Friday, April 30, 2010

May 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The May 3 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

House Passes Renewal Of Recycling Fee, Goes To Governor

The House gave final approval to House Bill 961 (Buxton-D-Dauphin) which extends the $2/ton Recycling Fee through 2020 sending the bill to the Governor for his consideration.  The legislation also requires the transfer of $1.25 million annually to a new Used Tire Pile Remediation Program from the Recycling Fund through FY 2012-13. Click here to read more…

Participate In Western PA Conservancy's World Environment Day Events

As the North American host city for World Environment Day, Pittsburgh is in the midst of six weeks of special activities that began on Earth Day, April 22, and continue through until World Environment Day on June 5.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is hosting several World Environment Day events in support of Pittsburgh’s special designation as host city. The WPC events include:
-- May 5 - TreeVitalize Rally;
-- May 21 - Water Matters! Local Water Quality Summit; and
-- June 3 - Water Matters! Global Water Conference.
For more information, visit the WPC's World Environment Day webpage.

Local Action Video Showcase Sponsored By Alliance For Chesapeake Bay

Are you doing your part to help your local river, stream, or the Chesapeake Bay in your community? Is your local watershed group, school group, community or municipality restoring a shoreline, replacing a parking lot with porous pavement, planting rain gardens, holding cleanups or doing other restoration work to protect your local waterways?
Grab your camera and send us a short video that shows what you’re doing in your community to help your local waterway or the Chesapeake Bay. We’ll use all the video submissions to create a collective video that highlights all the local work being done throughout the Bay watershed – from New York to Virginia, West Virginia to Delaware – to restore and protect the Bay and its many streams, creeks and rivers.
Entries are due May 14. Click here for submission rules.

Ralph W. Abele College Scholarship Applications Due May 7

High school seniors and current college students have until May 7 to submit applications for a Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarships.
The Abele Scholarship was formed in 1991 as a living memorial to Ralph W. Abele who provided extraordinary leadership to the Fish and Boat Commission and to Pennsylvania's conservation movement.
Abele scholarships are considered for students giving a priority to seniors or graduates of the Greenwood Area School District in Perry County, second preference to residents of Perry County and children of employees of the Fish and Boat Commission and then other residents of Pennsylvania.
Applicants must be admitted to or enrolled in an approved institution of higher learning with a stated objective of studying one of the environmental disciplines at the undergraduate or graduate level.
A written application is required and the scholarship selection will be based on an applicant's potential, his or her interest in conservation education and demonstrated commitment to conservation.
For more information, visit the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarships webpage for applications and background. Send applications to Gary Moore, Fish and Boat Commission, by email to:

Friday NewsClips

Corbett Vows To Trim PA's Deficit Without Raising Taxes
Pristine Delaware River Watershed At Issue In Gas Drilling Clash
Murrysville Officials To Give Marcellus Shale Close Look
Gas Firm Seeking Special Land Uses
Texas Mayor Warns Of Gas Drillng Dangers
Let's Make A Deal Prevails In Energy Sector
User Fee Touted For Aging Sewage Lines
Air Quality Action Day Declared For Liberty-Clairton Area
Cancer Study Brings Relief In TMI Area
Green Job Training Program Opens In Philadelphia
Officials Encourage Tree Planting For Arbor Day
Nesting Pair Of Bald Eagles Confirmed In Crescent
Bald Eagles Take Up Residence In Allegheny County
DEP to Test Air Near Gas Drilling Sites
Grant Will Help Aliquippa Make Energy Improvements
Healthy Delaware River Means Healthy Economy Report Says
Air Quality Report Fails Poconos, Along With Most Of PA
Racetrack Blindsided By DEP Order
Crum Creek Cleanup Set For May 1
Chesapeake Energy Tries To Dispel Marcellus Shale Drilling Fears
FirstEnergy Offers New Energy Saving Programs
Penn State Saves By Recycling

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why No Special Session On Environmental Funding?

Gov. Rendell will formally kick off a special session of the General Assembly to address transportation funding issues brought about by the federal government's disapproval of the 2006 plan to toll I-80.
The Senate and House will sit in joint session on May 4 at 1:00 to hear the Governor's address.
Of course there are at least at dozen other major issues areas where the same litany of cuts and potential needs could be laid out end to end, including major cuts to environmental programs in the face of specific multi-billion dollar federal mandates.
For example, just the costs of wastewater plants and farmers to comply with Chesapeake Bay nutrient reductions has been estimated to be over $2 billion.
Total statewide drinking water and wastewater unmet needs for upgrades are estimated by the Governor's Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force to be over $18.2 billion-- $11 billion for drinking water systems and $7.2 billion for wastewater infrastructure.
The estimated cost of fixing combined sewer system overloads in just Allegheny County is estimated to be over $3 billion, some estimates as high as $21 billion.
The state's very successful Growing Greener Program will end this year shrinking the funds available for watershed restoration, mine reclamation, farmland preservation, recreation and water and wastewater projects from $50 million a year to just $15 million, according to the Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. There is no replacement for the program in sight.
Over the last 8 years over $1.3 billion was taken away from environmental programs to balance the budget or to fund programs that could not get funding on their own.
Next to these numbers, the figures of over $3 billion needed for highway, bridge and transit improvements seems relatively small, especially when all 12 million Pennsylvanians depend on clean water for a healthy existence and the cost of not meeting federal clean water mandates will be to effectively stop development in two-thirds of the state.

PA League Of Women Voters Release Marcellus Shale Impact Study May 3

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania will hold a press conference in the Main Capitol Rotunda at 10 a.m., May 3, to announce the results of its year-long study: Natural Gas Extraction from Marcellus Shale.
The study arose from concerns raised by League members in Indiana County and other counties in the area of the Marcellus Shale formation and was adopted by delegates to LWVPA’s State Convention in June 2009. The study covered the benefits and costs of natural gas extraction from Marcellus Shale including its ramifications for Pennsylvania’s water, air, infrastructure, agriculture, forests, tourism, and economy.
The League has long-standing positions on many of these issues. However, we needed to study how these positions should be applied in order to participate knowledgeably in critical policy decisions needed to balance the anticipated economic gains to the Commonwealth with potential environmental impacts.
Five Study Guides, covering various aspects of natural gas extraction from Marcellus Shale, were distributed to members and posted on the LWVPA website.
Twenty-seven local League chapters, spanning the state from Washington to Susquehanna Counties, organized study groups, sponsored public forums with experts representing various viewpoints, visited drilling sites, and participated in webinars and other presentations at various universities and colleges.
Earlier this year, more than 350 members participated in consensus meetings that resulted in the position statement that will be announced on Monday.
Issues to be discussed includes-- economic impact including a severance tax; environmental impact including leasing state lands for drilling; and regulation including the need for federal and state legislation.
More about the study, including the Study Guides, can be found at the LWVPA website.

Thursday NewsClips

I-80 Toll Plan May Be Revived
Babb Creek Watershed Group Wins DEP Excellence Award
EPA Cites PA Municipalities Over Stormwater Management Issues
Consol's Dunkard Creek Discharge Permit Extended
Gas Industry Career Expo Set For Friday, Saturday
Business Explores Profiting By Marcellus Gas
Conference At Tom Ridge Center Focuses On Climate Change
Letter: Caution Needed Amid Rush To Drill
Two New Turbines To Boost Da Vinci Center In Allentown
Lawmaker Receives Tour Of Drilling Operations
Drilling Wastewater To Be Processed In Lawrenceville
DEP Bars Cabot From Gas Drilling In Dimock
Lycoming Gas Task Force Grapples With Drilling Issues

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DCNR Seeks Input On Forest Assessment, Strategy By May 21

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is seeking stakeholder input on its Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy. The deadline for comments is May 21.
This initiative is part of a coordinated, nationwide forest planning effort that will serve as a foundation for programs aimed at sustaining our forests for future generations.
The Assessment and Strategy describes current forest conditions and trends, identifies priority issues, delineates important landscapes across the Commonwealth, and proposes long-term strategies for achieving sustainability.
As mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill, completing this effort also makes Pennsylvania eligible for continued federal funding for its private lands, urban and community forestry, wildland fire, and forest health programs. Stakeholder feedback is a vital in developing strategies for charting the future of Pennsylvania’s forests.
For more information and an online comment form, visit the DCNR Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy webpage.

EPA Launches Online Map Tracking Enforcement Actions In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched an online map that shows the locations of federal air and water enforcement actions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The map is part of EPA’s increased focus on enforcement of federal pollution laws in the Chesapeake Bay region, including a new strategy of targeting geographic areas and pollution sources contributing the greatest amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment to streams, creeks, rivers and the bay. Improving water quality is one of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s top priorities.
“Transparency and accountability are essential to the work we’re doing to clean up the Chesapeake and restore these treasured waters,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The community now has new tools it needs to see where EPA is taking action to improve water quality and protect the bay.”
EPA developed the Chesapeake Bay Compliance and Enforcement Strategy to target the greatest sources of pollution impairing the bay and its tributaries. The draft strategy is a multi-state plan for addressing violations of federal environmental laws, and will be finalized in May as part of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order.
Last year, EPA tabulated enforcement statistics specifically for the Chesapeake Bay watershed and airshed for the first time. Since 2009, EPA has entered into 10 civil judicial settlements and issued 36 administrative orders to sources contributing to the bay’s impairment. These enforcement actions cover 248 facilities in nine states and the District of Columbia.
These actions will reduce approximately 16 million pounds of nitrogen oxides to the bay airshed and 2,100 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus and 82 million pounds of sediment to the bay watershed annually once all required controls are fully implemented. Additionally, settling companies have agreed to invest more than an estimated $731 million in actions and equipment to reduce pollution to the bay and pay $7.2 million in civil penalties.
The enforcement map is available online. Also visit the EPA Chesapeake Bay Compliance and Enforcement Strategy webpage.

Wednesday NewsClips

Lawmakers' Special Transportation Deficit Session
Air Quality For Western PA Hits 10-Year Best
Pittsburgh Region Loses Title Of Worst Air In US
Philadelphia Moves Up On Worst Air Quality List
Harrisburg Region Gets Another Bad Grade For Air Quality
Casey Wants EPA Probe Into Dimock Well Contamination
Op-Ed: Gas Drilling Yields A Gusher Of Hogwash
League Of Women Voters To Host Series On Marcellus Shale
Letter: Lawmakers Should Lead With Hearts On Drilling
Range Resources Posts Earnings Of $77.6 Million
Mine Subsidence Undermines Carbondale Property
May 25 Rain Garden, Bioswale, Rain Garden Workshop In Pittsburgh
Op-Ed: Getting Rid Of Old Energy Hogs Saves Costs, Electricity
Group Will Re-Visit Study On Cancer Risk For People Living Near TMI
Bill Calls For Eliminating PA's Municipal Governments
Erie Bluffs State Park Offers Variety Of Habitats To Explore
Cyclist Starts Drive For Wilkes-Barre Bike Lanes
Tunkhannock Schools Sigs Gas Lease

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wild Resource Festival At Presque Isle Connects Visitors With Outdoor Wonders

With its expansive backdrop of unique and abundant natural resources and its distinction as a National Natural Landmark, Presque Isle State Park in Erie County will host a salute to nature during the Wild Resource Festival on May 1, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The festival will be held at the Tom Ridge Environmental Education Center and will feature a variety of hands-on, educational displays and exhibits, as well as hiking, fishing and other group activities.
“Presque Isle is a natural choice for an event like this,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley. “With its 3,200 acres arching into Lake Erie, the state park is a haven for migrating birds and home to many of the state’s endangered, threatened, and rare plant and animal species.
“Education is our goal, but this festival’s emphasis is on fun as park visitors are invited to sample a broad spectrum of the outdoors world around them,” added Secretary Quigley. “Children, families and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages will have a chance to talk to the state’s leading scientists and enjoy a front-row seat to view Pennsylvania’s non-game animals and plants.”
Organized by DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program in cooperation with Pennsylvania’s Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission, festivals have been held since 2008 at Presque Isle. Earlier events were held at Bald Eagle State Park, Centre County; French Creek State Park, Berks County; and Moraine State Park, Butler County
“Once again we are very proud of the many prominent naturalists, botanists, biologists and other exhibitors who will be introducing park visitors to our wealth of outdoors riches,” said Wild Resource Conservation Program Executive Director Greg Czarnecki. “We’ll be offering many demonstrations and activities unique to Presque Isle that are geared to the entire family. One of the more popular activities is for people to bring in insects for the entomologists from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to identify.”
Many of the festival participants have been involved in Wild Resource Conservation Program-supported projects in recent years, such as studying mammals, taking inventory of plants, and banding birds. Activities are offered without charge and registration is not required.
The American Chestnut Foundation, Save Our Native Species of Lake Erie, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Erie Zoo, National Aviary, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Asbury Woods Nature Center, and other agencies and organizations will also offer educational programs throughout the day.
The Wild Resource Conservation Program works to conserve Pennsylvania’s non-game wildlife and native wild plants through research, conservation projects and public education. It has reintroduced river otters to Pennsylvania’s waterways and ospreys to its skies, while awarding grants to projects studying and protecting plants, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and other species.
The program is part of DCNR’s Office of Conservation Science.
A full list of festival activities and exhibitors is available online or contact Deb Miller by sending email to:

Marcellus Shale Industry Group Opposes Any Moratorium On Drilling

Marcellus Shale Coalition executive director and president Kathryn Klaber issued this statement today on a proposed bill to ban any additional leasing of Pa.-taxpayer owned forests for natural gas development:
House Bill 2235 (Vitali-D-Delaware) proposes a moratorium on the leasing of additional taxpayer-owned forests for natural gas development. While MSC members are responsibly developing natural gas resources across the Commonwealth, we are not advocating for additional state leasing. However, we strongly reject any moratorium. It’s simply bad policy for the residents of Pennsylvania and our nation’s clean energy future. By safely developing these job-creating resources, the Commonwealth has already realized significant revenues and those impacts will only increase as natural gas royalties are generated.
“In fact, the governor’s budget compromise last year made commonsense commitments to the responsible development of natural gas on taxpayer-owned land. This proposed moratorium, unfortunately, would create a great deal of uncertainty for the companies who have already invested in leases and for the people of Pennsylvania.
“Any talk of a drilling moratorium sets bad precedent, which could eventually lead to a ban on privately-owned land, as is the case in New York. Just north of Pennsylvania, landowner’s are prevented from developing their minerals and from providing our nation with an abundant supply of clean-burning domestic natural gas.
“Pennsylvania has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to positively transform the Commonwealth’s energy, economic and environmental future through the development of the Marcellus Shale. The MSC welcomes discussion with the General Assembly to engage in productive dialogue to maximize this opportunity so that all Pennsylvanians can benefit from – and not deter – one of the Commonwealth’s lone bright spots.”

Tuesday NewsClips

PennDOT: $3 Billion Needed For PA Roads
Biehler Says New Funding For Roadwork Must Be Found
Planned Session To Address PA Transportation Crisis
Casey Calls For More Oversight Of Natural Gas Drilling Operation
Op-Ed: Rendell And Marcellus Shale Taxing The Golden Goose
Police Station May Get Green Cooling System
Remembers The 9 For 9 Rescue
Op-Ed: Environmental Takes One On The Chin
Misericordia To Host Marcellus Shale Presentation May 11
Editorial: Learn, Save From School Light Test
Northern Tier Authority Gets Grant For Natural Gas Trucks
200 Turn Out For Beaver Marcellus Shale Forum
Rendell Taking Another Shot At Gas Severance Tax
Solar Panels Provide Power Boost For Trolley Museum

Monday, April 26, 2010

House Sends Recycling Fee Extension Bill To Governor

The House today gave final approval to House Bill 961 (Buxton-D-Dauphin) extending the $2/ton Recycling Fee through 2020 to the Governor for his signature.
The legislation also requires the transfer of $1.25 million annually through FY 2012-13 to a new Used Tire Pile Remediation Program.
The Department of Environmental Protection had been limiting the amount of grants to support local recycling programs pending the extension of the fee.

Fish & Boat Commission Seeks Nominees for Awards

The Fish and Boat Commission is seeking nominees for three awards through June 18.
The Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award is the highest recognition the Commission can confer on persons who distinguish themselves in the cause of conservation. The Commission established the Abele Award to recognize citizens of Pennsylvania who have made outstanding contributions to the protection, conservation, and enhancement of the aquatic resources of the Commonwealth. The award serves as a memorial to Ralph Abele for his steadfast and courageous work in protecting and conserving our natural resources.
The Commissioner Paul J. Mahon Access for All Award recognizes the efforts of Mr. Mahon to ensure accessibility to the Commonwealth’s waterways for all individuals interested in fishing and boating, regardless of physical ability. The award is intended to acknowledge Pennsylvania citizens or organizations who have made outstanding contributions, above and beyond legal requirements, to improving fishing and boat access for the disabled.
The Stanley Long Outstanding Volunteer Service Award Program was created in 2003 to publicize and recognize the contributions made to Pennsylvania anglers and boaters by Commission volunteers. The program identifies and honors the Commission’s most exemplary and inspiring volunteer. Although volunteers are best characterized as unsung heroes, their tireless efforts and voluminous contributions augment and ensure public safety and provide services to countless Commonwealth anglers and boaters. The award serves as a memorial to long-time volunteer Stanley Long.
Visit the Commission's Awards webpage to learn more.

Monday NewsClips

The Lehigh River: Restoring Nature's Beauty
Chesapeake Bay Effort Expands In Franklin County
Hamburg Watershed Gets Some TLC, 650 Seedlings
Gas Drilling Having Substantial, Surprising Economic Impact
Texas Mayor To Attend Clarks Summit Gas Drilling Forum
Man Dies On Greene Drilling Site
Murrysville Volunteers Want Trails To Connect Into System
Allegheny County To Train Veterans To Help With Weatherization
Landfill Gas Conversion System Up And Running
DEP Fines Driller For Illegally Transferring Frack Water
Pocono Record Earth Day Evaluation
Keystone Honored As Pro-Environment School
Loyal PPL Customers Could See Break
Editorial: College, Gas Drilling, A Perfect Partnership

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 26 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The April 26 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

House Moves Gas Leasing Moratorium, Senator Expresses Concern About DCNR Comments

By a vote of 26 to 8 the House Appropriations Committee this week reported out House Bill 2235 (Vitali-D-Delaware) providing for a five year moratorium on leasing further State Forest lands for Marcellus Shale gas drilling. Click here to read this story…

EPA Orders 79 Municipalities To Improve Stormwater Management To Benefit Local Streams, Chesapeake Bay

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has sent orders to 79 municipalities in south central Pennsylvania requiring improvements to their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) programs.
The orders require the cited municipalities to correct problems with their respective MS4 programs and come into compliance with their Clean Water Act permits. MS4s are publicly owned drainage systems, including storm drains, pipes, and ditches, designed to collect and convey stormwater runoff in urbanized areas.
“These actions are critical since improperly managed stormwater can wash harmful pollutants into local streams and rivers,” said Shawn M. Garvin, Regional Administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “EPA is committed to gaining compliance with these municipalities for the health of local waterways in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay.”
Urbanized areas contain large portions of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots that channel stormwater directly into local streams, rivers, and other water bodies. Improperly managed stormwater runoff from urbanized areas can damage streams, cause significant erosion, and carry excessive nutrients, sediment, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants downstream.
EPA will provide compliance information to municipalities receiving these orders, and will host a one-day conference on May 5 in Harrisburg, Pa., to discuss the MS4 requirements of the Clean Water Act. Click here for a list of municipalities.

Energy Development Authority Accepting Applications April 30 For Funding

The PA Energy Development Authority will begin accepting applications for $16 million in innovative, advanced energy project funding on April 30. The deadline for applications is June 15.
Eligible projects may include solar energy; wind; low-impact hydropower; geothermal; biologically derived methane gas, including landfill gas; biomass; fuel cells; coal-mine methane; waste coal; integrated gasification combined cycle; demand management measures, including recycled energy and energy recovery, energy efficiency and load management; and clean, alternative fuels for transportation.
Under this solicitation, PEDA may award financial assistance in the form of grants of up to $1 million. Funding for projects may be used for capital equipment, construction associated with capital projects and land acquisition.
For grants under this solicitation, the following entities are eligible to apply: corporations, partnerships, associations and other legal business entities; nonprofit corporations; Pennsylvania colleges and universities; Pennsylvania municipalities; and any public corporation, authority or body whatsoever.
DEP said it would post application guidelines on the PA Energy Development Authority webpage.

Friday NewsClips

Governor Issues Earth Day Challenge
40th Earth Day Shows Signs Of Middle Age
Spirit Of Earth Day Lives In Kids
Editorial: Earth Day- Early Harrisburg Pioneer Sets Example For Us All
Advocates Mark Earth Day By Touting Halt On State Forest Gas Leasing
Earth Day Activists Focus Concern On Area's Gas Drilling Activities
Activists Express Fears On Gas Drilling
Moratorium On Drilling In State Forests Likely to Pass House
Gas Drilling Debate Rages In Northeastern PA
Natural Gas Severance Tax Sparks Debate At Forum
PUC Foresees Natural Gas Cost Cut
Op-Ed: Tough Marcellus Standards Are A Must
EPA Grant To Aid Cleanup Of Former Mine Site
Op-Ed: We Must Invest In Agriculture
Chesapeake Bay Foundation 2010 Save The Bay Photo Contest
Family Of Falcons Living At the Pittsburgh Cathedral Of Learning
Earth-Friendliness Has Become Selling Point For Local Business
Harrisburg Green Center Now Open To Public
Norfolk-Southern Shows Off Prototype Electric Engine
PA Offers $500 Rebates For Home Heating Upgrades
Op-Ed: Recycling Old Refrigerators , Freezers Helps Conserve Energy
Duquesne Light, Allegheny Power Improve Reliability
Editorial: Try E-Recycling During Earth Day Event
Solution Sought For Gas Impact On Roads
Penn State Campus Turns Green

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday NewsClips

Earth Day Is 40 Years Old Today!
Going Green A Way Of Life For Some Midstaters
Every Day Should Be Earth Day, Advocates Say
World Looks Better As Earth Day Turns 40
Op-Ed: Wildlands Conservancy- Use Earth Day To Reflect On Legacy
Op-Ed: We Humans Must Stop Acting Like Invasive Species
Editorial: Greener NE PA 40 Years Later
Editorial: First Earth Day 40 Years Ago Inspired Activism
Editorial: Earth Day, Teaching Kids To Appreciate Nature
Editorial: Earth Day At 40 Has Successes, But Challenges Remain
International Officials Gather In Pittsburgh For UN World Environment Day
Murrysville To Educate Public On Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling
200 Turn Out For Marcellus Shale Forum
New Company Says It Can Safely Handle Marcellus Wastewater
Bacteria Help Solve Problem By Cleaning Gas Byproduct
New Natural And Green Products Sprout Up
3 Ways To Turn Trash Into Recycled Crafts
Methane Gas At Landfills Produces Electricity
Wind Turbines Can Generate Benefits
Expert Helps Homeowner Reduce Energy Waste
Connellsville Aims to Save Big On Electricity Costs
PA Starts Home Heating Rebate Project
Students Get Peek At Hydrogen Car
State Park Hosts May 1 Wildlife Habitat Workshop
Energy Efficiency Options For Local Business Discussed At Forum
Speakers Detail How To Cut Your Carbon Footprint
Montco Company Wins For Environmental Excellence
GlaxoSmithKline Awarded $500K For Rooftop Solar
Schuylkill River Trail Receives 2-Year $719,000 Grant
Local Professors Warn Of Climate Change Perils
Editorial: East Lycoming Solar Plan Could Be Trend-Setter
Black Fly Spraying To Reach 1,500 Miles Of Waterways
DEP Clamps Down On Cabot

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sen. White Questions DCNR Secretary's Recent Statements On State Forest Leasing

Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued this statement today on recent comments made by DCNR Secretary John Quigley on leasing Marcellus Shale rights on State Forest land--

"Last week, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary John Quigley came before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, as well as the Senate Republican Caucus. Secretary Quigley assured us that development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas was occurring in a responsible manner on state forest land, and that his agency was well-positioned to ensure that the integrity of our state forest system was maintained.
"Given these assurances immediately prior to his confirmation vote, I am astonished at his comments as reported from the recent symposium at Bucknell University.
"Secretary Quigley is reported to have said that Marcellus Shale cash “has become the crack cocaine of state government.” I doubt Governor Rendell, who appointed Mr. Quigley and who has agreed to the limited leasing of state forest land that is now in place, would agree with this assessment. Before the Senate, Secretary Quigley testified that the amount of leasing to date will not threaten the state’s highly valued Sustainable Forest certification. An internal memo from Secretary Quigley to Governor Rendell last year stated that the state could actually lease an additional 48,000 acres beyond what is already available and still maintain our certification.
"At a February budget hearing, Secretary Quigley stated that he is preparing a new lease offering for early summer. Included in his budget request is an allocation to hire additional staff to ensure that the lease terms covering natural gas development on state forest land are adhered to. I strongly support the addition of these staff. Additionally, leases for state forest land contain rigorous environmental standards that preclude surface disturbance in wild and natural areas, limit the number and location of wells, and generally cap all surface well pad disturbance at less than 2% of the acres actually leased. In exchange, Pennsylvania has received nearly $270 million in lease payments – money which has been used to educate our children, fund our hospitals and protect our natural resources.
"It is fair to discuss the rate and timing of a severance tax on natural gas. We should also be mindful that natural gas activity is already generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for state and local governments through lease and royalty payments, sales and use tax, and other economic impacts. However, we should not confuse the issue of paying a severance tax with ensuring compliance with our environmental laws. DCNR does not have enforcement powers over gas producers; that is the responsibility of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Last year, with bipartisan legislative support DEP increased its permitting fees substantially to add nearly 100 new enforcement staff. Recent actions by DEP have demonstrated that existing laws provide more than sufficient authority to deal with gas producers who violate our laws.
"It is DCNR’s job to manage our forests, and it is Secretary Quigley’s job to be honest with elected officials – and the public. If Secretary Quigley truly believes that the legislature and Governor are complicit in “a degradation of Penn’s Woods the likes of which is unprecedented” in our history, then he should not have given us false assurances during his confirmation process. The Senate thought Mr. Quigley was up to the task. Perhaps we were wrong."
NewsClip: State's Forests Could Pay High Price For Drilling

Governor Urges Pennsylvanians To Take Earth Day 40 Challenge

Noting that individual acts of conservation can add up to one powerful remedy, Gov. Rendell today called on all Pennsylvanians to take the Earth Day 40 Challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of the special day meant to raise environmental awareness.
"On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to action across the nation on behalf of the environment. People everywhere made promises to help protect our world, and since that time, observing Earth Day has become an international event," Gov. Rendell said. "While we've made great progress in a single generation, on this 40th anniversary we are asking people to not only make a promise for the environment, but also act to deliver on that promise.
"Ideas include buying locally grown food; driving less; exploring a new trail and leaving no trace; doing a home energy audit; and turning off lights and computers not in use at work. We offer 40 ways to make a world of difference during the 40 days from Earth Day through June 1," the Governor added.
The Earth Day 40 Challenge asks participants, either as individuals or groups, to select as many conservation actions as they'd like from a list of 40 actions -- or add some of their own ideas -- and submit a checklist of what they have accomplished by June 1. Details can be found at on the Earth Day 40 Challenge webpage.
Registrants who are not employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are eligible to receive coupons for Gander Mountain, REI and Eat 'N Park. After submitting their final checklists, they are entered into drawing for a free night's stay at the new Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park (individual challenge) or a free picnic pavilion rental at a state park of their choice (group challenge).
Earth Day 1970 was considered the birth of the modern environmental movement. It led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
There are several observations being held by state agencies to mark Earth Day this year, including:
-- Participants are pledging to take the Earth Day 40 Challenge at a Happy Earth Day Party at 1 p.m. in the atrium of Strawberry Square, hosted by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and others.
-- On April 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the winners of the 2010 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. The 16 deserving winners were selected based on their long-term commitments to protect Pennsylvania's environment and improve the quality of life for its citizens.
-- On April 23, Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger will participate in the groundbreaking for the Carlisle Area School District's 1 megawatt solar project which received a $1 million Pennsylvania Energy Redevelopment Authority grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project is the largest solar installation planned by a school district in the Commonwealth.
Fore more information, visit the Earth Day 40 Challenge webpage or call 717-772-9101.

Senate Passes Renewal Of Recycling Fee

The Senate gave final, unanimous approval to House Bill 961 (Buxton-D-Dauphin) which extends the $2/ton Recycling Fee through 2020.
The legislation also requires the transfer of $1.25 million annually to a new Used Tire Pile Remediation Program from the Recycling Fund through FY 2012-13.
The bill now returns to the House for a concurrence vote on Senate amendments.

Wednesday NewsClips

Rendell Convenes Special Session Of Legislature
Pittsburgh Protesters Call For Marcellus Freeze, Severance Tax
Marcellus Drillers To Meet With DEP
State Eyes Marcellus Shale Gas Drillers
Gas Drillers Called To Harrisburg
Residents Worry About Gas Drillers Contaminating Water
Marcellus Infrastructure Inadequate, Energy Exec Says
Mine Land Cleanup In North Scranton To Be Complete Soon
DEP Official Has Concerns Over Mine Land Reclamation Permit
PA Ends Funding Of Three Rivers Research Center
Fish On! Competitive High School Bass Fishing Programs Could Catch On
Paddlers To Gather For A Raft Record On World Environmental Day
Forum Airs Pressures Facing Lake Wallenpaupack
Volunteers Sought For Tree Planting Event Near Hamburg
For Earth Day, 7 New Rules To Live By
Earth Week Events At University Seek To Sustain Scranton
Op-Ed: The Case For Unearth Day
Lehigh Valley Gets $1 Million To Clean Brownfields
Nesting Hawks Star Again In Web Cam Shows
Game Commission Approves Split Rifle Deer Seasons
Unity Workshop Will Detail Solar Energy Project
Drake Well Museum Hosts Geothermal, Blacksmithing Programs
Column: Earth Day? So What?
Earth Week 1970: A Shift In The Wind
Well Testing Offered To residents Near Drilling Site
Wyoming Valley Authority Again Exploring Drilling Water Treatment
Bucknell Marcellus Shale Symposium Covers Wide Range Of Issues
Support Voiced For Natural Gas Production Tax
$4 Million Northumberland County Wind Farm Pact Done
House Committee OKs Moratorium On More State Forest Gas Leasing

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DEP Meets With Drilling Companies May 13 To Discuss Increasing Environmental Protection

Department of Environmental Secretary John Hanger announced today he has called a meeting of oil and gas companies with permits to drill in the Marcellus Shale to discuss what steps the industry must take to prevent gas migrating from wells and polluting Pennsylvania's natural resources, which can create a public safety risk.
The meeting will be held on May 13 in Harrisburg.
"The Department of Environmental Protection has a constitutional and statutory obligation to protect Pennsylvania's environment. That right is not for sale and is not subject to compromise," said Secretary Hanger.
"Drilling for natural gas beneath our soil can be done responsibly without putting the citizens of Pennsylvania, their property or livelihoods at risk," added Secretary Hanger. "I am urging the industry to come and discuss how to effectively and safely prevent gas migration, protect our natural resources, and ensure that what happened to the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, does not happen elsewhere."
Last week, DEP took further action against Cabot Oil & Gas Inc. after it failed to address migrating gas discovered in 2009 from drilling operations that contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in the region.
"Gas migration is unacceptable and the department is taking every precaution necessary to address this issue to protect our citizens and their communities," Secretary Hanger added. "In addition to increased oversight, the department has proposed tougher regulations to meet the growing demand and new drilling technologies including improving well construction standards to protect from gas migration."

Tuesday NewsClips

State's Forests Could Pay High Price For Drilling
EQT Corp. CEP Murry Gerber Backs Marcellus Severance Tax
Pittsburgh Protesters Call For Marcellus Freeze, Severance Tax
Cabot Gas Regulatory Run-Ins Won't Hurt Business Long Term
South Fayette Twp. Schedules Hearing On Gas Wells Zoning
Removal Of Lawrence County Dam Good for Campers, Fish
Lackawanna County Sets Up Shredding For Earth Day
Eco-Friendly Compost Facility Breaks Ground In Midstate
Preserving Farm One For The Generations
PEMA Meetings Seek Input On Disasters
Game Commission Not Ignoring Deer Management Audit
Trexler Environmental Center Opens
Editorial: Tougher Gas Drilling Regs Right Approach
Rendell Wants Tax Changes For Reserve Fund
New Western Wayne School On Schedule
Hess Oil Talks About Gas Plans In Wayne County

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 19 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The April 19 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Quigley Confirmed As DCNR Secretary, More Drilling On State Forest Land Likely

John Quigley was unanimously confirmed as the third Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, but not before hearing the Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee say more natural gas drilling on State Forest land may be needed to balance the budget. Click here for full story….

Friday NewsClips

State Told To Repay MCare Fund $800 Million
Democrats Running For Governor Promise A Greener PA
Gas Company Slapped With Drilling Ban And Fine
State Suspends Gas Driller Over Water Contamination
Polluted Wells Get Driller Banned
Luzerne Group Pleased By Fine On Gas Driller
Eminent Domain An Issue In Siting PA Gas Lines
Driller's Road Permit Pulled
Towns Get Legal Advice On Gas Issues
Little Paint Creek Next To Be Examined
Go Green At Earth Day Celebrations In Norristown
Student Cultivates Environmentalism
Scout Helps Wolves For Eagle Project
Pittsburgh's Free Tree Program Takes Root
Invasive Species Take Anglers' Bait
Officials Consider Rules For Solar Grid Use
Duquesne Light's Smart Meters Given Go-Ahead
NRC Issues Report On 2009 Radiation Leak At TMI
Audubon Society Brings Eagle To Presque Isle

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Earth Day: Let's Pick It Up PA Everyday Kicks Off On April 17

Let’s Pick It Up PA– Everyday kicks off Saturday, April 17, which coincides with the Great American Cleanup of PA.
This annual event, which runs until May 1st, allows groups registered with the Great American Cleanup of PA access to free landfill space with participating landfills.
“During the next two weeks” Shannon Reiter, President of PA CleanWays-Keep PA Beautiful explains, “Tens of thousands of volunteers across the state will rally their family, friends, and neighbors to do their part to make their communities a little bit better and for that, we thank them.”
The success the Great American Cleanup of PA has achieved over the years could not be possible without support from sponsoring agencies including the departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection and our business partners including the Pennsylvania Waste Industry Association, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Beverage Association, Keystone Sanitary Landfill, and the Steel Recycling Institute.
“The Great American Cleanup of PA is shining example of how much we can accomplish when nonprofits, business, government agencies, and community members work together.” Reiter explains, “We are on track to have another record year!”
All 67 counties in Pennsylvania were represented in the 2009 Great American Cleanup of PA.
There were 4,837 events with 171,940 volunteers. Volunteers collected 344,021 bags of trash or 6,880,420 pounds. They cleaned 16,498 miles of roads, railroad tracks, trails, waterways, and shorelines, and 6,986 acres of parks and/or wetlands. Additionally, volunteers planted 6,264 trees, bulbs, and plants in an effort to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.
The 2010 Great American Cleanup of PA began on March 1st and ends on May 30th. During this period, registered events can get free bags, gloves, and vests from PennDOT District offices.
Events consist of litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, beautification projects, special collections, and educational events. Events must be registered through the Great American Cleanup of PA website to get these free cleanup supplies.
Since the inception of this event in 2004, over 42 million pounds of litter and waste have been removed from Pennsylvania’s landscape, and tens of thousands of trees, bulbs, and flowers have been planted.
To find an event near you, or to find additional resources on the Great American Cleanup of PA website. Any additional questions can be answered by the Great American Cleanup of PA Hotline at 1-877-772-3673 ext. 113.

Growing Greener III Renewal, Refocusing Strategy To Be Unveiled At May 1 Summit

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds is pleased to announce the unveiling of the Growing Greener III Strategy. Andrew Heath, renew Growing Greener Coalition Leader, will provide the reauthorization strategy to attendees of “What’s Next for Water Quality in Pennsylvania?
The conference, to held on May 1, is a direct beneficiary of Growing Greener funds. Participants will not only learn about the reauthorization strategy; they will also learn about the Foundation’s available technical and capacity-building services.
Growing Greener is important to the Commonwealth, as its funding has impacted every county with the state. Its accomplishments were many, but despite the investment there is still work to be done.
Pennsylvania still struggles to meet Bay nutrient reduction mandates, reduce sedimentation and abandoned mine drainage in its waterways, and is still addressing a legacy of uncapped petroleum wells and scarred mine lands.
The watershed movement created by the first Growing Greener, is poised to assist Pennsylvania in meeting these challenges.
Accepting the environmental challenges means we also accept the interwoven economic challenges. There is no doubt that a healthier environment leads to a healthier economy. This is evident in countless economic studies.
Most recently and notably, "An Economic Benefit Analysis for Abandoned Mine Drainage Remediation in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed, Pennsylvania," outlined how abandoned mine reclamation in the West Branch could result in $204M in economic activity.
Unemployment statistics would drop as 5,892 jobs (both direct and indirect jobs) would result from West Branch restoration. Fifty-two percent of those jobs would be Green Collar jobs. Additionally, a cleaner environment means higher real-estate values—resulting in more tax revenues (as indicated in the study).
Our Commonwealth has more than 83,000 stream miles, and they have an associated economic benefit, based solely on fishing, of $3.7 billion annually, and an economic impact of $4.7 billion (Center for Rural Pennsylvania, 1998). Add in the overall economic benefit of hunting at $4.8 billion, and one quickly sees that our environment is closely tied to our economy (Center for Rural Pennsylvania, 1998).
Come out to hear Andrew’s strategy on how we build upon Growing Greener’s Legacy:
-- 33,700 family farm acres protected;
-- 42,300 threatened open space acres protected;
-- Enhanced 234 communities with park projects; and
-- Restored more than 1,600 abandoned mine-impacted acres.
Discuss strategy enhancement for work still to be done:
-- Restore 16,000 miles of Commonwealth water unfit for swimming;
-- Restore 189,000 mine scarred acres;
-- Restore 5,300 mine-impacted stream miles;
-- Protect an additional 2,000 family farms from sprawl; and
-- Enhance livability of the state’s aging communities.
Join us on May 1 at the Ramada Inn Conference Center, and learn how you and your organization can help Pennsylvania grow greener. You participation will shape our environmental vision for tomorrow, and impact future generations.
Send an email to Andrew Health at: for more information on renewing, refocusing the Growing Greener Program.

DEP Issues Cabot Oil & Gas Second Order To Correct Water Problems In Dimock

The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a second order to Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. requring the company to take extensive actions and help the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, affected by the company's drilling activities.
Under the consent order and agreement, Cabot must plug three wells within 40 days that are believed to be the source of migrating gas that has contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in the region. It must also install permanent treatment systems in those homes within 30 days.
Additionally, DEP Secretary John Hanger said his agency is immediately suspending its review of Cabot's pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide until it fulfills its obligations under the order issued today. Cabot also is barred from drilling any new wells for at least one year in the Dimock Township area.
The action follows Cabot's failure to abide by the terms of a November 2009 consent order and agreement with DEP which required the company to correct water supply problems over the 9 square miles impacted by their drilling operations.
"Cabot had every opportunity to correct these violations, but failed to do so. Instead, it chose to ignore its responsibility to safeguard the citizens of this community and to protect the natural resources there," said Secretary Hanger. "I have ordered that all of Cabot's permit applications for further drilling in any region of the state be put on-hold, indefinitely, until the region's homeowners receive their new water treatment systems, the fines are paid, and the wells are plugged.
"Gas migration is a serious issue that can have dire consequences to affected communities and we will not allow Pennsylvania's citizens to be put in harms way by companies that chose not to follow the law."
During recent inspections, DEP identified five additional defective Cabot gas wells and another home water supply that has been affected by gas migration, bringing to 14 the number of impacted water supplies in the Dimock area.
Secretary Hanger said DEP also will continue to investigate another 10 Cabot gas wells in the Dimock area over the next 85 days that could be sources of migrating gas and determine whether Cabot should be ordered to plug some or all of those wells.
The original November 2009 consent order and agreement directed Cabot to meet a March 31 deadline to fix defective cement and well casings on certain wells and to prevent the unpermitted natural gas discharge into groundwater that violated the state's Clean Streams Law and the Oil and Gas Act. The company did not meet this deadline, while the migrating gas continues to impact water supplies at homes in a nine-square-mile area near Carter Road.
As part of the order, Cabot has also paid a $240,000 fine to the Commonwealth, which has been deposited into the state's well-plugging account. It also must pay $30,000 per month beginning in May until DEP has determined that the company has met its obligations under the 2009 order.
"Companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale have the legal responsibility to design and construct their wells to keep all gas contained within the wells and to prevent gas from moving into fresh groundwater. These standards are not mere suggestions or recommendations," Secretary Hanger said. "Oil and gas companies doing business in Pennsylvania will follow the environmental rules and regulations put in place to protect citizens and our natural resources or face aggressive action by this department."
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. is headquartered in Houston, Texas with a mailing address in Pittsburgh.

April 19 Environmental Forum Features PA CleanWays, Center For Rural PA

The April 19 Environmental Issues Forum will feature presenters from PA CleanWays and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania talking about illegal dumping in the Commonwealth and how to cleanup and prevent it from happening.
Shannon Reiter, President of PA CleanWays and Jonathan Johnson, from the Center for Rural PA will be the guest speakers.
The Forum will start at noon in Room G-50 of the Irvis Building.
Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) serves as Chair of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee which sponsors the Forums. Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne) serves as Vice Chair.

Thursday NewsClips

PUC Might Oversee New Natural Gas Pipelines
Lake Township Has Drilling Concerns
Hampton Schools To Stage Recycle Rama
NE PA Cleanup Events Scheduled
York's First Citywide Litter Cleanup On Tap
Blue Crabs' Numbers Soar In Chesapeake Bay
Op-Ed: Act Now On Climate Change
Electric Blowing In The Wind?
Bucks County Officials Push Delaware Dredging Plan
Impervious Surface Ordinance Approved In Buckingham
Green Expo Features Ways To Help You Go Green
PECO Offers Appliance Makeover
Mehoopany Watershed To Get $350,000 In Grants
Celebrate 40th Anniversary Of Earth Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Add Your Organization To List Supporting A Renewal Of Refocused Growing Greener Program

Growing Greener is nearly out of money. Very few Growing Greener grants will be awarded in the coming years unless the state invests new money in the program. That is unlikely to happen unless the new governor is seriously committed to renewing Growing Greener.
Now is the time to show your commitment.
Add your organization to the growing list supporting a renewal of a refocused Growing Greener Program--
-- Call for the renewal of Pennsylvania's Growing Greener with a state investment of $200 million annually;
-- Establish a dedicated and sustainable source or sources of revenue to support the renewal of Growing Greener;
-- Ending the diversion of money from the state's Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener) to pay the debt on Growing Greener II bonds -- a diversion that is contrary to the Commonwealth's normal practice of paying bond debt service out of general funds.
-- Refocus Growing Greener on:
-- Restoring Our Water and Land - bringing streams back to life and protecting drinking water
Conserving Our Working Farms and Forests - securing our food and timber supplies
-- Saving Our Special Places - protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat, greenways, trails, hunting grounds, fishing areas and community open space, including local, county and state parks and forests.
-- Greening Our Built Communities - revitalizing waterfronts and parks, planting trees, creating neighborhood gardens, working with nature to reduce flooding and preserving history
-- Creating Outdoor Recreation Opportunities - walking, biking, hunting, fishing, playing sports, picnicking and enjoying the quiet and peace of nature.
Send an email to Andrew Health at: to sign up your group.
NewsClips: State's Growing Greener Program To Lose Funding
Local Governments Concerned About Funding As TMDLs Move Forward

John Quigley Confirmed As DCNR Secretary

John Quigley was confirmed unanimously today by the Senate as Secretary for Conservation and Natural Resources.

Wednesday NewsClips

Senate Confirmation Vote Nearing On DCNR Chief
Marcellus Drilling Impact On Water To Be Tested
Impact Of Drilling On Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Not Known
DEP: Cabot Contaminated Another Well
Preparations For Luzerne County's First Gas Wells
Lehman Township Says Yes To Gas Drilling
Lackawanna County Conservation District Rain Barrel Workshops
Former Westinghouse Building Going Green
Revised McKean Stormwater Plan To Be More Palatable
SEEDS Host Residential Wind Power Forum In Honesdale
Luzerne County Considers Levee Fee Hike
Feds Raid Dredge Project Office

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CBF: Comprehensive Study Of Marcellus Shale Drilling Impacts Needed

The Senior Scientist in Pennsylvania for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation today recommended state environmental and wildlife agencies conduct a comprehensive evaluation and assessment of the cumulative environmental and quality of life impacts from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in the state.
In testimony scheduled to be delivered before the House Democratic Policy Committee, Harry Campbell said, "Thirty-six of the 42 counties in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed are underlain by the Marcellus Shale formation. The current pace of permitting and drilling in the watershed is high, and the projected pace will only accelerate. In fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has projected over 5,000 drilling permits to be issued this year alone.
"Yet, a comprehensive evaluation and assessment of the cumulative environmental and quality of life impacts, including on recreation, of this level of drilling has not and is not being performed by any state agency(s) or commission(s).
"We believe that all of the Commonwealth’s resource agencies, including DEP, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, should be required to work collaboratively to fully assess the cumulative impacts of current and long term Marcellus Shale drilling on Pennsylvania’s natural resources.
"Such an approach is absolutely necessary because to date we have not seen the careful environmental analysis of even site-specific permits required for drilling operations that we believe is necessary to ensure that land, air, and water resources are protected. If a thoughtful analysis has not occurred at even the site level, we can not purport to begin to grasp the cumulative regional impacts."
Campbell pointed to incidents last August and September last year when DEP used an expedited permit process to issue three drilling permits, including one in a State Forest, that were subsequently appealed by CBF and withdrawn by the agency when it found numerous, serious technical deficiencies with the drilling plans.
CBF recommended DEP junk the expedited permit review process in favor of one that meets the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and gives the public and other agencies an opportunity to provide meaningful agency and public review. Specifically, they asked for--
-- Involvement of the County Conservation Districts early in the permit review process;
-- A requirement that the agency reviewing the permit application conduct a site visit as part of the permit review process;
-- Requirements for permit applicants to submit as part of the permit application complete and accurate erosion and sediment control plans, post-construction stormwater management plans, and detailed surveys of all waters of the Commonwealth in an adjacent to the permit area;
-- A requirement for the reviewing agency to conduct a full technical review of the entire permit application; and
-- A requirement for the reviewing agency to review and assess the probable cumulative impacts of all anticipated drilling within the same subwatershed, and require the permittee to undertake activities necessary to prevent adverse cumulative impacts.
CBF also recommended the state Oil and Gas Act be amended to prohibit any hydraulic fracturing activities within 100 feet of all waters of the Commonwealth, not just those depicted on topographic maps and away from a waterbody's 100-year floodplain.
Recent incidents in Susquehanna and Lycoming counties where flooding occurred on well drilling sites prompted this recommendation.
Campbell said CBF supports efforts by DEP to strengthen the discharge standard for Total Dissolved Solids which can come from drilling wastewater and other sources.
"The handling and safe disposal of wastewater from the hydrofracking process is another serious water quality challenge presented by Marcellus Shale development," Campbell said. "It can contain high levels of barium and strontium, heavy metals that can be toxic to aquatic life. Biocides, surfactants, and various toxic organic compounds, including BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylene, xylene), that are used as additives in the hydrofracking process are present in the wastewater.
'If not handled carefully and bled through the system at proper amounts, these compounds can impair or kill the microbes in biological treatment systems many municipal wastewater treatment operations are installing to meet Chesapeake Bay requirements. And if not fully or improperly treated, these compounds can profound toxicological impacts on aquatic resources under the current conditions.
"Even with increased recycling and reuse of this wastewater by the industry, the high amount of drilling for Marcellus shale contemplated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over the next several years and decades will mean that large volumes of this highly unusual and highly contaminated wastewater will have to be properly disposed.
"We believe that DEP should immediately begin analyzing the need for a permanent prohibition of surface water discharges of flowback wastewater and the development of adequate and protective nondischarge disposal alternatives, such as onsite deep well injection. Such an injection program would need to be robust and protective of surface and groundwater."
A copy of Campbell's testimony is available online.

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