Friday, July 29, 2011

Aug. 1 PA Environment Digest

August 1 PA Environment Digest now available. Click Here to print this Digest.

SRBC Hosts 2 Hearings On Natural Gas Regulation Changes

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is reminding the public of two hearings to be conducted on August 2 and August 4 to explain and receive public comments on proposed regulatory revisions, most of which regard the approval of natural gas projects, addition of new definitions, renewals of expiring approvals, restructuring of water source approvals and incorporation of certain policies and practices into regulation.
The two public hearings will be held on:
-- August 2, 10:00 a.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg, Pa.
-- August 4, 7:00 p.m., Holiday Inn Binghamton Downtown, 2-8 Hawley St., Binghamton, N.Y.
Persons planning to present oral testimony at one or both public hearings should provide prior notice, if possible, to Richard Cairo, General Counsel, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 1721 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17102, Phone: 717-238-0423, ext 306, Fax: 717-238-2436 or send email to:
The deadline for comments August 23. Click Here to read more….

Friday NewsClips

Commission Report Sets Stage For Drilling Fee Debate
EPA Proposes Limit To Gas Drilling Air Emissions
EPA Eyes Controls On Air Pollution From Drilling
EPA Proposes New Drilling Emission Rules
Group Sponsoring Drilling Tour In NE
Exeter Wants More Say Over Gas Drilling
Elected Officials Hash Out Drilling, Education
Springfield Moving Ahead With Drilling Ordinance
Neighbors File Lawsuit Challenging Pipeline OK
Marcellus Production Boosts EQT
WV Governor Weakened Executive Order On Drilling
Marylanders Waiting For Marcellus Shale Commission Study
Chrin Landfills Unveils Gas-To-Energy Plant
Tests Show Soil Dumped In Bangor Quarry Not Contaminated
Covanta Energy: Education Improvement Tax Credits Donated
Midstate Farmers Suffer Setbacks From Dry Weather
Teams Practice Mine Rescue Skills
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 29 Forecast As Air Quality Action Day In Susquehanna Valley

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an air quality action day for Friday, July 29 in the Susquehanna Valley. Click Here for more.

Passive Mine Drainage Treatment Operation/Maintenance Assistance Now Available

BioMost, Inc. and Stream Restoration Inc. are pleased to announce the availability of the Passive Treatment Operation and Maintenance Technical Assistance program supported by a partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.
This program, which is available free-of-charge to watershed groups, nonprofits, conservation districts, and state agencies, has been created to provide technical assistance related to the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation/replacement (OM&R) of passive systems for abandoned coal mine drainage treatment.
The goal is to empower watershed organizations by providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary to operate and maintain their passive systems and to assist when needed.
Services that can be provided include, but are not limited to:
-- Evaluate and troubleshoot maintenance and/or design issues related to treatment performance;
-- Resolve minor maintenance issues such as unplugging pipes/treatment media, cleaning spillways and ditches, etc. and performing minor upgrades such as replacing valves, installing baffle curtains, etc.;
-- Determine appropriate solutions to major maintenance/performance issues and assist watershed organizations with obtaining funding to address these major issues;
-- Assist watershed organizations in establishing a trust fund for long-term OM&R;
-- Evaluate passive systems for the potential of resource recovery to offset future OM&R costs;
-- Provide educational opportunities to enable organizations to acquire the skills needed to conduct operation and maintenance on their passive treatment systems; and
-- Provide educational opportunities for watershed groups and other organizations to learn how to use Datashed, a user-friendly, online, GIS-enabled database to assist with the management of water quality data and the operation and maintenance of passive systems.
In order to receive technical assistance, the organization must be a watershed group, nonprofit, conservation district, or state agency that maintains at least one passive treatment system. Members, personnel, etc from the requesting organization are strongly encouraged to participate/assist and learn (as appropriate) during site visits, O&M activities, water monitoring, etc.
To learn more, please contact Cliff Denholm at Stream Restoration Incorporated by phone 724-776-0161 or send email to:

Thursday NewsClips

SRBC Expands Water Withdrawal Ban On Drillers, Other Sources
Editorial: PA Must Adopt Gas Severance Tax
Commonwealth Foundation Outlines Environmental Frack Attack
Lawmakers Talk Environment In Whitemarsh
Lawmakers Weigh Gas Drilling Policy
Pipeliners Having Positive Impact In Wayne County
Air Pollution From Drilling To Be Studied
Coal-Fired Electricity Hits 30 Year Low, Replaced By Gas
Audubon Society Plans Marcellus Shale Curriculum
The Promise, Problems Of Shale Gas Part 1
Cabot Oil 2nd Quarter Profit Report
Casselman River Watershed Plan Meeting August 4
Perkasie Working To Stabilize Eroding Stream On Perkiomen Creek
Altoona Water Authority Selling Water For Gas Drilling
Chrin, PPL Unveil Landfill Gas Electric Plant
Dauphin County Begins Styrofoam Recycling Program
Plastics Recycling Company To Open In Lehigh Valley
DEP: Crawford Tires-To-Energy Plant Would Meet Standards
Protesters Demand Stricter Smog Regulations
Sustainable Agriculture Helps Mercyhurst Farm Thrive
It's Fresh, It's Local, It's Our Many Farmers Markets
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Natural Biodiversity: Become An Earth Friendly School, Grant Available

Natural Biodiversity is now offering assistance through the Earth Friendly School Initiative for schools in the counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset and Westmoreland.
Deadline to submit an application is 4:00 p.m. September 2.
Schools are often the leading consumers of energy and water, as well as the leading producers of waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
This assistance is available to help a school or school district “go green” by developing a Sustainability Plan with operating procedures and practices for the district’s buildings and grounds. The program will also include steps to become a Bronze Level National Wildlife Federation Eco-School, and will ensure students play an active role in greening their school.
The recipient will receive technical assistance from Natural Biodiversity along with other experienced professional partners in addressing issues such as energy and water conservation, recycling and waste reduction, local and worldwide environmental curriculum, school transportation, sustainable agriculture and food, and outdoor “green” space, along with assistance up to $1800 in project materials for project implementation.
The recipient will play a leadership role in providing a working model and demonstration site for their district and outside counterparts. A pre-requisite for selection is an agreement by the school to provide a June 2012 workshop for other school district personnel to attend, outlining the sustainability plan and implementation so other schools can learn how to “go green.”
The grant recipient will be notified around September 30. The assistance year is from October 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.
For more information, download the formal Request for Proposals and an Information Packet on the Earth Friendly School Initiative or call Kristina Strosnider at 814-534-0204.

Tuesday NewsClips

Lawmakers Differ On Shale Report Response
Drafts Shed Light On Commission Workings
Editorial: Gas Booms, State Doesn't
Editorial: On Marcellus Why Wrongful Taking Does Not Apply
Editorial: Behind-The-Curve Response On Gas Drilling
Pipeline Protest, New Marcellus Battleground?
Patrick Henderson: Corbett's Point Man On Drilling
Program Aims To Reduce Waste Flowing To Chesapeake Bay
Editorial: Air Pollution Ugly Affront On Environment
West Nile Virus Is Confirmed In Region
Op-Ed: On Wind And Wildlife
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Sunday, July 24, 2011

CBF: Marcellus Shale Commission Suggestions A Good First Step

By Matthew Ehrhart
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania represents the single largest potential environmental impact since coal mining. Thousands of wells, hundreds of miles of pipelines, rebuilt roads and hundreds of millions of gallons of water are used. This single industry will fundamentally change our landscape culturally, economically and environmentally.
Six years ago when drilling began to ramp up in the commonwealth, many of us were unaware of what it would mean. Today, we see firsthand the changes that have occurred in a region that contains many of our most pristine natural resources. We remain concerned because we realize that the changes happening to the landscape, to our waterways and to our communities are monumental.
I can’t say that 20 years from now when we look back on all of this that we will have done everything we could to protect our natural resources. But I do want to be able to say we tried, and I hope to be able to say we were successful.
It was for this reason that I asked for a seat on the governor’s Marcellus Advisory Commission.
As a member of the commission, I am cautiously optimistic about the outcomes. Our final report and recommendations provide a roadmap for the General Assembly and the Corbett administration to enact meaningful legislation, policy and regulation to protect our natural resources and communities from the many environmental concerns associated with natural gas drilling operations. It also addresses numerous safety and health-related issues, and outlines potential economic opportunities.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation believes that the report is an important first step. If implemented, these recommendations would lead to greater protections of our waterways, the environment and the health and safety of the residents of the commonwealth.
Some of the key recommendations that will lead to meaningful environmental protection include:
1. Providing for substantial improvements in erosion and sediment control and permitting. While oil and gas well sites have the potential to send large volumes of sediment into our streams and rivers, sites smaller than 5 acres are not permitted with the same scrutiny as other similar construction sites. Enforcing the same standards for the oil and gas industry as traditional construction sites will lessen the environmental threats of excess pollution in our waterways.
2. Bringing the County Conservation Districts back into the permitting and oversight process. County conservation districts fulfill the valuable role of providing in-the-field, hands-on information about local environmental issues. Re-establishing their role in the process will help guide the planning, permit review and inspection of drilling-related activities in the region.
3. Key setback provisions to protect our homes, drinking water wells, waterways and environmentally sensitive areas. To better protect water resources, the recommendations call for amending the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act to increase the minimum setback distance of a well pad from a spring, stream or body of water from 100 to 300 feet. This is increased to 500 feet if the waterway was designated as high quality or exceptional value. This will protect our waterways from the encroachment of a well-pad operation.
These are merely three of dozens of environmentally focused recommendations that were included in the report.
Not every one of our recommendations was adopted, but at the end of the day, we made significant progress toward protecting our rivers and streams, and on numerous other fronts.
However, there are significant issues that need to be addressed. Specifically, we need increased commitment to maintaining the integrity of the Oil and Gas Fund, and no additional surface impacts in our state forests. We will continue to advocate for those issues with the administration and the General Assembly.
Additionally, we still need to understand the long-term impacts drilling will have on our water quality, landscapes, air quality, communities and public health, and to make every effort to protect the commonwealth from adverse impacts.
A number of the commission’s recommendations address the need for understanding cumulative and future impacts. We strongly encourage the immediate initiation of the assessments and studies necessary to better understand those issues, so that we may address them in the most expedient manner.
The commission’s report provides an important tool for the general public, conservation groups, public health interests, local communities and other interested parties to advocate for advancing these issues and to hold our leaders accountable for taking the next steps of this process.
Ultimately, the report is a starting point for further discussions and provides a valuable set of agreed-upon recommendations to use as the basis for crafting legislation, regulation and policy. The CBF will be moving forward to tackle our priorities and many other Marcellus extraction-related issues, and we look forward to conversations with the administration and General Assembly about next steps.

Matthew Ehrhart, PA Office Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Sunday NewsClips

Patrick Henderson: Corbett's Point Man On Energy
Lowball Marcellus Shale Leases Haunt PA
Environment Key In New Drilling Report
Marcellus Gas Report Gets Mixed Responses
Shale Panel Relied Heavily On Stakeholders
Groundwater Fight Triggers Marcellus Fight In National Forest
When Drillers Get A's
School Districts See Little From Gas Boom
Natural Gas Use Recommendation Spurs Debate
Marcellus Debated At Mayor's Conference
Op-Ed: PA Transportation Investments Benefit Everyone
Proposals Urges Hunting Seasons Include Sundays
9th Anniversary: Work On Quecreek Memorial Continues
Quecreek Memories
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 24 Air Quality Action Day In Southeast PA

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an air quality action day for Sunday, July 24, in Southeast Pennsylvania. Click Here for more.

Saturday NewsClips

With Release Of Marcellus Report, Lawmakers Say It's Time To Act
Shale Panel Offers Blueprint For Future
Marcellus Shale Commission Report Offers Fuel For Debate
Marcellus Panel Recommends Impact Fee
Marcellus Shale Commission Issues Final Report
Marcellus Shale Report Released To Public
Environmental Groups Respond To Marcellus Commission Report
Reaction To Marcellus Report Pours In
5 Things You Need To Read In Marcellus Shale Report
Senator Says Forced Pooling For Natural Gas Won't Fly
Report Advocates Forced Pooling In PA
Corbett's No Tax Pledge Continues To Influence Impact Fee Debate
Fish Commission Could Make Millions Selling Water For Drilling
Officials: Worker Dies At Gas Drilling Site
PA Urged To Regulate Rural Gas Pipelines
Fish Commission Looking At Possible Violations By Pipeline Company
Gas Pipeline In Susquehanna County Hits A Snag
Steps To Reduce Inflow Successful At Pine Grove Sewage Plant
Illegal Dump Survey Unveiled In Bucks County
Blistering Heat Wave Stresses Power Grid
Ashland Mountain Windmill Project Nixed
Pleasant View Lake Homeowners To Conserve Water
Eagle Soars Again Over Western Erie County
Game Commission, KECA Parnter To Benefit Elk, Wildlife
DCNR, Glack Moshannon State Park Sportsmen's Club Accord Reached
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 25 PA Environment Digest Now Available

July 25 PA Environment Digest now available. Click Here to print this Digest.

Lt. Gov. Cawley: Marcellus Shale Commission Issues Final Report

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley Friday released the final report of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, taking the first step toward developing a comprehensive and strategic plan for responsible natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
The unanimously-adopted report contains 96 policy recommendations that include tougher regulations for drilling, doubling fines for violations, creating jobs in related industries and promoting the use of natural gas vehicles.
"Today, Pennsylvania is taking an important, first step toward creating tens of thousands of jobs and leading the nation toward energy independence and doing so in an environmentally responsible way," said Cawley. Click Here to read more...

July 23 Declared Air Quality Action Day In 4 Areas

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an air quality action day for Saturday, July 23, in 4 areas of Pennsylvania-- Liberty-Clairton, Susquehanna Valley, Southeast PA and Lehigh Valley. Click Here for more.

PJM, Members, Set New Record For Peak Power Use Thursday

PJM Interconnection, the grid operator that manages the high voltage transmission system in all or parts of 13 states and Washington, D.C., set a new record for peak power use Thursday at 5 p.m. by meeting the demand for 158,450 megawatts (MW) of power. One megawatt of power is enough to power about 1,000 homes.
The previous record for peak demand was set on August 2, 2006. When adjusted for the June 1, 2011, integration into PJM of FirstEnergy's American Transmission Systems, Inc. and Cleveland Public Power, the all-time peak would have been 158,258 MW.
"PJM and our members plan and prepare year-round to handle days like this to ensure a seamless power supply for the 58 million consumers in our region," said Michael Kormos, senior vice president – Operations. "Our efforts in fine-tuning how we forecast electricity demand and plan transmission improvements are paying big dividends for our system operations."
Thursday's demand for electricity was met without problems and generation supplies were adequate. Demand response was not called on to reduce load.
PJM issues its daily forecast on Twitter. Visit the PJM website for more information.
Note: At noon it was 102.5 degrees on my shady back porch in Harrisburg, PA. Yesterday's high at the same spot was 104.3 degrees at 4:30 p.m.

Enviro. Groups On Marcellus Commission Call Report Meaningful First Step, More Needed

The four environmental groups on the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission issued a formal statement in response to the release of the final report Friday saying they consider the report to be a meaningful first step toward improving Pennsylvania’s oversight of shale gas extraction, but additional improvements must be accomplished as the debate shifts to the General Assembly.
The groups included representatives of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy (Pennsylvania Chapter) and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The formal statement follows:
"Members of Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission last week reviewed and voted on almost one-hundred policy recommendations which will soon be presented to the Governor. Those recommendations will be considered in crafting future policy and regulatory guidance to assist the Commonwealth in how to best move forward and manage natural gas drilling operations. The final recommendations, the “Report of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission” will be presented to the Governor on July 22.
"As representatives of the four environmental organizations appointed to the Commission, we appreciated the opportunity to serve in this capacity and took our role seriously as we presented the group with real environmentally-focused concerns and scenarios.
"While we, collectively and individually, did not support every recommendation that will be contained in the report, we agree that a number of the recommendations—including several dealing with environmental issues—propose significant improvements in state law and policy intended to effect better management of the shale gas industry.
"The report will propose, among other things:
-- meaningful expansion of well site setbacks from surface waters and wetlands, water supplies, floodplains, and structures;
-- increased bonding and penalties for operators; enhanced public disclosure of well reports and enforcement activities;
-- mandated site inspection;
-- greater information gathering and analysis in the permitting process;
-- improved tracking and reporting of hydraulic fluids and wastewater;
-- measures designed to improve protection of vulnerable wildlife species and important ecological areas;
-- using revenue from an impact fee for community-based environmental, conservation and recreation projects;
-- improved siting of pipelines; and
-- greater restrictions to protect public resources.
"Many of these recommendations meet or exceed previously proposed changes to the Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Act identified by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
"In addition to these important environmental considerations, we also agree about the need for increased attention to the protection of human health. The report recommends a number of actions involving the Department of Public Health obtaining, evaluating, and reporting on public health findings. We encourage the General Assembly to work collaboratively with local groups to develop additional safeguards to protect the residents of the Commonwealth.
"We share concern, however, about several recommendations contained in the report. Among these concerns are:
-- potential threats to the integrity of the State’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund;
-- lack of clear environmental or surface impact reduction standards relating to the concept of pooling;
-- failure to specifically include Growing Greener or the Environmental Stewardship Fund in the impact fee provisions;
-- adding natural gas to Tier II of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards; and
-- no clear prohibition on surface impacts from future state forest land leasing.
"We consider the report to be a meaningful first step toward improving Pennsylvania’s oversight of shale gas extraction, but additional improvements must be accomplished as the debate shifts to the General Assembly. We will continue to promote action to address these concerns in coming months. It is imperative that the General Assembly and Governor adopt –no later than the end of this year – a meaningful and comprehensive reform of Pennsylvania’s management of this wide-scale industry. We look forward to working with the Administration, General Assembly, and all stakeholders on the future consideration of recommendations in the report and additional matters related to the management of shale gas development in Pennsylvania.
"The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission members from these groups included: Matthew J. Ehrhart, Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Anthony S. Bartolomeo, Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Ronald L. Ramsey, The Nature Conservancy- PA Chapter; and Cynthia Carrow, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy."

CBF Urges Passage Of Science-Based Measures To Protect Environment From Drilling

Matthew J. Ehrhart, Pennsylvania Executive Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and member of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, Friday issued the following statement on the final report of the Commission:
“The final report of the Commission, released today, features key environmental recommendations, as submitted collaboratively by the four environmental representatives on the Commission. The report should lead to heightened protection of our waterways and drinking water.
"Some of those key recommendations include:
-- Providing for substantial improvements in Erosion and Sediment Control and Permitting. While oil and gas well sites have the potential to send large volumes of sediment into our streams and rivers, sites less than five acres are not permitted through DEP according to other, similar, construction sites. Enforcing the same standards on these permits for the oil and gas industry as traditional construction sites will lessen the environmental threats of excess sediment in our waterways.
-- Bringing the County Conservation Districts back into the permitting and oversight process. County conservation districts fulfill a valuable role of providing in-the-field, hands-on information about local environmental issues. Re-establishing their role in the process will help guide the planning, permit review, and inspection of drilling related activities in their regions.
-- Key setback provisions to protect our homes, drinking water wells, waterways, and environmentally-sensitive areas. To better protect water resources, we recommended to mend the state Oil & Gas Act to increase the minimum setback distance of a well pad from a spring, stream, or water body from 100 feet to 300 feet; increased to 500 feet if waterway was designated as either High Quality or Exceptional Value. This will protect our waterways from the obvious encroachment of a well pad operation.
"Despite these, and many other significant environmental recommendations being included in the report, there are still significant environmental issues that remain to be addressed to our satisfaction, and CBF will continue to focus on those issues and publicly call for a cumulative impact study to better understand the long-term impacts drilling has on our natural resources.
“Ultimately, the work of the commission is a starting point for further discussions. I appreciate the opportunity to have served on the commission and look forward to working with the Administration and our General Assembly in taking these recommendations to the next step – well-crafted legislation, regulation, and policy initiatives that will ensure the safety and quality of our natural resources and protect the health of the residents of the Commonwealth.”
The recommendations made by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the PA Environmental Council in May are available online.

PA Environmental Council Calls For Special Session On Marcellus Shale Issues

In response to the release of the final report of the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission Friday, the PA Environmental Council called on Gov. Corbett to call a special session of the General Assembly to consider Marcellus Shale environmental protection legislation and adoption of an impact fee.
"Today Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission has released its recommendations for managing the state’s burgeoning natural gas industry," said PEC President Paul M. King. "The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is encouraged by the fact that there was consensus among Commission members on a majority of measures surrounding environmental protection and public health and safety. Many of these recommendations were originally proposed by PEC earlier this year and were introduced to the Commission by PEC chairman Tony Bartolomeo.
"With this consensus among industry and environmental community interests, as well as the DEP, on how to better regulate Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas industry, the time has come for the Governor and legislature to put this plan into action," said King. "The Pennsylvania Environmental Council calls on Governor Corbett to request a special session of the General Assembly for the express purpose of enacting legislation that will govern the development of natural gas from Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale."
Specifically, PEC said legislation amending the state Oil and Gas Act should:
-- Incorporate all applicable environmental protection recommendations outlined in the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s report.
-- Expand the permitting process to allow for the option of regional comprehensive planning, in advance of individual site approvals, as a means to reduce surface and cumulative impacts of regional importance.
-- Give DEP the authority to deny permits based on impacts to public resources; and expand the list of public resources to include additional sensitive ecological areas such as designated high quality or exceptional value waters.
-- Ensure that DEP has sufficient authority to quickly adapt policies and controls in response to new technologies or information that are still unknown.
"So now it’s time to act. And act fast. We’ve been discussing and debating Marcellus Shale legislation and regulations for more than two years. And with each passing day, the Department of Environmental Protection approves permit applications for new wells to be drilled somewhere in Pennsylvania," said King. "The people of Pennsylvania have waited patiently for their elected officials to lead on this issue. While PEC does not support every recommendation in the Commission Report, there are a significant number of recommendations that did achieve consensus and which deserve immediate attention.
"While the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report touches upon issues that go beyond the purview of the Oil & Gas Act and in themselves require immediate attention, we believe it is now clear that meaningful and effective legislative updates to the Act can be accomplished quickly this fall. The path has been made clear – we must act now."
The recommendations made by PEC and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in May are available online. For more on Marcellus Shale issues, visit PEC's Marcellus Shale webpage.

Lt. Gov. Cawley: Marcellus Shale Commission Issues Final Report

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley Friday released the final report of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, taking the first step toward developing a comprehensive and strategic plan for responsible natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
The unanimously-adopted report contains 96 policy recommendations that include tougher regulations for drilling, doubling fines for violations, creating jobs in related industries and promoting the use of natural gas vehicles.
"Today, Pennsylvania is taking an important, first step toward creating tens of thousands of jobs and leading the nation toward energy independence and doing so in an environmentally responsible way," said Cawley.
Some of the key recommendations the panel made to Governor Corbett include:
-- Increasing the distance between gas well sites and streams, private wells and public water systems;
-- Posting more information online for the public;
-- Tougher civil and criminal penalties for violators;
-- Assisting PA companies to do business with natural gas industry;
-- Training Pennsylvanians to work in the industry; and
-- Developing "Green Corridors" for vehicles powered by natural gas.
"This commission brought the industry, environmental groups and local government leaders together to the same table where we methodically and publicly worked out these comprehensive recommendations," said Cawley.
Gov. Corbett formed the 30-member commission in March, giving them 120 days to develop recommendations on all aspects of natural gas drilling. The commission held 21 public meetings, heard 60 expert presentations and reviewed more than 650 emails and letters from the public.
A copy of the report is available online.

DEP To Hold Chesapeake Bay Phase 2 Implementation Plan Summit August 3

The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a Summit on Chesapeake Bay Watershed Phase 2 Implementation Plan on August 3 at the Keystone Conference Center, Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The Summit will also be presented as a webinar. (formal notice)
Pennsylvania's Phase 1 Chesapeake Bay WIP outlined the State's plan to address nutrient and sediment loadings that drain to the Chesapeake Bay. The Phase 1 WIP was prepared following the United States Environmental Protection Agency's November 4, 2009, guidance that outlined their expectations for WIPs, and was revised based on public comments, workgroup input and comments received from the EPA.
Pennsylvania's Phase 1 Chesapeake Bay WIP was prepared to address the EPA's expectations for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that was published on December 29, 2010.
EPA is expected to announce on August 1, revised nutrient and sediment allocations for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The allocations are the result of the EPA's development of a revised Watershed Model.
Using the revised allocations, the EPA expects the states to develop a Phase 2 Chesapeake Bay WIP which will further subdivide the loads by local area (county). The EPA has established a December 1, 2011, deadline for submission of the Draft Phase 2 Chesapeake Bay WIP, and a March 30, 2012, deadline for the final plan.
EPA expects the Phase 2 Chesapeake Bay WIP to contain greater detail about the first stage of implementation, which will last from when the EPA established the Chesapeake Bay TMDL in December 2010 until 2017.
Webinar Instructions
For those individuals who cannot attend in person, the Penn State Cooperative Extension will host a broadcast of the Summit through an online webinar. To attend by means of webinar follow these guidelines:
-- Use a computer with high speed Internet access (not dial up). For persons who do not have access to high speed Internet at home or office, consider visiting the local library or contact the county's Conservation District Office or Extension Office.
-- Obtain a Friends of Penn State account. Interested persons can sign up for an FPS account by going to the webinar webpage. At this location, individuals will be directed to a site to register for the free FPS account. Record the user name and password as it will be required for each entry to the webinar location.
-- A few minutes prior to the start time on August 3 go to the webinar webpage and type in the user ID and password. This will lead to the meeting ''web'' location. To ensure that audio is working, go to the ''Meeting'' tab at the top left and choose ''Manage My Settings.'' Then choose ''Audio Setup Wizard'' and test the sound input by clicking on ''Test.''
-- There is no need to have a microphone for this session. Individuals who have questions can type them into the chat box and the program moderator will ensure that the speakers receive them.
This webinar will be recorded and following the Summit can be accessed by going to the Extension archive webpage.
For further information contact Karen Price, DEP Water Planning Office, P. O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063, 717-772-4785 or send email to:
Visit DEP's Chesapeake Bay Program webpage for more information on Pennsylvania's initiatives.

Friday NewsClips

Value Of Governor's Marcellus Shale Report Debatable
Scarnati Pours Cold Water On Corbett's Marcellus Commission
Scarnati Says Forced Pooling In Marcellus Shale A Non-Starter
Marcellus Gas Impact Fee Would Aid Localities
Editorial: No Driver Fee Hike Until Drillers Taxed
Cheaper Natural Gas Could Fuel Policy Shift
Column: Drilling Brings Fear Of Hitting Rock Bottom
Column: A Glimpse At Life In The Gaslands
Clean Air Group Sues Shale Drilling Operation
Drilling Ordinance Vote Delayed Again In Murrysville
Appraiser Defends Gas Metering Site
Lancaster Dairy Farm Treats Waste On-Site To Help Chesapeake Bay
Op-Ed: Brubaker Bill Would Improve Water Quality, Reduce Run-Off
Op-Ed: Curb Mercury Emissions
Editorial: Pennsylvania's Toxic Air
Computers Back In Operation At DEP After Shutdown
Computer Problem At DEP Brings Workers to Standstill
Mine Rescue Team Sharpens Skills With Competition
Rail Trail Group Interested In Stewartstown Rail Land
Presque Isle Advisory Committee Visits Erie Bluffs
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 22 Declared Air Quality Action Day Across PA

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an air quality action day for Friday, July 22, in all areas of Pennsylvania. Click Here for more.

Computers Back In Operation At DEP After Shutdown

Computers are back and operating at the state Department of Environmental Protection after a problem caused by a contractor error during scheduled maintenance forced workers to stay off their computers throughout the morning.

DEP Hit With Significant Computer Problems

The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Workers at the state Department of Environmental Protection were greeted this morning with a warning not to turn on their computers. Those who got that word after they had already logged on found whatever was on their hard drives seemingly disappear, a worker said.
NewsClip: Computer Problem At DEP Brings Workers To Virtual Standstill

Penn State: New Farm Mapping Website To Aid In Nutrient Management

Pennsylvania farmers looking to meet the state's regulatory requirements for erosion and sediment control and nutrient-management planning can find help at PaOneStop, an online service from Penn State Extension that enables farmers to produce required maps of their farms.
Developed in cooperation with the State Conservation Commission, the state departments of agriculture and environmental protection, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the National Consortium for Rural Innovations in America, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service, the service is a suite of online tools being developed for nutrient management and erosion and sedimentation-control planning.
The first module of PaOneStop, currently available for use, enables farmers to create maps required for completion of nutrient balance sheets for imported manure, and nutrient- management plans as required by Pennsylvania's Nutrient Management Act. Additional modules, now under development, will provide conservation tools to help farmers develop or update their own erosion and sedimentation plans.
"Recently, state environmental regulations have been revised, increasing the number of Pennsylvania farmers who need to complete nutrient-management plans, erosion and sedimentation plans, and nutrient balance sheets for manure transfers," said Rick Day, associate professor of soil science and environmental information systems.
"State regulations require completion of nutrient balance sheets for manure transfers to protect water quality," he said. "The state conservation commission estimates that more than 50,000 nutrient balance sheets are completed annually.
"The balance sheets require maps as part of the submission process, and that's difficult for most farmers -- the maps and plans should include field boundaries, acreages, stream and water features, wells, application setbacks and buffers, soils, aerial images and more."
PaOneStop users can access color aerial images of their farm; outline boundaries and calculate acreages of their fields; access Natural Resource Conservation Service soils maps and data for fields; and record such farm features as wells, sinkholes, ponds and streams. They also can access topographic maps, determine manure setbacks and buffers, and produce hardcopy maps needed for regulatory compliance.
There is no charge for use of PaOneStop and no special software required. All farm information entered into the system is kept confidential and consultants or managers of multiple farms can map as many farms as needed under a single log-in.
A PaOneStop module is currently under development to help farmers develop erosion and sedimentation plans, which are meant to minimize soil loss and thereby protect rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The new module will estimate annual soil loss for each field under its current management system and provide tools to evaluate alternative management practices if soil losses are too high.
It will use many of the mapping features in the current system, so fields only need to be mapped once.
An erosion and sedimentation plan, Day explained, is like a "mini" conservation plan and is required in the Department of Environmental Protection's Chapter 102 requirements. He says of Pennsylvania's approximately 59,000 farms, up to 40,000 lack current plans in compliance with DEP's Chapter 102 regulation.
"The current rate of plan development is much too slow, partially because farmers lack tools to develop and modify their own erosion and sedimentation plans," he said. "PaOneStop will increase the rate of plan development and bring more farms into regulatory compliance."
For many farmers, current management systems may be acceptable and no changes will be required. However, current regulations state that an erosion and sedimentation plan must be completed even if current management is acceptable, so this procedure must be done for all farms to be legally compliant with regulations.
Penn State Extension will be conducting training sessions on the use of PaOneStop in the near future.
"Currently there are more than 350 users of the system who have mapped more than 1,000 different farms," Day said. "We also will have numerous training events coming up."
To get started, visit the PaOneStop website, create a user name and password and start mapping. For online assistance or additional information, call toll-free 1-877-722-4724, or send email to Rick Day at: or Bob Neiderer at:

Thursday NewsClips

Stray Marcellus Gas Plagues Wells
Editorial: Shale Drillers, Pay Impact Fees
Cancer Patients' Urine Suspected In Wissahickon Iodine-131 Levels
Editorial: Shine Some Light On Corbett's Gas Drilling Panel
Fracking At Drinking Water Source For 80,000 Raises Alarms
Report: Marcellus Gas Production Could Triple By 2020
Marcellus Study Shows More Growth, Critics Question Results
Shale Jobs Windfall Debated
Industry Study: Marcellus Economic Impact Dramatic
Expert: Gas Facility Would Pose Little Risk To Dallas Twp
Nutrient Cleaning Technology Getting Test In Lancaster
Study Knocks Pollution From PA Coal, Oil Power Plants
PA Marks High Again In Power Plant Pollution
Solar Power Project Dedicated
Volunteers Help Presque Isle Gardens Grow
Quecreek Mine Rescue Anniversary: Museum To Open (Video)
Work Being Done On Quecreek Visitors Center
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 21 Declared Air Quality Action Day In All Areas Of PA

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an air quality action day for Thursday, July 21, in all areas of Pennsylvania. Click Here for more.

9th Anniversary Of The Quecreek Mine Rescue To Be Remembered On July 23

On July 23 the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation will host the 9th Anniversary of the July 2002 Quecreek Mine Rescue at the rescue site on the Arnold Farm in Somerset County beginning at 10:00 a.m.
This year Keith Newlin from the Families of Flight 93, Inc. will be attending to accept a flag from the special flag raising ceremony in honor of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
“The rescue was a miracle, there’s no other way to describe it,” said Arnold. “People from all over the world have come to learn about the rescue, what coal mining is all about and how everyone worked together to save the lives of the miners.”
On July 24, 2002 miners broke through into an abandoned, water-filled mine flooding the Quecreek Mine with over 150 million gallons of water. Nine miners scrambled to safety, but nine were trapped in a pocket of air in the dark, cold, water filled mine. They were rescued four days later through the combined efforts of state and federal mine rescue agencies and hundreds of workers and volunteers.
“The first year after the rescue we were overwhelmed by all the interest—we just ran a dairy farm before all this,” said Arnold. “We are grateful for all the help we receive from the public, our community and many public and private agencies to present the site to the public.”
Now more than 10,000 visitors a year visit the rescue site looking to learn more about the "Quecreek Miracle." The site became part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Historical Marker Program in 2006.
Contact the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation or make a donation by writing: 151 Haupt Road, Somerset, PA 15501, calling 814-445-4876 or by visiting
For more background, visit the DEP Quecreek Mine Rescue webpage.

Marcellus Industry Study: PA Could Lead Nation In Natural Gas Production By 2020

At current rates, the Marcellus Shale formation could become the leading supplier of natural gas in the United States within a decade, according to an analysis released today entitled “The Pennsylvania Marcellus Natural Gas Industry: Status, Economic Impact, and Future Potential.”
Taken in tandem with projections released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Energy, the report shows that the Pennsylvania Marcellus could produce approximately a quarter of America’s natural gas by 2020.
Conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and commissioned by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the new study analyzes production data and industry investments, as well as the overall economic impact natural gas development from the Marcellus Shale is having Pennsylvania.
“Just a few years ago, Pennsylvania relied heavily on other states for natural gas to fuel our economy. That dependence is no longer, though, as Pennsylvania is now a net natural gas exporting state,” said Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the MSC. “And soon, the natural gas produced in Pennsylvania can help meet a quarter of our nation’s demands. This is a truly remarkable milestone; one made possible by the dedicated efforts of the men and women who work each day to responsibly develop the Marcellus’ clean-burning natural gas resources.”
The study projects that Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale has the potential to produce 17.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (6.4 trillion cubic feet annually) – representing nearly one-quarter of America’s annual natural gas production in 2020, according to U.S. Department of Energy estimates.
In 2011, Pennsylvania could produce nearly 3.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, making the Commonwealth a net exporter of natural gas right now. This development could support more than 156,000 jobs and generate $12.8 billion in economic activity in Pennsylvania alone.
By 2020, according to the study, Marcellus development could support 256,420 jobs and generate $20 billion in added value to Pennsylvania’s economy.
“The responsible development of the Marcellus Shale’s abundant resources continues to fundamentally reshape regional and global energy markets,” said Ray Walker, MSC chairman and senior vice president of Range Resources. “The volume of natural gas that our industry is producing here in Pennsylvania, with a limited number of wells on line, is something that no one could have predicted a decade ago. And while this development is creating tens of thousands of jobs, we understand that our greatest responsibility is continued environmental stewardship, transparency and providing a safe workplace for our employees and the community.”
In addition to analyzing the broad economic impacts of Marcellus development, the study also evaluates the effect shale gas production is having on energy costs for Pennsylvania consumers. The researchers determined that natural gas prices dropped 12.6 percent in 2010 – attributed largely to expanded Marcellus development – saving consumers in Pennsylvania nearly $633 million on their utility bills.
“Large-scale development of the Marcellus is reshaping the economic landscape of Pennsylvania,” concluded Drs. Timothy J. Considine, Robert Watson, and Seth Blumsack, authors of the study. “Strategies and policies that encourage growth of the Marcellus gas industry will generate significant economic and environmental benefits for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, transforming Pennsylvania to a net natural gas exporter while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars in additional output, income, and tax revenues.”
Key Findings
-- During 2010, the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale natural gas industry triggered $11.2 billion in economic activity, generated $1.1 billion in state and local taxes, and supported nearly 140,000 jobs.
-- The Pennsylvania Marcellus industry is projected to generate more than $12.8 billion in economic activity in 2011, leading to more than $1.2 billion in state and local taxes and supporting more than 156,000 jobs.
-- As a result of Pennsylvania Marcellus production, residential electricity and natural gas bills across the Commonwealth are $245.1 million lower [$217.4 million from lower natural gas bills and another $27.7 million from lower electricity bills].
-- In 2010 alone, natural gas companies paid over $1.6 billion in lease and bonus payments to Pennsylvania landowners.
-- By 2015, Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale could produce more than 12 billion cubic feet per day, second only to Texas in natural gas production.
-- Marcellus Shale natural gas production could reach 17 billion cubic feet per day in 2020, potentially allowing the Marcellus to become the single largest producing gas field in the United States, if real natural gas prices do not fall significantly.
The complete study is available online. An executive summary of the study is also available.

Wednesday NewsClips

Low Stream Flows Put Gas Drilling Water Withdrawals On Hold
SRBC Suspends Drilling Water Withdrawal Permits
Drought Comes To Marcellus
State To Craft Gas Drilling Fee Policy
Helpful Impact Fee Hints From Norquist's Group
McKeesport Authority Sued To Stop Accepting Drilling Water
Lawsuit Targets Wastewater From Drilling
Editorial: Marcellus Shale, Responsible Benefits
Editorial: No Forced Pooling
Drillers Sue To Operate In Allegheny National Forest
Oil, Gas Industry Wants Water Ban Overturned
New Penn State Report Even More Bullish On Marcellus Shale
Marcellus Industry To Release New Economic Report
Seeking A Gas Pipeline Route Thru Pike County
Williams, Dallas Twp Reach Stalemate In Pipeline, Metering Station
Pittsburgh Drilling Ban May Be On November Ballot
Editorial: Watch How Pipeline Grows
Op-Ed: Fracking Moratorium Protects Environment
Op-Ed: Don't Halt Fracking While Rules Discussed
Range Expects To Replace Barnett Shale Production
Rep. Baker Opens Towanda Office In Support Of Marcellus Shale
Campaign To Protect Schuylkill River From Storm Drainage
Countryside Conservancy: An Eye To The Future
Column: Air Products Solar Farm Math Does Not Add Up
Liberty Tire Recycling Sponsors Clinton, Lycoming Cleanups
Haycock Looking To Go Wild
Wright's Fallingwater Among 11 Proposed For Honor
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

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