Monday, December 29, 2008

DEP To Implement Clean Air Interstate Rule

Pennsylvania will move ahead with its plans to implement the federal Clean Air Interstate Rule on Jan. 1 after a federal court reversed an earlier decision that struck down the rule, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fix flaws in the Clean Air Interstate Rule, or CAIR, but did not set a deadline. In the meantime, the rule will be implemented. (Click here for full announcement)

House GOP Appoints Committee Chairs

House Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) today appointed Republican Chairs to each of the standing committees--

Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) was again appointed Minority Chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee--
"Energy and environmental issues have been in the forefront of the local and national conversation for the last few years," Rep. Hutchinson said. "With the current economic forecast, it is even more important for us to look at ways to save our residents and employers money on their heating and other energy costs."
In the upcoming session, Rep. Hutchinson would like to see a larger focus on home-grown, proven resources to fuel the energy needs of Pennsylvanians, including responsible energy production on state-owned land. Additionally, he wants to look at ways to lessen the impact that the upcoming lifting of electricity rate caps will have on residents of the Commonwealth.
"In the immediate future the Legislature must look at ways to mediate the expiration of the electric rate caps," Rep. Hutchinson said. "Although alternative fuel sources should be developed, we must also be careful not to over-regulate or over-tax the oil, gas and coal industries since they are a critical part of the Commonwealth's energy and economic futures, especially if we wish to lower our dependence on foreign oil."
He also continues to serve as the chairman of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee, a position he has held since April 2001. The Joint House-Senate Committee studies a variety of environmental issues from Heritage Parks and waste tire cleanup and electronics recycling, to forestry and water-sewer infrastructure. The Joint Committee also conducts public hearings to help determine the need for legislation on emerging environmental issues.

Rep. Sam Rohrer (R-Berks) is the new Minority Chair of the Agriculture Committee--
"I am looking forward to serving the agricultural community and all residents of Pennsylvania as the Republican chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee," said Rep. Rohrer. "Agriculture brings more revenue into the Commonwealth than any other industry, and during this time of economic hardship, it is important that we not only maintain the industry, but also foster expansion and job creation in farming and related sectors."
"It will be a pleasure to work with the hard-working family farmers of Berks County to develop policies that work for farmers," said Rep. Rohrer. "I am also going to continue my fight to completely eliminate school property taxes, which stifle farm and homeowners."

Rep. Craig Dally (R-Northampton) is the new Minority Chair of the Game and Fisheries Committee;
"Hunting and fishing are very popular activities in my legislative district and throughout Pennsylvania," said Rep. Dally, an avid sportsman and an outspoken defender for the Second Amendment right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
"Studies show the recreational, economic and wildlife conservation benefits of hunting, fishing, and boating," he added.
Reviewing all legislation concerning hunting and fishing, balancing the interests of residents and the importance of wildlife to the state, and determining fees and costs for licensing are just some of the major areas the committee considers. When House session resumes, both the Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission will come before the committee to issue and discuss annual reports and request legislation that they may need.
"Pennsylvania's hunters and anglers contribute billions of dollars in revenue to our state and local economies through the purchases of licenses, registrations, firearms, ammunition, other sporting equipment and travel and lodging," Rep. Dally said. "I pledge as Republican chairman of the committee to speak for them."

The full list of Republican Chairs appointed today include:

Aging & Older Adult Services: Tim Hennessey (R-Chester)
Agriculture & Rural Affairs: Sam Rohrer (R-Berks)- NEW
Appropriations: Mario Civera (R-Delaware) (previously elected by the Caucus)
Children & Youth: Dennis O'Brien (R-Philadelphia)- NEW
Commerce: Dick Hess (R-Bedford)
Consumer Affairs: Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery)
Education: Paul Clymer (R-Bucks)- NEW
Environmental Resources & Energy: Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango)
Finance: David Argall (R-Schuylkill)- NEW (pending the outcome of his special Senate election race)
Game & Fisheries: Craig Dally (R-Northampton)- NEW
Gaming Oversight: Curt Schroder (R-Chester)- NEW
Health & Human Services: Matt Baker (R-Tioga)- NEW
Insurance: Nicholas Micozzie (R-Delaware)
Intergovernmental Affairs: Chris Ross (R-Chester)- NEW
Judiciary: Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin)
Labor Relations: Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks)
Liquor Control: John Taylor (R-Philadelphia)- NEW
Local Government: Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh)- NEW
Professional Licensure: William Adolph (R-Delaware)
State Government: Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre)- NEW
Tourism & Recreational Development: Stephen Barrar (R-Chester)- NEW
Transportation: Richard Geist (R-Blair)
Urban Affairs: John Perzel (R-Philadelphia)- NEW
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness: Russell Fairchild (R-Snyder)

House Democrats are expected to appoint their committee chairs in January.

The Senate appointed its committee chairs earlier in December: Senate Republican Chairs, Senate Democratic Chairs.

Monday NewsClips

Western PA Officials Lick Chops At Prospect Of Stimulus
Townships Hope To Welcome Sun Power
Economic And Green Potential In Trails
Modified Plants May Yield More Biofuel - Penn State
Editorial: Signs Dim Hopes For Coal Industry Revival
Excitement Over Gas Drilling Turns To Guarded Optimism
Company Measures Natural Gas Pockets Over Marcellus Shale In Scranton
Landowners Wary Of Natural Gas Company
What's Good For The Bay Pinches Wallets Far Away
Recycling Centers Brace For Cardboard Deluge
Merck Settlement Helps Fund Land Preservation
Editorial: Cherry Valley Refuge Receives Fed Designation
Delaware River Flooding Feared In Poconos
Green Roof Project Nears Completion at Tobyhanna Army Depot
Campaigns, Scandals Topped 08 Political News

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dec. 22 PA Environment Digest Now Online Click Here To Print Digest
Selected Headlines
Using DCNR Funds To Balance Budget Will Not Need Approval
Opinion- Marcellus Shall Should Help Build For The Future
Farmers Receive Help From REAP To Install Conservation Practices
Nutrient, Carbon Credit Trading Seminars Set For Feb.
Game Commission Offers Seedlings For Schools Program
Applications For $3 Million In Environmental Community Grants
Land Conservation Governmental Awards Due
Nominations For Western PA Environmental Awards
Two From PA Among 40 Receiving Green Fellowships
Opinion- West Branch Susquehanna River Restoration

Friday NewsClips

Legislative Surplus Should Help Trim State Budget Deficit
PA Consumer Advocate Criticizes Electric Prices
Consumer Advocate Faults Energy Pricing
Editorial: Shutting Off Heat
Pittsburgh Infrastructure Project Wish List Totals $1 Billion
Legislation For Siting Of Wind Turbines In Potter County OKd

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Environmental Groups Oppose Plan To Use DCNR Revenue To Balance State Budget

14 environmental groups today sent a letter to Gov. Rendell opposing his plan to use $174 million in revenue from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to help balance the state's budget. Click here for announcement. Click here for letter.

Wednesday NewsClips

Rendell: Use Drilling Fees to Plug Hole In Budget
Students Solve Problems Of Vacant Pittsburgh Lots
Op-Ed: Green Economy Waiting To Emerge
PEC: Connellsville Ready to Take Off
Foreign Mussels Invade Susquehanna River
DuBois Natural Gas Bonanza
Properties Acquired For Mine Reclamation Projects
Editorial: Green - The Color Of Money Saved
Pennsylvania Wants Everyone To Curtail Energy Use
Manor, Lancaster County, Gets $1M for Rail-Trail
Herb Field: It's Been A Good Run

Guidelines OKd For $800 M Water Infrastructure Funding

The Commonwealth Financing Authority today approved guidelines for approving applications under the $800 Million H2O Water Infrastructure Funding Program that will fund water supply, sanitary sewer, stormwater, high hazard dams and flood control projects outside Allegheny and Philadelphia counties from gaming revenues. Click here for announcement. Click here for guidelines.

Friday, December 5, 2008

First State Of Delaware River Basin Released

(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission joined with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum today to officially release the 2008 State of the Delaware River Basin Report, as well as reintroduce PDE’s 2008 State of the Delaware Estuary Report which was released in July.  Click here for announcement. Click here for report.

Dec. 8 PA Environment Digest Headlines

Go To PA Environment Digest
Click here to print a copy of this week's Digest
Selected Headlines--
Rendell Freezes Wages, Cuts $128 Million As State Revenues Fall
Video Blog - Inside Look At Marcellus Shale Natural Drilling Operations
Video Blog - Meadville Market House Supporting Local Farmers
New Items! Consider Holiday Gifts That Help PA's Environment
13 Environmental Groups Urge Tighter Natural Gas Drilling Rules
PA Coalition Seeking Statewide Streamside Buffer Regulations

Friday NewsClips

RiverQuest Boat Wins Top Environmental Award
Bayer Pushes Energy Efficiency
Editorial: More Federal Funds, Generosity Will Keep Homes Warm
Erie Art Museum Gets Money For Green Study
Drilling Firm Gets Water Use Approval
PPL Time Of Day Billing Test Earns Approval
Delaware River Report: Water Better, Floods Worse
Editorial: Don't Let Delaware River Plan Get Stagnant
Editorial: Delaying Sale Of Harrisburg Incinerator Risks Adding More Debt
Natural Gas Company To Stay Despite Regulatory Climate
What's In That Fracking Fluid?
Editorial: The Big Bluff By Drilling Industry
Planting Possibilities For Renewable Energy Alternatives
Fall Cleanup Program Declared A Success
Water Withdrawal In Luzerne County Denied For Drilling Operation
Op-Ed: Buffer Plan Would Be A Good Development
Ethanol Plant Plans Fall Through

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trees For Success Grant Program

The Home Depot Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation strongly believe that the strategic planting and preservation of community trees has a positive impact on the health of local communities. To promote that policy, they have teamed up in the 2009 Trees For Success National Tree Planting Campaign. (click here for more)

Rendell Orders Another Round Of Budget Cuts

Gov. Rendell today announced another $128 million in budget cuts, bringing the total funds in budgetary reserve to $439 million to help deal with an expected $1 to $2 billion budget deficit this fiscal year.
The Governor also said he would freeze non-union wages and begin negotiations with the state's union employees to achieve savings there as well.
“The detailed list of budget reductions is still being finalized, but the cuts will be broad-based across a multitude of agencies and programs. I expect nearly 400 out of a total of 500 appropriations under my jurisdiction will be reduced," said the Governor. (click here for more)
Governor Adds To Budget Cuts As Revenue Lags
Scarnati Sworn In As Lt. Gov, State Faces Challenges
Non-Union State Workers Face Wage Freeze

Wednesday NewsClips

Northampton Sees Green Opportunity In Open Space Fund
Merck's $4.5 Million Fine Goes Toward Open Space
Process Has Begun For Harrisburg Incinerator Sale
Trash Rates Outside Harrisburg Could Soar
Recycling Woes In Schuylkill County
Op-Ed: Environmental Buffer Plan Would Raise Cost Of Housing
Letter: Streamside Buffers Offer Many Economic Benefits
Editorial: Managing Growth
A Carbon Tax On Cows, Climate Change Opportunity For Farmers
Energy Projects Planned At Mifflinburg Schools
Air Products Gets Solar Contract

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

DRBC Expected To Withdraw Flexible Flow Rules

Delaware River Basin Commission Executive Director Carol R. Collier today announced the five-member agency comprised of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York State, and the Federal Government is expected to withdraw its proposed regulations to codify the Flexible Flow Management Program at its public meeting on December 10. (click here for more)

Holiday Gifts That Benefit The Environment

If you are looking for a gift that will bring a smile to someone's face this holiday season and help to conserve our natural resources, cleanup abandoned mine discharges, improve recreation facilities and restore wildlife habitat, here are a few suggestions. Or you could get someone another tie.
Click here for the PA Environment Digest Special Holiday Gift Guide

Tuesday NewsClips

Cooks Creek Stream Network Is Life-Sustaining To Region
Estimate Soars For Upgrades To Sewer Plants
Prices Plummet For Recycled Materials
Columbia Gas Budget Payments To Be Cut 20 Percent
New Gas Well Fracturing Methods
Editorial: Keep Close Watch On Shall Drilling
How To Celebrate Christmas Sustainability
Editorial: Policies to Build Nuclear Plants Need To Be Reasonable
Teacher Honored for Conservation Curriculum
Op-Ed: Nutrient Credit Trading Can Cut Costs, Ease Bay Pollution

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nov. 24 PA Environment Digest Headlines

Go To PA Environment Digest. (Click To Print Complete Digest)

$1- $2 Billion Budget Deficit, Hints At Using Marcellus Shale $$
Video Blog - A Winter Walk At The Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
On the Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Bills Introduced
House, Senate Leadership Elections Mean Geographic Shift In Power
Senate Policy Committee Hearing On Marcellus Shale Drilling
Environmental Synopsis Newsletter Features Oil 150 Celebration
EPA Outlines Plans to Set Pollution Caps for the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay Wastewater Plant Compliance Costs Over $1.4 Billion
Rep. Hershey Pushes For Accelerated Chesapeake Bay Restoration
Penn State Agricultural Council Hears Watershed Report
PA Mine Reclamation,Well Plugging Projects On EPA Website
PEC Tree Planting Nov. 22 in Luzerne County, One Completed
DEP Recognizes 8 Aqua Pennsylvania Water Systems
DEP Recognizes Easton Suburban Water Authority
Aquatic Resource Education Grant Applications Now Being Accepted
ClearWater Conservancy Honors Good Works Of Members
DCNR - $44 Million Investment In Recreation, Conservation Projects
Committee Releases Review Of Farmland Preservation Program
Scranton, Dunmore Students in Greensylvania Recycling Competition
Chester County Invites Local Officials To Recycling Showcase Dec. 3
New Program To Help Turn Waste Into Raw Materials
DEP Looking To Ban More Materials From Landfills
Coca-Cola, National Recycling Coalition Recycling Bin Grants
Lake Erie Cleanup Sets Record for Volunteers, Trash Collected
Verizon PA Fleet Greener With 15 Hybrid Vehicles in Philadelphia
Federal Renewable Fuel Standard Increased for 2009
DEP Recommendations to Reduce Electricity Costs
PUC Agenda For Dec. 18 Hearing, Extends Comment Period
Philadelphia Housing Authority Opens Green Seniors Building
PA Home Energy Hosts Solar Training Workshop December 9
DEP Citizens Advisory Council Fall 2008 Newsletter Now Online
DEP Bidding Opportunities For Well Plugging, Channel Access
Help Wanted: PA Center for Environmental Education
PA Oil and Gas Industry Generates $7.1 Billion Annually
Game Commission Countdown To 2008 Deer Season

Friday NewsClips

Lake Erie Coastal Cleanup Collects 55,300 Pieces of Trash
Editorial: Harrisburg Sewer Plant Upgrade Could Cost More
Coal Gasification Plant Would Be Rarity In US
Clinton County Focuses On Drilling

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nov. 17 PA Environment Digest Headlines

Read this week's PA Environment Digest. (Print a Copy)

PRC Recognizes Michael DiBerardinis, 9 Others
2008 Chester County Green Business Award Winners
Game Commission Delivers More Information About Deer
Wetlands & Wonder: Reconnecting Children With Nearby Nature
Senate Rep. Policy Committee Hearing On Marcellus Shale Drilling
Chesapeake Bay Program Partners Launch Forestry for the Bay
Watershed Forestry Resource Guide Webinar on December 2
U.S. F&WS Habitat Restoration Grants To PA Wildlife Foundation
WPCAMR Promotes Reclamation Successes
Mine Reclamation Project OK'd In Cameron County
PA American Water $10.2 Million Reservoir Rehabilitation
PA Land Trust Assn. Nominations For Conservation Award
PA CleanWays Surpasses 10,000 Tons Of Waste Removed
Volunteers Needed for November 20 Cleanup In Elk County
Sustainable Energy Fund Announces Solar Scholars Awardees
Daniel Boone School District Builds Energy-Saving Annex
PUC Solicits Comments, Working Group On Energy Conservation
$500 Hybrid Electric Vehicle Rebates Still Available From DEP
Auditor General Wagner- Deficiencies LIHEAP
Southwest Air Quality Partnership Members Meet December 5
EPA Region's Fall Land Revitalization Update Newsletter
Spotlight - Celebrating America Recycles Day - Nov. 15
RecycleBank's Recycling Reward Program Celebrates
American Beverage Assn. Encourages Thinking Inside The Bin

Friday NewsClips

Sayre Borough Looking For Help With Sewer System
In Clearfield County- Stormwater Management Addressed
Will Budget Crisis Kill Philadelphia Green?
Builder goes Green In Downtown Milton
Nanticoke Firm Reducing use Of Toxic Substances
Oil Price Dip Is Fueling Some Discontent
Editorial: Don't Let Price Of Gas Fuel return Of Complacency
Editorial: Alternative Energy Can't Be Forgotten
Bradford County Signs Natural Gas Lease
Tick Population On Rise, Increasing Disease Threat

Monday, November 10, 2008

Game Commission Delivers More Information On Deer

Continuing its ongoing outreach and educational efforts to heighten the understanding of deer management and whitetails, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced the agency has expanded its website's deer management section, created a new deer periodical and posted a deer management video on YouTube. (click for more)

Forestry for the Bay Program Launched

To show how their well-managed woodlands can lead to cleaner streams and rivers, and the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is encouraging private landowners to join the "Forestry for the Bay" Program. (click here for more)

Monday Clips

Editorial: $400 Million Approval Will Help, But Gap Remains For Water, Sewer
Watershed Association Volunteers Help Stabilize Mill Creek
Loyalsock Creek Assn. Reports On Litter Cleanup, Mine Reclamation
Rare Plants Found In Dead Pond On Presque Isle
Centre County Under Drought Watch
Riverkeepers Fight Casino
Cleanscapes Event Yields Removal Of Almost 5 Tons Of Trash
Crude Awakening- Falling Oil Prices Hit Local Wells (Video)
First Gas Drilling Sites Around Southern Tier Show Promise, Problems
Natural Gas Find Calls For Urgency
Community College To Benefit From Wind Turbine Project
How Will Wild Spike In Energy Costs Hit Home?
Students See The Light On Energy Conservation
Editorial: Energy Industry Closes In Around Us
Wallenpaupack Home Certified As Green
Editorial: Fighting To Save Elms
Outdoors: Small Animals Are Collectors

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nov. 10 PA Environment Digest Headlines

See all articles. (Click here to Print entire Digest)

PA Voters Overwhelmingly Say “Yes” to Clean Water
Voters Also Approve $92 Million+ In Local Environmental Funding
Pennsylvanians Elect Trails In Special Election
WPSU Tackles Cleaning Up Chesapeake Bay
Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Receives 2008 Ark Award
Free Technical Assistance Available for AMD Projects
Western PA Watershed Mini Grant Program
DEP Invites Comments On TMDL Plan In Carbon, Luzerne Counties
DEP Declares Drought Watch in 29 Western, North Central Counties
24,000 Volunteers Took Part in Pittsburgh Fall Clean-up Events
PA Parks and Forest Foundation Accepting Nominations For Awards
New Federal Tax Law Can Help Protect Water, Land and Habitats
PA Center For Environmental Ed Director at Sustainability Conference
November PA Center For Environmental Education Newsletter
Penn State Natural Resources Online Forestry Seminar Series
2008 EPA Green Building Design Award Winners
Sustainable Energy Fund Elects Officers, 2008 Accomplishments
PUC 3rd Hearing On Trends In Wholesale Electricity Market
PUC Approves Energy Conservation Plan For FirstEnergy
Marcellus Shale Find May Be Larger Than Earlier Estimate, Conference
2009 Local Government Excellence Awards Due November 21
Local Historic Preservation Grants Available
Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project Bid Opportunity, Butler County
Climate Change Projected to Affect Restoration of Chesapeake Bay
Game Commission Releases Rehabilitated Bald Eagle

PUC Sets Dec. 18 Hearing On Wholesale Electric Market

The Public Utility Commission today said it will hold an additional en banc hearing on December 18, to discuss current trends in the wholesale electricity markets.
The hearing will be on similar topics as those addressed during the en banc hearings held on October 23 and November 6, although different speakers and viewpoints will be represented.
The announcement is to save the date. An agenda and comment period information will follow soon on the Wholesale Energy Markets page of the PUC website as it becomes available.
The hearing will begin at 12:30 p.m. in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. (click here for announcement)

DEP Issues Drought Watch For 29 Counties

The Department of Environmental Protection issued a drought watch today for 29 Pennsylvania counties as precipitation deficits continue and stream flow levels fall in the western and north central areas of the state.
The drought watch covers Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Tioga, Venango, Warren, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. (click here for more)

Friday NewsClips

Enjoy these NewsClips from around PA--

Wyoming Valley Should Benefit From Sewer Bond
Hazleton Inks Deal To Sell Reclaimed Land
Editorial: Plant Trees Along Rivers To Prevent Pollution
Power Users Tell PUC State's Electricity Markets Are Broken
State Power Costs Could Kill Jobs, Executive Says
Met Ed Energy Conservation Plan Approved
Philly And The Solar Sell
Leaders Say Western PA Should Tap Gas Reserves' Potential
Editorial: Tapping Pittsburgh's Promise Along The Allegheny
Advocates Say Obama Will Be A Great Lakes Friend
Coal Gasification Plant Planned For Schuylkill County

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