Saturday, December 31, 2016

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Friday, December 30, 2016

January 2 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The January 2 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

Heading into a new year, it’s worth laying out a few facts that might help guide state policymakers into making better decisions about supporting environmental and natural resource programs in Pennsylvania.  These facts have one thing in common-- they are facts, stubborn as they may be-- and if these realities are accepted like they should be-- environmental and natural resource programs will no longer be thought of as “extras” to be cut at will.

Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell Wednesday shared the following suggestions for Pennsylvania residents for a safe and healthy 2017.

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for stormwater best management practices to reduce nutrients and sediments to streams and rivers within urbanized areas in 10 counties in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. (formal notice)  The 10 counties are: Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming and York.

Did you know Philadelphia has an international reputation as a city where green design and innovation are thriving?  Earlier in December, the Philadelphia Water Department led a group of business leaders and engineers from Beijing, China on a tour of green stormwater infrastructure sites across Philadelphia.

The PA Resources Council announced the winners of the 2016 Lens On Litter Photo Contest designed to call the public’s attention to community litter and illegal dumping problems.  This year’s contest was sponsored by Sheetz, Inc., Wegmans, Close the Loop and Sustainable Solutions Corp.

A review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Pennsylvania is now in the top 10 states in terms of the number of workers employed in businesses related to energy efficiency and clean energy, according to a new report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and E4TheFuture this week.

Republican Governors in Ohio and Michigan this week acted to save and expand energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in their states.

A regional observance of Mining History Month will take place between January 7-29 at programs in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Plymouth, Dallas, Peckville, and Ashley.  

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Wednesday announced the donation of a conservation easement from a private landowner, Dale Stover, on his 186-acre property in Haines Township, Centre County.

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.

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Mining History Month Celebrated In Northeast PA January 7-29

A regional observance of Mining History Month will take place between January 7-29 at programs in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Plymouth, Dallas, Peckville, and Ashley.  
This annual event focuses on the anthracite industry in Northeastern Pennsylvania, including the mineworkers, their families, and communities.
The public is cordially invited to attend all events (except the first) free of charge--
-- January 7: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Boy Scouts of America: “Mining in Society” Merit Badge Day, Open to Boy Scouts of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council; (Fourth Floor, Mulligan Science Building, King's College);
-- January 8: 7:00 p.m. Plymouth Historical Society-Public Program: Presenter: Maxim Furek, “The Sheppton Mine Disaster, August 1963;” Moderator: Steve Kondrad; (Plymouth Borough Municipal Building, 162 West Shawnee Ave.), refreshments;
-- January 12: 7:00 p.m. Wyoming Seminary Lower School-Public Program: Presenters: Clark Switzer and Thomas Supey Jr., “Scratching the Surface:A Chapter in the Anthracite Mining History of Northeastern Pennsylvania;” (Cosgrove Room, Pittston Memorial Library, 47 Broad St., Pittston), refreshments;
-- January 17: 7:00 p.m. Huber Breaker Preservation Society-Public Program: Presenters: Documentary filmmakers John Welsh and Alana Mauger of Philadelphia, “Anthracite Region Mine Fires: Exploring One of the Hidden Costs of Mining;” Discussants: Chris Murley and Banks Ries, The Underground Miners;Moderator: Bill Best; (Ashley Fireman’s Park, 160 Ashley Street, Ashley); refreshments;
-- January 19: 7:00 p.m. King’s College-Public Program, The Annual Msgr. John J. Curran Presentation: “For the Least of Them,” A one-act play about the life and times of Msgr. Curran, known as “the labor priest” because of his three-decades of work with the anthracite miners, written by Ken Gordon and acted by Billie Herbert; Introduction by Robert Wolensky, King’s College; (Burke Auditorium, McGowan Business School, 133 No. River Street, Wilkes-Barre), refreshments at 6:30 p.m.;
-- January 20: 7:00 p.m. Wilkes University-Public Program: Presenter: Prof. Christine Patterson, Atlanta, Georgia, “African American Coal Miners in Northeastern Pennsylvania: A Personal Perspective;”Discussant: John Hepp, Dept. of History, Wilkes U.; Moderator: Robert Wolensky, Dept. of History, King’s College; (101 Stark Hall, Wilkes U.);
-- January 21: 2:00 p.m. Anthracite Heritage Museum-Public Program: “The Knox Mine Disaster Commemoration;” Special tribute for William A. Hastie, the last living Knox Coal Company employee; Bill Hastie video tribute by documentary filmmaker David Brocca of Los Angeles, CA; Erika Funke and Frank Tartella will read Knox disaster-related poetry; (at the Museum, 22 Bald Mt. Road, Scranton); refreshments;
-- January 22: 10:00 a.m. St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Pittston: Annual Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Service, 10 am, (35 Williams St., Pittston);
-- January 22: 11:30 a.m. Public Commemoration of the Knox Mine Disaster: (PHMC Historical Marker on Main Street, Pittston, in front of Baloga Funeral Home);
-- January 22: Noon. Walk to Knox Mine Disaster Site, weather permitting; (gather at Baloga Funeral Home following the Commemoration);
-- January 25: 7:00 p.m. Misericordia University-Public Program: “Oral History Projects in Northeastern Pennsylvania: The Importance of Stories;” Presenters: Lucia Daley, Ron Faraday, Melissa Meade, Noreen O’Connor, F. Charles Petrillo, and Mary Policare; Moderator: Jennifer Black, Dept. of History & Government, Misericordia U.; (McGowan Room of the Bevevino Library), refreshments;
-- January 26: 7:00 p.m. Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania & SIAMO-Italian American Heritage Society-Public Program: Presenter: “Robert Wolensky, King’s College, “Italian American Mineworkers in the Northern Anthracite Field, 1896-1936;” Moderators: Stephanie Longo and Maureen Gray; (at the Society’s headquarters, 1100 Main Street, Peckville, PA), refreshments;
-- January 28: 7:00 p.m. Greater Pittston Historical Society-Public Program: “Pittston-area Mining Disasters: A Panel Discussion;” Presenters: Ron Faraday, Eagle Shaft (1871); Robert Wolensky, Knight Shaft (1871); Richard Fitzsimmons, Twin Shaft (1896); and Bryan Glahn, Knox (1959);Moderator: Ed Philbin; (St. John the Evangelist Church basement, 35 Williams St., Pittston), refreshments; and
-- January 29: 5:00 p.m. The Anthracite Café Miner’s Dinner: Special Benefit Dinner on behalf of “The Knox Mine Disaster” documentary directed by David Brocca of Los Angeles, CA; Chef/owner Mike Prushinski will serve an authentic Coal Miner’s Dinner; excerpts from the Knox documentary will be shown; tickets for the evening are $22 are available online or at the Café.
For more information, contact Prof. Bob Wolensky, Anthracite Heritage Foundation and King’s College by calling 715-252-6742; or send email to:

Sen. Yaw Outlines Priorities For Senate Environmental Committee Next Session

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Friday outline his priorities for the Committee in the new legislative session.
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee focuses on bills, policies and issues dealing with energy resources and development, including regulations and conservation; public lands and their renewable resources; surface mining, coal, oil, and gas, and mineral leasing; air and water resources.
“I thank Sen. Scarnati for entrusting me again with this important responsibility,” Sen. Yaw said, who has served as Committee Chair since 2013.  “During this new legislative session, we will continue working to strengthen our laws and regulations to further protect Pennsylvania’s rivers, forests and streams for future generations.  This effort will include promoting policy initiatives in the areas of nutrient reduction, fisheries management, toxics remediation, pollution prevention, habitat restoration and land management.
“We will continue promoting the sustainable and safe use of our natural resources, in order to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources.  This past session we took major steps to expand our energy infrastructure locally to underserved and unserved rural areas of the state; however, a great challenge still exists with the lack of pipeline infrastructure that connects Pennsylvania’s Marcellus production with that of other national and world markets.
“Additionally, through our Committee work, we have the opportunity to implement and support programs that use our diverse portfolio of energy sources, which will continue Pennsylvania's vital role of providing electricity throughout the Northeast.
“This session, the Committee will also evaluate changes to the Covered Device Recycling Act to make safe, responsible and affordable recycling of electronic devices more accessible across Pennsylvania, and again discuss legislation seeking to expand the rights of landowners who are currently leased with natural gas companies.  
“Over two consecutive sessions, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved measures aimed at leveling the playing field in favor of Pennsylvania landowners who are looking for fair treatment when leasing their land.  Unfortunately, those efforts approved by the Senate later stalled in the House of Representatives.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues during the new legislative session to address these important issues.”
Sen. Yaw will also continue to serve as one of 21 members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and as Chairman of the Board for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative research agency of the General Assembly.
For more information on Committee activities, visit the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee webpage.
Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) was reappointed as Minority Chair of the Committee by Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) this week.

FERC Issues Final EIS For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Friday announced the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its final Environmental Impact Statement for Williams Partners' Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project, a 199.4 mile pipeline of which 196.9 miles are in Pennsylvania.
The issuance of the final EIS is a key step toward the FERC's final decision on the project, which is expected in early 2017.
The FERC notice releasing the final EIS says in part, “The FERC staff concludes that approval of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Transco’s proposed mitigation and the additional measures recommended in the final EIS.”
Following the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, Williams Partners anticipates beginning construction in mid-2017, allowing for a full in-service of the project in mid-2018.
"Today's final EIS issuance represents a major milestone toward the final approval of the Atlantic Sunrise project," commented Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are also excited to increase our committed sales on the Atlantic Sunrise project utilizing capacity subscribed to by Cabot or by third parties to approximately 1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day through the addition of this new sales agreement that is linked to the Gulf Coast market."
In reaction to the release of the final EIS, Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper, said, “As anticipated, once again FERC has used its rubber stamp to issue an incomplete, and inadequate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that would jeopardize Pennsylvania communities for the benefit of the companies that they are funded by and supposedly regulating.  The conclusion that the project would not cause significant harm is not borne out by the facts.”
“Pennsylvanians are no fools to the spotty and vague so called mitigation measures that FERC says will limit harm from the building of the pipeline,” said Faith Zerbe, Director of Monitoring, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.  “Time and time again we have monitored construction of these pipelines finding irreparable and lasting harms.  Time and time again upon field-truthing these proposed routes, important sensitive resources are often missed.  With agencies doing little ground-truthing themselves and strapped budgets, it is left up to citizen monitors to call out these gaps and inadequacies.”
For more information on the project, visit the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project website.
Crable: Feds: Less Than Significant Environmental Impact For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline
Sun Finally Coming Up For Marcellus-Focused Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline
McKelvey: Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Will Have Less Than Significant Impact
Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Clears Environmental Hurdle
Op-Ed: Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project Will Drive Economic Development

Part III: Environmental, Energy Bills To Be Introduced In January

On December 1 members of the Senate and House began circulating co-sponsor memos to their colleague announcing bills they plan to introduce or re-introduce in the new session.  
Here’s a list of just a few of the co-sponsor memos distributed this week related to environmental and energy issues--
-- Taking Oil & Gas Penalty Revenue Away From DEP: Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) plans to introduce legislation to redirect revenue received by DEP through fines and penalties imposed by DEP for violations under the Oil and Gas Regulatory Program to the General Fund, rather than having them used directed by DEP to support the cost of the Oil and Gas Program.
-- Authorize Counties To Assess Oil & Gas Rights For Property Tax Purposes: Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) plans to introduce legislation to reverse a 2002 PA Supreme Court decision saying state law did not specifically authorize counties to assess oil and gas rights for property tax purposes.
Related Stories:
Part II: Environmental, Energy Bills To Be Introduced In January

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