Friday, April 24, 2015

April 27 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The April 27 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold confirmation hearings for Acting DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn May 13 and for Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley on June 2.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA says Senate Bill 724 (Vogel-R-Beaver) threatens to derail current clean water restoration efforts and divert critical funding from proven science-based practices, while favoring proprietary, corporate-backed and costly manure technologies.

Many people have asked why Bion Environmental Technologies, the company who wrote and is heavily promoting Senate Bill 724 (Vogel-R-Beaver) as a solution to reducing pollution to meet Pennsylvania’s commitments to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, has been pushing so hard for the last three years to have the General Assembly pass Senate Bill 724.  
The answer is simple-- it has no revenue stream to pay back a 2010 $7.7 million PennVEST loan for its only facility in Pennsylvania, a manure treatment facility in Lancaster County.
In fact, PennVEST said it has not made a payment since January 2013.  Coincidentally, Senate Bill 724’s predecessor-- Senate Bill 994-- was introduced in June of that year.
Bion told PennVEST in writing the state has to change its rules to allow it to have the money to pay back the loan, and it has been trying to do just that by writing Senate Bill 724 and pushing the bill relentlessly for two legislative sessions.
Bion has been working with PennVEST to identify a revenue stream to pay back the loan, but so far the only idea it has is for the General Assembly to enact Senate Bill 724 and have taxpayers foot the bill.
Here’s the background.

By Harry Campbell, Pennsylvania Office Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Amid budget discussions about a natural gas severance tax, increasing personal income and sales taxes, escalating education spending, and infusing distressed pensions, Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) wanted to know how the new Wolf Administration plans to meet Pennsylvania’s obligation for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and Finance Committees are scheduled to hold a joint hearing on natural gas severance tax proposals on June 1.  There are 5 severance tax bills pending in the Senate, two Republican and three Democrat--

Scott Perry, DEP Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management, told the DEP Citizens Advisory Council on Tuesday the agency may explore other funding options to support DEP’s oil and gas regulatory program since applications for new oil and gas permits have declined by about 30 percent so far this year.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Tuesday announced it is now applications for 25 grants of up to $1,000 to be awarded to organizations in three focus areas of Prevent It, Clean It or Keep It for cleanup and beautification projects.
KPB Affiliates and other tax-exempt groups across the Commonwealth are eligible.  Applications are due May 22.

To read the Digest, visit:  Click Here to print the entire Digest.

PA Environment Digest is edited by David E. Hess, former Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and is published as a service of Crisci Associates.

Additional Tools--
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