Friday, March 31, 2017

April 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The April 3 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday announced The Watershed Farm in Westmoreland County is the recipient of the 2017 Green Park Award for its demonstrated commitment to water resource protection, habitat creation and connecting people to nature.

The PA Association of Environmental Educators honored the winners of its 2017 Awards at its annual conference in mid-March.  Ruth Roperti, past president of PAEE, was recognized with the Keystone Award which recognizes an educator who has dedicated their life to advancing the quality and opportunity for environmental education in Pennsylvania.

The departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation were two of 13 Keep America Beautiful State Agency Partner Award recipients at the annual Keep America Beautiful National Awards Ceremony in January for their support of the Great American Cleanup of PA.

Development of Phase 3 of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan begins April 3, with the first meeting of the steering committee that will coordinate a broad-based effort by work groups and committed partners in the 43 watershed counties.

Monday a bipartisan group of legislators in Washington reintroduced legislation in Congress known as the RECLAIM Act – that would expedite much-needed funding from the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund for projects that restore mine-scarred land and enhance local economic development in coal field communities.

The Public Utility Commission Thursday sent a letter to members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to continue federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s Public Water Supply Assistance Program by partnering with the Department of Environmental Protection Operator Outreach Assistance Program to present a three-part instructional series on Water Loss Management in April, July and August.

Keep America Beautiful is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 National Youth Advisory Council which provides an opportunity for 10 high school students (15-18 years old) from diverse backgrounds to participate in a service learning and leadership development program.

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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Want To Be An Ambassador For Water Issues In Philadelphia? Tell Us Why

Are you interested in helping communities in Philadelphia learn more about protecting local watersheds through projects that make neighborhoods greener, more vibrant places to live, learn, work and play?
You could be the Philadelphia Water Department’s new Outreach Ambassador!  The deadline to apply is April 19.
Become an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Philadelphia Water Department and serve in a year-long position that focuses on expanding Green City, Clean Waters outreach in Philadelphia neighborhoods and supporting other water-related initiatives that help our communities.
Our ideal candidate has a passion for protecting the environment and improving the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods. We believe arming citizens with knowledge empowers them to advocate for smart infrastructure investment in their neighborhood and allows them to help others get the most out of City services.
We want our Outreach Ambassador to bring energy to a job that requires engaging people from a variety of backgrounds around complex issues like stormwater runoff pollution, green infrastructure, low-income assistance programs and water quality concerns.
Every day, you’ll work with the Philadelphia Water Department team to build public support for environmental investments by empowering residents to become Green City, Clean Waters ambassadors within their community.
Click Here to fill out an application.  Click Here for the complete announcement.

PA Assn. Of Environmental Educators 2017 Award Recipients Honored

The PA Association of Environmental Educators honored the winners of its 2017 Awards at its annual conference in mid-March.  PAEE recognized individuals and programs in several categories--
Keystone Award
Ruth Roperti, past president of PAEE, was recognized with the Keystone Award which recognizes an educator who has dedicated their life to advancing the quality and opportunity for environmental education in Pennsylvania. (photo)
Ruth was nominated by her long-time colleague, Jane Conrad, for her commitment to environmental education as a classroom teacher, grant writer, longtime PAEE board member, and volunteer with the Moraine Preservation Fund and numerous other environmental organizations.
While President of PAEE, she was instrumental in expanding the reach of the Project WET & Project Learning Tree programs, and growing PAEE's networks through partnerships with various regional, state and national organizations including the North American Association for Environmental Education, Mid-Atlantic Regional Assessment, & EE Capacity Project.  
Ruth remains a steady force to promote and advance environmental education opportunities throughout Pennsylvania.  Click Here to read more about Ruth.
Outstanding Environmental Ed Program
The Wildlands Conservancy’s Wild About Learning Program is the winner of this year’s Outstanding Environmental Education program.
The program was nominated for it's nature-based, in-school program, that runs biweekly from October to June and includes 15 school visits and 2 field trips to the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.  
First grade classrooms in each of the United Way's Priority Schools receive this grant funded program that combines hands-on discovery, field experiences, wildlife presentations and nature-themed books.  
This approach links nonfiction themes and fictional materials to enhance concepts and understanding and, ultimately, improve reading skills.  Click Here to read more about the program.
Outstanding Environmental Educator
Jennifer Brooks from Berks County Parks & Recreation Department is the recipient of the Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.
She is currently stationed at the Angora Fruit Farm at Antietam Lake Park, which is situated in the middle of 665 acres of protected parkland.  She has developed the site from scratch, tailoring it to their education department’s needs.  
What once was an old, overgrown orchard is now an amazing outdoor classroom with a butterfly house, organic children’s vegetable garden, natural play area, floating wetlands, and an “enchanted forest.”  
She offers hands-on programs to the public, as well as to public, private schools, and other groups.  Click Here to read more about Jennifer.
Daisy S. Klinedinst Memorial Award
Jenni Urban, an intern with the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve in Westmoreland County is the winner of the Daisy S. Klinedinst Memorial Award which recognizes educators with fewer than 5 years of experience in the field.
Jenni is a real asset to WPNR's Environmental Education programming, outreach, and support.  She is regularly entrusted to plan, organize, and teach EE programs from preschool students through adults and she does a phenomenal job.  
She is also often responsible for the care of our education animals, a docent at the Reserve front desk, and involved in the planning of many large events, including Westmoreland Earth Day and Nature Night Out.   Click Here to read more about Jenni.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PA Association of Environmental Educators website.

PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Planning Steering Committee Meets April 3

Development of Phase 3 of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan begins April 3, with the first meeting of the steering committee that will coordinate a broad-based effort by work groups and committed partners in the 43 watershed counties.
“Collaboration from the ground up by local partners in government, agriculture, business, and environmental and community organizations is the key to developing a strategic, implementable realistic plan to clean our streams, rivers, and lakes in Pennsylvania,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Focusing on achieving healthy local waters not only brings our communities positive local environmental and economic benefits, but also greatly improves our ability to meet our federal Bay obligations. Simply put, clean water is great for PA and good for the Bay.”
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office will host the meeting.
Pennsylvania is mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment levels in its Bay watershed counties by 2025. The Commonwealth fell short of its Phase 1 goal set in 2010 and Phase 2 goal set in 2012.
This year, EPA is conducting a midpoint assessment of these levels and will define what Pennsylvania needs to achieve in Phase 3 based on this assessment.
While Pennsylvania has made significant progress toward meeting the EPA targets, particularly since 2015 when the Wolf administration launched its multi-agency “Chesapeake Bay Restoration Strategy,” considerable work remains to be done.
The agenda for the steering committee meeting includes discussion of EPA expectations and the establishment of work groups that will reach out to local committed partners.
Steering committee members include:
-- Patrick McDonnell (Chair), Acting Secretary, DEP
-- Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) (Chair), Chesapeake Bay Commission
-- Karl Brown, Executive Secretary, State Conservation Commission
-- Cindy Dunn, Secretary, Conservation and Natural Resources
-- Carlton Haywood, Executive Director, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
-- Paul Marchetti, Executive Director, PA Infrastructure Investment Authority
-- Russell Redding, Secretary, Department of Agriculture
-- Work group co-chairs (to be identified at this meeting)
The meeting will be held in room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public.
The steering committee will meet again on May 8.  
A day long listening event for public input on Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed pollutant reduction planning is scheduled for June 5.
For more information, visit DEP’s Watershed Implementation Plans and Chesapeake Bay Program Office webpages.
Related Stories:
CBF-PA: Wolf’s Budget Lacks Adequate Investments To Meet PA’s Clean Water Commitments

Sen. Killion To Introduce Bill To Eliminate Sunset Date On $2 Recycling Fee

Sen. Thomas Killion (R-Delaware) Wednesday circulated a co-sponsor memo to his colleagues inviting them to co-sponsor legislation to eliminate the 2020 sunset date on the $2/ton recycling fee that supports Act 101 recycling grants and programs.
“The Act established a $2-per-ton fee on all waste disposed at municipal waste landfills and waste-to-energy facilities, established grants for local collection programs, public education, materials processing and composting facilities, equipment and technical training,” said Sen. Killion.  “This fee is set to sunset in the near future. As a result of the sunset provision, recycling program agreements that are up for renewal with the Commonwealth are not being renewed.
“Today, more than 11.6 million residents, at least 94 percent of the state's population, have access to recycling. About 79 percent have convenient access to recycling through about 1,050 curbside pickup programs,” explained Sen. Killion.
The Department of Environmental Protection has stopped accepting new applications for Act 101 Recycling Implementation Grants until the issue with the sunset of the recycling fee is resolved.
The $2/ton fee is projected to bring in about $38 million in FY 2016-17.  $9 million of that revenue was transferred to the state General Fund this year to help balance the state budget. (page H69)
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, PA Resources Council, PA Environmental Council and many other groups are supporting reauthorization of the fee.
A number of groups, including the PA Resources Council and Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, have suggested the now 29 year-old Act 101 Recycling Act is in need of an overhaul.
The law “as it exists today sets a very low bar, because that bar was a very high bar in 1988,” said Justin Stockdale, regional director of the PA Resources Council in Pittsburgh. “That's the nature of public policy. It was a very progressive, cutting-edge piece of legislation back then, the first of its kind in the nation.”
“Sometimes you need an element within the greater subject that creates a sense of urgency,” Rep. Maher said. “It's time for us to revisit and update this law. If we're going to have the fee, it becomes a question of, ‘What's the fee for? What are we trying to accomplish?' ”
For more information on Act 101 and recycling in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s Recycling In PA webpage.
E-Waste Recycling
Another recycling issue needing attention is the state’s 7-year old electronics waste recycling law that law bans the disposal of CRTs and other electronic waste in landfills and established an electronics recycling program that collects CRTs and other products for recycling to be paid for, within certain limits, by electronics manufacturers.
At a hearing in March 2016 by the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee, everyone involved in the program from local governments to recyclers said the law does not work and needs to be fixed because electronics manufacturers were not paying for all the material being collected.
An effort to get stakeholders to agree on a fix last session spearheaded by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester), now retired, failed, though not for lack of trying.
Sen.  Richard Alloway (R-Franklin) circulated a co-sponsor memo to his colleagues in February announcing his intent to introduce legislation to fix the law.
There are also a number of discussions going on in the House on the issue.
So, electronics waste recycling will also be on the agenda of the General Assembly this year, as it was last session.
For more information on the electronics recycling program, visit DEP’s Covered Device Recycling Act webpage.
Related Stories:
DEP Orders Nulife To Remove 17 Million Pounds Of Cathode Ray Tubes Not Recycled

EPA Tells States They Have No Obligation To Comply With Clean Power Plan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Thursday sent letters to state governors advising them that they are under no obligation to adhere to the Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule.  The text of the letter follows--
“On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States stayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) effectively "suspend[ing] administrative alteration of the status quo." Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 428 n.l (2009).
“Further, pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, the Supreme Court has authority to "issue all necessary and appropriate process to postpone the effective date of an agency action or to preserve status or rights pending conclusion of the review proceedings." 5 U.S.C. § 705.
“Under that precedent, States and other interested parties have neither been required nor expected to work towards meeting the compliance dates set in the CPP. It is the policy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that States have no obligation to spend resources to comply with a Rule that has been stayed by the Supreme Court ofthe United States. To the extent any deadlines become relevant in the future, case law and past practice of the EPA supports the application of day-to-day tolling.
“The days of coercive federalism are over. Accordingly, I look forward to working with you, your state experts and local communities as we develop a path forward to improve our environment and bolster the economy in a manner that is respectful of and consistent with the rule of law.”
A copy of the letter is available online.
Related Stories:
Despite Trump Order, DEP Will Continue To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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