Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec. 31 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Dec. 31 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Read About Hundreds Of Award-Winning Environmental Stewards From 2012

Individuals, businesses, farmers, schools, local governments, students of all ages, nonprofit groups and organizations just like you are doing great things to protect and restore Pennsylvania's environmental all the time and in every corner of the Commonwealth.

If you don't believe us, read about these award-winning performances in the following 87 stories included in the PA Environment Digest in 2012.
You've got NO excuse!

Northeast Audubon Invites Applications For College Scholarship

The Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society is inviting applications for a $4,000 college scholarship for students who wish to pursue a career in an environmental field such as Forestry, Natural Resources, Environmental Planning,Environmental Engineering, Fish, Game, or Wildlife Management, Ecology and/or Environmental Science.
The deadline for applications is April 30.
Applicants must be from Pike, Wayne, Lackawanna, or Susquehanna County and must enroll full-time in an accredited two or four year college or university program. The winning applicant will receive $1,000 per year for up to four years.
The scholarship is funded by the annual Audubon Arts and Craft Festival held each July.
Interested students can find the application form online.

Friday NewsClips

Schuylkill Among Rivers Nominated For 2013 Best List
2012 Big Year For Marcellus Shale
Mascaro Lands $135M Contract To Bring NJ Waste To PA
Retirement Of 100-Watt Bulbs Causing Consternation
Editorial: Governor Should Travel On Own Dime
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dec. 24 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Dec. 24 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Survey Shows 78 Percent Support More Funding For Conservation, Recreation

The Growing Greener Coalition Thursday pointed to a newly released statewide survey as clear evidence of strong public support for state funding to preserve farmland and open space, provide parks and trails and protect rivers and streams.
Overall, the survey found that more than 92 percent of the 608 Pennsylvanians surveyed think that state funds dedicated to preserving farmland and open space, providing parks and trails and protecting rivers and streams should continue to be used for these purposes.
In addition, the survey found that nearly 78 percent of respondents support increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests and farms even if would cost the average household $10 more annually.

New State Website Confirms DEP Lost Over 22% Of Positions Over Last 10 Years

Gov. Corbett Thursday launched a new website-- PennWATCH-- designed to provide the public with more information on how taxpayer dollars are spent.
The website confirmed the Department of Environmental Protection has lost 615 permanent positions-- nearly 20 percent-- since the 2002-03 fiscal year.  The agency’s permanent complement fell from 3,211 to 2,596.
But these numbers include over 105 positions added by DEP to regulate Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.  When these are added in, DEP lost over 22 percent of its permanent positions over the last 10 years.
The numbers also do not include the 50 to 100 vacancies resulting from normal turnover of staff and the freeze on additional hiring Commonwealth wide.
“Pennsylvanians deserve to know how their tax dollars are being allocated and spent,” Corbett said.  “PennWATCH gives citizens unprecedented access to information on the state budget, revenues, spending and workforce.

Friday NewsClips - We're Still Here Edition

Corbett Defends Free Trips From Marcellus Shale Businessman
Corbett Defends Trips He Accepted For Free
Natural Gas Exec Paid For Corbett 2011 Vacation
Touting Transparency, Corbett Declines To Explain Free Vacation
New Environmental Committee Chairs In House, Senate
Editorial: Get To Bottom Of Susquehanna River Problem
Lackawanna In Running For 2013 River Of The Year
Electronics Blamed For Natural Gas Facility Shutdown
$720 Million Sale Of Equitable Gas To Peoples Gas
Post Green Development In Philadelphia
Berwick Reactor Shut Down For 2nd Time In Week
Point State Park Fountain To Run Again In June
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dec. 21 Now Deadline For PA Parks & Forests Foundation Award Nominations

December 21 is now the deadline for the PA Parks and Forest Foundation Award nominations.  Click Here for details.

Senate Democrats Again Name John Yudichak Environmental Committee Chair

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) Thursday was again named Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee by Senate Democratic Leadership; the only returning Environmental Committee Chair in either the Senate or House.
Sen. Yudichak was first elected to the Senate in 2010 after spending 13 years in the House.  He followed long-time Senate Environmental Committee Chair Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne).
Sen. Yudichak has provided leadership on enactment of the Growing Greener II Program which invests in reclaiming abandoned mine lands and restoring streams and promoted investments in renewable energy and creating green jobs.
He also supported a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and a temporary moratorium on further leasing of state forest lands for Marcellus drilling.
As a member of the House, he was prime sponsor of the Waste Tire Act to provide funding for the removal of waste tire piles.

Thursday NewsClips

Corbett Took Free Vacation From Marcellus Business Owner
Democrats Expect Debate On Transportation Funding
StateImpact PA Wins du Pont-Columbia Award
Gas Facility Shut Down In Wyoming
Mining Company Granted Special Exception In Fayette
Drum Maker Launches Cigarette Butt Recycling Effort
No Decision For Lehigh County Green Fund Recipients
Farm Owners Donate Preservation Easement To Dauphin County
Ligonier Valley Farm Protected By Easement
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reps. Ron Miller, Greg Vitali Named Chairs Of House Environmental Committee

Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) Wednesday named Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) Majority Chair and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) as Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Rep. Miller (photo) was first elected to the House and served as Majority Chair of the Labor and Industry Committee and was a member of the House Liquor Control Committee.

He has been appointed chairman of the seven-member Pennsylvania delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and serves as its vice-chair.
Previous to his election to the House, Ron was the safety, health and environmental manager for Adhesives Research in Glen Rock, where he had been employed for 25 years.
Rep. Vitali was first elected to the 1992 and has served as a member of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Last term, he worked to ensure Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling is done in a safe and responsible way. He has introduced a drilling tax bill that would dedicate some of the money to Growing Greener. He has introduced legislation to prohibit the leasing of additional state forestland for natural gas drilling.
Rep. Vitali also has introduced legislation to promote use of renewable energy.
He  serveed on the House Appropriations and State Government committees. He was chairman of the state's Government Committee's Subcommittee on Government Operations.

Sen. Gene Yaw Named Majority Chair Of Senate Environmental Committee

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) Wednesday announced Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford) will serve as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Sen. Yaw was elected to represent the 23rd Senatorial District in November 2008.
Last session he served as Majority Chair of the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee and as a member of the Environmental Resources and Energy, Law and Justice, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Rules, Labor and Industry and Executive Nominations Committees and the Majority Policy Committee and as Chair of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.
Sen. Yaw represents the heart of the Marcellus Shale drilling fields in northcentral Pennsylvania and has been very active in drilling-related issues.
Prior to running for the Senate, Yaw served as Lycoming County solicitor for 17 years and was named County Solicitor of the Year in 2004. He has also served as general counsel to the Pennsylvania College of Technology for more than 20 years and now serves on the Board of Directors of that institution.

Senate Republicans Standing Committee Chairs For New Session

Wednesday Majority Chair assignments were announced for each of the 22 Senate Standing Committees, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).
“We are fortunate to have members from various backgrounds and regions across our Commonwealth who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Harrisburg,” Sen. Scarnati said. “Membership of committees will be announced prior to the reconvening of the Senate on January 22, 2013.”
The Majority Chairs will be--
Aging & Youth – Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Lehigh)*
Agriculture & Rural Affairs – Sen. Elder A. Vogel, Jr. (R-Beaver)
Appropriations – Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre)
Banking & Insurance – Sen. Don White (R-Indiana)
Communications & Technology – Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny)*
Community, Economic & Recreational Development – Sen. Kim L. Ward (R-Westmoreland)*
Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure – Sen. Robert M. Tomlinson (R-Bucks)
Education – Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon)*
Environmental Resources & Energy – Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford)*
Finance – Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster)
Game & Fisheries – Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin)
Intergovernmental Operations – Senator-elect Scott E. Hutchinson (R-Venango)*
Judiciary – Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery)
Labor & Industry – Sen. John R. Gordner (R-Columbia)
Law & Justice – Sen. Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr. (R-Bucks)*
Local Government – Sen. John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-Blair)
Public Health & Welfare – Sen. Patricia H. Vance (R-Cumberland)
Rules & Executive Nominations – Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware)
State Government – Sen. Lloyd K. Smucker (R-Lancaster)*
Transportation – Sen. John C. Rafferty, Jr. (R-Montgomery)
Urban Affairs & Housing – Sen. David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill)*
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness – Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne)

PA Parks & Forest Foundation Award Nominations Due Dec. 31

Since 2007 the PA Parks and Forest Foundation has held an annual awards banquet to recognize exemplary work in state parks and forests by both staff and volunteers. This work helps to improve Pennsylvania’s quality of life and to protect natural assets for future generations.  
Celebrate the importance of state parks and forests by nominating a park, forest, or volunteer that exemplifies the best of the best.  Nominations are due December 21.
The award categories:
-- Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award—This top honor is given to a group, individual, or business and is chosen at the discretion of PPFF. It recognizes an outstanding contribution to the protection and/or enhancement to the park and forest system in Pennsylvania.
-- Joseph Ibberson Government Award—The Ibberson Government Award is given to a person or department at any level of government to recognize their work in the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state park and state forest systems and is also chosen at the discretion of PPFF.
-- Park of the Year—The Park of the Year Award is designed to recognize a park for their exemplary or innovative work in any or all of the following: customer service; education, programming (e.g. events), or recreation; stewardship of the natural, cultural or historic assets; and/or accommodation of special needs of visitors.
-- Forest of the Year—The Forest of the Year Award is designed to recognize a forest district for its innovative and exemplary work in both forest management and recreation for a wide range of activities which include: the ability to provide opportunities for healthful, low-density recreational opportunities that are compatible with maintaining the integrity of forest ecosystems; to provide information and assistance to the public while ensuring public safety; and to promote and effectively use volunteers to enhance the Bureau of Forestry's recreational programming, planning and development activities.
-- Volunteerism Awards—Up to four awards per year can be given for recognition of achievements made by Foundation chapters, individuals or volunteer groups. Awardees are chosen from all nominations by a committee made up of Foundation board and non-board members. These awards honor organizations or individuals that have made a lasting, positive impression on the park or forest that they serve and that have advanced the mission of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The four award categories:
-- Volunteerism Award: The winner attracts and nurtures volunteers and actively engages them in a wide range of projects, logged significant volunteer hours in proportion to the size and location of the park or forest, or has developed an innovative volunteer program.
-- Improvement Award: The winner has completed capital improvement projects that benefited the park or forest and/or users, provided ongoing maintenance or improvements to trails, buildings, and landscape or innovatively protected the natural or cultural heritage of the park or forest.
-- Education Award: The winner provides ongoing educational support or programming, provides a stewardship message through events and programs, and/or organizes events that support the park and/or the gateway communities.
-- Young Volunteer Award:  This award recognizes a significant contribution to a park or forest by a person under the age of 25. The contribution could be in volunteer hours, a significant project, an innovative idea, or more.
Click Here to download the nomination form and eligibility requirements or contact Foundation President, Marci Mowery at 717-236-7644 or send email to:

Wednesday NewsClips

Lancaster Gets $350K For Chesapeake Bay Saving Project
Commonwealth Natural Gas Pipeline Reportedly On Hold
Climate Skeptics Criticize PA’s Alternative Energy Law
Ballot Question Urged On Sludge Waste-To-Energy Plant
Editorial: Less, Soot Better Health
Editorial: Kill Film Tax Credit
New Look For PA Deer Hunting Seasons?
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

POWR, DCNR: Vote Now For Pennsylvania’s 2013 River Of The Year

The public is invited to again vote online for the 2013 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among six waterways nominated across the state.  Voting ends January 18.
The rivers nominated are: Juniata River and Swatara Creek in southcentral Pennsylvania; Kiskiminetas and Monongahela rivers in the southwest; Lackawanna River in the northeast; and Schuylkill River in the southeast.
Pennsylvania’s 2012 River of the Year is the Stonycreek River, flowing through Cambria and Somerset counties.
“We are excited to partner with DCNR for a third year of public voting on River of the Year,” POWR Executive Director Janie French said. “The River of the Year program is a great way for us to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing the state’s waterways. As part of the larger river sojourn program, the River of the Year helps connect thousands of Pennsylvanians to the water.”
“Individually, each of these waterways showcases unique natural resources and recreational potential,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard J. Allan said. “Collectively, they demonstrate just how blessed Pennsylvania is with its wealth of rivers and streams.”
Nomination of the six waterways was based on their conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2013 River of the Year. Visit to read the nomination statement for each river and vote online.
“This is the third year that our selection process is through public voting,” Allan said, “and we know the spirit of competition rallies community support around our waterways and puts deserving rivers and streams in the limelight.”
DCNR and the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Nominations were made by local groups.
Pennsylvania’s River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements. The award has been presented annually since 1983.
POWR and DCNR also work with the local organization to create a free commemorative poster celebrating the River of the Year.
After a waterway is chosen, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a special extended paddling trip known as a sojourn. These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers.
The Pennsylvania Sojourn program, jointly run by DCNR and POWR, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. For more information about the sojourns, visit the POWR website.
Visit DCNR’s Rivers Conservation Program webpage for more information.

Tuesday NewsClips

Farmer Defends Face-Off Over Pipeline
Ethane Cracker Could Hinge On Drilling Law Decision
Judge OKs Agreement To Close FirstEnergy Waste Impoundment
Agreement Reached To Close Beaver Coal Waste Impoundment
Presque Isle Bay Committee Discusses Delisting
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday NewsClips

Take Penn State Survey On Pennsylvania's Water Resources
Shale Drillers Want To Move Wastewater On Barges
Drilling Industry Gets Into Holiday Spirit
Amid Drilling, A Patois Digs Deep In PA
Fracking Surveys Find Support In Unexpected Places
Exporting Natural Gas Risky Business
Team Has Vision For Allegheny County Parks
White-Nose Syndrome Bats Could Affect Jobs
More Bird Species Spotted During Audubon Count
Birders Flock To Presque Isle State Park
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Take Penn State Survey On Pennsylvania's Water Resources

This is your chance to be heard on the value and importance of water resources in Pennsylvania! Researchers from Penn State along with several other partner agencies are conducting an online survey of Pennsylvania residents about the state's water resources.
          The objective of this survey is to collect opinions from a large number of Pennsylvania residents on the current status of our water and how to prioritize funding and other resources to best protect and manage our water resources. This informal survey is intended as a public engagement project and does not necessarily represent a statistical sampling of opinions.
         The five-minute survey can be completed online.
         The survey is open to Pennsylvania residents who are at least 18 years of age.  The survey will remain open until February 28, 2013 and a summary of results will be published on the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center website in Spring 2013.  
         This survey is funded by the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center and Sea Grant Pennsylvania in partnership with Penn State Extension and the Pennsylvania American Water Resources Association.

(Reprinted from Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletter.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday NewsClips

Study: Fresh Christmas Tree Better For Environment
Donegal Students Taught How To Protect Watersheds
Study: More Chesapeake Bay Pollution From Midstate Sewage
Drilling Fees Help Pay For 911 Upgrades In Fayette
Emergency Communications Corrected After Natural Gas Leak
Allegheny To Negotiate With Consol For Airport Drilling Lease
Stantec Expanding Oil, Gas Mapping Business
Natural Gas Prices Hit Low, Chesapeake Cutting 275 Jobs
Pittsburgh Water Agency Fails To Collect $1.8 Million
Philadelphia Forbes Dirtiest Major City
Bird Count Event Is Taking Flight
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Help Wanted: Trout Unlimited Brook Trout Habitat Coordinator

Trout Unlimited is launching a new initiative focused on reconnecting and restoring Eastern brook trout habitat in priority Pennsylvania watersheds.  
          The Habitat Project Coordinator is a new full-time position that will initially focus on the Cross Fork subwatershed of Kettle Creek in northcentral Pennsylvania to inventory stream crossings (i.e. road culverts), coordinate fish habitat improvement projects, and conduct pre- and post-construction monitoring.  
          Although this initiative will be spearheaded by TU, a variety of other partners will play an active role, including TU’s PA state council and chapters, state and federal agencies, local government, local watershed groups, landowners, and other non-governmental organizations.
          Click Here for the full announcement. Applications will be accepted until January 14.
          Send cover letter, resume, and 1-2 page writing sample to the following address or email.  Habitat Project Coordinator Position, Trout Unlimited, 18 East Main Street, Suite 3, Lock Haven, PA  17745 or by email to:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dec. 17 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Dec. 17 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

State Performance Report Shows Over 12 Point Drop In Environmental Compliance

Budget Secretary Charles B. Zogby Wednesday released the 2011-12 Report on State Performance.  The report reviews the activities of 30 Commonwealth agencies, providing details on their challenges and accomplishments as they work to improve the lives of Pennsylvania's citizens.

Overall the report examines the Commonwealth’s performance in the areas of education, economic development, health and human services, the environment, public safety, consumer protection and government efficiency.
By outlining agencies’ key objectives and presenting measurable results in dozens of different categories, the report evaluates state government's ongoing efforts to deliver quality services to its citizens.
“The Report on State Performance clearly outlines how effectively we are serving the residents of Pennsylvania and how efficiently these services are being delivered,” Secretary Zogby said.  “As the Commonwealth contends with increasing cost pressures on the budget, it is important that state agencies can measure success and demonstrate our fiscal responsibility.”
Environmental Agency Performance
The report shows the percentage of sites in full compliance with environmental regulations enforced by the Department of Environmental Protection dropped 12 percentage points since 2001, from 89.9 percent in 2001 to 77.71 percent in 2011-12 performance report and lower than in 2009-10 at 78.75 percent.
At the same time, the report said the percentage of inspections with violations increased by 0.6 percent-- 14.9 percent to 15.51 percent, and higher than in 2009-10 at 15.03 percent.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported a 10,428 acre drop in the number of land acquired through fee simple acquisition or easements for conservation purposes, from 17,405 last year to 6,977 in 2011-12 and less than in 2009-10 at 11,936 acres.
DCNR did see a $2.3 million increase in Community Conservation Partnership Grants awarded in 2011-12-- $29.1 million to $31.4 million, which was more than in 2009-10 at $25.3 million.
With the FY 2012-13 General Fund budget investments in environmental protection and restoration programs have been cut over $1.7 billion over the last 10 years, starting with the record cuts and staff furloughs by Gov. Rendell in each year of his administration.
Gov. Rendell's share of these cuts/diversions is $1.4 billion.  Gov. Corbett's share is $314.7 million, so far.
In terms of General Fund appropriations, DEP's budget in FY 2002-03 was $728.2 million, in the FY 2012-13 budget it was $124.8 million, below 1994 funding levels.
DEP's authorized complement is now below 2,759, down from 2,770 last fiscal year and significantly reduced from the 3,211 in FY 2002-03.  DCNR's complement is now below 1,375, down from 1,389 last year and 1,391 in FY 2002-03.  
The FY 2009-10 budget cuts required DEP and DCNR to furlough or eliminate 333 full time positions and DCNR had to eliminate or reduce hours for 1,131 seasonal workers.  The FY 2012-13 budget included a reduction of at least 14 positions in DCNR and 11 positions in DEP, but no furloughs.

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