Thursday, January 27, 2022

CFA Begins Accepting Applications For Act 13 Watershed Restoration, Mine Reclamation, Sewage, Flood Mitigation, Recreation Grants Feb. 1

The
Commonwealth Financing Authority will be accepting applications for grants funded by Act 13 drilling impact fees for watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphaned or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities, flood mitigation programs and recreation
starting February 1 through May 31.

[Note: New grant guidelines for the Act 13 Programs were approved by the CFA on January 26, so read them carefully.]

These grants are funded by the Act 13 drilling impact fees paid by natural gas drillers.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s available and the links for more details--

-- Watershed Restoration: The overall goal of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Program  is to restore, and maintain restored stream reaches impaired by the uncontrolled discharge of nonpoint source polluted runoff, and ultimately to remove these streams from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Impaired Waters list.

-- Abandoned Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment: Projects which involve the reclamation of Abandoned Mine Well(s), construction of a new AMD site, remediation and repair of existing AMD project sites, operation and maintenance maintaining current AMD remediation sites, establishment of trust fund to ensure ongoing maintenance is achieved, and monitoring of water quality to track or continue to trace nonpoint source load reductions resulting from AMD remediation projects.

-- Orphan or Abandoned Well Plugging Program: Projects which involve the cleaning out and plugging of abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells; stray gas mitigation systems; and well venting projects.

-- Baseline Water Quality Data: Projects which involve practices for water sample collection and analysis to document existing groundwater quality conditions on private water supplies.

-- Sewage Facilities Program: Costs associated with the planning work required under Act 537 Sewage Facilities Act.

-- Flood Mitigation: Projects authorized by a flood protection authority, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or identified by a local government for flood mitigation are eligible for the program.

-- Greenways, Trails And Recreation Program: Projects which involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails and river conservation.

Applicants are strongly urged to contact their House and Senate member to make them aware you intend to submit an application for funding under these programs and ask for their endorsement.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, visit the Commonwealth Financing Authority Act 13 Programs webpage.  Questions should be directed to 717-787-6245.

Related Article:

-- IFO: 2021 Act 13 Drilling Impact Fee Revenue $233.8 Million; Still Short Of 2018 Revenue Of $251.8 Million

[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Blair County Conservation District, DCNR Hosting 4-Part Riparian Buffer Webinar Series Starting Feb. 2

The
Blair County Conservation District and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are hosting a Riparian Buffer webinar series every Wednesday in February starting at 1:00 p.m.

The topics of each webinar are--

-- February 2: Buffers and Benefits;

-- February 9: Stream Side Property: Common Problems & Solutions

-- February 16: Designing a Buffer: Considerations & Plant Recommendations

-- February 23: Caring for Your Buffer

Click Here to join the free webinars via Zoom.

Visit the Blair County Conservation District website to learn more about conservation services available to landowners.

To learn more about streamside buffers, visit DCNR’s Riparian Buffers webpage.

Related Articles:

-- Save The Date!  DCNR, Western PA Conservancy Virtual Watershed Forestry Summit March 2-3; Watch For More Information 

-- PA Chesapeake Bay Implementation Plan State Team Virtual Meeting Feb. 3.  9:00 a.m. to Noon. 

-- PA Conservation Districts Assn. Highlights Of Conservation District Activities In 2021 Now Available  [PaEN]

-- DEP Chesapeake Bay Program Healthy Waters Newsletter Update

-- Penn State Extension 5-Part Making Cover Crops Pay Webinar Series Starts Feb. 11 

[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

41.9-Acre Buehner Farm In Bucks County Permanently Preserved By Heritage Conservancy, Partners

The Buehner Farm, located in Bedminster Township, is a 41.9-acre farm almost entirely comprised of prime farmland and farmland of statewide importance, has been permanently preserved by
Heritage Conservancy along with its partners, Bedminster Township and the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program.

Buehner Farm consists of two parcels of land located on either side of Schott Road. It boasts nearly 2,500 feet of frontage on Dublin Pike and Schott Road, providing scenic views of agricultural fields from multiple vantage points along two public thoroughfares. 

The 3-acre section of woodlands provides almost 740 feet of road frontage. The conservation easement placed is one step towards ensuring that our region’s land will be enjoyed for generations to come.

The property is currently operated as a crop farm. In addition to the beautiful land, there are many physical structures on the property including a historic 200-year-old farmhouse, multiple barns, silos, and outbuildings. 

Preserving this property provides numerous benefits to the local production of food, feed, fiber, forage, and oil seed crops.

Located within the East Branch Perkiomen Creek Watershed, the farm contains a 950-foot tributary to the creek. The watershed drainage area includes all or portions of 16 municipalities and covers approximately 61 square miles.

The Buehner Farm contributes to a larger area of protected agricultural lands, increasing its preservation value. 

The protection of a critical mass of farms and farmland enables farm support businesses to survive and thrive, thus maintaining local and regional agricultural activity. 

Additionally, conflicting development will be kept at a distance, subsequently enhancing the local business climate for agriculture.

For more information on land conservation and how you can get involved, visit the Heritage Conservancy website.


(Reprinted from WeConservePA website.)

Related Article:

-- Zeigafuse Family Partners With Heritage Conservancy To Permanently Preserve Land In Their Family For Four Generations, Northampton County  

[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

PA Conservation Districts Assn. Highlights Of Conservation District Activities In 2021 Now Available

The PA Association of Conservation Districts'
Highlights of Conservation District Activities in 2021 report is now available. 

This annual report focuses on one featured project for each conservation district to showcase how it is making a difference for future generations.  

The document catalogs several other accomplishments for every conservation district and lists possible endeavors should additional conservation district funding become available.

Click Here for a copy of the reportClick Here to watch a video about districts.

For more information on programs, upcoming events and how you can get involved with your local conservation district, visit the PA Association of Conservation Districts website.

[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

At The Request Of The Natural Gas Industry, House Republicans Pass Bill To Stop Communities From Adopting All-Electric Building Codes

At the request of the natural gas industry, House Republicans passed
House Bill 1947 (O’Neal-R- Washington) by a vote of 118 to 83 which preempts the ability of local governments to require the use of all-electric energy in buildings within their communities to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Some major U.S. cities have enacted or have proposed laws to ban or curb the use of fossil fuels in new homes and buildings,” said Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), prime sponsor of the bill. “It is important that people have the opportunity to choose their energy source and that a wide variety of options are available. By enacting this law, Pennsylvania would join states such as Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas and Louisiana in preserving choice.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported January 24 the reason behind the push to replace furnaces, water heaters and stoves with electric is that each flame fed by natural gas, propane or heating oil is a small source of greenhouse gas emissions.  Read more here.

Together, burning fossil fuels for heating and cooking in homes and businesses adds up to about 13 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

In addition, prices for natural gas, heating oil and propane driven by the whims of international energy markets reached decade-high levels this winter as economies began to emerge from the pandemic, pushing energy bills higher.  Read more here.

A new study released January 27 from Stanford University found natural gas cooking stoves may leak climate-changing methane even when they are turned off.  Read more here.

The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 275 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) that is still in the House Local Government Committee.

House Bill 1947 now goes to the Senate for action.

Background

This legislation is part of a nation-wide initiative by the American Gas Association to get states across the country to adopt legislation to prohibit local governments from adopting ordinances that would block the use of natural gas in new homes and commercial construction.  Read more here.

While the Senate Bill’s sponsor said the intent of the legislation is simple-- preventing communities from prohibiting natural gas-- you need to read the black and white language of the bill to understand its true, far-reaching impact.

The Senate held a hearing on Senate Bill 275 last May where Pennsylvania local government groups raised serious concerns about the language of the bill.  Read more here.

Joseph H. Gerdes, III, PA State Association of Township Supervisors, said, “While we agree that municipalities do not have the current ability to regulate utility connections, we have concerns that the broad language in Senate Bill 275 could be open to interpretation and limit the ability of municipalities to regulate in the siting of power generation facilities, including commercial solar facilities.”

Ron Grutza, PA State Association of Boroughs, said “The sweeping nature of the preemption language in Senate Bill 275 could be problematic. We believe that enacting the legislation in the present form could create unintended consequences.

Amy Sturges, PA Municipal League, said, “The League is strongly opposed to the Senate Bill 275. Our members view the legislation as a preemption of local authority. Additionally, the language of the bill is unclear and broadly written which will be harmful to communities as they try to sort out the extent of its impact.”

Click Here to read more about comments offered at the hearing.

NewsClips:

-- AP: At The Request Of The Natural Gas Industry, House Republicans Pass Bill To Stop Communities From Adopting All-Electric Building Codes

-- The Center Square: State Lawmakers Looking To Stop PA Municipalities From Banning Natural Gas Use

-- PG - Laura Legere: Push Is On To Switch To Energy Efficient Electrical Appliances; Each Flame Fed By Natural Gas, Propane Or Oil In Furnaces, Water Heaters, Stoves A Small Source Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

-- NPR/WESA: Natural Gas Stoves Leak Climate-Warming Methane Even When They’re Off

-- PG - Laura Legere: Equity Issues Central To Getting Household Electrification Right ‘For Everybody’

[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Registration Now Open! Keep PA Beautiful's Pick Up Pennsylvania Initiative; In 2021 60,505 Volunteers Cleaned Up 2.2 Million Pounds Of Trash

On January 27,
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced registration is now open for the 2022 Pick Up Pennsylvania, a community improvement initiative to be held from March 1 through May 31.

Those registering a community improvement event will receive free trash bags, gloves, and safety vests provided by support from the Department of Environmental Protection and PennDOT, as supplies last. 

Events can include litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, community greening and beautification, special collections and education events.

As part of this event, the Department of Environmental Protection and PA Waste Industries Association are sponsoring trash disposal, free of charge or at a reduced rate for registered program participants, at participating landfills from April 1 through April 30, with prior approval. 

“Cleaning up your neighborhood is one of the best investments you can make,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.  “Whether you have vacant lots plagued with debris, natural areas that experience illegal dumping or litter scattered and blown from other sources, any neighborhood can be lifted up by the positive action. 

“We invite all Pennsylvanians – individuals, friends, family and organized groups to join us this spring to clean up vacant lots, streets and riverbanks, plant gardens and trees or mulch a local playground. Join us for Pick Up Pennsylvania and make a difference in your neighborhood.” 

Litter negatively impacts the environment, waterways, property taxes, home values, tourism, businesses and the safety of neighborhoods. 

Cleaning up litter and making small improvements to our shared community spaces, like planting a tree or flowers or painting a community structure helps create safer, healthier and more livable neighborhoods. 

60,505 Volunteers In 2021

Last year from March through May, 60,505 people participated in Pick Up Pennsylvania. Over 2.2 million pounds of trash was picked up and 102,155 trees, flowers and other greens were planted.

“We are so grateful to our sponsors and volunteers who support this program by getting their friends, family and colleagues involved in neighborhood improvements. We’re hoping even more people turn out for this year's event. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in a few short hours,” said Reiter. 

Sponsors

Current 2022 Pick Up Pennsylvania supporters include: The GIANT Company, GreenPrint, PA Waste Industries AssociationCoca-Cola, Mahantango Enterprises,Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., Vistra Energy, Giant Eagle and Republic Services.  

If you are interested in becoming a supporter of the 2022 Pick Up Pennsylvania initiative contact Shannon Reiter at 724-836-4121 or sreiter@keeppabeautiful.org.   

How To Register Your Event

To host an event, join an event near you or to inquire about free supplies and trash disposal, visit KPB’s Pick Up Pennsylvania webpage or contact Michelle Dunn, Pick Up Pennsylvania Program Coordinator, at 877-772-3673 ext. 113 or send email to: mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.   

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful recommends following all federal, state and local health and safety guidelines for Novel Coronavirus (Covid 19) in effect at the time of the event, including masking and social distancing.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.

Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s Electronics Waste website.

Keep PA Beautiful helps mobilize over 100,000 volunteers a year to pick up litter, clean up illegal dumping and beautify Pennsylvania.

Related Articles:

-- Keep PA Beautiful Issues Request For Proposals To Update Anti-Litter Education Materials  

-- PA Resources Council Hosts 2 Backyard Composting Webinars In February 

[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Thursday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 1.27.22

 
Is Your Story Being Told?

Senate returns to session Feb. 7, 8, 9

     -- Committee Schedule

House returns to session Feb. 7, 8, 9

     -- Committee Schedule

TODAY’s Calendar Of Events

 

FRIDAY 10:30: Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on $300 Million Anthracite Ridge Wind Farm Project. Live Stream.  Read more here.

 

-- DCNR Secretary Outlines 2022 Priorities To Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council, Including Need For $1.4 Billion In Infrastructure Improvements  [PaEN]

 

-- PA Cap-Star: DCNR Outlines 2022 Priorities, Banks On Future Of Outdoor Recreation In PA

 

-- Inquirer - Frank Kummer: Pennsylvania Hires First Director Of Outdoor Recreation To Bring More Visitors To Parks, Forests, And More  

 

-- DCNR Blog: Meet Pennsylvania’s First Director Of Outdoor Recreation Nathan Reigner

 

-- PennLive - Marcus Schneck: French Creek Voted PA River Of The Year

 

-- DEP Announces More Than $1.7 Million In Growing Greener Grants To Fund Local Water Clean Up Projects In Northwest PA  [PaEN]

 

-- DEP Awards Borough Of Jim Thorpe $200,000 Growing Greener Grant For Stream Restoration Work In Carbon County  [PaEN]

 

-- PA Resources Council, Partners Receive Growing Greener Grant For Delaware County Stormwater Management Project  [PaEN]

 

-- Senator Yaw: PA State Government Refuses To Pay Millions In Municipal Stormwater Fees

 

-- WITF: Republican Budget Chiefs Want PA’s Plethora Of Pandemic-Era Cash Used ‘Judiciously’

 

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation Commends EPA For Strong Stance In Meeting Chesapeake Bay 2025 Cleanup Goals  [PaEN]

 

-- TODAY 9:30 a.m.: WITF Smart Talk: Is EPA Committed To Restoring Chesapeake Bay?

 

-- York Conservation District Hosts March 4 Manure Management Plan Workshop; DEP Conducting Farm Compliance Inspections  [PaEN]

 

-- ErieT Guest Essay: PA Shortchanges Environmental Protection, Tell Lawmakers To Fully Fund It Now - Rep. Greg Vitali (D)

 

-- AP: At The Request Of The Natural Gas Industry, House Republicans Pass Bill To Stop Communities From Adopting All-Electric Building Codes

 

-- PG - Laura Legere: Push Is On To Switch To Energy Efficient Electrical Appliances; Each Flame Fed By Natural Gas, Propane Or Oil In Furnaces, Water Heaters, Stoves A Small Source Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 

-- NPR/WESA: Natural Gas Stoves Leak Climate-Warming Methane Even When They’re Off

 

-- U.S. EIA: Proved Reserves Of Natural Gas Fell 4% In U.S. During 2020

 

-- Rep. Heffley: Bill To Expand Local C-PACE Clean Energy, Energy Conservation Funding Program Passed By House

 

-- Commonwealth Financing Authority OKs $3.2 Million For 3 Natural Gas Pipeline Extension Projects  [PaEN]

 

-- Observer-Reporter: State Helps Fund 2 Natural Gas Pipeline Projects In Washington County

 

-- Senator Yaw: Natural Gas Royalty Transparency Bill Passes Senate

 

-- StateImpactPA - Reid Frazier: In Federal Court, Plaintiffs Say U.S. Steel Clairton Coke (Coal) Works Fire, Pollution Control Outage Was A ‘Complete Failure’

 

-- PA Resources Council, Southwest PA Air Quality Partnership Invite Students In SW PA To Take Part In Let's Clear The Air Poster Challenge  [PaEN]

 

-- DEP Blog: 9 Tips For Having A Radon Reduction System Installed In Your Home

 

-- PA Resources Council Hosts 2 Backyard Composting Webinars In February  [PaEN]

 

--WBTimes: World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm Coming To Luzerne County To Raise Fish, Greens

 

-- Wildlands Conservancy Newsletter Highlights Upcoming Programs In February  

 

-- PG - John Hayes: Off-Road ATV Park To Be Built In Gassport, Allegheny County

 

-- PennLive: Harrisburg’s Whitaker Science Center Closed Due To COVID-Related Staffing Shortages

 

-- New York Almanack: On Wilderness And New York State - Ed Zahniser, Son Of Howard Zahniser

 

-- PennLive - Marcus Schneck: Comeback Of Wild Bobwhite Quail Targeted In PA’s First Recovery Area For Species

 

-- TribLive Editorial: Rallying Around Missing Monkeys And A Curious Canine

 

American Rescue Plan Funding

 

-- $11 Billion In Federal American Rescue Plan Funding To PA State Government, Local Governments Has Yet To Be Invested.  What’s Your Community Doing?

 

Build Back Better Budget Bill


-- Triblive Guest Essay: PA Is Hurting, Where Is Sen. Toomey On Build Back Better Proposal?


Other States/National/International


-- Utility Dive: New DHS Warning: Extremists Have Developed ‘Credible, Specific Plans’ To Attack U.S. Power Grid 


-- PennLive: Yale University Researchers Developed A ‘Novel’ Lyme Disease Vaccine Showing Promise


PA Politics - Everything Is Connected

-- Spotlight PA: Wolf Vetoes PA Congressional Voting District Map Sent To Him By Republicans

-- AP: State Court Has A Dozen Congressional Voting Districts Maps To Review; Hearings Get Underway Thursday 

-- CourierT: Analysis: We Examined Millions Of PA Voter Records, There Were Few ‘Irregularities’ 

-- ErieT: More Democrats Than Republicans Changing Affiliation To Opposing Party In PA

-- ScrantonT: Lackawanna County DA Finds No Voter Fraud In Drop Box Case

-- PennLive - John Baer: Wolf, Corman, Mastriano, Oz Said What?  Things In Politics That Make You Go, ‘Hmmmm’

-- WITF: Republican Budget Chiefs Want PA’s Plethora Of Pandemic-Era Cash Used ‘Judiciously’

-- Gov. Wolf Celebrates Passage Of Bipartisan Bill Providing $225 Million To Support Health Care Workforce

-- WilliamsportS: Community Marks 472 Local Deaths Due To COVID

-- PennLive: PA Restaurants Hope For Even More Financial Aid As They Struggle ‘More Than They Did In 2020’

-- Gov. Wolf Announces $23 Million In 2nd Round Of Gun Violence Intervention And Prevent Grants

-- AP: Driver Charged In Alleged Dragging Of Philly Police Officer After SUV Stop

-- WITF/PennLive - Charles Thompson: Cumberland County Unveils New Mental Health, Counseling Program For First Responders

-- PG Editorial: Pittsburgh Mayor Should Release Jim Rogers Investigation

-- ScrantonT Editorial: At PA Capitol, It’s Ready, Fire, Aim On Reducing Weapons Trafficking

-- PG: Pittsburgh School Officials Offer Few Solutions To Ongoing Turmoil

-- Inquirer: Taxpayer Funded Private Cyber Charter Schools Grew Faster In PA Last Year Than Any Other State

-- YorkD: York Suburban School Board Member Faces Global Conservative Backlash For Op-Ed

-- Spotlight PA: PA School Pension Fund Won’t Require Board Members To Sign Secrecy Oaths To Hear Investigation Report

-- PG: Report: Smaller Companies Sidelined In PA’s Legal Pot Market

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[Posted: January 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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