Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DEP Offers Tips for Removing, Processing Storm Debris, Waives State Portion Of Landfill Fees

The Department of Environmental Protection is reminding homeowners how to properly dispose of and process debris left behind from Hurricane Sandy.
           “If homeowners encounter debris from the hurricane in or near creeks and streams, it can be removed without obtaining one of our Water Obstruction and Encroachment permits,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “The hurricane affected us all in some way, and DEP is helping homeowners and businesses assure a safe and effective cleanup by offering guidance.”
           Even though small debris can be removed without a permit, large woody debris that requires operating machinery in the stream to remove it, or removal of a gravel bar, will require written authorization from DEP.
           Property owners can remove trees and tree limbs wherever possible to protect their own property as well as public roads and bridges that could be damaged. Owners can cut up trees in place and remove them from the creek, or pull the tree trunks and branches out of the water before cutting them up.
          To dispose of limbs and woody debris, property owners are encouraged to utilize local composting services.
           To assist communities that have been affected by the recent storm events, DEP is temporarily waiving certain disposal fees and waste vehicle registration requirements and providing flexibility in other aspects of waste management to facilitate the collection and disposal of storm debris.
           The requirement for a waste hauler to display an authorized Act 90 sticker on the hauling vehicle has been temporarily waived statewide to allow facility operators to accept storm debris waste from vehicles without Act 90 authorizations.
           DEP is also waiving the state portion of the tipping fees for the disposal of storm debris; authorizing extended operational hours at landfills; allowing the use of temporary waste staging areas for collecting waste prior to transportation to disposal facilities; and authorizing increased daily volumes of waste that facilities can receive and dispose.
          These provisions will be effective until January 31, 2013, unless no longer necessary or extended by DEP.
          Items that may have been affected by flooding, such as propane tanks, refrigerators, heating oil tanks, electronic equipment, tires, gasoline or paints should be separated and stored in a safe, dry location for separate collection in the future. This will allow haulers to focus on removing the most problematic debris and waste.
          Homeowners, business owners and municipal officials who have questions about cleaning up storm debris should contact the DEP regional office that serves their area.
          For more information on flood recovery, visit DEP's Flood Recovery webpage.

Wednesday NewsClips

State Employees Should Plan On Working Wednesday
Updated Advisories On Status Of DEP Offices, Events
Flooding In PA Still A Concern From Sandy
DEP: So Far No Hurricane-Related Drilling Incidents
PA Power Outages Could Last A Week Utility Says
Nearly A Million Without Power In PA
Sandy Creates Near Record Power Outages
Corbett: PA Dodged A Bullet With Superstorm
Key Storm Developments In Pennsylvania
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Monday, October 29, 2012

Keep PA Beautiful Postpones Award, Affiliate Dinner To December 11

As everyone is bracing for the impacts of Sandy across the Northeast, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has decided that it is best to reschedule the KPB Annual Affiliate & Volunteer Recognition Dinner and Awards that was scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, October 30. 
           This Annual event has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 11 and will be at the same location and follow the same agenda. We realize that while some may not be able to join us on the new date, if may free up others to attend.
           We will be sending out a notice next week about the new date and will ask everyone to confirm their attendance and meal choice. For those of you that have paid, full refunds will be made if you cannot attend the event on Tuesday, December 11. 
           Thank you for all you do in support of our mission. Please be safe over the next few days and we will be in touch. Please give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.

Big Spring Creek Habitat Project Meeting Canceled

The Fish and Boat Commission just canceled the October 30 Big Spring Creek Habitat Project meeting in Cumberland County.

Monday NewsClips

Non-essential Commonwealth employees do not have to report to work on Monday throughout the state and the Capitol Complex.
Corbett Urges Citizens To Get Ready For Sandy’s Wrath
Hurricane Sandy To Pound Southeast For Days
Monster Storm Closing In On Valley Region
President Signs Emergency Declaration For PA
DCNR/PEC Conservation Landscape Conference Postponed
Editorial: Cleaning Up The Chesapeake Bay
Op-Ed: Marcellus Shale Making PA Responsible Energy Capital
Marcellus Wells, Water Program Nov. 5 In Fox Chapel
Students Learn Benefits Of Locally Grown Food
PA 5th Most Likely State For Vehicle-Deer Hits
Owls Admired At Nature Center Event
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, October 26, 2012

Oct. 29 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Oct. 29 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

New York City Reservoir Drawn Down To Prepare For Hurricane Sandy

The partner governments who cooperatively manage the Delaware River—Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and New York City—announced Friday more than 120 million gallons of water per day are being released from the Neversink Reservoir in Sullivan County, New York.
The water is being released from the reservoir, located in the Delaware River basin about 75 miles northwest of New York City, in order to make room for rainfall from Hurricane Sandy.
“While modeling forecasts show the storm may lose strength when it makes landfall, there are still large volumes of rain that are expected to come down,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “In order to create more capacity in the reservoir to capture stormwater and prevent spilling, everyone has agreed that a release at Neversink Reservoir is in all of our best interests.
“Residents along the Delaware River may see higher than normal river volumes in the coming days in advance of the storm,” he said. “But this release now will help prevent the possibility of much higher river flows and flooding later on in the course of the storm event.”
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania and its partners signed an extension of a water management agreement that allowed for such releases in advance of storms. The agreement also includes measures to protect the habitat in the waterways and to balance the drinking water needs of millions of residents in the four states.
The two other New York City-owned reservoirs in the Delaware River watershed, Pepacton and Cannonsville, are at about 70 percent capacity. Additional releases at these reservoirs will not be conducted at this time. The Cannonsville Reservoir is along the West Branch of the Delaware River, and the Pepacton is on the East Branch.
Corbett Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Storm
PA Residents Told To Prep As Super Storm Looms
East Coast Readies For Frankenstorm Monster
Flash Flooding Likely From Hurricane Sandy
Preparing For Hurricane Sandy In PA
Philly Region Likely To Feel Storm’s Wrath
Eastern Utilities Brace For Expected Super Storm

Friday NewsClips

NE Groups Win Awards For Environmental Work
2013 River Of The Year Nominations Now Accepted
PA Towns Savor Drilling Impact Fee Checks
Lycoming County Miscalculated Impact Fee Revenue
Oil, Gas Industry Urged To Be More Transparent
Lt. Gov Touts Marcellus Benefits To Erie
Seneca Announces Natural Gas Fueled Drill Rigs In PA
Procter & Gamble Plant Model Of Sustainability
Consol Energy Has $11 Million Loss
Water Company Shows Off $27 Million Dam Rehab
Southeast Infrastructure Needs More Funding
East Coast Readies For Frankenstorm Monster
Flash Flooding Likely From Hurricane Sandy
Preparing For Hurricane Sandy In PA
Philly Region Likely To Feel Storm’s Wrath
Eastern Utilities Brace For Expected Super Storm
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oct. 22 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Oct. 22 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Good And Bad Environmental Bills Left On The Table As Legislative Session Ends

The Senate and House finished up voting on legislation for the year Wednesday leaving lots of unfinished business on environmental issues on the table.  All bills not on the Governor’s Desk will have to start over in January.
Three environment or energy-related bills did make it to the Governor before adjournment-- Senate Bill 1298 (Smucker-R-Lancaster) providing for composting facilities on Act 319 farmlands; House Bill 1813 (Tobash-R-Berks) authorizing a financial guarantee option covering mine reclamation; and House Bill 1991 (Cutler-R-Lancaster) further providing for proof of eligibility for energy conservation programs.
Two big issues-- transportation funding and paying for damage caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 were not considered. Click Here for full story.

Friday NewsClips

Ridge Environmental Center Presents Environmental Awards
Hunting Down PA’s Abandoned Oil & Gas Wells
Drilling Payments Cause A Dispute In PA
PUC Rejects South Fayette Drilling Rules
EPA Adds $84,500 Fine For Well Fire
40th Anniversary Of Clean Water Act
Fixing Water Pipes In Philly Will Cost Millions
Dams On State Watch List
Challenge Winners Saved Energy, Cut Emissions, Recycled
PA Primes For Impressive Autumn Leaves Display
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sen. Scarnati Introduces Marcellus Shale Health Panel Bill

Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) this week introduced Senate Bill 1616 establishing a Marcellus Shale Health Advisory Panel.
The nine member panel-- chaired by the Secretary of Health with the leaders of the Senate and House each appointing four members-- is given several broad responsibilities--
-- Consult with persons and entities involved with and affected by the extraction and use of unconventional natural gas reserves;
-- Consult with persons and entities conducting research and studies regarding the extraction and use of unconventional natural gas and the potential effects on public health and safety; and
-- Investigate and study advancements in science, technology and public health data in order to provide Pennsylvania elected officials, regulators and the general public with information, analysis and recommendations regarding the safe, efficient and environmentally responsible extraction and use of unconventional natural gas.
The bill directs the panel to meet at least twice a year and submit an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly.
“There has been much discussion regarding the potential effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on public health and safety,” said Sen. Scarnati.  “The creation of an advisory panel composed of experts from a wide range of fields including doctors, scientists, academics and industry leaders will provide Pennsylvania with a critical asset in addressing any current or future impacts arising from the development of Marcellus Shale.”
The creation of a permanent health advisory panel was a suggestion of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission he explained.
In fact, the language used by Sen. Scarnati to describe his proposal advisory panel was very close to the recommendation in the Commission report--

“In recognition of the tremendous breadth and scope of issues affected by Marcellus Shale natural gas, as well as the significant pace of technology and best management practice advancements occurring within the industry, the Commission strongly encourages Gov. Corbett to consider creating a permanent advisory panel or committee to monitor the impacts of this industry, thoroughly investigate advancements in science, public health data and technology, and provide the Commonwealth’s elected officials, policymakers, regulators and members of the public with real-time information, analysis and recommendations regarding the safe, efficient and environmentally responsible extraction and use of unconventional natural gas reserves in Pennsylvania.”
The Commission also recommended the Commonwealth establish a health registry to track the any impacts drilling was having around well sites-- “The Department of Health should create, or oversee the creation of, a population-based health registry with the purpose of characterizing and following over time individuals who live in close proximity (i.e. one mile radius) to gas drilling and production sites.”
Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, proposed supporting the creation of a health registry as part of his drilling fee proposal in Senate Bill 1519.
Sen. Scarnati led the effort to establish a responsible drilling fee and additional environmental protection standards during both the Rendell and Corbett Administrations.

Thursday NewsClips

Lively Crowd Turns Out For Court Hearing On Drilling Law
Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Drilling Law
PA Supreme Court Hears Drilling, Zoning Debate
Op-Ed: Clean Water Act Is Worth Every Drop
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DCNR Secretary Responds To Article/Editorial On Resignation Of State Parks Director

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan Tuesday responded to a recent article and editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot-News about the resignation of John Norbeck as Director of the Bureau of State Parks--

           As The Patriot-News knows well, good employment policy and practice – not to mention decorum – dictates that employers do not publicly discuss personnel matters.
           Not surprisingly, employees who are separated from their jobs may concoct stories as to the circumstances surrounding their separation. That is not entirely unexpected. However, what your readers do not deserve are baseless editorials such as The Patriot-News’ “Preserve our parks: Do recent DCNR ousters spell trouble?” which perpetuate and give credence to these false allegations. 
           Employers cannot be held hostage to the self-serving statements of a separated employee.  However, an employer is powerless to defend itself publicly lest they subject themselves to employment law infractions and liability.  The media knows this all too well, and yet some in the media, desperate for a story, create this catch-22 for the employer.
            Mr. Norbeck knows why he no longer works for the state, and he knows it has absolutely nothing to do with philosophical differences over mineral extraction. For the record, we have not and are not considering any drilling on state park land.  The moratorium on future leasing remains in effect.  
            Under Gov. Corbett’s leadership, DCNR has overseen the drilling activity authorized by Gov. Rendell on state forest lands to ensure that it does not harm the fabric and character of these natural resource treasures.  And we are not engaging in, nor will we engage in, commercial timbering and strip mining activities on our state parks. 
            Gov. Corbett has appointed and retained smart, dedicated, and professional employees to oversee the state’s parks and forests.  He recognizes the tremendous significance of the commonwealth’s natural resources, with a state park and state forest system that rivals that of any other state.  
            The natural gas impact fee signed by Gov. Corbett in February sets aside money for state park and forest infrastructure improvements – the first infusion of new money into our park and forest system since 2005.
            Under the Governor’s leadership, DCNR will continue to ensure that its stewardship of our public lands meets the high expectations of our citizens.  They deserve, and will receive, nothing less.

Tuesday NewsClips

Corbett Sees No More State Leases For Drilling
PA Details Who Gets Drilling Impact Fee Money
PA Communities Share $204 Million In Drilling Fees
Local Governments Get Majority Of Impact Fees
Big Winners From Gas Drilling Impact Fee
How Much Money Each Municipality Receives From Drilling Fee
Bradford, Susquehanna Receive Large Share Of Impact Fees
Midstate Counties To Grab Share Of Drilling Fees
Lehigh, Northampton Counties Share In Gas Fee
Lancaster County To Get Drilling Money
Coal Industry Researchers Look Ahead
Environmentalists Challenge Power Line In Court
Energy Firms Pumps Cash Into PA Campaigns
Corbett Still Upside Down In New Poll
Opponents Say HBG Not Getting Fair Deal On Incinerator
Editorial: York Waste’s Investment In Clean Air
Senate Reviews bill To Prevent LIHEAP Fraud
Northeast Trails Get A Boost
Frick Park Awaits Environmental Center
Changes Coming To Punxsutawney Phil’s Home
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gov. Corbett: Have Not Talked About Drilling On State Land

In response to questions about a recent personnel change at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources which has raised concerns among environmentalists about drilling in state-owned forests and parks, Capitolwire reported Gov. Corbett as saying at a press conference Monday--
“Can we put that to rest? I don’t know where that came from. We’re not drilling in the state parks,” he said. “There was moratorium on state forests, we haven’t lifted that – we haven’t even talked about lifting that.”
“We haven’t even talked about drilling in the state parks. We haven’t talked about any kind of strip mining in the state parks. So all the stories that are out there, it’d be nice if people got their facts straight,” he said.
Former DCNR parks director John Norbeck said recently his resignation from his post was due to “philosophical differences” between himself and the Corbett administration, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Corbett noted that drilling is occurring in the Allegheny National Forest, which is not under state control. A U.S. Circuit Court in Philadelphia ruled in September that the government does not control the mineral rights and owners should be allowed access to the oil and gas below the surface.

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