Friday, December 31, 2010

January 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

January 3 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Thanks To These Winners, Pennsylvania's Environment Had A Good Year In 2010

Hundreds of businesses, nonprofit groups, local governments and individuals were honored this year for their environmental leadership. Here are just some of those winners the PA Environment Digest covered in 2010-- Click here to read more…

PRC Promotes Recycling At Winter Hockey Classic In Pittsburgh Jan. 1

Hockey fans tailgating before the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh will “clear the zone” of recyclables in Heinz Field parking lots.
On New Year’s Day, the Pennsylvania Resources Council and its partners will collect aluminum cans, glass containers, and plastic bottles and cups in six designated stadium parking lots.
The recycling effort in Pittsburgh marks the first time in the Winter Classic’s four-year history that the National Hockey League has collaborated with a local environmental organization to collect recyclables at tailgate parties.
“We’re excited to introduce tailgate recycling at the 2011 Winter Classic as an extension of our ‘NHL Green’ initiative,” said Bernadette Mansur, NHL Senior Vice President of Public Affairs. “Partnering with the Pennsylvania Resources Council enables the NHL to expand its year-round commitment to making the League and its Member Clubs more ecologically responsible while educating our fans and raising awareness of environmental issues.
“Partnering with the Pennsylvania Resources Council enables the NHL to expand its year-round commitment to making the League and its Member Clubs more ecologically responsible while educating our fans and raising awareness of environmental issues,” said Mansur.
On January 1, Alco Parking attendants will distribute blue recycling bags to fans as they enter six designated parking lots located along General Robinson Street. Tailgaters will be encouraged to place all bottles, cans and plastic containers in the bags during their pre-game parties, tie up the filled bags and leave them next to their vehicles before heading to the game.
A recycling team will circulate throughout the lots to provide additional blue bags, help collect filled bags and generally encourage fans to recycle.
“Sporting events provide a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of recycling, and education is a key component of this campaign,” said Dave Mazza, Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council. “PRC and its campaign partners are encouraging people to recycle when they’re away from home by making the activity easy and convenient.”
According to Mansur, “Pittsburgh is the perfect place to introduce such a new ‘green’ activity since the Penguins demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to preserving the environment. CONSOL Energy Center has achieved LEED Gold certification, becoming the first NHL arena to reach that standard of sustainability.”
The Winter Classic tailgate recycling campaign is sponsored by PRC and the Alcoa Foundation in partnership with the National Hockey League, Pittsburgh Penguins, Alco Parking, City of Pittsburgh Environmental Services, Greenstar, Heinz Field and the Sports & Exhibition Authority.
For more information, download a special event flyer or visit the PA Resources Council website or call 412-488-7490, x 243.

Friday NewsClips

Corbett Will Review Rendell's Last-Minute Spending Spree
Blog: Chesapeake Bay, Marcellus Shale, Living In Harmony?
Newton Twp. Adopts Road Weight Limits To Protect From Gas Trucks
Cost Break Forecast For Heating With Gas
Gas Rate Increases To Boost Bills 2 Percent
Ohio Gov.-Elect Eyes Gas Riches Of Marcellus Shale
Students Get A Chance To Go Green
DEP Sends Notice On Local Controlled Burns
NJ Battle To Clean Up PA Coal-Fired Plant May Pay Off
Safety Concerns After South Union Twp. Surface Mining
Complaint: Mining Firms Alerted Workers Of Inspections
Editorial: EPA Acts On Greenhouse Gas Limits
State Gives $750,000 To Finish Great Allegheny Passage Trail
Costa: State Funds Help Build Last Section Of Bike Trail

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DEP, Agriculture Say PA Ready To Help Cleanup Chesapeake Bay

Now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has outlined its final "pollution diet" for states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Pennsylvania's top environmental and agriculture officials say the state is ready to do its part to improve water quality.
Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said Pennsylvania's plan provides a reasonable assurance that it can clean up the water flowing into the bay while keeping industries in the watershed viable.
Secretary Hanger said that while the state has already reduced its nitrogen contributions to the bay by 28 percent, phosphorus by 46 percent, and sediment by between 38 and 46 percent, more work remains to be done.
The total maximum daily load, or TMDL, the EPA imposed today, he added, specifies the additional pollution reductions that are necessary to bring the bay back to good health. The EPA's final, enforceable allocations call for Pennsylvania to reduce by 2025 annual nitrogen discharges to 76.8 million pounds; phosphorous discharges to 2.7 million pounds; and sediment to between 0.95-1.05 million tons per year.
"Pennsylvania has long been committed to doing its part to restore the bay's health," said Secretary Hanger. "We've reduced the pollution flowing into the Chesapeake from our waters by millions of tons. While wastewater treatment operators, developers and farmers can share some credit for these successes, there's still work to be done. Our plan makes sure we do it in a way that keeps industries viable in the state, creates new opportunities, and is attainable and measurable."
Pennsylvania's plan, referred to as a watershed implementation plan, or WIP, calls for continuing existing programs that have proven effective and, in some cases, improving the capacity to track and expand those efforts; implementing new programs that take advantage of advanced and innovative technologies; and enhancing common sense compliance efforts, particularly for nonpoint sources such as agriculture and stormwater runoff from development.
Secretary Hanger noted that the state is not requiring wastewater treatment plants to make further reductions in line with a commitment DEP made in 2006 with its point source strategy. That strategy was incorporated into the state's WIP.
"Wastewater treatment plants have made considerable investments to upgrade facilities and cut discharges," said Secretary Hanger. "This plan does not place additional expectations on those facilities; it lays out a framework for ensuring other sectors of our economy are making their share of reductions.
"Every sector of our economy that has had a stake in this matter has had a seat at the table in developing this plan. We're convinced we can achieve what's expected of us."
Pennsylvania will improve its ability to track nutrient and sediment reductions made by farmers and other land managers through the plan. Until now, usually only those best management practices, or BMPs, that were associated with a federal or state grant program were reported to the Bay Program, which meant many improvements went unnoticed.
"Many farmers voluntarily install conservation BMPs without state or federal financial assistance simply because they are good management decisions," said Secretary Redding. "It is vitally important that these privately funded BMPs be identified and reported to ensure that the agricultural community's nutrient and sediment reductions are fully credited."
Improving communications and cooperation with farmers and partners like county conservation districts will be critical to the success of this effort, Secretary Redding added.
DEP recently funded a pilot tracking project in Lancaster and Bradford counties to better assess the type and level of BMPs farmers are implementing, and to explore the effectiveness of various tracking and reporting methods. The results will then be used to develop a uniform reporting tool to better capture the pollution reductions from these previously unreported efforts.
Pennsylvania's plan also calls for using new and innovative technologies to reduce pollution. The state has proposed creating a $100 million program—funded by the federal government, states within the bay watershed and other key stakeholders—that would finance four to eight manure-to-energy projects, for example, each year. Each project could remove close to 1 million pounds of nitrogen from the Chesapeake Bay.
DEP and the Department of Agriculture have been working with a number of companies to look for ways to install technologies like manure treatment, methane digesters and electrical co-generation equipment on dairy, poultry and hog farms. These technologies can help reduce nutrient pollution while also producing electricity and marketable soil products that create additional revenue streams for farmers and rural communities.
For more information, visit DEP's Chesapeake Bay webpage.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Comments On EPA's Bay TMDL

“EPA’s actions today reflect a historic change in how government will restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay and protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on clean water," said Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C Baker said. "This plan includes science-based limits, clear expectations, and accountability, and is the result of years of public involvement and close cooperation between EPA and the Bay jurisdictions.
“It is clear, however, that the hardest work is still to come. The states and the District of Columbia must implement the plans through new laws, regulations, funding, and enforcement, and EPA must hold all jurisdictions accountable.
“As we saw in the development of the Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), EPA’s threat of serious consequences resulted in significant improvements to the state plans. It is essential that EPA stand firm and impose consequences if the states and the District of Columbia do not achieve the 2009 milestones due to be met by 2011, as EPA stated they would in a briefing today.
“If EPA and the jurisdictions implement the WIPs and the TMDL, history will record December 29, 2010 as the turning point in the restoration of this national treasure.”
CBF's Pennsylvania Agriculture Program Manager Lamonte Garber added, “The Bay TMDL offers the new Administration an opportunity to place Pennsylvania in a leadership role by ensuring compliance with PA's comprehensive pollution control laws. By making this a priority, as reflected in the state's TMDL clean-up plan, Governor-Elect Corbett can dramatically reduce pollution not only to the Bay but also the Commonwealth’s rivers and streams.”

EPA Issues Final Chesapeake Bay TMDL

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today established a final TMDL watershed plan to restore clean water in Chesapeake Bay and the region’s streams, creeks and rivers. The TMDL is driven primarily by jurisdictions’ plans to put all needed pollution controls in place by 2025 and EPA will hold jurisdictions accountable for results along the way.
The pollution diet, formally known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), identifies the necessary reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The TMDL is shaped by an extensive public and stakeholder involvement effort during the past two years, coupled with detailed plans by jurisdictions for how they will achieve pollution reductions.
To address deficiencies in draft plans submitted by jurisdictions in September, EPA worked closely with the jurisdictions during the past several months. As a result of this cooperative work and through strong state leadership, the final plans were significantly improved.
EPA was able to reduce and remove most federal backstop measures that were in the draft TMDL, while still maintaining rigorous accountability through enhanced oversight and the availability of contingency actions. The result is a TMDL that is primarily shaped by the jurisdictions’ plans to reduce pollution, which has been EPA’s goal from the outset.
"Today is an historic day for the decades-long effort to restore Chesapeake Bay. In the past two years we have made huge strides that will yield real results for millions of people who rely on the Bay for their livelihood and way of life. Now we begin the hard work of implementing this pollution diet and building on the last two years,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We're very pleased with efforts of state officials that helped get us to this point. We will continue to provide strong oversight and transparency to ensure accountability and ensure progress continues."
Among the significant improvements in jurisdiction plans are:
-- Dramatically increasing enforcement and compliance of state requirements for agriculture. (Pennsylvania)
-- Committing state funding to develop and implement state-of-the-art-technologies for converting animal manure to energy for farms. (Pennsylvania)
-- Committing to more stringent nitrogen and phosphorus limits at wastewater treatment plants, including on the James River in Virginia. (Virginia, New York, Delaware)
-- Pursuing state legislation to fund wastewater treatment plant upgrades, urban stormwater management and agricultural programs. (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia)
-- Implementing a progressive stormwater permit to reduce pollution. (District of Columbia)
-- Considering implementation of mandatory programs for agriculture by 2013 if pollution reductions fall behind schedule. (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New York).
CBF Reaction
“EPA’s actions today reflect a historic change in how government will restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay and protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on clean water," said Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C Baker said. "This plan includes science-based limits, clear expectations, and accountability, and is the result of years of public involvement and close cooperation between EPA and the Bay jurisdictions.
“It is clear, however, that the hardest work is still to come. The states and the District of Columbia must implement the plans through new laws, regulations, funding, and enforcement, and EPA must hold all jurisdictions accountable.
“As we saw in the development of the Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), EPA’s threat of serious consequences resulted in significant improvements to the state plans. It is essential that EPA stand firm and impose consequences if the states and the District of Columbia do not achieve the 2009 milestones due to be met by 2011, as EPA stated they would in a briefing today.
“If EPA and the jurisdictions implement the WIPs and the TMDL, history will record December 29, 2010 as the turning point in the restoration of this national treasure.”
CBF's Pennsylvania Agriculture Program Manager Lamonte Garber added, “The Bay TMDL offers the new Administration an opportunity to place Pennsylvania in a leadership role by ensuring compliance with PA's comprehensive pollution control laws. By making this a priority, as reflected in the state's TMDL clean-up plan, Governor-Elect Corbett can dramatically reduce pollution not only to the Bay but also the Commonwealth’s rivers and streams.”
Additional Details
The TMDL still includes targeted backstops for those jurisdictions that did not meet all of their target allocations or did not meet EPA’s expectations for providing reasonable assurance that they will achieve the necessary pollution reductions. These included backstop allocations and adjustments for the wastewater sector in New York, the urban stormwater sector in Pennsylvania and the agriculture sector in West Virginia.
In addition, EPA will provide enhanced oversight of Pennsylvania agriculture, Virginia and West Virginia urban stormwater, and Pennsylvania and West Virginia wastewater. If the jurisdictions don’t make sufficient progress, EPA may utilize contingencies that include additional controls on permitted sources of pollution, such as wastewater treatment plants, large animal feeding operations and municipal stormwater systems.
EPA will also regularly oversee each of the jurisdictions’ programs to make sure they implement the pollution control plans, remain on schedule for meeting water quality goals and achieve their two-year milestones. This oversight will include program review, objecting to permits and targeting compliance and enforcement actions as necessary to meet water quality goals.
The pollution diet calls for a 25 percent reduction in nitrogen, 24 percent reduction in phosphorus and 20 percent reduction in sediment. The TMDL - which sets Bay watershed limits of 185.9 million pounds of nitrogen, 12.5 million pounds of phosphorus and 6.45 billion pounds of sediment per year – is designed to ensure that all pollution control measures to fully restore the Bay and its tidal rivers are in place by 2025, with at least 60 percent of the actions completed by 2017.
EPA has also committed to reducing air deposition of nitrogen to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay from 17.9 to 15.7 million pounds per year. The reductions will be achieved through implementation of federal air regulations during the coming years.
Federal agencies will contribute to restoration efforts, particularly through implementation of the federal strategy created under President Obama’s Executive Order. Eleven federal agencies have committed to a comprehensive suite of actions on the same 2025 timeline as the TMDL. As part of this work, federal agencies will be establishing two-year milestones that directly support the jurisdictions’ activities to reduce water pollution.
During the 45-day public comment period on the draft TMDL, EPA received more than 14,000 comments – most of which supported the TMDL – and conducted 18 public meetings. The agency’s response to those comments is included as an appendix to the TMDL.
Despite all of the extensive restoration efforts during the last 25 years, the TMDL was prompted by insufficient progress in restoring the Bay. The TMDL is required under federal law and responds to consent decrees in Virginia and D.C. dating back to the late 1990s.
The TMDL, as well as evaluations of the state plans and EPA backstops and contingencies are available online. Click here for Executive Summary.
EPA Comments On PA WIP
EPA posted separate comments on each state Watershed Implementation Plan, including Pennsylvania. EPA's comments on DEP's plan include--
Pennsylvania meets its nutrient and sediment allocations for each basin in the final TMDL. After adjusting for EPA-approved nitrogen and phosphorus exchanges, Pennsylvania’s WIP input deck resulted in statewide loads that are 2 percent over for nitrogen and phosphorus, and 5 percent under for sediment allocations.
EPA and the Commonwealth have reached agreement on further nonpoint source reductions in order to achieve allocations both statewide and in each basin, as documented in the final TMDL. The further reductions are supported by contingencies included in the WIP and EPA’s commitment to track progress and take any necessary federal actions to ensure these reductions are achieved and maintained.
Key improvements since draft WIP:
-- Pennsylvania has outlined a very detailed strategy for significantly increasing compliance with agricultural regulations and for advancing manure technologies.
-- The WIP details a specific approach for tracking agricultural conservation to develop verification protocols for crediting non-cost shared practices in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model.
EPA actions: Enhanced oversight and actions
-- Based on Pennsylvania's ability to demonstrate near-term progress implementing the agricultural section of its WIP, including EPA approval for its CAFO program and enhanced compliance assurance with state regulatory programs, EPA will assess in the Phase II WIP whether additional federal actions, such as shifting AFO loads from the load allocation to the wasteload allocation or
establishing more stringent wasteload allocations for WWTPs, are necessary to ensure that TMDL allocations are achieved.
-- EPA will use its national review of CAFO State Technical Standards in 2011 and beyond to identify any deficiencies in the State Technical Standards for protecting water quality, including Pennsylvania’s phosphorus management program. EPA reserves its authority to object to permits if they are not protective of water quality. EPA will continue to engage Pennsylvania about ways to phase out the practice of winter spreading of manure.
Urban Stormwater
Key improvements since draft WIP:
-- The WIP provides a strong description of Chapter 102 regulations and what Pennsylvania can enforce and regulate for no net change in stormwater runoff.
-- A “no net increase” provision is required to maintain existing hydrology or demonstrate that at least 20 percent of a previously disturbed site has the hydrologic conditions of meadow or better.
Key areas for improvement:
-- Pennsylvania DEP continues to assert that the scope of the MS4 program is limited to the conveyance system only, and does not include the construction and post-construction requirements.
-- Pennsylvania has not demonstrated a high level of compliance assurance activities nor enhanced the
field resources available to support an enforcement of urban stormwater programs.
-- The requirement for an MS4 to have a TMDL Implementation Plan does not include the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and lacks supporting documentation to quantify how local TMDL implementation plans will meet Chesapeake Bay nutrient and sediment allocations.
-- Pennsylvania’s WIP lacks clear strategies to achieve the almost 40% reduction in urban loads that the Commonwealth includes in its WIP input deck.
EPA actions: Backstop allocations, adjustments and actions
-- EPA will transfer 50 percent of the urban stormwater load that is not currently subject to NPDES permits from the load allocation to the wasteload allocation. EPA is doing this to signal that it is prepared to designate discharges as requiring NPDES permits to ensure nutrient and sediment reductions are achieved and maintained. Urban areas would only be subject to NPDES permit conditions protective of water quality as issued by the Commonwealth upon designation. EPA will consider this step if Pennsylvania does not achieve reductions in urban stormwater loads as identified in the WIP. EPA may also pursue designation activities based on considerations other than TMDL and WIP implementation.
-- Based on Pennsylvania's ability to demonstrate near-term progress implementing the urban stormwater section of its WIP, including the reissuance of PAG-13 and PAG-2 general permits for Phase II MS4s and construction that are protective of water quality, EPA will assess in the Phase II WIP whether additional federal actions, such as establishing more stringent wasteload allocations for WWTPs, are necessary to ensure that TMDL allocations are achieved.
Key improvements since draft WIP:
-- The WIP includes permit numbers for additional non-significant facilities covered under the PAG-04
and 05 general permits.
-- Pennsylvania added language on a process for granting 25 lb/yr credit to POTW’s for each septic system retired, and on implementation schedules for significant WWTP upgrades.
EPA actions: Enhanced oversight and actions
-- EPA is establishing individual wasteload allocations for significant wastewater plants in the TMDL to increase assurance that permits are consistent with the overall wasteload allocation. Individual allocations do not commit wastewater plants to greater reductions than what the jurisdiction has proposed in its WIP. Provisions of the TMDL Report allow for allocation modifications within a basin to support offsets and trading opportunities.
-- EPA may consider federal actions such as revisiting wastewater allocations if the Phase II WIP does not demonstrate adequate progress toward implementing WIP strategies for agriculture and stormwater.
-- EPA will review NPDES permit conditions to ensure that they are consistent with the loads and assumptions of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
General Note on EPA Actions
EPA will assess annual progress and track 2-year milestone commitments. EPA may take additional actions beyond those listed above, as described in its December 29, 2009 letter, to ensure that nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reductions identified in the WIP and needed to meet TMDL allocations are achieved.

Wednesday NewsClips

Report Finds Chesapeake Bay Improved, But Still Out Of Balance
Chesapeake Better, But Still In Real Trouble
PA's Benefit From Changing Tide In Chesapeake Bay
Natural Gas Drillers' Damage To Roads Debated
Energy Companies Depending On Tax Incentives
Residents Often In Dark On Proximity To Gas Lines
Road Salt: Good For Safety, Bad For Environment
Crows, Gulls Top Annual Bird Count
No Extension Of State Employee Contract Sets Up Showdown

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Last Chance To Vote For PA River Of The Year

Voting ends January 3 for naming Pennsylvania's River of the Year. The six finalists – Clarion River, Conewango Creek, Delaware River, Kiskiminetas River, Pine Creek, and the Stonycreek River. Click here to vote now.

CBF Report: Chesapeake Bay Health Improving, But Still Critical

There is good news and bad, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The Bay is showing encouraging signs of rebounding, but is still in critical condition as a result of pollution according to a new report issued today.
Click here to see comments by CBF President Will Baker.
The numeric index of the Bay's health jumped three points from 2008 to 2010, with eight of 15 indicators rising. The indicator for the health of the blue crab population spiked 15 points, as the Bay's population increased significantly last year. Also, underwater grasses showed steady progress for the fourth year in a row.
But the overall health index of the Bay is 31 out of 100, which means it is still a system dangerously out of balance.
The report is a comprehensive measure of the Bay's health, evaluating 13 indicators: oysters, shad, crabs, striped bass (rockfish), underwater grasses, wetlands, forested buffers, resource lands, toxics, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and phosphorus and nitrogen pollution. CBF scientists compile and examine the best available historical and up-to-date information for each indicator and assign it an index score and letter grade. Taken together, these indicators offer an assessment of Bay health.
“Let’s celebrate actions taken by Pennsylvanians as we witness signs of improvement, while concurrently rededicating efforts to fully restore the Bay - which still operates at only a third of its potential - to ensure healthy waters and a vigorous economy,” said CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Matt Ehrhart. “We will achieve a clean Bay and healthy streams and rivers here in Pennsylvania if the Commonwealth holds itself accountable to achieving the goals of the Watershed Implementation Plan and complies with the Bay pollution diet (TMDL). With leadership and commitment from both public and private sectors, good news stories such as the return of the blue crab population in the Bay and the success of the streamside forest buffer program in Pennsylvania can continue.”
CBF pointed to the potential impact of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling as a concern for the future.
"No one disputes the need for clean, efficient energy resources right here at home. Found 5,000 to 9,000 feet below the surface, the Marcellus Shale formation—lying beneath parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia—holds huge supplies of clean-burning natural gas.
"Activity in the Marcellus Shale increased dramatically beginning in 2009 and is continuing to accelerate. Today, there are approximately 5,000 drilled or permitted wells in Pennsylvania alone, and some estimate there could be as many as 60,000 wells drilled by 2030 if trends continue.
"There is increasing debate about drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Much of it focuses on drilling methods. Called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” this method uses a combination of water, sand, and chemicals to drill through the shale until the layer of gas is reached. Drilling advocates claim the process is safe, but a number of scientists and public health experts have called the claim into question. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is studying the issue and intends to publish its findings by the end of 2012.
"There is also concern about compliance. The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association reported last summer that since 2008 there have been 1,641 permit violations, of which 1,056 were deemed 'likely to harm the environment.' Preliminary studies by the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences suggest that water quality may be degraded simply by the sheer number of well pads within a given region.
"Also of concern are drinking water contamination; habitat and forest fragmentation; water withdrawal; management and treatment of waste water; costly stress on roads, bridges, and other infrastructure; siting of drill pads on pristine public lands; and the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s failure to pass a severance tax, which would pay for the public costs of gas extraction.
"Natural gas offers tremendous promise. At the same time, being vigilant about protecting our natural resources is everyone's responsibility."
Later this week, the Environmental Protection Agency must issue a pollution diet for the Bay watershed called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL is required under the federal Clean Water Act and court rulings.
This diet will require Maryland and other Bay states, and ultimately each local jurisdiction, to ratchet down pollution to local creeks, rivers, and the Bay from all sources, including farms, sewage treatment plants, urban and suburban streets, parking lots and lawns. State and local governments will be held responsible for those reductions or potentially lose federal funding and be denied federal permits.
CBF will be there every step of the way, focusing on ensuring full and fair implementation of the TMDL, which will reduce pollution and create jobs.
The Bay states and the District of Columbia were required to submit a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to EPA specifying how it planned to meet the new pollution diet. Preliminary versions of the each jurisdictions' plans were deficient in specific details, the agency concluded.
CBF has urged the EPA to stand firm in its expectations and to impose consequences on jurisdictions that fail to establish and fully implement plans that meet pollution reduction goals on schedule.
The Bay is at a tipping point. If EPA stands firm, and the states deliver on their commitments, the Bay will become resilient and bountiful.
A full copy of the report is available online.

Tuesday NewsClips

Rendell Transition Reports Show Woes For New PA Leaders
Sen. O'Pake, Longest-Serving Legislator, Dies
CBF Report: Chesapeake Bay Improving, But Still Critical
Report: Chesapeake Bay Improving, But Gets D-Plus
Chesapeake Bay TMDL To Take Effect January 1
Feds To Determine Fate Of Chesapeake Bay
Sewer, Water Rates To Rise In Altoona
Ford City May Lease For Marcellus Shale Drilling
Drilling Threat Puts Eagles Mere On Endangered Places List
Presque Isle, Ridge Center Offer Winter Fun

Friday, December 24, 2010

Trout Unlimited Coldwater Conservation Corps Training Schedule

National Trout Unlimited and the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited have teamed up to develop and implement a stream surveillance program called the Coldwater Conservation Corps which will offer training to volunteers over the next three months.
The training will be held--
-- January 15- Winnie Palmer Environmental Center (Latrobe, PA) Host: Forbes Trail TU Chapter
-- January 29- Dubois Dinner Banquet Facility (Dubois, PA) Host: Allegheny Mountain TU Chapter
-- February 12- Charier's Twp. Municipal Social Building (Charier's Twp., PA) Host: Chestnut Ridge TU Chapter
-- February 26- The Citizen's Hose Company (Lock Haven, PA) Host: Lloyd Wilson TU Chapter
-- March 19- St. Joseph's Church (Lucinda, PA) Host: Iron Furnace TU Chapter
Volunteers will be trained to monitor water resources, conduct visual assessments, and report violations of state laws to appropriate state agencies.
Coldwater Conservation Corps volunteers provide an extra set of eyes and ears on the ground, making sure special watersheds and our coldwater resources are protected.
For more information about TU's stream surveillance program, to register for any of the below trainings, or to schedule a presentation for your local TU chapter, please contact David Sewak, TU's Pennsylvania Marcellus Field Organizer, by sending email to: or calling 814-535-5030.

Dec. 27 PA Environment Digest Now Available

December 27 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

DEP: 80 Percent Of Streams, Rivers Meet Standards, 16,547 Miles Do Not

A new report on streams and rivers with impaired water quality in Pennsylvania shows 68,320 miles meet water quality standards, but 16,547 miles do not.
The report, entitled “2010 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report,” was submitted this week by the Department of Environmental Protection to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with the Clean Water Act, which requires each state to assess water quality within its borders. Click here to read more…

Ho Ho Ho NewsClips

No Deaths So Far In PA Mines In 2010
Money For Susquehanna River Gauges Sought
Grants To Educate Public On Marcellus Shale Issues
New Interest In Turning Natural Gas To Diesel
Midstate Farms To Produce Power From Unlikely Source
Springdale Power Plant To Be Monitored
EPA Planning Greenhouse Gas Regulations
EPA Sets Schedule To Limit Power Plant, Refinery Pollution
Bird Counters Brave Cold To Study Fowl

Thursday, December 23, 2010

DEP Publishes 2011 Schedule Of Advisory Committee Meetings

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice of advisory committee and board meetings for 2011. The notice includes the schedule for--
Agricultural Advisory Board
Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee
Board of Coal Mine Safety
Certification Program Advisory Committee for Water and Wastewater System Operators
Chesapeake Bay Advisory Committee
DEP Citizens Advisory Council
Cleanup Standards Scientific Advisory Board
Climate Change Advisory Committee
Coal and Clay Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund Board
Coastal Zone Advisory Committee
Environmental Justice Advisory Board
Environmental Quality Board
Laboratory Accreditation Advisory Committee
Low-Level Waste Advisory Committee
Mine Families First Response & Communications Advisory Council
Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board
Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board
Radiation Protection Advisory Committee
Recycling Fund Advisory Committee
Sewage Advisory Committee
Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee
Solid Waste Advisory Committee
State Board for Certification of Sewage Enforcement Officers
Statewide Water Resources Committee
Storage Tank Advisory Committee
Technical Advisory Committee on Diesel-Powered Equipment
Water Resources Advisory Committee

Thursday NewsClips

PA Mining Industry To Mark 1st Year With No Job-Related Deaths
Gas Pipeline To Join Luzerne, Susquehanna
Bike Recycler Fixes, Shares Free Bikes
Corbett Names Charles Zogby As Budget Secretary
Corbett's Pick For Chief Of Staff Backs Out

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

EXCO Resources Acquires Chief Oil & Gas Shale Leases For $459.4 Million

EXCO Resources, Inc. today announced the acquisition of properties prospective for the Marcellus shale from Chief Oil & Gas LLC and related parties for approximately $459.4 million, after preliminary purchase price adjustments at the closing.
The assets include producing properties with current gross production of approximately 40 Mmcf per day (16 Mmcf per day net) from 15 producing wells, 11 wells currently awaiting completion and over 50,000 net acres prospective for the Marcellus shale located primarily in Lycoming and Sullivan Counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The parties agreed to close the transaction into an escrow account pending receipt of a waiver from a third party, which is expected to be obtained by January 14, 2011. The transaction has an effective date of July 1, 2010.
The assets are located within the area of mutual interest established by the existing Appalachian joint venture with BG Group, plc. BG Group has the right to purchase 50 percent of this acquisition. Assuming BG Group elects to participate, the development of these assets would be governed by our Appalachian joint venture. The purchase price was financed with borrowings under EXCO’s credit agreement.
EXCO Resources, Inc. is an oil and natural gas exploration, exploitation, development and production company headquartered in Dallas, Texas with principal operations in East Texas, North Louisiana, Appalachia, and West Texas.

Tuesday NewsClips is reporting the Corbett Administration has given second interviews to Michael Krancer, Environmental Hearing Board Judge, and John Hines, current DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Management, for Secretary of Environmental Protection.
Dimock Residents To Get Money For Bad Water
Susquehanna River Basin Report Focuses On Gas Extraction
Lehman Twp. Eyes Road Wear Near Gas Sites
DEP Proposes Higher Stream Standards In Wallenpaupack Creek
Westmoreland Farmers Lauded For Earth-Friendly Agriculture
Discovery Watersheds Taking Lessons From Conewago Creek
Who Will Have Best Electric Rates In 2011?
Rendell Touts Environmental, Economic Benefits Of Recycling
18 NE Municipalities Find Out It Pays To Recycle
Give Gift Of Recycling This Holiday Season
Op-Ed: Open Space, More Than A Nice Place
Congress Renews Tax Incentive For Land Conservation
Erie's Hero BX Benefits From Restored Biodiesel Tax Credit
Environmentalists Plan To Redirect Strategies
Gas Groups Discuss DRBC Regs, Proposed Hearing
Linde Gets OK To Draw Drilling Water From Lackawanna River

Monday, December 20, 2010

River Fine Arts Association In Armstrong County Looks To Find Beauty In Conservation

The River Fine Arts Association in Armstrong County is posing the question: What is Conservation? and asking folks to answer the question in art and photography.
The Association is looking for submissions to "The Art of Conservation" show at the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center in Bethel set for January 8-16.
The event is open to artists who work in two-dimensional expression and sculpture.
A separate nature photography contest is part of the exhibit. Entries are open in youth (under 18), amateur and professional categories.
"We thought that this show would be a different way for people to examine their relationship with what conservation means," says Kittanning native Mike Basista of River Fine Arts. "We're intentionally keeping the idea of conservation broad to include whatever the artists think of when they think about the subject."
Dennis Hawley, program coordinator of the Learning Center, would like to see it become an annual event.
"This type of program suits us well. We are trying to let the public know about the center, and this may bring in some new faces and hopefully increase our usage. The ELC is a great place to visit," he says. "We have a nice collection of animal mounts and an interpretive trail, poetry trail, herb garden and composting exhibit."
There are programs for the public and private groups and visitors have access to the adjacent Crooked Creek Park.
"I think this can be a great way to encourage both arts and getting outdoors in the region," adds Basista, who is a photographer. "We would like to have people thinking about conservation in different ways and also get to come out during the winter to see the environment when a lot of people hide in their houses."
Hawley suggested adding the photo contest. "I particularly liked the idea, because, with digital cameras, a lot more people are taking pictures and this can give everyone the opportunity to participate," Basista says. "We also hope to showcase and encourage young people to get out and take advantages of the opportunities they have in the outdoors."
He hopes the show reminds people that "conservation isn't just about changing light bulbs. It's also getting out and enjoying and preserving that environment, and sometimes preserving it through artwork."
(Reprinted from the Valley News Dispatch)

Colcom Foundation Offers $1 Million In Marcellus Shale Environmental Grants

The Colcom Foundation today invited grant proposals for $1 million in funding from a new Marcellus Environmental Fund. Proposals are due January 14.
This fund is designed to address the accelerating environmental impact of shale drilling in western Pennsylvania through public education, community engagement, best practices, baseline data collection, on-going monitoring, land owner guidance, and collaborative projects.
Grants from this fund will be distributed at the discretion of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Tax-exempt entities may submit a Grant Application in accordance with guidelines posted online.
Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy, John Rohe observed: "Energy extraction in western Pennsylvania has not always considered long term consequences. All too often, the community at large has paid the price without the profit. Remediation of prior mining activity continues to be funded by Colcom Foundation and others. Hopefully, with proper planning and timing, the Marcellus profits will not come at the expense of western Pennsylvanian's quality of life."
The Foundation strives to impart an appreciation for the pace of cumulative environmental impacts and the legacy costs for future generations.
"Nobody can predict the environmental impacts of Marcellus drilling on the community," added Carol Zagrocki, Program Director, "but a calmer pace, along with more information, will enable best practices for landowners, drillers, and governmental entities."
Grant Applications will be accepted until January 14 for grants to be awarded in February and until March 14 for grants to be awarded in May.

Monday NewsClips

Revenue Stop Is Big Challenge For PA Budget
Pottsville To Attempt Mine Reclamation On Sharp Mountain
Historic Washington County Farm On Danger List From Mining
Other Shale Formations Have Natural Gas Potential
Sprout Fund Announces Biodiversity Grants
Lighting Up Holidays Adds To Electric Bill
Grant Will Promote Green Bus Shelters

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dec. 20 PA Environment Digest Now Available

December 21 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Dimock Residents To Share $4.1 Million In DEP Settlement With Cabot Oil

Residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, who have had their drinking water supplies contaminated by natural gas will each receive a share of $4.1 million that Cabot Oil and Gas Co. will pay under a settlement negotiated by the Department of Environmental Protection and the company.
The settlement, which will enable the affected families to address their individual circumstances as they see fit, also binds Cabot to offer and pay to install whole-house gas mitigation devices in each of the 19 affected homes.
Cabot also will pay DEP $500,000 to offset the state's expense of investigating the stray gas migration cases that have plagued Dimock residents for nearly two years. Click here to read more…

Friday NewsClips

PA Revenue Project Close, But Bigger Problems Lie Ahead
Rendell: PA Likely To Have Modest Deficit By June 30
PA Tax Collection Up But Deficit Still Looms
Rendell: State Revenue On Target
Rendell Laments Lack Of Marcellus Revenues
Rendell Calls Dimock Plan A Good Settlement
Dimock Settlement Draws Criticism, Praise
DRBC Praised, Scorned On Draft Drilling Regulations
Regulators Seek Big-Picture Plans From Gas Operators
Reaction To NY Governor's Moratorium Veto
Drilling Activists Protest PA Society Dinner In NYC
Shale Drillers Anticipate Creating More Jobs
Marcellus Shale Industry Economic Impact Will Bring Jobs
Expert: Gas Drilling About Risk Vs. Rewards
PA Submits Final Chesapeake Bay Plan To EPA
Steelers Tailgating Ritual: Recycling
Pike On List For Safe Pesticide Disposal
Schuylkill Center For Environmental Education Will Be Preserved
Mapping Mortality: Picking Particles
Dangers From Coal, Cars
Energy A Basic Human Right
Clairton Air Quality Plan Is Better, But Not Good Enough
Cheswick Power Plant To Run Without New Pollution Controls
Energy Projects Planned For Archbald
Southeast Regional Trail Network Grant Program Launched

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

NRCS Funding For Conservation-Minded Producers Available

Ag producers and non-industrial forestland owners may be eligible to receive payments to maintain high levels of conservation on their land and adopt higher levels of stewardship through USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program.
The application deadline is January 7.
CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off dates for ranking periods. CSP offers over 95 choices of enhancements and/or bundles of enhancements for producers to choose from that will benefit natural resources, including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancement, and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change and alternative energy.
All agricultural producers and non-industrial forestland owners are encouraged to apply for CSP. Eligible lands include cropland (including hayland), pastureland, and non-industrial forestland. In 2010, the average payment for cropland/pastureland was $18-$55 per acre/year for 5 years and forestland averaged $7-14/acre/year for 5 years.
Stewardship payments are made for both maintaining current high levels of conservation on farmland or forestland, and further enhancing conservation efforts on soil, water, animals, plants, air and energy.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if they are eligible for CSP and if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments.
Applications are available online or from local NRCS offices.

U.S.D.A. Seeks Applicants For Conservation Innovation Grants

U.S.D.A. is seeking proposals for $25 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to improve water quality, air quality and promote energy conservation, with an emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Mississippi River Basin.
Pre-proposal applications must be received at the NRCS National Headquarters by close of business December 28. The funding is available through USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change," said Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack. "USDA is seeking grant applications from farmers and our conservation partners to solve America's natural resource challenges."
Now in its eighth year, the CIG program offers funding dedicated to the adoption of technologies to address a broad range of agricultural issues. For example, the Michigan Department of Agriculture worked with Michigan State University and agricultural landowners to establish conservation practices for high-risk erosion areas, with a goal of reducing sediment and nutrient runoff.
Also, Coaltec Energy USA, Inc. demonstrated that energy can be extracted from chicken litter to heat poultry houses. Working with agricultural partners, the firm installed a gasification system on a West Virginia farm that uses poultry litter as fuel. The system significantly reduced fuel costs for the producer.
Successful applicants will demonstrate that their projects use innovative, on-the-ground conservation approaches and technologies. Funds will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process with applications being accepted from all 50 States, the Caribbean Area (the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).
Applications will be accepted from all eligible individuals, non-federal governments and non-governmental organizations, including federally recognized tribes and private businesses.
This year, a two-phase competitive process will be implemented. In phase one, all applicants will be required to submit a pre-proposal; in phase two, only those applicants selected during the pre-proposal phase will be asked to submit a full application package.
All proposed CIG projects must involve producers who are eligible for NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which offers financial and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation practices on agricultural land.
The federal contribution for a single project cannot exceed $1 million. At least 50 percent of the total cost of the project must come from non-federal matching funds (cash and in-kind contributions) provided by the grantee. Grants are available for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years.
Proposed projects must comply with the description of innovative conservation projects or activities established in the Announcement for Program Funding. To apply electronically, visit the website.
For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center.

Dimock Residents To Share $4.1 Million In DEP Settlement With Cabot Oil

Residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, who have had their drinking water supplies contaminated by natural gas will each receive a share of $4.1 million that Cabot Oil and Gas Co. will pay under a settlement negotiated by the Department of Environmental Protection and the company.
The settlement, which will enable the affected families to address their individual circumstances as they see fit, also binds Cabot to offer and pay to install whole-house gas mitigation devices in each of the 19 affected homes.
Cabot also will pay DEP $500,000 to offset the state's expense of investigating the stray gas migration cases that have plagued Dimock residents for nearly two years.
"The 19 families in Dimock who have been living under very difficult conditions for far too long will receive a financial settlement that will allow them to address their own circumstances in their own way," said DEP Secretary John Hanger, who explained that the amount paid to each family will equal two-times the value of their home, with a minimum payment of $50,000.
"In addition to the significant monetary component of this settlement, there is a requirement that Cabot continue to work with us to ensure that none of their wells allow gas to migrate," Secretary Hanger noted.
"This agreement provides a reasonable and pragmatic way forward for all parties," said Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cabot Oil. "The common ground we found to settle provides the right balance of regulations, financial payments, timely execution and operational safeguards that in the end will protect the resources of Pennsylvania, promote economic development of clean-burning natural gas and continue to create good paying jobs in the natural gas industry.
"We have been committed to responsible operations within Susquehanna County, and we have redoubled our efforts with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources to resolve past issues. Today's announcement signifies a tremendous effort on all sides to move forward with resolution and closure."
DEP began investigating reports of stray gas in Dimock water wells in January 2009. A consent order and agreement signed in November 2009 required Cabot to install whole-house treatment systems in 14 homes, but residents found that action to be unsatisfactory.
The agreement was modified in April 2010 and DEP ordered Cabot to cap three wells believed to be the source of the migrating gas. DEP also suspended its review of Cabot's pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide and prohibited the company from drilling any new wells in a nine-square-mile area around Dimock.
In September, DEP announced that Pennsylvania American Water Co. would construct a 5.5-mile water main from its Lake Montrose water treatment plant to supply the affected Dimock residents with a reliable source of quality drinking water. In November, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority approved an $11.8 million grant and loan package for the project, with the commonwealth intending to recover the cost of the project from Cabot.
Given the opposition to the planned water line and the uncertain future the project faces, Secretary Hanger said the department would abandon its pursuit of the project.
"Our primary goal at the department has always been to ensure that the wells Cabot drilled in Dimock were safe and that they were not contaminating local private water supplies," said Secretary Hanger. "We've made great progress in doing that. Since we initiated our enforcement actions, gas levels in a majority of the contaminated water wells have gone down significantly. This agreement lays the foundation for families to finally put an end to this ordeal."

PA American Water Accepting College Scholarship Applications

Pennsylvania American Water this week announced the kick-off its 2010-2011 Stream of Learning Scholarship Program to provide college scholarship assistance to students living in Pennsylvania American Water’s service areas. The deadline for applications is February 11.
The program is designed to support outstanding students who are charting a course of study in specific fields that are crucial to the water and wastewater industry, from engineering to environmental science.
“The Stream of Learning Scholarship Program enables us to support bright and committed students who are interested in pursuing a career in the water and wastewater industry,” said Kathy L. Pape, president of Pennsylvania American Water. “We are looking to attract talented young people to the industry who will share our commitment to maintaining public health, protecting the environment and promoting economic development.”
The company will award ten $2,000 scholarships to students throughout Pennsylvania. Applicants must meet the following criteria and will be selected through an application process:
-- Students must currently live in one of Pennsylvania American Water’s service areas. (Students can attend college outside of the company’s service territory.)
-- Students must plan to attend a two- or four-year college or technical school.
-- Students must plan to study environmental science, environmental engineering, biology or chemistry.
The company recently mailed scholarship brochures and applications to high school guidance counselors throughout its service territory.
Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and will receive their awards in May. Family members of Pennsylvania American Water employees are not eligible.
Applications can be downloaded from the company’s website.

Wednesday NewsClips

Lawmakers Call For Giving Up Legislative Surplus
A new poll released today by Quinnipiac University found the pubic supports cutting services before raising taxes 56 to 30 percent and 60 percent believe the state budget problem is very serious while another 33 percent call it somewhat serious.
The option of selling the state liquor stores was the most popular option for raising more revenue. 54 percent supported selling the stores, 17 percent favored leasing the Turnpike, 14 percent were for laying off state workers and 7 percent though raising taxes was a good idea.
DRBC Gas Well Hearing May Be Limited After Groups Withdraw
New York Governor Reopens Comment Period On Fracking Document
Gas Drilling Boom Brings Calls To Protect Resources
Electric Utilities' Capped Rates Nearing End
Mapping Mortality: Living Downwind
Wind And Terrain Play A Role In Transport Air Pollution
An Air Pollution Problem In Clearfield County
Steubenville Revealed Its Secrets In Historic Pollution Study
First Lawsuit Over Harrisburg Incinerator Goes To Trial
DRBC Proposes Broad Natural Gas Development Plans
Opposition To Drillers Taking Water From Susquehanna
Pennsylvania: Range Meets Gas Output Target
Recycling Saving Monroe Community $73/Ton

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New York Governor Issues Temporary Moratorium On Drilling, Vetos Moratorium Bill

New York Gov. David A. Paterson today issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.
The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. This should allay any fears that high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling under study by DEC will commence without assurances of safety.
“We in government must always focus on protecting the well-being of those whom we represent and serve, but we also have an obligation to look to the future and protect the long-term interests for our State and its residents,” Gov. Paterson said. “Therefore, I am proud to issue this Executive Order, which will guarantee that before any high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is permitted, the Department of Environmental Conversation will complete its studies and certify that such operations are safe.”
Permits for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing can not be issued until the Department of Environmental Conservation completes a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently being developed. As a result, there is already in place a de-facto moratorium on such permits.
The Governor issued the Executive Order contemporaneously with his veto of S.8129-B/A.11443-B, which would have suspended the issuance of new oil and gas drilling permits through May 15, 2011, including all conventional, low-volume, vertical oil and gas wells.
“This legislation, which was well intentioned, would have a serious impact on our State if signed into law. Enacting this legislation would put people out of work – work that is permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and causes no demonstrated environmental harm, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic,” Gov. Paterson said. “Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act.”
“I am sympathetic to the sponsors’ desire to protect the environment and public health, and I respect the concerns that produced this legislation,” the Governor continued. “But this legislation does not accomplish this purpose, since the activities at the heart of the moratorium are not currently taking place, and would not take place until well after the legislation’s proposed moratorium.”
The bill goes well beyond high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing and effectively would result in a moratorium on all new oil and gas well drilling in this State. The cessation of such new activity, even for a limited period, would have substantial negative financial consequences for the State, local governments, landowners and small businesses involved in conventional oil and gas production.
The Division of the Budget estimates that the bill would cause a substantial reduction in State revenues from the loss of permit fees and tax revenue. With a $315 million budget gap in the current fiscal year, and a projected gap of over $9 billion in the 2011-12 State fiscal year, New York simply cannot afford to send hundreds and perhaps thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in capital investment to Pennsylvania and other states to our south.

New York City Environmental Commissioner Comments On DRBC Drilling Rules

The following statement was issued by New York City Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway on the decision Thursday by the Delaware River Basin Commission to issue draft regulations covering Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the watershed--

"We are disappointed that the Delaware River Basin Commission has decided to issue draft regulations without first conducting a study of the potential impacts of hydrofracking in a watershed that supplies drinking water for 15 million people.
'While there will be opportunity to comment on the draft, and engage in additional analysis during the next 90 days, pressure will undoubtedly mount to make the draft regulations final as soon as possible; and that pressure is not conducive to making a considered decision about hydrofracking in the Delaware River Basin based only on the best data and science about the potential impacts of hydrofracking on water quality and public health.
'Any decisions about drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale must be based on detailed scientific and technical reviews. DEP's own study determined that based on the best available science and the current state of technology, hydrofracking cannot safely be conducted in the New York City Watershed. Decisions about drilling within the shared Delaware River Basin should be made on the same strong analytical foundation.
'The City of New York has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. These investments protect water quality for the 15 million people who rely on the Delaware River watershed for clean drinking water. The Delaware River is a shared resource and changes in its watershed's environment affect us all. While we don't agree with the release of draft regulations without the benefit of a comprehensive study, we will continue to work with the Commission to ensure that the cumulative impacts are known before any final regulations are issued."
DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. New York City's water is delivered from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes.

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