will be accepted from June 29 to August 14. (formal notice)
At least 60 percent of the funding is reserved for local governments that are not eligible for direct formula grants under the federal stimulus energy programs. this includes boroughs, townships and cities with fewer than 35,000 residents and counties with fewer than 200,000 residents.
Eligible projects may include energy efficient lighting, including streetlight or outdoor lighting; energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings, including high efficiency furnaces, boilers and air conditioners, combined heat and power, energy efficient ventilation systems, windows, sealing and insulation, and automated control systems; energy efficiency upgrades at wastewater treatment plants; installation of geothermal heat pump systems; premium efficiency motors and variable speed drives; and deployment of renewable energy technologies including solar energy, wind energy, fuel cells, biomass, biogas and low-impact hydro.
All projects must save or conserve a minimum of 25 percent of all energy used. Renewable energy projects will be eligible if the project replaces at least 25 perecent of the building or entity's energy use.
DEP may award financial assistance in the form of grants of up to $250,000. Multi-municipal projects (two or more units of local government sharing services and working together in the deployment of a project) may request up to $500,000.
All projects must create jobs, be able to start work within 6 months, and be completed within 18 months and prior to September 30, 2011.
Guidelines and other information will be posted on the www.Recovery.Pa.gov website. Applications must be submitted by means of the Environmental eGrants system.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Senate Committee Reports Quigley DCNR Nomination

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today unanimously reported the nomination of John Quigley to be Secretary for Conservation and Natural Resources to the full Senate for consideration.
Acting Secretary Quigley took questions from a variety of Committee members, including Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) over his criticism of the budget passed by Senate Republicans and its impact on his agency, in particular State Park operations.
DCNR said the Republican budget would force the closure of 35 State Parks. Sen. Scarnati said Gov. Rendell also cut the DCNR budget significantly without the need to close State Parks. There was significant discussion about the potential for closing State Parks.
Several Committee members also asked about leasing more State Forest land for timber and natural gas sales, to which Acting Secretary Quigley replied the timber market has essentially collapsed putting a large hole in the budget of the Bureau of Forestry. Two-thirds of the Bureau's budget came from timber sales. He did say the agency was looking into additional leasing options for natural gas, but cautioned again the natural gas market is not what it was when DCNR did its first lease.
Watch an online video of the full hearing at the Committee's website.
Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee and Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne) serves as Minority Chair.

Thursday NewsClips

Rendell, Scarnati Hold Their Ground On Budget
Poll: Pennsylvanians Prefer Program Cuts To Take Hike
Editorial: Approve Tax On Natural Gas Extraction
Jersey Shore Wastewater Plant Ordered to Stop Treating Drilling Water
Fortuna Spending $200 Million In Bradford County For Natural Gas Drilling
More Natural Gas Drilling Applications Filed In Wayne County
Gas Pipelines Cutting Swaths Through Region
Trillion Dollar Energy Baby
Protecting Private Water Wells
Stormwater Management Back In The Crosshairs
Turtle Creek Valley Residents Frustrated By Flooding
Rate Hikes Predicted For Williamsport City Water, Sewer
Scranton Center Going Green
Monroe County Commissioners Back Open Space
Panel Considers Fines Against Quecreek Mine

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Natural Gas Severance Tax Moves From Committee

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today reported out House Bill 1489 (George-D-Clearfield) enacting a severance tax on natural gas production. The bill was amended to allocate 40 percent of the revenues to environmental, energy and local government programs--
3 percent – LIHEAP heating assistance
15 percent – Environmental Stewardship Fund
4 percent – Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund
5 percent – Liquid Fuels Tax Fund (local governments any where)
4.5 percent – distribution to municipalities where drilling occurs, for certain purposes
4.5 percent- distribution to counties where drilling occurs
2 percent – Game Commission
2 percent – Fish & Boat Commission
The amendment was approved in Committee by a 20-6 vote and the bill was reported out by a 15-11 vote. Most Republicans voted against, most Democrats for.
The bill now goes to the full House for referral to the Appropriations Committee.

Tuesday NewsClips

Natural Gas Venture Includes Westmoreland County
Legislation Will Address Natural Gas Tax Assessment Issues
Schuylkill Gets Millions For Dam Repairs
Mahanoy Creek Watershed Receives Grant Awards
Pedicabs Pedals Green Fare
Lackawanna River Renaissance Topic Of Study
Laurel Hill Creek Concerns, Residents Question Proposal To Sell Water
River Travelers Stop At Sunbury Park

Monday, June 22, 2009

Senate Panel To Consider Nominee For DCNR Secretary

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets on June 25 to consider the nomination of John Quigley as Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The meeting will be held at 11:00 in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building.

Monday NewsClips

Editorial: As Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Bills Mount, Needs Become Clear
Group Seeks To Protect Watershed
In Turtle Creek Disaster Prevails
Grants To Help Keep Watersheds Clean
Shickshinny On A River Mission
DEP Discusses Stormwater Regulations - Lansdale
Officials Seek Revitalization, Floodplain Protection Balance
Editorial: Local Congressmen Should Support The Energy Bill
After 10 Years Of Recycling, Some Observations
Allegheny Health Department To Inspect Gas Stations
Tree Killing Beetle Nears
Got Gas? Diet Cuts Cow Burps, Greenhouse Gas Woes

DEP Names Acting Deputies, Regional Director

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger today made several appointments to file vacancies due to retiring employees--
Barbara Sexton will serve as Acting Executive Deputy, replacing Joe Powers;
Ken Reisinger will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary for Waste, Air and Radiation Management, replacing Tom Fidler; and
Ron Schwartz will serves as Acting Director for the Southwest Regional Office, replacing Ken Bowman.
These individuals will serve in these positions on an interim basis until decisions are made on permanent replacements.

Friday, June 19, 2009

June 22 PA Environment Digest Now Available

June 22 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Selected Headlines--
Governor Orders Cabinet To Cut Environmental Budget By Another $16 Million
Brandywine Valley Association's Red Stream Blue Model For Stream Restoration
Submissions For Growing Greener Anniversary Grants Due July 20
House Environmental Committee Reports Out Carbon Sequestration, Alternative Energy Bill
Brownfields, Flood Control, State Parks Bills OKd By Senate Environmental Committee
Chair Of House Finance Committee Issues Special Update On Natural Gas Severance Tax
House Environmental Committee To Consider Natural Gas Severance Tax Bill
Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds Awards $135,000 In Grants
Statewide Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Set For July 13-16 In Johnstown
New Handbook Will Help Make Golf Courses Greener
Crooked Creek Watershed Association Grow An Extra Rom Fund Raising Initiative
Annual Western PA River Sweep Cleanup Scheduled For Ohio Basin June 20
Spawning Stress Believed Cause Behind Reported Susquehanna River Fish Kills
Go Wild At Wildlands Conservancy Summer Camps
Pennsylvania's First Private Wild Plant Sanctuary Designated
TV, Electronics, Medical Supplies Recycling Event Set For June 20 At Heinz Field Pittsburgh
PROP Organics Roundtable Set For July 14 In Beaver County
Pennsylvania Statewide Recycling Conference Set For July 28-31 In Scranton
PA CleanWays Holds Illegal Dump Cleanups In Dauphin County
Chamber: Draft Climate Change Impact Report Fails To Meet Intent Of The Law
$10 Million in First EPA Grants Available To Develop Climate Change Showcase Communities
New Report Spotlights Potential Wildlife, Wind Energy Conflict Areas
PUC Adopts Test To Evaluate Energy Efficiency, Conservation Plans Of Electric Utilities
Smart Meter Technology Procurement Standards Adopted By PUC
PUC Approves Settlement For PPL Competitive Electric Procurement Implementation Plan
Save The Dates: PA Chamber 2009 Environmental Compliance Conferences In October
PA Wildlife For Everyone Provides Update On Habitat Improvement, Other Projects
Feature - Bellefonte Couple Honored For Extending Helping Hand To Our Feathered Friends

Friday NewsClips

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Puts Mother Nature On The Green Screen
Philadelphia City Council Says No To Plastic Bag Ban
Proud To Be Part Of River Project Planting
Marsh Creek Greenway To Begin With 3 Phase Project
Op-Ed: Once Threatening Susquehanna Now An Asset
Palmyra Plans Green Elementary School
Bradford Energy Efficiency Project Moves Ahead
PPL Receives Approval Of Post-2010 Electricity Purchase Plan
Editorial: Local Planners Take Sensible Approach In Luzerne
Editorial: Cover Costs Of Old Reactors

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rendell Proposes Tax Increase, More Cuts

Gov. Rendell has proposed a one-half percent increase in the Personal Income Tax and a suspension of the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax over the next three years to raise $1.8 billion to help close a $3.2 billion budget shortfall.
The Governor Wednesday also proposed an additional $500 million in budget cuts across all state agencies. (click here for complete list.)
This latest round of cuts involves $16 million in cuts to the Departments of Agriculture ($5 million), Environmental Protection ($7 Million) and Conservation and Natural Resources ($4 million).
These cuts come on top of $18.2 million in cuts to these same agencies late last year-- Agriculture ($3.4 million), Environmental Protection ($9.7 million) and Conservation and Natural Resources ($5.1 million).
In addition, the Governor transfered $174 million in revenue from leasing Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling rights in State Forests from DCNR to the General Fund to help balance the current year's budget.

Thursday NewsClps

Rendell Orders Budget Cuts
Agency By Agency Proposed Cuts
Carbon Conservation District Looking For Funding For Floodplain Areas
New Sullivan Flood Maps Online
Lansdale Votes To Join Stormwater Consortium
Chief Oil And Gas Unveils New Drilling Rig For Marcellus Shale
Grant Helps Turn East Liberty Lots Green
Sierra Club Recognizes Wilkes-Barre Efforts To Go Green
Seminar Scheduled On Cutting Costs By Going Green
Chesapeake Energy Housing Facility Plans Move Forward
Easton Receives $10,000 Grant To Fight Illegal Dumping
Erie Wildlife Refuge Gears Up For Heritage Fest
Event Encourages Public To Ditch Gas Guzzlers
Development Discussed For Luzerne, Lackawanna Counties

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday NewsClips

Rendell Says Tax Increase A Must
Rendell's Proposal To Raise Tax Rate Faces Huge Fight
Editorial: Truth In Drilling Bill On Right Track In Congress
Towanda Reduces Water Rates Due To Drilling Income
Op-Ed: Save State Water Resources By Passing Federal Clean Water Restoration Act
Two Trout Unlimited Members Attend Training Course
Rain Garden Planned for Route 50 Corridor In Heidelberg
Local Coal Firm To Reclaim Abandoned Mine
Greenest Buildings Of All? The Ones Already There
Clearing Way For Others On Choke Creek Trail
Sandy Township Moves Ahead With West Liberty/Kiwanis Trail
Green Energy Alone Can't Keep Country Humming PPL Chief Says
Audubon Ice Cream Stand Gets Solar Power Tile System
House Authority To Make Units More Energy Efficient
New Recycling Round Set For Saturday At Heinz Field
Goodwill Offers To Recycle E-Waste
Op-Ed: Private Sector Recycling Works
Lackawanna-Luzerne Land Use Plan For Future Includes Past
More Rain, But Delaware River Flooding Not In Forecast

Heinz Field Electronics, Medical Supply Recycling Event June 20

The Pennsylvania Resources Council, eLoop LLC and Global Links will sponsor an electronics, medical supplies and battery recycling event on June 20 at Heinz Field's East Parking Lot in Pittsburgh starting at 9:00 a.m.
Televisions, computers, monitors, cell phones, fax machines, printers and other electronics along with compact fluorescent light bulbs, alkaline batteries and ink and toner cartridges will be accepted. Also accepted will be unexpired, unopened medical supplies like syringes, gauze, catheters, gloves, canes, crutches, walkers.
Some electronics will be subject to a recycling fee of between $2 and $10 depending on the item. (Click here for more information)

Western PA River Sweep Cleanup June 20

Volunteers are still needed for the 19th Annual PA River Sweep, the largest organized volunteer river cleanup effort in the country, this June 20 from 8 a.m. to noon in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
“This event is all about river awareness and teaching people to respect our natural resource,” said Betsy Mallison, Pennsylvania River Sweep Coordinator. “During the history of the River Sweep, we have seen a decrease in the amount of trash as people are recognizing the importance of our rivers and taking better care of them. However, we still have areas that need to be cleaned up and will be at more than 20 sites in five counties this year.”
River Sweep, an annual six-state effort to clean up litter and debris in the Ohio River watershed, is sponsored by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission and a number of Pennsylvania corporate sponsors including Duke Energy, Duquesne Light, Dominion Foundation, Koppers, PPG Industries, Toyota, U.S. Steel, Neville Chemical Company and Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C.
The event winds through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Illinois, covering more than 2,400 miles of shoreline.
Last year, more than 600 volunteers collected 58 tons of the trash and debris along the Ohio, Allegheny, Beaver, Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers and their tributaries at 31 cleanup sites. In 2007, 460 volunteers collected 66 tons of trash at 31 sites. Ten years ago, 916 volunteers cleaned up 181 tons of trash from 56 sites.
Volunteers who participate receive trash bags and a souvenir T-shirt. Click here for a list of PA cleanup sites.

Monday, June 15, 2009

EPA Climate Change Showcase Community Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for up to $10 million in first of its kind, “Climate Showcase Communities” grants to local and tribal governments to establish and implement climate change initiatives that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Applications are due July 22.
The agency expects to award approximately 30 cooperative agreements, each one ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. Approximately 5 percent of the funds ($500,000) are set-asides for tribal governments. (click here for more information.)

Monday NewsClips

Op-Ed: Marcellus Shale Tax Won't Solve Budget Woes
Perkiomen Conservancy Looks For Award Nominees
Officials Fear Costs Of Runoff Controls
Luzerne Electronics Recycling Yields Huge Turnout
Expo Promotes Energy Efficiency
Aramark Helps Pennridge School District Cut Energy Costs
Shari Shapiro, Green Building Lawyer
Elk Viewing Center Set For 2010 Opening

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 15 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The June 15 PA Environment Digest is now available. CLICK HERE to print this Digest.

Selected Headlines--
Marcellus Shale Severance Tax Vital To Solving PA’s Environmental Funding Issues
Online Video - StormwaterPA Features New Riparian Buffer Restoration Case Study
Online Video - Out Of The Ground Film Documents Impact Of Coal Mining In Pennsylvania
Bill Expanding Gas Well Reporting Requirements Approved by Senate
Senate Environmental Committee Reports Recycling Fee, Landfill Penalties, Biodiesel Bills
House Committee Approves Bill To Promote Alternative To Sprawl
Secretary Hanger, Sen. Mary Jo White Duel Over West Nile Virus Budget
House Environmental Committee To Consider Carbon Sequestration, Alternative Energy Bill
Brownfileds, Flood Control, State Parks Bills On Senate Environmental Committee Agenda
Capital RC&D Awarded Grant To Assist With Grazing Operations
Penn State, Lancaster Farmland Trust Receive Chesapeake Bay Grants
Department Of Agriculture Outlines Benefits Of REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit
Water Quality Monitoring Network Formed-- River Alert And Information Network (RAIN)
Pennsylvania Receives $1.3 Million In Recovery Act Funding For Floodplain Easements
PennVEST Revises Cutoff Dates For Water, Sewer, Stormwater Applications
Free Recycling Workshops Set For June 22 In West Chester
Electric Utilities, Grid Managers Highlight Summer Reliability, Marcellus Shale Impacts
Green Building Alliance Offices Receive LEED Platinum Rating, The Highest Possible
Wilkes-Barre Receives 2009 Conference Of Mayors Climate Protection Award
DEP Offers Nitrogen Tire Inflation System Grants
Pennsylvania State Parks Finalist For National Gold Medal Award
Guided Tours Of Regal Fritillary Butterfly Habitat Slated At Fort Indiantown Gap
DEP Asks Pennsylvanians To Help Battle West Nile Virus
PA Environmental Council Hosts 39th Annual Philadelphia Dinner June 17, Win $5,000
Joseph Powers Retires As DEP Executive Deputy Secretary
John Hines Appointed DEP Deputy Secretary For Water Management
Spotlight - Nutrient Reduction Projects Receive Little State Funding, PA Municipal Authorities Assn.

DEP Offers Nitrogen Tire Inflation System Grants

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for Nitrogen Tire Inflation System Grants under the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program.
Applications are due August 28.
The primary goals of this direct reimbursement Grant Program are to help improve vehicle fuel economy while reducing the consumption of imported oil, and to potentially extend vehicle tire wear over time. Deployment of fuel saving technologies also provides for opportunities to better manage our fuel and natural resources in a way that also improves our environment and enhances our quality of life.
Funds awarded under the Grants Program can be used to reimburse a portion of the cost to purchase systems that deliver at least 95 percent nitrogen purity according to manufacturer specifications.
Eligible applicants include automotive service providers who sell tires in the Commonwealth. Eligible applicants with 50 percent match of the total system cost may request up to $5,000 reimbursement for systems purchased and installed after July 1, 2008.
DEP said applications and guidelines will be posted on their website.
The application package including guidance, instructions and application forms are also available by contacting the Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, 15th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, P. O. Box 8772, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8772, 717-783-8411. (formal notice)

Friday NewsClips

PPL Staying Busy Keeping Up With Demand
Conservation Grant Helps Those Who Shun Government Assistance
Marcellus Committee Addresses 125 People In Wellsboro
French Creek Land Target For Protection
Workers Say Electronics Were Dumped

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

John Hines Named DEP Water Deputy

John T. Hines has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Water Management at the Department of Environmental Protection, succeeding Cathy Myers who now serves as Special Assistant to the Secretary of DEP for Pennsylvani's Recovery.
As Deputy, he oversees statewide policy and program development related to all aspect of water management.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary, John served as Executive Director of DEP’s Water Planning Office and as the Acting Director of Watershed Management.
In this capacity he oversaw activities related to nonpoint source pollution management, stormwater management, water allocation and planning, conservation districts, interstate river basin commissions, estuary programs, national organizations, state water planning efforts, coastal resource management and overall water management budgeting and internal program development.
John served as the lead negotiator for DEP in the final stage of the passage of the Water Resources Planning Act (Act 220 of 2002). He was also critical to the drafting of Annex 2001 that was signed by the eight Great Lakes States and the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
A Presidential Scholar, John holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences and a Masters Degree in Geography and Regional Planning. A native of Greene County, he currently resides in Palmyra, Lebanon County, with his wife, Amy, and his children, Alexis and Matthew.

Wednesday NewsClips

Eachus Endorses Natural Gas Severance Tax
Protecting Our Resources From Drilling
Sen. Casey On Protecting Drinking Water From Natural Gas Fracking
Lawsuit Over Allegheny Forest Drilling Appears Headed To Mediation
Pittsburgh Named Most Livable Again
Clarion University Hosting Green Schools Summit
Rendell Touts Study Calling For Consolidation Of Utilities In Lehigh Valley
Lycoming County Gets Grant For Credit Trading Cleanup Initiative
Crank Up Conversation About Wind Power
Nonprofits Flourish By Helping Consumers Go Green
Breakfast Events To Mark Car Free Friday In Pittsburgh
Allegheny County Goes After Mosquitoes
18 Indicted In Philadelphia For Heating Aid Program Fraud
Column: A Loose End In Nuke Issue- Spent Fuel
Editorial: Burying The Problem- Greenhouse Gases

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 8 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The June 8 PA Environment Digest now available.
Click here to print this Digest.
Selected Headlines--
Swatara Creek, Wissahickon Watershed Groups Win First Growing Greener Anniversary Grants
Webinar - REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit Webinar Set For June 9
Webcast - June 17 Online Program On Managing Stormwater In The Age Of Budget Cuts
Senate Approves Bill Extending Deadline For PA Climate Change Action Plan
House Committee Holds Hearing On Act 129 Energy Efficiency Mandates
Legislative Forestry Task Force Holds Hearing On Alternative Green Building Standards
Senate Environmental Committee Meets On Recycling Fee, Landfill Penalties, Biodiesel Bills
Environmental Forum To Feature Alternative Energy Discussion June 8
Project To Assist Amish And Mennonite Farms In Implementing Conservation Practices
Town Hall Meetings Will Explore Natural Gas Drilling Impacts, Action Day Set For June 9
PA Fly Fishing Museum Hosts Annual Fly Fishing Heritage Day June 20
WPC Seeks Applications For Funding of Canoe And Kayak Access Sites
June PA Center For Environmental Education Newsletter Available, Plus Special Summer Issue
2nd Annual PROP Recycling Film Festival Invites Entries
Chester Regional Household Hazardous Waste, Computer Collection June 19
Penn State, DCNR Team Up To Keep Plant Invaders Out Of Parks
2009 Firewise Leadership Awards Call For Nominations
Scott Weidensaul- The Wildlife Art of Ned Smith- June 10
Click a Mouse, Plant Trees In A PA State Park For Free!
Nestle Waters North America PA Facility Earns Gold LEED Standard For Sustainability
Energy Cooperative of PA, Inc. Provides Businesses In Erie With Lower Energy Costs
Spotlight - Internship Program Brings Two Students To Boost Outreach Efforts On AMD For EPCAMR
Spotlight - Looking At Forest Fires In A Whole Different Way

Friday NewsClips

Onorato Appoints First Sustainability Manager
Water Leak From Washington County Gas Well Kills Fish
2-Year Deadlines Boost Efforts To Clean Up Chesapeake Bay
Editorial: A Promise To Recycle Fails To Deliver
Editorial: Harrisburg Needs To Cut Deals For Incinerator
Experts Say Bat Fungus Causing Historic Decline
Nuke Plant Remains At Top Of Highest Assessed Property List
Stimulus Money Funding Projects Around Western PA

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Scott Weidensaul- The Wildlife Art of Ned Smith- June 10

Join naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul, one of the founders of the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg, for an examination of Smith's fascinating life and work at a special program on June 10 at the Pennsylvania State Bookstore in Harrisburg starting at 12:05.
Before his death in 1985, Dauphin County native Ned Smith established an international reputation as one of the finest wildlife artists of the 20th century. Self-taught in both art and natural history, Smith was also a gifted photographer and writer, and his 1971 book Gone for the Day remains an acknowledged classic of nature writing.
Scott Weidensaul, nationally known, has written more than two dozen books on natural history, including his widely acclaimed Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.
Weidensaul's writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Smithsonian, the New York Times, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife and Audubon, among many others. In addition to writing about wildlife, Weidensaul is an active field researcher whose work focuses on bird migration.
This special program will be held in Hearing Room #1, Keystone State Office Building, in Harrisburg.

Thursday NewsClps

Gas Severance Tax Latest State Temptation
American Rivers Rep Visit Delaware Region
Heated Debate Follows Gas Drilling Rep By Allegheny National Forest
EPA Looking Into Electronics Recycling Company
State Program Pushes Energy Efficiency For Companies
Centralia Holdout Reluctant To Leave

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tom Fidler, DEP Deputy, To Retire

Tom Fidler, Deputy Secretary overseeing the Air Quality, Waste Management, and Radiation Protection Programs within the Department of Environmental Protection, has announced he will retire from the agendy on June 19.
Mr. Fidler has been employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 35 years. During that time he has contributed to the development of the State’s Coastal Management Plan, Rivers Conservation Program, and State Water Plan.
He has also worked at the executive level of the agency in coordinating field implementation of air quality, waste management, remediation, mining, oil and gas well permitting, and radiation protection programs.
Mr. Fidler was the Director of the Land Recycling and Cleanup Program. In that capacity, he was responsible for the development of regulation and policies and procedures for implementing the Pennsylvania voluntary cleanup program, the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program, CERCLA responses, and storage tank corrective action work.
Prior to his executive appointment, Mr. Fidler was the Director of the Brownfields Action Team for the Commonwealth. In that capacity, he directed a statewide staff charged with responsibility for expediting the cleanup and permitting of land recycling projects. Mr. Fidler received a B.S. and M.S. from the Pennsylvania State University.

Monday NewsClips

Restoration Efforts Bloom Along Lehigh Canal
Homes With Children Can Get Free Lead Test Kits
Bicycle Ride To Help Pay For Greenbelt Maintenance
Schuylkill River Group To Honor MVPS At Luncheon
Schuylkill River Sojourn Has A New Twist For 2009
Agreements Reached On Safeguarding Delaware River Drinking Water
Sale Of Water To Drillers Focus Of Special Renovo Council Meeting
Column: Rendell's Plan To Tax Natural Gas A Job Killer
Natural Gas Could Fuel Hotel Boom
Delaware Valley College Hopes To Install Solar Farm
Hearings On Emergency Preparation At Nuclear Plants Kick Off In Montco
Erie Communities Get Ready To Regulate Wind Power
Pilot Program Helps Lacakawanna County Track New Hybrids
Expo Airs Energy And Money Tips
Farms' Losses A Fiscal Threat
Montgomery County To Shell Out Money For Turtle Study

REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit Webinar Set For June 9

The State Conservation Commission will be hosting a Webinar on June 9 at 10:00 a.m. to provide information on the guidelines and application process for the upcoming FY 09-10 Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) tax credit program. This one hour program will be hosted by Mary Bender, REAP Administrator.
To access the site, you will need to create a free “Friends of PSU” account by visiting this site. Once you are logged into the site, you will be able to watch the live presentation. At the end of the presentation, there will be an opportunity to have your questions answered. Please contact Amy Smith at 717-787-8821 if you have any questions. (click here for status of REAP funding)

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