Monday, February 28, 2011

Phipps Conservancy Seeking Science Education Intern

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh is seeking an individual to fill a 12 month, paid Science Education Intern position working 15 to 20 hours per week starting in April/May.
The intern will be helping to strengthen and create new youth-focused education and outreach initiatives in the areas of environmental conservation and sustainability, art and science, and healthy living, with the core of building a positive relationship between humanity and the environment.
To be eligible, candidates must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate student at least halfway through course of study, or one year post graduate from undergraduate program, or currently enrolled as a graduate student. Degree focus must be in an area related to Phipps’ science education, e.g., environmental education, environmental social sciences, or the ecological or conservation-based biological sciences.
Click Here for full announcement.
Submit a resume and cover letter detailing your experience as it relates to the position to Linda Holsing, Human Resources Assistant, by sending email to: or Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1059 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232.

Sportsmen Marcellus Shale Summit Set For June 4 In Johnstown

The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation is sponsoring a Marcellus Shale Summit on June 4 at the University of Pittsburgh campus in Johnstown.
In the heart of the Marcellus Shale region, sportsmen and women, and conservation groups are working together to identify and propose solutions to mitigate the impacts from gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing on hunting, fishing and trapping experiences.
The groups in the Alliance include: Trout Unlimited, The Izaak Walton League, Quality Deer Management Association, PA Council of Trout Unlimited, The Wildlife Society, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and the New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited.
More information will be available on the Alliance website.

Budget Secretary- Day Of Reckoning Has Arrived

Budget Secretary Charles Zogby told a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon today, "All the one-time means, all the gimmicks have been utilized. We've kicked the can down the road long enough. The day of reckoning has arrived."
Secretary Zogby said the fiscal challenge facing Pennsylvania was unprecedented and the state faces a $4 billion budget deficit.
$2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds were received by the state for Medical Assistance, basic and higher education, Corrections and human services that will not be available in the coming year.
Other one-time revenues sources totaling $750 million will also not be available, pointing out budget maneuvers like taking Tobacco Settlement Fund monies and giving it to the State Employees Retirement Fund will also not be available.
Secretary Zogby refused to comment on funding specific programs, deferring those questions to Gov. Corbett's budget message next week. But said every line item is being considered for cuts.
He did comment on several issues--
Broadening The Tax Base: The challenge of no new taxes or fees laid down by Gov. Corbett was one he accepted on becoming Budget Secretary. He said Pennsylvania is not in this situation because taxpayers paid too little. The problem is expenditures are outpacing revenue growth.
Privatizing Liquor Stores: It needs to be looked at in terms of what is an appropriate role for State Government, but it will not help solve the General Fund's deficit problem. He noted there are revenues due to the state from the current system that cannot be lost.
Medical Assistance: He recognized this as a growth area, but said one way to control costs is to make sure people receiving benefits are actually eligible.
Pensions: He said Gov. Corbett believes contract obligations must be met and that include pensions for state employees.
Natural Gas Royalties: He said most people do not realize the amount of revenues that come from Marcellus Shale drilling saying workers and businesses hired by the industry are producing local and state tax dollars.
Combining DEP/DCNR: He said there are no plans to combine the agencies. The Governor is trying to find the right person to fill the job of Secretary of DCNR.
Budget Secretary Says Day Of Reckoning Has Arrived
Budget Head Warns Of Sharp Cuts In New Spending Plan
Pledging No Gimmicks Corbett Budget Chief Warns Of Cuts
Budget Secretary Mum On Spending Plan Details
Blog: New Corbett Budget Will Not Have Gimmicks Of The Past
Column: Corbet Might Fight More For Gas Drillers Than Against Unions

New PA Health Website Launched To Track Environmental Health Information

The Department of Health today launched a new website for the Pennsylvania Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, or PA EPHTN, allowing the public to track health challenges and environmental-related diseases such as asthma.
“Keeping Pennsylvanians safe from potential environmental health hazards remains a top priority for the Department of Health,” said acting Secretary of Health Dr. Eli Avila. “This new website contains important information to help the public identify potential environmental health threats and will ultimately allow individuals and communities to make better-informed public health decisions.”
The PA EPHTN website is a groundbreaking environmental health tool that is part of a national initiative supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, to help states gather more information about the environment’s impact on health.
The website provides health information and data along with explanations about what the data means. Users can also search for information about the data including its source, ownership and dates of creation.
Information will be provided on public health topics and their significance to Pennsylvanians, including: cancer, vital statistics, lead poisoning, air quality, water quality, asthma and heart attacks. In the near future, the system will also provide information on carbon monoxide poisoning, pesticides, toxic chemical releases and arsenic in groundwater.
“Pennsylvania’s tracking network aims to dramatically reduce the time it takes the Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to detect emerging environmental public health threats, including disease clusters, and to respond to community concerns,” added Dr. Avila.
Pennsylvania is one of 23 states and the city of New York to receive this type of funding from the CDC.
For more information about the Department of Health’s EPHTN Program webpage. For more general background on tracking environmental health data, visit the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network webpage.

PA Water Environment Assn. Marcellus Shale Conference March 8-9

Mansfield University will host the PA Water Environment Association Marcellus Shale Conference on March 8-9 in Mansfield, Pa.
This specialty conference will be presented with the objective of providing a forum for sharing information related to water management associated with the Marcellus Shale Gas Industry.
The PWEA consistent with its Mission to enhance the knowledge and abilities of Pennsylvania's wastewater professionals, promote sound water policies and promote public awareness of the need to protect water quality will bring together in forum presentation, experts and professionals to provide insight into Marcellus Shale activities. Vendor displays and exhibit area will be used to encourage networking and facilitate communications.
For more information and to register, visit the Conference webpage.

Monday NewsClips

Farm Bureau Takes Aim At EPA LImits On Chesapeake Bay Pollutants
Penn State Restructuring Won't Affect Extension Offices
Column: Radioactive Water? You're Soaking In It PA
Hope Remains For Coal-To-Liquid Fuels Project
Flooding Predicted In Western PA
Central PA Under Flood Watch
PEC Endorses Upper Dublin Twp. Flood Project
Land Bank Still Trying To Get Off Ground
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Friday, February 25, 2011

Saturday NewsClips

Cause Of Western PA Gas Well Fire Still Not Known
Corbett Administration Rescinds Curbs On Pollution From Gas Drilling
Suspension Of Pollution Rules For Drilling Sought
Gas Drilling Industry Group Asks Oscars To Disqualify Gasland
Drilling At National Park Sites Reviewed
Gas Drilling Backed In Washington County
Top 7 Most Active Marcellus Shale Drillers
Shale Effect On Home Values, Real Estate Values Mixed
Video: Marcellus Shale Students Riding Wave Of Opportunity
Editorial: Does Corbett Have The Guts On Drilling?
Energy Efficiency Gets $4 Million Boost In Fayette
Waste To Energy Plant Offers Sought In Allentown
Harrisburg, State Want To Delay Incinerator Lawsuits
Rain Next Week Could Cause Floods
Editorial: Corbett Should Be More Visible
Making Your Urban Garden Into A Wildlife Refuge
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Feb. 28 PA Environment Digest Now Available

February 28 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

House Hearing On Severance Tax, Groups Urge Renewal Of Growing Greener

Witnesses testifying at a public hearing this week by Reps. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) and Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) said they support legislation that would tax Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling to help minimize cuts in next year's budget, fund the Growing Greener program and compensate municipalities impacted by drilling.
"A drilling tax needs to be part of the budget discussion this year because the Commonwealth is facing a $4 billion deficit," said Rep. Vitali. "Pennsylvania is the only major natural gas producing state in the nation that does not have a severance tax or fee in place. It’s time for Pennsylvanians to get some of the benefit." Click here to read more…

DEP Rescinds, Announces Comment Periods On Several More Oil And Gas Policies

In the February 26 PA Bulletin, The Department of Environmental Protection published notice rescinding the Interim Guidance for Performing Single Stationary Source Determinations for the Oil and Gas Industries which was published by DEP at 40 Pa.B 7429 (December 25, 2010) and in a separate notice announced the intent to reopen the public comment period on the proposed Air Quality Permit Exemptions policy (DEP ID: 275-2101-003) published at 40 Pa.B. 2822 (May 29, 2010) and Proposed Revisions to the General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit for Nonroad Engines (BAQ-GPA/GP 11) published at 40 Pa.B. 6336 (October 30, 2010).
The Department said in the notice it thinks there are a number of potentially interrelated air quality topics regarding gas exploration and extraction activities within the Marcellus Shale which should be considered together, that is: (1) performing single stationary source determinations; (2) General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit BAQ-GPA/GP-11; and (3) the list of air quality plan approval and operating permit exemptions which were topics covered in the actions noted previously.
The Department believes that it is appropriate to seek a comprehensive public comment period on all three of these topics together to guide the Department on what, if any, guidance or action might be taken on any one or more of them.
In a separate but related action, the Department had proposed minor modifications to the General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit for Natural Gas, Coal Bed Methane, or Gob Gas Production or Recovery Facilities (BAQ-GPA/GP-5) published at 40 Pa.B. 5387 (September 18, 2010).
Among other things, the proposed modifications include the following: Condition No. 2 is proposed to be revised to limit a source's potential emissions; and Condition No. 4 is proposed to be revised to require compliance with the specifications in the Application for Authorization to Use GP-5.
These proposed revisions will offer greater flexibility to the regulated community. Public comment was received on the proposal and the Department is in the process of reviewing that input and finalizing these proposed changes which will be announced in a future Pennsylvania Bulletin notice.

Friday NewsClips

Vapors Blamed In Avella Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Site Fire
Three Workers Injured At Drill Site
1 Worker Critically Hurt In Gas Well Explosion
Pipeline Safety Bills Gaining Steam In Harrisburg
Group Files Intent To Use Corbett Administration Over Drilling
Blog: Former DCNR Boss Blasts Shift In Drilling Policy
Column: PA Politicians Aren't Protecting Environment
Editorial: Corbett- Acres Of Drilling
Editorial: Imagine Well Pad At Ohiopyle State Park
DRBC Considers New Rules For Gas Drilling
DRBC Hit From Both Sides At Drilling Hearing
Swissdale Accident Spills 3,400 Gallons Of Frack Water
Brockway Watershed Under Siege From Drilling
Fayette Permits Test for Gas On County-Owned Land
Public Still Leery About Gas Compressor
Somerset Residents Given Training To Spot Drilling Violations
Experts Not Optimistic About Utica Shale Drilling In Central PA
Editorial: PA Tourist Spots Lose Some Protection On Drilling
State's Recycling Industry Grows To 53,000 Jobs, $2.2 Billion In Payroll
eLoop Expanding E-Waste Centers, Recycling Services Across PA
Op-Ed: Pennsylvanians Didn't Vote For Dirtier Air
Harrisburg Incinerator Could Be Worth $159.5 Million Consultant Says
FirstEnergy Wins Its $8.5 Billion Bid For Allegheny Energy
PUC OKs Merger Of Power Companies
Duquesne Light Electric Rates To Increase By 3.5 Percent
UGI Electric Will Hike Rates In 33 Luzerne Municipalities
Op-Ed: Saving Pennsylvania's National Forest
Recreational Allegheny River Boaters May Be Up The River
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DEP Releases New Database Of Available PA Brownfield Properties, Invites Additions

The Department of Environmental Protection and its partners this week launched, a new online database of brownfield sites now available in Pennsylvania for development, and invited property owners and local groups to make additions to the listings.
The website will be the primary tool to showcase Pennsylvania brownfield sites to the expected 6,000 attendees expected at the national Brownfields 2011 Conference in Philadelphia on April 3-5.
Property owners are encouraged to submit information on their own brownfield sites through Team PA will be available for support and technical assistance.
When submitting information, it is important that all data points requested are included– including specifications, utility information, and high-quality photographs.
The state departments of Environmental Protection and Community and Economic Development have partnered with the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association and the Team Pennsylvania Foundation to produce the website.
For more information about how to make sure your properties are included in the inventory, visit Team Pennsylvania's website.

DCNR Invites Developers, Students To Create Mobile Apps For

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its partners are inviting developers and students to enter a new contest to develop mobile apps for the website.
Deadline for entries is April 15.
“Pennsylvania has thousands of miles of trails for its citizens and visitors to enjoy,” said Brenda Barrett, DCNR's Director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. “While there is great information and maps of the trails available on the Internet at, this contest will help us take the next step to make trails information available to mobile users.”
The contest is designed to generate creative and innovative entries that combine existing trails data with other datasets and user driven content. Developers who build contest entries can take advantage of statewide trail information recently compiled on
The contest is being co-sponsored by Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.
In addition to recognition, the winner will receive an Apple iPad.
For more information, visit the Mobile Apps Competition webpage or contact Charles Palmer, Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies at Harrisburg University, by sending email to: or Tom Ford, DCNR, by sending email to:

Thursday NewsClips

Corbett Repeals Drilling Policy
Forest Drilling Issue Sensitive For Corbett
DRBC Listens As It Contemplates Gas Drilling Rules
Lawmakers Renew Push For Gas Drilling Tax
Lawmakers Hear Pros, Cons On Marcellus Shale Tax
Sen. Scarnati Considers Tour Of Drilling Sites
Gas Drillers Make Waves In PA With NFL Tickets
Northcentral Wells Rich In Gas, Growth
Experts Address Gas Pipeline Issues
Clearfield Dems Meet On Marcellus Shale Geologist
Chief Will Not Build Natural Gas Compressor Station Near Schools
Controversial Gas Compressor To Get New Site
Stone Energy Corp Announces 4th Quarter Results
Range Resources Sees 4Q Output Rise 18 Percent
3 Burned At Marcellus Shale Drilling Site Near Avella
Lycoming Briefs Members Of Congress On Chesapeake Bay TMDL
Heinz To Use Coke's Greener Plant-Based Bottle
EPA Making It Cheaper For Companies To Cut Air Pollution
Organic, Natural Food Stores Show Growth
Special Event March 5 In Beaver County At High Hazard Dams
Melting Snow, Rain Could Cause Flooding In Western PA
Editorial: Allegheny County Plan Maps Future For Bikers
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sen. Mary Jo White Applauds Corbett's Repeal Of Rendell State Lands Drilling Permit Policy

Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, applauded Gov. Corbett for repealing the policy of imposing additional restrictions on oil and gas drilling on State Park and Forest Land as part of the Department of Environmental Protection's standard well-permitting process.
"The Governor took the appropriate action in repealing the policy," said Sen. White. "As I outlined in my letter to Gov. Rendell last November, the policy was irresponsible, and could potentially cost Pennsylvania taxpayers tens of millions of dollars from the impairment of existing contracts."
Sen. White added by repealing the policy, Gov. Corbett properly upheld a legal precedent set in the case of Belden & Blake Corporation v. DCNR, where the courts prohibited the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources from imposing surface use agreements and drilling conditions on permit applicants who owned the subsurface mineral rights underlying state park land.
"DEP has done a good job of working to ensure that natural gas is developed responsibly, and DCNR has negotiated and executed lease agreements which contain meaningful added protections for publicly-owned lands," said Sen. White. "However, if there is justification for general conditions on natural gas production on all state lands, these should be adopted by statute or regulation, and must adhere to settled case law."

Corbett Administration Puts $364.3 Million In Budgetary Reserve

In a January 28 letter released today by Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, the Corbett Administration announced it has put an additional $364.3 million in budgetary reserve. The letter was to the Chairs of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.
The $364.3 million would come from a $337.8 million cut in Basic Education Funding, $25.7 million cut in several programs in the Department of Community and Economic Development and $669,000 from the DEP Safe Water line item for legislative projects.
The letter explained the reduction in the Basic Education Funding appropriation would be offset by federal Education Jobs Fund monies that have not yet been appropriated by the General Assembly. The federal government made these funds available to states in August 2010 to be awarded to school districts during the 2010-11 school year.
The General Assembly will have to act to appropriate the additional federal funds, Secretary Zogby said.
The letter notes, "no school district will receive less funding than was originally included in the enacted budget signed by Gov. Rendell on July 6, 2010, including restoring $50 million in funding that was placed in budgetary reserve in August 2010."
Secretary Zogby said the other monies put in budgetary reserve were for discretionary grants and have not yet been expended.
In the letter the Budget Office projects a deficit of over $4 billion for fiscal year 2011-12 based on current projections.
A copy of the letter and answers to frequently asked questions on the letter are available online.

Audubon/Toyota Alliance Seeks Applications For Conservation Leadership/Project Grants

TogetherGreen, a conservation alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota, is now accepting applications for its 2011 class of Fellows and Innovation Grants.
Applications are due May 2.
Through TogetherGreen Conservation Fellowships, 40 promising individuals will be chosen for their demonstrated leadership, as well as leadership potential, skills, and commitment to engaging people of diverse backgrounds in conservation action.
Fellows receive a $10,000 grant to conduct a conservation action project in their community, as well as specialized training and support to help shape and implement their projects. They also become part of a dynamic alumni network of conservation professionals from across the country.
TogetherGreen Innovation Grants annually provide essential funding that enables Audubon groups and their partners to inspire, equip, and support activities that engage new and diverse audiences in conservation action and create healthier communities.
A minimum of 40 projects will receive funding, totaling more than $1 million dollars of support—with grants ranging from $5,000-$80,000. Grants will be reviewed by an expert advisory panel, and the average grant awarded will be around $25,000.
“Through TogetherGreen Fellowships and Innovation Grants, we have an opportunity to create a vibrant network of conservation entrepreneurs,” said David Yarnold, National Audubon Society President. “Audubon and Toyota care about empowering people and creating conservation results in communities across the country. We look forward to selecting another stellar group of people and projects that will engage thousands of Americans in local conservation action.”
Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 135,000 individuals have participated in community-based TogetherGreen projects in 49 states and more than 150 cities around the country. More than 130 environmental projects have received Innovation Grants totaling more than $3.5 million, which was then matched 100 percent.
The inaugural class of 40 TogetherGreen Fellows recruited more than 3,400 individuals who spent 37,000 hours on conservation activities.
Candidates for the TogetherGreen Fellows program must have at least six years experience in some aspect of the environment, a passion for conservation, the desire to learn and grow, and an interest and ability to reach diverse and previously underrepresented audiences.
Innovation Grants funding will be awarded to groups in Audubon’s national network, including state programs, Centers, and local Chapters– working in partnership with one or more external organizations. Recipients will be chosen for innovative ideas that achieve conservation results focused on habitat, water, and energy. Applicants will also need to demonstrate how their project will reach new and diverse communities and directly engage people in conservation action.
Selection of the TogetherGreen Fellows and Grants will be made upon the recommendation of a national advisory board of conservation leaders, with expertise in education, evaluation, diversity, conservation biology, and other disciplines.
To apply for a 2011 TogetherGreen Fellowship, visit the TogetherGreen Fellows webpage. The site includes application guidelines, selection criteria, eligibility, benefits, and an online application. If you require additional information, contact Eddie Gonzalez by sending email to: or call 202-861-2242, x3065.
To apply for a 2011 TogetherGreen Innovation Grant, visit the TogetherGreen Grants webpage. The site includes application guidelines, selection criteria, benefits, and an online application. Interested organizations not affiliated with Audubon should contact Florence Miller by sending email to: or call 802-505-0839 to learn about partnership possibilities.
Fellows and Grant applicants will be notified in July 2011 and August 2011 respectively.

Wednesday NewsClips

>>>National Weather Service Flood Watch Western PA<<<
PA Loosens Rule On Gas Drilling
Corbett Scales Back Policy For Drilling On Public Land
Corbett Administration Pulls Policy On Drilling On State Land
PA Governor Scales Back Drilling Policy On Public Land
Gas Drilling In PA State Parks Draws Fire
Polarized Hearings Brings Drilling Debate At DRBC Hearing
Gas Fuels Controversy At DRBC Hearing On Drilling Rules
DRBC Takes Heat From Both Sides On Drilling Rules
Blog: Corbett Administration Clears Path For Shale Drillers
Utica Shale Drawing Gas Drillers' Attention In PA
Op-Ed: Pennsylvania Needs A Marcellus Drilling Tax
2 Southeast GOP House Members Call For Tax On Natural Gas
Cabot 4th Quarter Profit Up 35 Percent On Asset Sale
6 Energy Companies Have Undervalued Natural Gas Reserves
Winter 2011 Newsletter: Delaware Estuary News
Heinz Partners With Coca-Cola To Use PlantBottle
Op-Ed: Recycle Nuclear Fuel
Keystone Wild Notes, Wild Resources Conservation Fund Winter 2011
PA Tagged Vultures Sharing Their Travels On The Internet
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do Something Wild With Your State Income Tax Return: Support The Wild Resources Fund

Don’t forget Pennsylvania’s wild things and wild places when you file your PA income tax return this year.
For the past 29 years taxpayers have been able to donate all or part of their state income tax refund to the Wild Resource Conservation Fund, the only dedicated source of funding for research, education, and conservation of non-game species and wild plants across Pennsylvania.
Since 1982 the Fund has supported the reintroduction of river otters to our waterways and osprey to our skies; funded inventories of rare species and habitats in every county in the state; produced books, videos, and many other educational resources for learners of all ages; and supported hundreds of other projects as well.
When you file your return, just look for line 31 and designate all or part of your tax refund to help conserve Pennsylvania’s rare plants and animals.
Even if you don’t have a tax refund coming, you can still help. Just send your tax deductible donation to the Wild Resource Conservation Fund at P.O. Box 8764, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8764.

Tuesday NewsClips

Drillers Set Sights On Shale Reserve Deeper Than Marcellus
BHP To Buy Chesapeake Energy Shale Assets
Where Are The Marcellus Jobs? Feb. 24 WVIA
Porter Twp. Opposes Natural Gas Drilling
Do You Understand DRBC Drilling Regs, Towns Say No
New Gas Line Work To Begin In Spring In NE
Chief May Seek Different Site For Natural Gas Compressor
NE Towns Eye Unity On Gas Issues
Pro-Drilling Groups Wants States to Regulate Gas Drilling
Penn State Extension: Collaboration In PA Watershed Management
Roadwork Will Redirect Spring Creek Flood Waters
East Rockhill Mulls Funding For Stormwater Basin Improvement
Upper Mount Bethel Twp. Water Well Permits Cost $200-$400
Bethlehem Plans To Produce Wind Energy On Watershed Lands
Expiration Of Rate Caps Brought Smaller Than Expected Increase
Buckeye Pipeline To Cut Heating Oil Sulfur To 15 PPM By 2012
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Sunday, February 20, 2011

U.S. House Eliminates All Funding For Chesapeake Bay TMDL

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following statement about the U.S. House of Representative’s passage Friday night of a budget amendment eliminating all federal funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) cleanup effort. The amendment was offered by Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte.
“With this single budget amendment, the House has voted to undo 25 years’ worth of bi-partisan and broad-based efforts to save the Chesapeake Bay. EPA and the six watershed states have worked collaboratively to produce a set of pollution reduction plans that each state would implement as part of a federal/state partnership. This vote effectively removes the federal partner from the equation, placing the burden squarely on the shoulders of states, municipalities, and individuals. It is in direct contradiction to the best science in the world, which defines the Bay as a single system that must be managed as one.”

Sunday NewsClips

More Upbeat About Possibly Smaller State Deficit
Consol Offered 2009 Super Bowl Trip To Former DEP Secretary
Big Spring Run Focus Of Research Project
Conservation In Mind In Roaring Brook Watershed
6 PA Lawmakers Call For More Comment Time On DRBC Drilling Rules
Schuylkill Chamber Sets Marcellus Shale Forum March 3
Editorial: Shale Tax Is A Fair Solution
New Trail Almost Ready for Hikers, Bikers
Erie Lawmakers Co-Sponsor Tax On Marcellus Shale
Dunmore Landfill Accepting Gas Drilling Waste
Young Minds Active In Engineering The Future
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb. 21 PA Environment Digest Now Available

February 21 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Judgment Against DEP Employees

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania this week overturned a federal jury’s verdict that held four employees of the Department of Environmental Protection liable for $6.5 million in damages for alleged regulatory misconduct.
The case, MFS, Inc. v Thomas A. Dilazaro, et al., was decided by a jury on February 17, 2010. DEP appealed the decision.
The four employees, which were sued as individuals, were Michael Bedin, Director of the Northeast Regional Office; Thomas DiLazaro, former Air Quality Program Manager; Mark Wejksner, current Air Quality Program Manager; and Sean Robbins, an attorney with the agency. Click here to read more…

Final Report Gives Insight Into The Return On Environment From Open Space

Return on Environment, the final version of The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania report has been released by the GreenSpace Alliance and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
This report is the first to quantify the economic value of protected open space in the five-county Philadelphia metropolitan area. Preserved open spaces are so much more than just pretty places. They contribute to our local economies and property values. They help us save on everything from health care to recreation, and they perform valuable ecosystem services that naturally clean the air we breathe and the water we drink.
The study was completed by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Econsult, and Keystone Conservation Trust. For organizations wanting to find out more, a PowerPoint presentation is available that not only summarizes the results, it highlights the region’s scenic open spaces.
The final report includes the appendices and an analysis of stormwater runoff in four sub-watersheds and estimates the value of stormwater retention provided by local open spaces which can retain more water than if the land is developed.
The estimated capital costs for constructing manmade stormwater detention facilities in the four areas total $87 million. An additional annual investment of $2.6 million would be required to maintain the new infrastructure. Given that the area studied is only 9 percent of southeastern Pennsylvania, this is a fraction of the total impact of protected open space.
Investing in open space is more affordable than ever in the current market. This report drives home the point that the return on an open space investment is great for our health and for our pocketbook.
A copy of the report is available online.
Contact Donna Pitz, Executive Director of the GreenSpace Alliance, by sending email to: or 215-545-4570, extension 111, to request a speaker to give the presentation to your group.

DEP Rescinds State Parks, State Forest Land Gas Permit Review Policy

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the February 19 PA Bulletin it is rescinding the policy issued by Gov. Rendell just days before the November election to require further evaluation of the impacts of oil and gas permit applications on State Parks and State Forest land.
DEP said in its notice the policy was being rescinded because it was not subject to any public review prior to being issued and that the agency already implements sufficient controls under Section 205(c) of the Oil and Gas Act in permit reviews.
Gov. Rendell leased over 137,000 acres of State Forest Land for Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling during his tenure.

Friday NewsClips

Judge Reverses Jury's $6.5 Million Verdict Against DEP Employees
Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Will Have Big Impact In PA
Food Recycling Program In Berks Will Provide Cost Savings
Allegheny CleanWays Cleans Up Duck Hollow
Electronic Billboard Bans Eyed In Pittsburgh
CMU Pushes Gasoline to Electric Conversion Kit For Cars
Lehigh Zoning Board Rejects Lehigh Elementary Solar Plans
Advocates Move To Make NE Trail Network Larger
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dominion Foundation Offers Education Partnership Grants

Dominion and the Dominion Foundation are now accepting applications to provide elementary and secondary and post-secondary educators with Education Partnership Grants. The deadline for applications is May 1.
Grants of up to $10,000 are designed to encourage the development of new programs to strengthen math and science education through the study of energy or the environment. Click Here for program details.
Higher Education Grants
Dominion is also seeking applicants for its Higher Educational Partnership grants designed to encourage the development of programs for post-secondary students aimed at developing a skilled work force in areas critical to Dominion. Click Here for more information.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,600 megawatts of generation, 12,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,000 miles of electric transmission lines.
Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system with 942 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 13 states. Corporate headquarters are in Richmond, Va.

Senate Committee To Hold Confirmation Hearing For New Secretary Of DEP March 2

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets to consider the nomination of Acting Secretary Michael Krancer for Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection on March 2.
The hearing will be held in the Senate Majority Caucus Room starting at 9:30.
Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee and Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) serves as Majority Chair.
Gov. Corbett has yet to name his pick for the Department Conservation and Natural Resources.

Grants Available For Upper Delaware Forest Landowners

A new million-dollar grant program for private landowners in the upper Delaware River Basin to implement watershed forestry practices was launched this week by the Common Waters Foundation.
Forest owners in three states will be eligible to receive financial assistance for implementing sustainable forest management projects on their property. Grants are available to forest land owners in Pike, Wayne and Monroe counties are eligible in Pennsylvania.
The first quarterly deadline for applying is May 2 and the first grants will be made in June. The initial financing for the Fund comes from the United States Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The Common Waters Fund is one of several pilot programs they are supporting, with the aim of linking “forest and faucets” around the country. In the future the Fund hopes to attract more investors interested in protecting sources of drinking water.
“Ensuring healthy forests in the Upper Delaware Watershed is critical to maintaining quality drinking water for 15 million water users,” said Carol Collier, Chair of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, which administers the program. “We want to support landowners in these priority areas as they take important steps to maintain their forests over the long term.”
The Common Waters Fund will provide incentives to qualifying landowners to implement forest stewardship plans, watershed forestry management practices, and/or conservation easements over the next two years.
“Development, fragmentation, and other issues threaten the health of our forests as well as the infrastructure functions that they provide. More than 180 million Americans get their drinking water from forests,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment.
“Finding ways to incent private landowners to care for their forests today will help protect source water for years to come.”
Grants up to $25,000 will be available for eligible landowners, qualified land trusts and timber harvesting operators for the following:
-- Forest Stewardship Plans - Forest owners can apply for funds to have a forester write a new or upgraded forest stewardship plan for their property.
-- Forest Management Practices - Landowners can apply for funds to offset the costs of implementing certain forest management practices that will improve forest health and protect water quality.
-- Conservation Easements - The Common Waters Fund will provide financial assistance to qualified 501(c)3 land trusts to assist with expenses related to placing a conservation easement on a property.
-- Timber Bridges - Logging operators can apply for funds to defray the cost of construction, purchase, or rental of portable timber/skid bridges to minimize erosion and sedimentation on streams in priority areas.
“This is a terrific opportunity for landowners who care about the health of their forest,” said Sue Currier, Executive Director of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, a partner in the Common Waters initiative. “We are looking for landowners who have always wanted to do right by their forests but couldn't afford the upfront investment."
Interested landowners should visit the web site,, to learn more about eligibility and program requirements and to download an application. They are also urged to contact their County Coordinator listed below for help with their application. More than two dozen partner organizations are part of the Common Waters initiative, including the Delaware River Basin Commission, county conservation districts and planning departments, the National Park Service, and state forestry agencies.
A complete copy of the announcement is available online.

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Judgment Against DEP Employees

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania this week overturned a federal jury’s verdict that held four employees of the Department of Environmental Protection liable for $6.5 million in damages for alleged regulatory misconduct.
The case, MFS, INC. v THOMAS A. DILAZARO, et al., was decided by a jury on February 17, 2010. DEP appealed the decision.
The four employees, which were sued as individuals, were Michael Bedin, Director of the Northeast Regional Office; Thomas DiLazaro, former Air Quality Program Manager; Mark Wejksner, current Air Quality Program Manager; and Sean Robbins, an attorney with the agency.
The jury found the four employees acted outside their official capacities in issuing notices of violations and enforcement actions involving odor complaints at the facility and in considering a Title V air quality permit for the facility in such a way as to violate the First Amendment rights of MFS, Inc., violate its right to due process and treated their case uniquely, violating the equal protection clause of the federal constitution.
MFS, Inc. filed the lawsuit in 2008 after it said it was forced to shutdown.
A copy of the decision is available online.

Thursday NewsClips

Editorial: Support For Growing Greener Program
Marcellus Shale Days Of Action Begin For Delaware River Watershed
Conservancy: State Forests At Risk From Drilling
Cumulative Effects Of Marcellus Shale Wells
Consol Paid For Super Bowl Trip For Sen. Solobay
Pressure Builds To Disclose Lobbyists' Gifts
Editorial: Avoiding Potential Of Drilling Impacts
DRBC Session On Gas Regs Draws Crowd
Susquehanna, Bradford Counties Could Be Used For EPA Drilling Study
Clarion University To Host Marcellus Shale Forum On Feb. 28
Law Professor Casts Doubt On Drilling Ban for Murrysville
Harvey's Lake Drilling Ordinance Hearing Gets OK
Penn Virginia Begins 2nd Marcellus Shale Gas Gathering System
Editorial: Agreement Should Be Reached Between EPA, Coal, Natural Gas
Tamaqua Area Schools Move Foreward On Geothermal Project
Laflin May Seek Bids For Septic Tank Services
Dauphin County Again Sues Over Missed Incinerator Debt Payment
Act 47 Coordinator To Harrisburg: Save Your Pennies
Former Harrisburg Mayor Reed Silent On City's Woes
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Help Wanted: Allegheny Land Trust Chartiers Creek Watershed Intern

The Allegheny Land Trust is seeking candidates for a Chartiers Creek Watershed Intern. The deadline for applications is April 1.
This paid internship will assist with critical stewardship, fieldwork, land management, volunteer recruitment and restoration of the Chartiers Creek Watershed. The Intern will work closely with volunteers and conduct site and habitat monitoring to ensure that the unique conservation values of the watershed are cared for and upheld.
The position will work with a variety of agencies, local, state and federal as well as nonprofit organizations to accomplish tasks for the betterment of the entire watershed.
This position is made possible by the gracious donations from the PA Environmental Defense Foundation and the friends and family of Mr. John Hamm. Mr. Hamm, a local conservationist, supported local conservancies by serving on their board, writing for their newsletters, raising funds to foster environmental programs and motivated others to do the same. The intern should hold the same spirit of adventure and commitment to the community as Mr. Hamm.
Submit cover letter and resume to Emilie Cooper, Stewardship Coordinator by sending email to: with “Hamm Internship” in the subject line.

Wednesday NewsClips

Poll: PA Voters Waiting to Decide On New Governor
Editorial: Super Bowl Trip Shows Weakness In Ethics Rules
Oil, Gas Drilling Fuels Steel Demand, Jobs
Allegheny County Plans March 10 Shale Hearing
Concerns About Frack Water Aired
Prof: It's The Boom Years For Marcellus Shale Industry
Column: Re-Vitali-izing Severance Tax For Marcellus Shale
Sen. Baker's Bill Would Set Compressor Rules
Wyoming Valley Postpones Action On Frack Water Facility
Flat Gas Prices Won't Slow Down Local Drilling Boom
WV Hopes Marcellus Shale Ethane Helps Jump Start Manufacturing
Extension's Discovery Watershed Initiative Offers Newsletter
Pike Group Concerned Over New Water Protection Regs.
Lackawanna College Environmental Institute Given $10K
EPA Urged To Shut Down Sprindale Power Plant
Smithton Floodplain Update Under Review
Forces Line Up To Keep Allegheny River Locks Open
Oregon Firm Plans To Have Turbine Up In Fayette By Nov.
Editorial: Green Jokes
Mine Agency Moves To Bolster Safety
Dickinson College Farm Produce Certified Organic
Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Newsletter
Allegheny County Aims To Improve Biking, Walking Routes
Editorial: Optimism Takes Wing With Bald Eagles
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CBF Statement On U.S. House, President Obama Budget Proposals

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement concerning the impact of the House and Obama Administration proposed budgets on clean water in the Chesapeake Bay region:
“The House Appropriations Committee and the Obama Administration have released starkly different budget proposals regarding clean water in the Chesapeake Bay region. The House proposal would make devastating cuts to clean water programs, while the Administration’s budget honors the federal commitment to achieve pollution reduction goals, and is an extraordinary commitment in these tough budget times. CBF urges the Senate to reject the House cuts, support funding the President’s budget, and work to restore funding the State Revolving Fund, one of the few tools that helps cities and towns reduce pollution.”
Six weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency, six states, and the District of Columbia ushered in a new era of cooperation and ended years of stalling when they released detailed plans to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution to restore water quality over the next 15 years. Meeting those science-based and legally-required goals is going to require significant and sometimes costly effort from citizens, towns, cities, and states.
This year’s Chesapeake Bay Foundation State of the Bay report suggests that pollution-cutting measures that have been taken in past years are beginning to show results. On a scale of 100, the Bay’s overall score jumped from three points to 31 on a theoretical scale of zero to 100. This year’s gains were the largest in the history of our report. The detailed plans released at the end of 2010 have the potential to achieve much more progress towards the goal of a saved Bay if everyone does his part.
Citizens and state and local governments are stepping up to do their part; Congress must as well. Whether delivered to cities and towns, rural areas, or individual landowners and farmers, the federal government’s assistance is critical to meeting the ambitious pollution reduction goals.
The House Appropriations Committee envisions cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 that would significantly set back those efforts. A 20% cutback in the current Chesapeake Bay Program budget, a 67% cut to the current Clean Water State Revolving Fund that assists cities and towns in reducing pollution, a 50% cut for Blue Plains (the Chesapeake’s largest wastewater treatment facility), an 11% cut in technical conservation assistance to farmers, and many other reductions take us in the wrong direction. Furthermore, they place additional burdens on cities and towns and on individual rate-payers to fund pollution reduction programs.
On the other hand, President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget, which was released today, attempts to uphold the President’s commitment to clean water in a budget cutting environment. The centerpiece of the restoration efforts – the Chesapeake Bay Program – is increased 35% over current levels, while other programs also show increases or modest decreases.
Poll after poll shows that the public is concerned about creating jobs and keeping the economy strong. Efforts to restore clean water creates jobs for engineers, construction workers, agricultural technical assistance providers, farmers, and many others, and are fundamental to the long-term health of this region.
Click Here for more details.

Tuesday NewsClips

Scarnati To Repay Consol For Super Bowl Tickets
Editorial: Scarnati Case Shows Need To Ban Gifts
Editorial: Oily Drilling For Influence
Democrats Try, Try Again On Severance Tax
Marcellus Royalties Help Game Commission
Hearing Set On Brockway's Lawsuit Over Watershed Drilling
Pittsburgh Mayor Details Allegheny River Vision
Plan Puts Reinvigorated Allegheny Riverfront At Center Stage
Berks Conservation District Helps Farmers With New Water Rules
Casey Criticizes LIHEAP Cuts
Op-Ed: Public-Private Partnerships Can Rebuild Roads
I'm Staying Harrisburg Mayor Tells Crowd
Sierra Club Opposes Permit For Clearfield Power Plant
PPL fined $28.500 For Waste Violations At Plants
Conservancy Acquires Track In Loyalhanna Watershed
Frozen Presque Isle Bay Lures Walkers
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Monday, February 14, 2011

Free Webcast Feb. 18: Changing Management Of Nutrients In Chesapeake Bay

Nitrogen and phosphorus arrive in the Chesapeake Bay from the 64,000 square-mile
watershed. The activities of more than 17 million people in the watershed have overwhelmed the Bay with nutrients from sewage treatment plants, industry, agricultural fields, lawns, and the atmosphere. Farm fertilizers and animal manure come in by rainwater runoff.
Four experts will look at the water quality data and the regulations that will shape the future of agricultural nutrient management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed during a free webcast Friday, Feb. 18. While PA has reduced pollution it still falls far short on water quality goals.
The speakers will give an update on the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) policy and how the six states in the watershed are helping to meet water quality targets. The webcast speakers will begin with watershed-wide issues and end with how policies may impact producers in smaller sub-watersheds.
Matt Ehrhart, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be presenting information about the EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or pollution diet, and how this plan impacts Pennsylvania.
The webcast is sponsored by eXtension, a network of researchers and educators from Cooperative Extension Services across the United States, government agencies and industry. Experts provide unbiased information in more than 35 resource areas including agriculture and animals, community and economics, energy and environment, home and family, and yard and garden.
The webcast begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time (1:30 p.m. Central, 12:30 p.m. Mountain, 11:30 a.m. Pacific).
The 75-minute webcast is free and part of eXtension’s Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center monthly webcast series. Links for testing your system and the virtual meeting room are available at Live Webcast Information.

Monday NewsClips

Column: What Now For Marcellus Shale?
Editorial: Taxing Shale Drillers Makes Sense
Closed-Loop Systems To Dispose Of Marcellus Drilling Debris
Drilling Wastewater Facility Not Welcome In Wyoming Valley
Letter: Cabot Gas Drilling Company Cares About Clean Water
Former PA Official Warns MD Lawmakers To Slow Down On Marcellus
Groups Want WV, PA Lawmakers to Pass Rules On Marcellus
Indiana County Power Plant Operated Without Permits
Renovated East Liberty House Keeps Utility Bills Low
Eagles Move Into Scranton, Mirror Statewide Success Of Bird
PA Audubon Working To Create Bird Towns
Event to Aid Luzerne Conservation Efforts
Ancient Indian Site Buried Under Culm Bank
Ruling Won't Halt Group's Crusade Against Deer Program
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

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