Monday, January 31, 2011

DEP Issues Report On Air Quality Impacts From Northeast Marcellus Shale Development

The Department of Environmental Protection today released a report on a four-week air quality study conducted near Marcellus Shale natural gas operations in Susquehanna and Sullivan counties.
“This short-term study of the air emissions at surveyed sites shows no emission levels that would constitute a concern to the health of residents living near these operations,” DEP Director of the Bureau of Air Quality Joyce Epps said. “This study provides us with good information as part of our ongoing effort to gauge the impact these operations have on our air quality, public health and the environment.”
The report notes that the sampling effort was not meant to address potential cumulative impacts.
DEP’s assessment focused on concentrations of volatile organic compounds, including benzene, toluene and xylene, which are typically found in petroleum products. The department also sampled for other pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide near natural gas extraction and processing sites.
The sampling was conducted the weeks of Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 14 and Oct. 25. An evening sampling event was held Oct. 6. DEP’s mobile laboratories were used and the equipment was set up downwind of the target sources during early morning and late evening hours, which is when the department received the most complaints from residents.
The agency collected background samples at Sones Pond in the Loyalsock State Forest in Sullivan County.
The air monitoring surveys near natural gas operations in Susquehanna County were conducted at a completed and operating gas well (Cabot’s Gesford 2V/7H) on Carter Road in Dimock Township; two compressor stations (Cabot’s Lathrop and Teel stations near Springville); and at a well site being fracked (Stone Energy’s Loomis well site) near Lawton.
Those surveys detected the main constituents of natural gas – including methane, ethane, propane and butane – as well as low levels of associated compounds such as MtBE, carbon monoxide and methyl mercaptan, the odor-producing compound.
In addition, DEP used a specialized infrared camera that can detect emissions of certain pollutants from a source that otherwise may be invisible to the naked eye. That equipment did detect fugitive and direct emissions from the well equipment at the Carter Road site.
Overall, DEP’s air sampling did not find concentrations of any compound that would likely trigger air-related health issues associated with Marcellus Shale drilling activities in the northeast region.
DEP also conducted similar air-monitoring studies near Marcellus gas facilities in north-central Pennsylvania. Those results are currently being evaluated. Results from a study in southwestern Pennsylvania were announced in November 2010.
A copy of the report is available online.

Monday NewsClips

A Capitol Question: What Will Corbett Cut?
Registration Under Way For Great American Cleanup
In Tune With Gas Drilling Issues In Luzerne
Fear Paranoia Surrounding Possible Shale Operation In Schuylkill
Experts Say Shale Drilling In Schuylkill County Matter Of When, Not If
Impact Of Shale Gas Drilling Will Be Felt In Franklin County
Chinese Pay $570 Million For Chesapeake Energy Shale Stake
Semi-Retirement Hasn't Stopped Kemp From Watershed Work
Task Force to Examine Pittsburgh's Light, Noise Pollution
Editorial: Dissing Alternative Fuels, The RAND Report
Quakertown Looks To Cut $1.6 8 Million Energy Bill
Pittsburgh Seeking Sustainability Coordinator
Engineers Can't Be Sued For Not Releasing Results Of Toxin Study
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jan. 31 PA Environment Digest Now Available

January 31 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Video Blog: Renew Growing Greener Coalition Lobby Day A Success

On January 24, the Renew Growing Greener Coalition hosted a series of events to lobby for the renewal of the Growing Greener Program.
“It is imperative that we provide the information to our policy-makers necessary to elevate this issue to the highest priority. Funding for Growing Greener is not a luxury, it is essential for the future economic vitality of the state, and for the future of our rich natural heritage,” said Andrew Heath, Executive Director of the Coalition.
Video Blog: Andrew Health Recaps Lobby Day Activities
Click here to read more…

Registration Is Now Open For The 2011 Great American Cleanup Of PA

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced today registration is now open for the 2011 Great American Cleanup of PA through a new and expanded website.
This annual event is held in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup of Keep America Beautiful and in partnership with support from the Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT, and PA Waste Industry Association.
Additional partnering businesses include Keystone Sanitary Landfill, PA Beverage Association, PA Food Merchants Association, Steel Recycling Institute, Waste Management, and the American Chemistry Council.
The 2011 Great American Cleanup of PA will begin on March 1st and end on May 31st. During this period, registered events can get free bags, gloves, and vests from PennDOT district offices.
Events consist of litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, beautification projects, special collections, and educational events. Events must be registered through the Great American Cleanup of PA website to get these free cleanup supplies.
As part of this event, the Department of Environmental Protection and PA Waste Industry Association are sponsoring Let’s Pick It Up PA – Everyday. During the Pick It Up PA Days, registered event coordinators will be able to take the trash collected during their cleanup to participating landfills for free disposal.
The Let’s Pick It Up PA – Everyday event will begin on April 16th and end on April 30th. The focus day will be April 23rd.
All 67 counties in Pennsylvania were represented in the 2010 Great American Cleanup of PA. There were 4,822 events with 186,487 volunteers. Volunteers collected 603,537 bags of trash or 12,070,740 pounds. They cleaned 19,373 miles of roads, railroad tracks, trails, waterways, and shorelines, and 6,027 acres of parks and/or wetlands. Additionally, volunteers planted 21,605 trees, bulbs, and plants in an effort to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.
Since the inception of this event in 2004, over 54 million pounds of litter and waste have been removed from Pennsylvania’s landscape, and tens of thousands of trees, bulbs, and flowers have been planted.
To register your event, find an event near you, or to find additional resources, visit the Great American Cleanup of PA website. Any additional questions can be answered by Michelle Dunn, Great American Cleanup of PA Program Coordinator, at 1-877-772-3673 ext. 113 or send email to:

Friday NewsClips

Op-Ed: Protecting PA’s Environment In Hard Times, Paul King, PEC
West Hanover Twp. Retains Environmental Council
Sen. Yaw Preparing Marcellus Shale Bill Package
Editorial: Philly’s Rude Gesture On Gas Drilling?
Hampton To Discuss Oil And Gas Drilling Feb. 23
Natural Gas Pipeline Groundbreaking Tuesday In NY
Drilling Film Nominated For Oscar
Cost Effective Ways To Cut Energy Costs
Westmoreland OKs $1.9 Million Energy Work
Opposition To Solar Firm In Luzerne Heated
Profits Fall At Consol
Editorial: Ethanol Use, Damage Ahead
Letter: Environmentalists: Hands Off My Dishes
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PRC: Steelers Fans Champions When It Comes To Recycling Too!

Pittsburgh has another winning effort to celebrate this month: football fans diverted nearly 8 tons of recyclables from landfills by gathering aluminum, glass, plastic and cardboard containers at recent Steelers tailgate parties, according to the Pennsylvania Resources Council.
Since campaign kickoff on December 12, the “Let’s Tackle Recycling” crew gathered approximately 16,000 pounds of recyclables in Heinz Field parking lots during the final three regular season home games and two playoff games.
The recyclables included: 173,000 aluminum cans, 9,000 glass bottles, 64,000 plastic bottles and cups and 1,600 pounds of cardboard.
“The response to the ‘Let’s Tackle Recycling’ challenge, funded by the Alcoa Foundation, has been phenomenal,” according to Dave Mazza, Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, which served as the campaign’s organizer.
“This was truly a team effort, and it owes its success to the thousands of fans who took the time to recycle," said Mazza. "The Pennsylvania Resources Council sincerely thanks its campaign partners: Alco Parking, City of Pittsburgh Environmental Services, Greenstar, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Sports & Exhibition Authority for supporting the effort in a variety of ways.”
At the five games, Alco Parking attendants distributed blue recycling bags to fans as they entered six designated parking lots along General Robinson Street. Tailgaters were encouraged to place all bottles, cans and plastic containers in the bags during their pre-game parties.
Let’s Tackle Recycling team members circulated throughout the lots to provide additional recycling bags, help collect filled bags and generally encourage fans to recycle.
“We’re already in the planning stages for a return to the Heinz Field parking lots next fall,” said Mazza. “Tailgaters should look for the blue recycling bags again when the Black and Gold kick off the 2011 season.”

Senate/House Set Budget Hearings

The Senate and House Appropriations Committees just finished posting their schedule of budget hearings this week. They include--
March 16 (House)
9:30 -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
10:30 -- Department of Environmental Protection
1:30 -- Department of Agriculture
March 22 (Senate)
3:00-- Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
March 24 (Senate)
9:30-- Department of Environmental Protection
March 30 (Senate)
1:00-- Department of Agriculture
The complete House schedule and Senate schedule are available online.

Senate Committee Hears Challenges, Opportunities Of Marcellus Shale

The Senate Republican Policy Committee Wednesday held a hearing on the opportunities and challenges of developing Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves hearing from 16 witnesses about the local impacts of drilling operations.
Sen. Ted Erickson (R-Delaware), Committee Chair, was joined by 12 other Senators for the hearing, including Senators Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Pileggi (R-Delaware), Baker (R-Luzerne), Browne (R-Lehigh), Eichelberger (R-Blair), Folmer (R-Lebanon), Gordner (R-Columbia), Solobay (D-Washington), Vance (R-Cumberland), Vogel (R-Beaver), Yaw (R-Bradford) and Waugh (R-York).
Bradford & Tioga Counties
Doug McLinko, County Commissioner, Bradford County, and Erick J. Coolidge, County Commissioner, Tioga County, started the hearing describing the positive economic impacts Marcellus Shale development has brought to their counties.
Bradford County hosts 25 percent of the Marcellus Shale wells drilled in Pennsylvania with about 1,442 active well permits now being developed. There are 30 water withdrawals, 76 water impoundments, 243 miles of temporary water lines, 97 miles of interstate gas lines and 377 miles of gathering lines serving the county.
Commissioner McLinko said the drilling activity has brought tremendous economic opportunity to the county making it the leader in generating new jobs in the entire state. Gas companies have also paid over $1 billion in natural gas royalties to county landowners so far. Companies have invested more than $125 million in rebuilding roads in the county over the last year to handle the increased truck traffic.
He also said drilling has caused a housing shortage and an increase in crime in the county. The Commissioner said he opposed a natural gas severance tax saying the industry and its workers are generating local tax and county fee revenues.
In response to a question from Sen. Yaw noting 40 percent of the private drinking wells in Bradford County do not meet drinking water standards, Commissioner McLinko said he would support common sense private drinking water well standards.
Tioga County saw 261 wells drilled so far with 564 new permits issued last year which amounts to about 10 to 15 percent of the Marcellus Shale development in the state.
Commissioner Coolidge reported his county has relied on tourism in the past to support local businesses, but housing Marcellus Shale workers has caused a significant shortage of hotel rooms to support the tourism industry. Many out-of-state workers are still being brought in to fill more skilled positions in the drilling industry, although he said there are local efforts to develop the skills needed by the companies.
Tioga County has seen an increase in costs for its human services, including child welfare and other services as housing conditions and other circumstances create an increase in demand.
Both commissioners said there was an increased need to update local emergency response services-- fire and emergency medical-- to deal with the problems presented by the drilling industry. The industry, they said, had been helpful in providing financial support and training to help increase local capabilities.
Commission Coolidge noted the ability of county conservation districts to help mitigate the environmental impacts of drilling and pipeline development associated with the industry was taken away without warning by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2009. He believes the industry and the county benefited from having local, knowledgeable district staff work on erosion and sedimentation and stream crossing issues.
Local Government Associations
The Committee next heard from three local government associations, including: Douglas E. Hill, Executive Director, County Commissioners Association of PA, David M. Sanko, Executive Director, PA State Association of Township Supervisors and Ed Troxell, Director of Government Affairs, PA State Association of Boroughs.
The Associations also provided the Committee with a joint statement in support of a natural gas impact fee and a local share.
Douglas Hill provided the Committee with background from a statewide perspective on infrastructure, worker education, housing and tourism, human service and criminal justice, environmental and landowner concerns related to drilling.
"A threshold issue is whether there are sufficient and appropriate regulatory controls built into our statutes and related regulations to deal with water, wastewater, runoff and transportation issues (raised by drilling)," said Hill. He too pointed to the elimination of conservation district oversight of local drilling impacts as an issue.
Hill said the Association supports making natural gas holdings taxable under local property taxes like coal and other mineral holdings. He also said counties have supported the adoption of a natural gas production severance tax and have followed the discussion of a possible local impact fee to deal with the costs imposed by drilling on county and local governments.
David Sanko said Marcellus Shale development was not an activity that communities planned for and as a result they are playing catch-up and trying to figure out what needs to be done to deal with the land use, environmental and other local impacts of the industry.
He noted PSATS is helping townships deal with these issues in a number of ways, including distributing a model zoning ordinance that allows communities to control the location of drilling activities. It addresses key issues such as buffers, emergency preparedness, noise and lighting to decrease the adverse impacts of drilling.
To help deal with the impacts on roads and bridges, Sanko recommended an increase in the maximum bonding amount communities can impose, noting the limit is now $12,500 when the cost to reconstruct a mile of road can approach $100,000.
Sanko commended drilling companies for moving to a policy of recycling water to help reduce water withdrawals, but said contamination of local water supplies is a concern of many townships.
Like Hill, Sanko supported a severance tax or fee structure on natural gas, provided at least 30 percent of the revenue is returned to communities experiencing drilling impacts. He also said townships should be able to levy property taxes on natural gas holdings saying both lease and royalty income are exempt from local income tax in Pennsylvania, except in Allegheny County.
Ed Troxell said boroughs see many of the same impacts from drilling activities as counties and township, but the dramatic increase in truck traffic causes significant congestion and more accidents. He also described similar infrastructure, environmental and social impacts as Hill and Sanko.
Environmental Issues
Four witnesses provided the Committee with comments on environmental issues: Sandy Thompson, District Manager, McKean County Conservation District, Jim Garner, District Manager, Susquehanna County Conservation District, Bruce Miller, Brockway Area Clean Water Alliance (Jefferson County) and Ellen M. Ferretti, Vice President, PA Environmental Council and Coordinator of the Pocono Forest & Waters Conservation Landscape Initiative.
Ellen Ferretti explained to the Committee drilling activity can have a number of significant impacts including: fragmentation of forested blocks and disruption of plant and animal habitats; highway, road and bridge degradation due to increased truck traffic; water withdrawal points that are not practical or safe for increased truck traffic; increased demand for housing to serve a temporary work force, increased demands on local and county services and polarization of community members on the details of Marcellus activities.
"However, when you attempt to truly account for these individual impacts, you will discover a void created by the lack of a comprehensive or coordinated system to gather and employ factual data and information relative to all aspects of the industry; from planning and land development to cumulative impacts," said Ferretti.
"Into that void goes all manner of speculation, misinformation, and mistrust – when combined with what limited factual data and information we have, the result is nothing less than rampant confusion," said Ferretti. "Elimination of this void would create a solid core upon which to build the foundation for a cooperative growth of community and industry while also serving to better protect the environment and human health."
She noted PEC held a Marcellus Shale Conference last May with Duquesne University which pulled together a series of findings and recommendations on Marcellus Shale development from a variety of perspectives.
Ferretti said PEC is now developing legislative and regulatory proposals as a follow-up to the report from the Conference and hopes to make that available to the General Assembly in the next few months.
Both the McKean and Susquehanna County Conservation District managers said DEP's decision to take away erosion and sedimentation (Chapter 102) and stream crossing (Chapter 105) permit authority from districts related to Marcellus Shale activities has left them unable to respond to problems and complaints locally and made it difficult to help the industry do a better job of controlling their environmental impacts.
Sandy Thompson from McKean said they are trying to better understand the impacts of drilling on streams in the county by establishing a real-time water quality monitoring system in the Potato Creek Watershed and they hope to expand the system to other parts of the county.
Jim Garner from Susquehanna said, "Most residents agree that the roads rebuilt by the local gas companies are an improvement, but the sedimentation that is the result of the heavy truck traffic prior to the rebuilding process is totally unacceptable.
"One of the very basic premises of (the Dirt and Gravel Road) Program is to treat stormwater by removing it from the roadside in sheet flow and using grass buffers to filter sediments prior to reaching the stream," said Garner. "Most of the subconractors working on roads for the gas companies insist on gathering (containing) the stormwater in deep roadside ditches which deposits directly into the stream channels."
Garner also noted there has been a dramatic increase in the number on non-coal mines opening in the county totally unanticipated by the districts or DEP causing a significant increase in workload. These quarries provide stone for building roads and drilling pads.
Both district managers also noted the state has cut its funding to conservation districts by 25 percent over the last few years, just at the time activity related to Marcellus Shale and related industries is increasing.
Bruce Miller from the Brockway Area Clean Water Alliance expressed concern about the impact of drilling in the Brockway Area Municipal Authority water supply watershed, a 4,000 acre undeveloped forested area in Elk and Jefferson counties.
He told the Committee the Authority watched helplessly over the past two years as the Authority's property and neighboring tracts were developed for drilling and the forest was cleared and fragmented by drill pads, gas pipelines and access roads.
Emergency Services
Challenges for local fire and medical emergency services were discussed by: Eugene Dziak, Director, Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency, Charlene Moser, Coordinator, Susquehanna County Office of Emergency Management and Art Donato, 911 Coordinator, Susquehanna County.
Dziak said transportation-related emergencies have increased 300 percent in Wyoming County as a result of drilling activities and hazardous materials spills have increased by 30 percent. He recommended each drilling company should be mandated to establish an Emergency Operations Plan and provide that plan to local emergency responders.
Moser said most gas and oil companies are reluctant to share their emergency response plans with his agency even when asked. He explained that of the seven gas companies operating in Susquehanna County only one has provided their emergency plan. He said DEP was also reluctant to notify the county of even major spills, but that has improved recently. He noted there is a need for specialized training and equipment to deal with drilling-related emergencies.
Donato said it has been difficult to coordinate responses to emergencies at well sites because Susquehanna County lacks cell phone service. Many gas companies have satellite phones but calling 9-1-1 on those phones requires going through several intermediaries to get to the county. In addition, just providing a location of a drill rig can be difficult if they are in isolated areas. He noted from 2008 to 2010, the number of 9-1-1 calls to the county center has increased by 16 percent.
Marcellus Shale Industry
Representatives of companies involved in the development of Marcellus Shale natural gas provided the Committee with background on the industry, including: David Spigelmyer, Vice President of Government Relations, Chesapeake Energy – Eastern Division, Rolf Hanson, Director, Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, Louis D. D'Amico, President and Executive Director, Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association and David E. Callahan, Vice President, Marcellus Shale Coalition.
David Spigelmyer noted Chesapeake Energy was Pennsylvania's largest producer of Shale gas holding 1.65 million acres of leases currently being developed by 23 drilling rigs. He said the natural gas production community has drilled as many as 4,000 wells annually typically delivering 25 percent of the natural gas we consume in the state.
Spigelmyer explained the multiple well pad drilling technique is a "conservation winner" nearly doubling Pennsylvania production with less than one-third of the surface disturbance compared to shallow gas wells. In less than five years, Marcellus production is expected to exceed the demand for natural gas in the Commonwealth.
He also explained job growth related to Marcellus development is estimated by a Penn State study to reach 111,413 direct and indirect jobs in 2011. He also said related businesses like the U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works are benefiting from development by increasing demand for pipe products for gathering and other pipelines.
Rolf Hanson of API said the industry has just unveiled a new initiative-- the Keystone Energy Forum-- to help educate the public about Marcellus Shale natural gas development. He said he hopes the Forum will be a place to go to discuss issues as they arise between the industry, local governments and interest groups.
Louis D'Amico of PIOGA said the Marcellus industry has "not sought a free ride in Pennsylvania." He said where legitimate costs associated with the industry have arisen, the industry has stepped up to the plate. As an example he said the industry supported an increase in permit fees by DEP in order to fund more inspectors and staff needed to regulate drilling.
"I personally believe that this is the most positive thing to happen to Pennsylvania," said D'Amico. "I believe this will impact our state positively for as long as a century of economic growth."
David Callahan of the Marcellus Shale Coalition said 2,300 Marcellus Shale wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania as of the end of 2010 and according to research by Penn State the Commonwealth can expect to see 3,500 wells per year drilled in the state by 2020.
He said for every $1 invested in Marcellus Shale development, $1.90 is returned in economic activity.
Callahan said Marcellus operators invested more than $200 million in 2010 to repair and improve roads across the Commonwealth. In addition, leasing State Forest lands for Marcellus development has resulted in approximately $238 million in up front bonus payments to the state in 2010 and future royalties from production on these lands could reach several hundred million dollars per year for the state.
A video of the hearing and copies of testimony presented are available on the Committee webpage.

Help Wanted: PACD Non-Point Source Program Application Developer

The PA Association of Conservation Districts is now accepting applications for a PennVEST Non-Point Source Program Application Developer.
The position is a 2 year full-time temporary position based in Harrisburg, PA, but involves extensive state-wide travel. Technical knowledge of NPS pollution problems, especially as they pertain to agriculture and/or urban stormwater, is a plus.
Computer expertise, excellent oral and written communication skills (including making presentations and writing articles), ability to assist grant applicants to navigate complex application processes, and an energetic personality a must!
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but the first applications will be reviewed by February 7.
The full job description is available online.

Thursday NewsClips

DRBC Sets Hearing In Honesdale On Drilling Rules
Op-Ed: Don’t Buy All The Natural Gas Drillers’ PR
Philadelphia Council Sets Marcellus Shale Vote
Rex Energy Sees Surge In 2011 Gas Production
Marcellus Cryogenic Plant Starts Up In WV
Trim Your Utility Bills Without Going Broke
Report: PA Mercury Emissions Impact Area Rivers
Industry Says Mercury Rules Could Raise Price Of Electricity
Editorial: Mercury Rising, Call For Action On Power Plants
Obama’s Stream Protection Plan Cuts Thousands Of Coal Jobs
Harrisburg Incinerator Might Not Be Valuable Commodity
Consol Energy Posts Record $1.337 Billion Quarterly Revenue
Damascus Drilling Ordinance Reviewed
DRBC's Draft Natural Gas Regulations
Water Pipeline Info Request From DEP Costs Montrose $2,700
Pike Shale Task Force Has First Meeting
NE PA Officials Discuss Drilling Impact
Landowners Grant Drillers More Time In Wyoming
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DEP Investigating Tioga County Marcellus Well Incident On State Forest Land

The Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a well control incident that occurred January 17 at a Talisman Energy natural gas well located on state forest land in Ward Township, Tioga County.
Talisman also has been conducting its own investigation and has been cooperating fully with the department.
“This was a serious incident that could have caused significant environmental harm had it not been brought under control,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Nels Taber. “DEP is conducting a thorough investigation to determine why this incident occurred.”
Talisman began having problems controlling the well in the early afternoon of January 17. The well was successfully shut in about 3:45 p.m. that day.
During the well control incident, which began during hydraulic fracturing of the well, fracking fluids and sand discharged from the well into the air. It does not appear that any significant amount of natural gas was released and there was no fire or explosion.
DEP Oil and Gas and Emergency Response program staff responded to the well, and Talisman Energy contacted CUDD Well Control to assist with gaining control of the well. CUDD recently opened an operations center in Canton, Bradford County, and was able to quickly respond to the site.
Talisman voluntarily shut down all hydraulic fracturing operations in North America while investigating the cause of this incident.
Inspections conducted last week by DEP staff verified that the fluids had been contained to the lined well pad. The fluids were cleaned up by a contractor and further sampling will be conducted to determine if any contaminated soil needs to be removed.
Oil and Gas Program staff also collected soil samples last week from beneath the well pad liner. Those results have not yet been received.
The department sent a notice of violation letter on January 24 which requires the company to submit a sampling plan for the site, information on any fluids released, an analysis of the main cause of the incident, and changes to be implemented in all of its Marcellus operations as a result of the incident.

DRBC Announces 3 Hearings On Proposal Drilling Restrictions

The Delaware River Basin Commission announced three public hearings on the agency's proposed restrictions on Marcellus Shale drilling restrictions.
The hearings will be held:
-- February 22 – Honesdale High School Auditorium, 459 Terrace Street, Honesdale, Pa;
-- February 22 – Liberty High School Auditorium, 125 Buckley Street, Liberty, N.Y.; and
-- February 24 – Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, N.J.
Registration for those who wish to testify will begin one hour prior to the beginning of each hearing session (12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.).
DRBC said the registration process will be on a first-come basis and it is estimated that approximately 75 persons will have the opportunity to present oral testimony within the allotted time period for each hearing session.
Oral testimony will be limited to two minutes per person, but can be supplemented with written comments submitted at the hearing or prior to the written comments deadline. Oral testimony and written comments will receive the same consideration by the Commissioners prior to any action on the proposed regulations.
Elected government officials will be afforded the opportunity to present their two-minute oral testimony at the beginning of the hearing if they contact Paula Schmitt at 609-883-9500 x224 prior to the date of the hearing.
The DRBC will strictly adhere to the maximum capacity numbers established by local officials for each hearing location (990 Honesdale H.S., 750 Liberty H.S., and 1,833 Patriots Theater).
Click Here for more details.

Tuesday NewsClips

Renew Growing Greener Coalition Holds Lobby Day In Capitol
DRBC Announces Hearings On Draft Drilling Rules
Gas Firms Hire The Regulators As Marcellus Boom Continues
Oral Arguments Slated In Forest Drilling Appeal
Anti-Drilling Activist Distortions Unsupported By Facts
Allegheny College Residence Hall Earns To Green Honor
Humboldt Firm Uses LEDs To Cut Energy Costs
Pittsburgh’s Green Coordinator Lindsay Baxter Leaving Job
EXCO Resources Announces 2010 Operating Results
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keeping Our Greenways Clean Grade School Publication Now Available

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful recently notified grade schools across the state about a creative new anti-littering publication now available for Grades 4 to 6.
"Open Your Eyes To Litter: Keeping Our Greenways Clean" is 34 pages long and teaches how litter and illegal dumping impact greenways and why it is important to keep our environment clean.
The book highlights eight greenways across Pennsylvania, provides activities throughout, and details the functions and benefits that greenways provide. This book can also be used to help teach Department of Education Academic Standards for Environment and Ecology and Geography.
Other educational resources are also available on litter prevention. Order through the Beautiful Shop on the educational resources page.

WREN Accepting Watershed, Source Water Education Grant Applications

Looking to make a difference in your community? Want to “go greener” in your town for 2011 with solutions that will help keep Pennsylvania water resources clean and healthy?
The Water Resources Education Network has funding available up to $5,000 to help launch community projects that build awareness and educate Pennsylvania citizens and local officials about their role as environmental stewards, encourage behavior change, and improve public policies that will protect PA water resources.
WREN gives priority to projects that incorporate social marketing concepts and encourage individual or public policy actions that will protect and improve local water resources.
Since 1992, LWVPA-CEF has provided over $1.8 million in funding to over 277 community partnerships working to safeguard Pennsylvania water resources.
See the terrific projects we've already funded to get some creative ideas. Use these ideas to develop your own project - no need to re-invent the wheel!
For the 2011 round, WREN offers two separate funding tracks:

-- A Watershed Protection Education Project track that builds awareness, educates Pennsylvania local officials about their role as environmental stewards and offers specific actions that citizens can take at home, at work, and within the community to protect, improve, or remediate the watershed from the impacts of polluted runoff, also known as nonpoint source pollution. To encourage connection to local land use decisions, a municipality is required to be an active partner in the project.
Nonpoint source pollution includes: drainage or runoff from resource extraction, abandoned coal mines, oil or gas wells; inadequate erosion control practices during construction and urban runoff; improper agricultural practices (erosion and sedimentation, nutrient management, pesticide application); improper timber harvesting practices; failing on-lot septic systems or other abandoned waste disposal sites; or altered hydrology (changing the way water flows through an area) due to impervious surface area, stormwater, and floodplain management, riparian buffers, wetlands, natural stream channels. Grant award: up to $5,000 per project.

-- The WREN Source Water Protection Education Grant Program seeks to develop a network of Source Water Environmental Education Teams (SWEETs) to help Pennsylvania communities and public water suppliers conduct grass roots public education and to implement prevention actions at the local level that will reduce risks to public water sources.
The goal of the WREN Source Water Protection (SWP) Education Grant Program is to encourage local partnerships to conduct community education and help residents and businesses implement practical, step by step solutions to reduce risk of contamination and to protect the rivers, steams, lakes, and aquifers Pennsylvanians rely on for their public drinking water.
Local source water protection programs helps provide an extra margin of safety to water coming out of the tap, and offer the best line of defense to protect public health, ensure high quality drinking water for future generations, and keep treatment costs down.

Grants of up to $5,000 per project for local source water protection projects that concentrate on a specific community public water supply protection area. One regional project will be awarded up to $8,000 that will focus aquifer wide (groundwater systems) and/or watershed protection efforts (surface water), which includes multiple public water systems, and addresses cross-jurisdictional issues.
Applications are due by March 25. Grantees to be announced by mid May 2011, with project activities to be completed July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012.
Guidance and application forms are available online. Get all the details, and download the Grant Guidance and Application at the WREN website. Questions? Call Julie Kollar, WREN Program Director at 267-468-0555 or send email to:

Saturday NewsClips

Drilling Firm Launches Operations At Wyoming Site
Wyoming County Businesses Benefit From Gas Industry
Meeting In Ligonier To Address Impact Of Drilling
Drilling Impact Worries Schuylkill Residents
Gas Industry Spawns $1.1 Million Railroad Upgrade
Marcellus Shale Boosts WV Gas Production
Activist Shareholders Press Natural Gas Drillers On Fracking
Upper Delaware Council Annual Report Now Available
Buying A New Home? Expect To Pay More Under Clean Water Rules
ClearWater Conservancy Melds Art, Chocolate For Fundraiser
Feds Order Dana Mining To Halt Work At Humphrey Mine
Editorial: Laying Blame In Wrong Place For Delaware Water Flows
Editorial: The EPA Threat, Restore Sanity
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jan. 24 PA Environment Digest Now Available

January 24 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Gov. Corbett Outlines Themes Of New Administration

Pointing to the unease of Pennsylvania's founders over "government exploitation and excess," Gov. Corbett called on all citizens this week to open this new chapter of the state's history by beginning a new kind of debate which does "not confuse acrimony with passion or partisanship with principle."
His 12 minute Inaugural Address laid out themes for the new Administration, but was not a laundry list of "to-dos" like some previous governors included their inaugural speeches. Click here to read more…

Renew Growing Greener Coalition Lobby Day At The Capitol January 24

On January 24, the Renew Growing Greener Coalition will be hosting a series of events starting at noon at the Capitol in Harrisburg to lobby for the renewal of the Growing Greener Program.
“It is imperative that we provide the information to our policy-makers necessary to elevate this issue to the highest priority. Funding for Growing Greener is not a luxury, it is essential for the future economic vitality of the state, and for the future of our rich natural heritage,” said Andrew Heath, Executive Director of the Coalition.
The Coalition will host displays in the Capitol Rotunda starting at noon to highlight the tremendous success of the Growing Greener Program over the last 10 years.
At 4:30 there will be a presentation for legislators and staff in the Room 60 East Wing.
From 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. there will be a reception in the Capitol Rotunda.
“Pennsylvania faces the imminent end of Growing Greener – a popular initiative that has provided investments in farmland preservation, conservation of open space, restoring and protecting Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers, improving and expanding state and local parks, preserving historic resources, and developing new trails and greenways. Unless action is taken in the near future, funds available for Growing Greener will be all but gone within a year,” said Heath.
Even with such a comprehensive record of success, the commonwealth faces a variety of pressing problems that threaten our communities, our rich natural and cultural heritage, and our quality of life:
-- Pennsylvania is losing three times as much forest, wildlife habitat, farmland and other open spaces to development as we are able to conserve;
-- The Commonwealth currently has 16,000 miles of streams that are unsafe for fishing or swimming;
-- Abandoned mines scar almost 190,000 acres in 44 counties and are the cause of over 5,000 miles of dead streams;
-- More than 2,000 family farms remain on a statewide waiting list requesting protection from encroaching development so that they may continue Pennsylvania’s rich agricultural legacy.
A Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report released in March 2010 reveals Growing Greener funding is all but depleted. Soon, as much as three-fourths of the Growing Greener I funds will be used for debt service on Growing Greener II bonds. Funding for Growing Greener programs are expected to drop from $200 million in 2007-2008 to as little as $15 million as soon as 2012.
The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is a coalition of the state’s leading conservation, preservation, revitalization, recreation and environmental organizations and is working towards the renewal of funding for Growing Greener.
For more information on the Renew Growing Greener Coalition, contact its Harrisburg office at 717-230-8044 extension 23.

DEP Soliciting Coastal Zone Land Conservation Grant Proposals

The Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Zone Management Program published notice soliciting proposals for the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Proposals are due March 1.
The geographic areas covered by CELCP are the designated Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone Watershed, select Chesapeake Bay Watersheds and the Lake Erie Coastal Zone Watershed.
Grant applications may be made for the purchase of land acquisitions or interests; these may be in fee-simple title or as conservation easements.
A major condition of the CELCP is that the title or easement must be held by a governmental/ public entity. Further, grant awards must be matched dollar-for-dollar (may include in-kind match but not other Federal funds) and are capped at $3 million each (Federal share). Land trusts may hold subeasements for management and stewardship on CELCP-funded properties and may assist in the development of proposals, but they may not hold title to any property acquired with CELCP funds.
Each coastal state may nominate up to three candidate projects to NOAA for this National, competitive process. The Department will select the three candidate projects from this Commonwealth for submission to NOAA by employing the guidelines issued by the Federal agency. NOAA will develop a ranked list of projects eligible for funding.
Once NOAA receives final appropriations from the United States Congress, the agency will make final determinations as to which projects are selected for funding within amounts available. Federal funding awards, based upon the final CELCP funding appropriated, are expected to be made between June 1, 2012, and October 1, 2012.
For more information, contact Chris Linn at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 215-238-2873 or send email to:; Julia Donahue at the Erie County Planning Department, 814-451-6018 or send email to:; or J. Samantha Burton at the Department's Water Planning Office, 717-772-5635 or send email to:

Friday NewsClips

Op-Ed: Farm Bureau Lawsuit Hurts Chesapeake Bay, Farmers
Op-Ed: Flawed EPA Chesapeake Bay Plan Burdens States, Violates Federal Law
Schuylkill Company Plans To Extract Water For Marcellus Drilling
Large Crowd Debates Murrysville Gas Drilling Limits
Op-Ed: Gas Drillers Shouldn’t Get Free Ride
Lancaster Solar Installer Reaches Out To Customers
New Testing Facility At HACC Makes Energy From Ag Leftovers
Elizabethtown College Takes Scraps to The Farm
Report Critical Of State Deer Management Policies
Powdermill Researchers To Study Alarming Decline Of Bees
Presque Isle Committee Supports Park Visitor Study
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sneak Peek At 2011 Great American Cleanup In PA

Get a sneak peek at the plans for the 2011 Great American Cleanup Pennsylvania by going to the brand new website put together by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its partners.
Remember, registered events can get free cleanup supplies like bags, gloves and vests donated by the Department of Transportation and Keep America Beautiful.
During the special Pick It Up PA Days from April 16 to 30 sponsored by the Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association and participating landfills will also have access to free waste disposal.
Since the inception of this event in 2004, over one million volunteers have pick up 54 million pounds of litter and waste, 93,000 miles of road have been cleaned, and 73,000 trees, bulbs, and flowers have been planted.
Primary sponsors of the event include: Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Waste Industry Association, Pennsylvania Beverage Association, American Chemistry Council, Keystone Sanitary Landfill, Steel Recycling Institute, Waste Management in addition to the departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation.

EPA Seeks Applications For Community-Based Environmental Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making $2 million available in 2011 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment program.
Applications are due March 22, 4:00 p.m. EST.
CARE is a community-based program that works with county and local governments, tribes, non-profit organizations and universities to help the public understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources to protect people’s health.
EPA will award CARE cooperative agreements in two levels. Level I awards range from $75,000 to $100,000 and will help establish community-based partnerships to develop local environmental priorities.
Level II awards, ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 each, will support communities that have established broad-based partnerships, identified the priority toxic risks in their communities, and are prepared to measure results, implement risk-reduction activities and become self- sustaining.
In 2010, EPA’s CARE program distributed $2 million throughout 14 communities. Among the grant recipients, projects included tackling drinking water and stormwater pollution, solid waste, and toxics issues in Cordova, Alaska; addressing air and water pollution sources, municipal solid waste collection and chemical releases in Ashland, Ky.; targeting pest and solid waste issues in New York, N.Y.; tackling air pollution and land use issues in Detroit, Mich.; focusing on threats from lead in paint, mold, and hazardous household products in Gary, Ind.; and addressing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and poor waste management in Kansas City, Kan.
Since 2005, 81 communities in 39 states and territories have used CARE grants to help reduce pollution and protect people’s health. A recent evaluation by the National Association of Public Administrators recognized the CARE program as a solid tested framework for engaging communities and other stakeholders.
Applicant Webcasts
EPA will conduct three webcasts to answer questions from prospective applicants about the application process on February 8, February 23, and March 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
More information about the grants and webcasts, visit EPA's CARE webpage.

Thursday NewsClips

Editorial: How Will Governor Protect Environment?
Editorial: Marcellus Shale Is Cold Comfort For Gas Customers
Driller Faces Crowd In Benton In Asking For Approval
Fracking Meeting Falls Victim To A Tie
Mountain Watershed Assn. Helps Residents With Drilling Questions
Corrected: Philadelphia Utility Asked To Avoid Marcellus Gas
Range Resources Says Production Hit Record
Citrus Energy Offers Marcellus Shale Acres
Chesapeake Bay Commission Will Keep Hand In Cleanup
Elk Officials Updated On Water Plan
Lone NE Lawmaker On House Environmental Panel
Onorato To Talk On Energy Efficiency
Environmental Group Plans To Sue Owner Of Cheswick Plant
Pittsburgh Air Quality Debatable
DEP Orders Cleanup Of Jeannette Glass Site
Court Hearing On Harrisburg Incinerator Debt Now In March
Network Of Biking, Walking Trails Planned In Cumberland
NE Community Projects Received Funding Commitments
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Senate Names ALL Standing Committee Members

Senate Republicans and Democrats named members of all standing Committees. "*" means new member or new to position--

Agriculture & Rural Affairs: (R)-- Vogel*, Chair, Waugh, Vice Chair, Brubaker, Eichelberger, Robbins, Yaw
(D)-- Boscola*, Chair, Kitchen, Solobay*, Dinniman

Appropriations: (R)-- Corman, Chair, Tomlinson, Vice Chair, Argall, Baker, Brubaker, Gordner, Greenleaf, Mensch*, Pippy, Rafferty, Smucker, Vance, Waugh, White, M.J.
(D)-- Hughes*, Chair, Ferlo*, Boscola, Farnese, Tartaglione, Wozniak, Blake*, Yudichak*, Fontana*

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure: (R)-- Tomlinson, Chair, Gordner, Vice Chair, Erickson, Greenleaf, Piccola, Rafferty, Ward, White, M.J.
(D)-- Boscola, Chair, Solobay*, Kasunic, Ferlo, Wozniak

Environmental Resources & Energy: (R)-- White, M.J., Chair, Erickson, Vice Chair, Baker, Vogel, White, D., Yaw
(D)-- Yudichak*, Chair, Dinniman, Solobay*, Leach*

Senate Republicans Name Committee Members

Senate Republican Committee Members (* means new member or new to position)

Agriculture & Rural Affairs: Vogel*, Chair, Waugh, Vice Chair, Brubaker, Eichelberger, Robbins, Yaw

Appropriations: Corman, Chair, Tomlinson, Vice Chair, Argall, Baker, Brubaker, Gordner, Greenleaf, Mensch*, Pippy, Rafferty, Smucker, Vance, Waugh, White, M.J.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure: Tomlinson, Chair, Gordner, Vice Chair, Erickson, Greenleaf, Piccola, Rafferty, Ward, White, M.J.

Environmental Resources & Energy: White, M.J., Chair, Erickson, Vice Chair, Baker, Vogel, White, D., Yaw

Five Major Cabinet Posts Yet To Be Named

There are now five Cabinet agencies remaining where new Secretaries have not been named by the new Corbett Administration. These agencies all have interim Acting Secretaries from the previous Administration--
-- Department of Aging - Ray Prushnok
-- Department of Agriculture - Michael Pechart
-- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Cindy Dunn
-- Department of Labor & Industry - Pat Beaty
-- Adjutant General of Military & Veterans Affairs - Maj. Gen Stephen Sischo
Some other major appointments yet to be made--
-- Gaming Control Board (Chair)
-- Liquor Control Board (Chair)
-- Public Utility Commission (Chair)

House Names ALL Members Of Standing Committees

The House adopted House Resolution 21 today naming BOTH Republican and Democratic members to all standing Committees. Click Here for the list.

House Republicans Name Committee Members

House Republicans today released Committee assignments for all members. Click here to download the file. Update: The House later adopted House Resolution 21 naming BOTH Republican and Democratic members to all standing Committees. Click Here for the list.

Wednesday NewsClips

Corbett Vows Government Reform
Corbett Sworn In, Citing Pending Storm Of Budget Deficit
Lawmakers Praise Corbett's Thoughtful Inaugural Address
Drilling Critics Protest At Inauguration
Drilling Protestors Chant During Corbett's Speech
Column: Corbett's Silence Over Marcellus Protests
Ridge Warns Against Sending Investment Away
Professors Hope To Open Path To Success With Marcellus
Drilling Biz Hikes Hires At Linde
Gas Compressor Station Discussed By Dallas Twp.
Philadelphia Utility To Avoid Marcellus Natural Gas
Heated Debate Over Natural Gas Exports
Editorial: Allegheny Airport Right To Explore Drilling
FirstEnergy Seeks Duquesne Light Customers
Manufacturer Fights PPL Rate Hike
National Park Service To Assist With Ohio River Trail Study
Emerald Ash Borers' Arrival Sounds Death Knell For City Trees
Natural History Museum, Powdermill Reserve Combine Efforts
Carnegie, Powdermill Create Ecosystem Center
National Aviary's Eagle Gets Top-Flight Medical Attention
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gov. Corbett's Inaugural Address

Corbett Sworn In As 1,000 Watch In Harrisburg
Corbett Promises Fiscal Discipline, Responsible Government
Corbett Sworn In As Governor
Gas Drilling Protesters Chant During Corbett's Speech
Click Here to read full text of Gov. Corbett's Inaugural Address

PA Recreation & Park Society Annual Conference March 19-23

The PA Recreation and Park Society will hold its annual conference March 19-23 at the Valley Forge Convention Center in Montgomery County.
This year's conference theme is "Recreation Revolution," and will feature presentations by Barry Weiss, retired director of parks and recreation for San Carlos, CA and Torn O'Rourke, executive director of the Charleston County, SC, Park and Recreation Commission.
The keynote speaker Sunday evening will be former Philadelphia Flyer Bill Clement, now a hockey commentator on NBC.
Educational sessions will cover a variety of topics, from programming to sustainability and more. Attendees will learn about the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' "Get Outdoors PA" initiative and have the opportunity to participate in mobile trail workshops and other offsite education sessions.
The conference will also include many networking opportunities and an exhibit show with more than 80 vendors.
For more information, download the Conference brochure and registration packet or call 814-234-4272.

Tuesday NewsClips

Note: Inauguration ceremonies are still outside at this time.
Corbett Promises To Be Realistic About PA's Challenges
Corbett Takes Reins Of Power Today
Little Lehigh Creek Not Critical Watershed
Program To Educate Public On Shale Drilling
Marcellus Gas Firms Courted By Westmoreland
EPA Fracking Study Including Six PA Scientists
Lackawanna Woman Honored As Activist On Drilling Issues
Drilling Likely To Move Forward In North East Twp.
New Hire Leads Way For Anthracite Scenic Trails Assn.
Lower Nazareth Eyes Strict Solar Ordinance
EPA Tips For Dealing With Broken CFL Light Bulbs
New Park Service Region Leader Study Of History
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let's Tackle Recycling Continues At Jan. 23 Steelers Playoff Game

Here We Go, Steelers – “Let’s Tackle Recycling” at the Steelers’ January 23 AFC Championship Game! The Pennsylvania Resources Council – through funding from the Alcoa Foundation – will collect aluminum cans, glass containers, and plastic bottles and cups at tailgating parties in parking lots outside Heinz Field.
The campaign gathered nearly two tons of recyclables at the Steelers’ January 15 playoff game – and nearly five tons more at three home games in December.
PRC is also looking for contract employees to help with the Tackle Recycling campaign. The compensation is $10/hour.
For more information about the “Let’s Tackle Recycling” campaign, visit the PRC website or call 412-488-7490, x 243.

Monday NewsClips

Corbett Assembles His Team
PA's New Governor Will Face A Big Deficit
Column: Corbett Ushers In Striking Changes
Gas Drilling Poised to Transform WB/Scranton Airport
Many Favor Gas Drilling On Pittsburgh Airport Property
Anti-Drilling Protesters To Rally During Corbett Inauguration
E-Waste Recycling To Be Phased In
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

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