Friday, January 21, 2022

Protect PT Hosts Jan. 25 Lunch & Learn Program With CMU's Nicholas Muller On Cumulative Impacts Of Shale Gas Boom

Westmoreland County-based Protect PT is hosting an online Community Lunch & Learn Program Jan. 25 with Carnegie Mellon University's Nicholas Muller about the cumulative environmental and employment impacts of the shale gas boom in Pennsylvania and the Appalachian Basin.

“While gas development has boosted aspects of the regional economy, private firms have not faced the full costs of natural gas development,” explains Nicholas Muller, Associate Professor of Economics, Engineering, and Public Policy at CMU’s Tepper School of Business, who co-authored the study. “In our work, we sought to evaluate the cumulative and disparate impacts of current energy systems to inform policy making.”

Click Here for more background on Muller's work.

The program will begin at Noon live at the Protect PT YouTube Channel.

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and more, visit the Protect PT website.  Follow them on Facebook.

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Coldwater Heritage Partnership Now Accepting Applications For 2022 Coldwater Conservation Grants

The
Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited is pleased to announce applications are now being accepted for Round 27 of the Coldwater Heritage Partnership’s Coldwater Conservation Grant Program.  The deadline is March 4.

Trout Unlimited chapters, watershed associations, conservation districts, conservancies, and municipalities are among those eligible to apply.

Proposals for planning grants up to $7,500 and implementation grants up to $10,000 will be accepted. 

“This year we are pleased to announce that maximum grant amounts have been increased for both planning and implementation projects,” said Rachel Kester, Program Director for the Coldwater Heritage Partnership. “With prices of goods and services continuing to rise, this should help ensure that organizations are able to continue their important work to conserve coldwater resources across the Commonwealth.”

CHP grants are made possible with financial assistance from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through a Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2) grant administered by the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, and through funding from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership is a collaboration between PATU, DCNR, the Fish and Boat Commission, and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. 

Additional information, along with the grant application form, can be found on the Coldwater Heritage Partnership website. 

Website users can view an interactive map and searchable list of plans and projects that will aid grantees in locating existing plans and projects and identifying potential new projects in their watershed of interest. 

Applicants are asked to contact CHP Program Director, Rachel Kester, to discuss potential projects prior to applying. She can be reached at 814-359-5233 or by email at c-rkester@pa.gov

For more funding opportunities, visit the PA Environment Digest Grants & Awards webpage.

Upcoming Grants:

-- DCNR’s 2022 Application Season Opening For Community Conservation Partnership, Riparian Buffer, Trails, ATV & Snowmobile Grants 

-- Commonwealth Financing Authority Act 13 Drilling Impact Fee Funded Grants Typically Open February 1 - New Guidelines Coming At CFA Meeting Jan. 26

-- Applications Now Being Accepted For 2022 Schuylkill River Restoration Fund; Land Transaction Assistance Grants 

-- WeConservePA: Conservation Easement Transaction Assistance Grants Now Available  

-- Lancaster Clean Water Partners: Feb. 18 Grant Deadline Reminder 

Keystone Coldwater Conference:

-- Registration Now Open For Keystone Coldwater Conference & PA Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Meeting Feb. 25-26

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Senate Committee Set To Meet Jan. 25 On Bills To Redefine Water Pollution, Prohibit State From Owning Clean Energy Credits; Hold Hearing On Stormwater Fees

The
Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet January 25 on legislation to redefine water pollution, prohibit the state from owning clean energy credits and other bills.  

There will also be a hearing on stormwater fees and implementation after the voting meeting.

The bills include--

-- Redefining Water Pollution: House Bill 1842 (Zimmerman-R-Lancaster) would redefine water pollution to allow polluters to determine when spills are serious enough to notify DEP.

County conservation districts and many other environmental and wildlife groups are opposed to the bill introduced at the request of Merck  Sharp & Dohme pharmaceutical company.  Read more here.

The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 545 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

[Note: Is it really such a good idea to move this bill when DEP just reported a record 27,886 miles of streams-- 33 percent-- in Pennsylvania don’t meet water quality standards?  Read more here.

[The Senate should be working on cleaning up pollution by allocating $500 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to fund watershed restoration, farm conservation, recreation and other local environmental projects-- bipartisan Senate Bill 525.  Read more here.

[The Senate could also be moving bipartisan Senate Bill 465 to create a new program to pay for on-farm conservation projects.  Read more here.]

[Instead, it’s taking up time on ‘dog whistles.’ Read more here.]

-- Prohibiting The State From Owning Clean Energy Credits: Senate Bill 945 (Yaw-R- Lycoming) directs state government to sell all its Renewable Energy Credits and deposit the proceeds in the Marcellus Legacy Fund for use to plug oil and gas wells abandoned by the industry and left to taxpayers to pay to clean up.  Read more here.

[Note: DEP is expected to receive approximately $395 million to plug orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells over the next decade from the new federal Bipartisan Infrastructure law.  Read more here

[The Senate could be working on this-- DEP has only $15 per well in bonds on hand to deter future abandoned wells from existing oil and gas well owners.  Read more here.

[Conventional oil and gas well drillers tried to abandon wells without plugging them 813 times in 2019 and 2020.  Read more here.]

-- Suspending California Heavy-Duty Clean Vehicle Regulations: Senate Bill 1030 (Yaw-R-Lycoming)-- not introduced yet-- to temporarily suspend Pennsylvania’s regulations which adopted California regulations related to heavy-duty vehicle diesel controls, leaving the federal standards to govern while the suspension is in effect.

This is a companion bill to House Bill 2075 (Knowles-R-Schuylkill) the House passed December 15 which is also in this Committee.

[Note: DEP did this on November 6, 2021.  Read more here.]

-- Adding Coal Refuse Energy Rep To Advisory Board: House Bill 668 (James-R-Venango) adding a coal refuse energy representative on DEP’s Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board.

The meeting/hearing will be held in Room 8E-B East Wing of the Capitol Building starting at 9:30 a.m.  Click Here to watch online.

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-3280 or sending email to: gyaw@pasen.gov.   Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5709 or sending email to: senatorcomitta@pasenate.com.

Related Articles:

-- PA Conservation Districts Oppose Bill Redefining Water Pollution, Letting Polluters Decide When To Report Spills  

-- Two Bipartisan Bills Just Sitting In Senate Waiting To Address Record Number Of Water Quality Impaired Streams Reported In 2022

-- DEP 2022 Water Quality Report Shows 27,886 Miles Of Streams With Impaired Water Quality In PA (33%) - An Increase From 25,468 In 2020

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Make It Illegal For State Government To Own Renewable Energy, Something Every Utility, And Thousands Of Energy Users Do
-- Let’s Pass Some Good Environmental & Energy Legislation In 2022 - Instead Of Just Dog Whistles

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Invests Over $2.7 Million In Alternative Fuel Transportation Projects To Improve Air Quality & Public Health, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On January 21, the Department of Environmental Protection announced funding for more than $2.7 million in
Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIGs) to 18 cleaner fuel transportation projects statewide that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. 

“These projects will help every single Pennsylvanian breathe cleaner air at school, in their communities, and at their workplaces,” said DEP Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “The impact of these grants is not limited to a specific city block or bound by a municipal property line.” 

The AFIG Program funds projects that replace older gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner fuel vehicles that helps reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas.

The program supports electric, ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane gas, and other cleaner fuel vehicles. It also supports the installation of fueling stations for these vehicles.  

Transportation generates 47 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone. Vehicles alone release 21 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the state, a known greenhouse gas and direct contributor to climate change. 

This affects the health of children; older people; people with lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema; and those who work or are active outdoors. The state Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor. 

AFIG grants are awarded for projects in three categories: Vehicle Retrofit and/or Purchasing; Refueling Infrastructure; and Innovative Technology. 

The 2021 AFIG funded projects will put 87 cleaner fuel school buses, package delivery trucks, and other vehicles in use, and save an estimated 262,798 gasoline equivalents (GGE) from the atmosphere. 

Four new refueling stations – 3 electric and 1 propane – have the potential to displace the equivalent of an additional 220,000 gallons of gasoline (GGE). 

The projects are collectively anticipated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 600 metric tons per year. 

Over two-thirds of this year’s funding will go towards projects either in or serving Environmental Justice areas. 

These communities are defined by DEP as any census tract where 20 percent or more of residents live at or below the federal poverty line, and/or 30 percent or more of the population identifies as a non-white minority. 

Low income and minorities are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of pollution and focusing resources in these areas is an essential step in mitigating these disproportionate effects.

Local governments, schools, businesses, and organizations may apply for AFIG funding. DEP administers the AFIG Program under the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Act of 2004, originally established under Act 166 of 1992.

Click Here for a list of grants awarded.

For more information on the program, visit DEP’s Alternative Fuels Incentives webpage.

For information on other funding opportunities for cleaner transportation, visit the PA Environment Digest Grants & Awards webpage.

NewsClip:

-- PennLive: Maryland County Proposal Would Mandate New Homes Have Wiring For Electric Vehicle Charging

Related Article:

-- DEP Outlines 2022 Priorities: Make Up Deficit In Oil & Gas Funding; Get Resources Needed To Invest New Federal Mine Reclamation, Oil & Gas Well Plugging Funds

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Posts 48 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In Jan. 22 PA Bulletin

The Department of Environmental Protection published 48 pages of public notices related to proposed and final permit and approval/ disapproval actions in the January 22 PA Bulletin -
pages 452 to 500.
Sign Up For DEP’s eNotice: Did you know DEP can send you email notices of permit applications submitted in your community?  Notice of new technical guidance documents and regulations?  All through its eNotice system.  Click Here to sign up.
For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter, sign up for DEP Connects events, sign up for DEP’s eNotice, visit DEP’s BlogLike DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.
Related Articles:
[Posted: January 21, 2022] PA Environment Digest

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Hearing Feb. 3, Business Meeting March 17

The
Susquehanna River Basin Commission will hold a public hearing on February 3 on water withdrawal requests and other docket items.   A business meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 17.  (formal notice)

The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in-person at the SRBC offices at 4423 North Front Street in Harrisburg and telephonically by calling 888-387-8686, conference room number 917 968 6050. 

Click Here for more information on the hearing docket and how to join the February 3 hearing.

Click Here for more information on the March 17 business meeting.

For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter.   Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Invites Comments On Changes To NPDES General Permit For Stormwater Discharges - PAG-03

The Department of Environmental Protection invites comments on proposed changes to the NPDES Water Quality General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated With Industrial Activities (PAG-03). 
(formal notice)

DEP is proposing to make a number of substantive changes in the General Permit, including--

-- The Department proposes to clarify in the General Permit that facilities with structural stormwater best management practices (BMP) that do not discharge during the monitoring period are allowed to report ''no discharge'' on discharge monitoring reports. These facilities will be required to provide at least one sample result on the subsequent renewal Notice of Intent (NOI).

-- In addition to a Corrective Action Plan, after four consecutive exceedances of the benchmark values, the Department proposes to require permittees to complete and submit the Stormwater BMP Checklist (3800-PM-BCW0083l).

--The Department proposes to add a monitor and report requirement for Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus to all appendices.

-- The Department proposes to increase the benchmark value for Total Suspended Solids from 100 mg/L to 150 mg/L in all appendices. The Department requests public input on this proposed increase to the benchmark value.

-- The Department proposes to add monitoring requirements for Oil & Grease to Appendices B & U and for Chemical Oxygen Demand to Appendix O.

-- The Department proposes to modify Appendix H to remove several facility categories that were previously listed as prohibited from coverage under the PAG-03 and requiring individual permit coverage. The Department has determined that these facilities do not require permit coverage.

-- A new No Exposure Certification (3800-PM-BCW 0083k) was developed to improve recordkeeping and ensure clear and consistent communication of the effective date, expiration date, ongoing eligibility and re-certification requirements.

-- The existing General Permit utilized the Annual Report to serve as the NOI for annual coverage under the PAG-03. New coverage was approved without an expiration date of coverage identified. The Department proposes to no longer utilize the Annual Report as an NOI for coverage under the reissued General Permit. The Department will notify PAG-03 permittees of the mechanism that must be used to continue coverage under a modified or reissued General Permit, and new coverage will specify an expiration date of coverage that corresponds to the PAG-03 expiration date.

-- The Department is proposing to collect information on existing Post-Construction Stormwater Management BMPs in the NOI.

The proposed NOI fee of $2,500, paid in annual increments of $500, has not changed in comparison to the PAG-03 General Permit that is currently in effect.

Click Here for copies of the draft General Permit and associated documents.

Read the entire PA Bulletin notice for more information.

Public comments are due February 22.  Questions should be directed to Sean Furjanic, DEP, by sending email to: sefurjanic@pa.gov or  call 717-787-2137.

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner