Thursday, May 31, 2012

Deadline Extended For Northeast Environmental Partners Award Nominations

The Northeast Environmental Partners are now accepting nominations for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards, the Thomas P. Shelburne Award and the 1st Annual Emerging Environmental Leader Award.  The deadline for nominations has been extended until June 15.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards are presented annually to recognize the achievements of individuals or organizations that, through partnerships, have achieved excellence in environmental protection or conservation.
The Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award. This award, in its eighteenth year, was established by the NE PA Environmental Partners to recognize an individual who stands out for his or her long-term commitment to environmental quality through inspirational leadership, dedication and commitment to partnering.
This year will also focus on the newly added 1st Annual Emerging Leader Award, which will be a student who demonstrates young environmental leadership, creativity and dedication to inspire others to adopt similar actions to protect the environment.
"We take great pride in Northeastern Pennsylvania and want to recognize the people making positive impacts to our communities by partnering with others," said Meg Welker, manager of education and public outreach at PPL and dinner planning committee chairperson. “Please consider nominating some of those unsung heroes.”
The Awards are open to any group, individual, company, program, or organization whose work has had a positive impact on the environment in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s following counties: Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.
During the past 21 years, over 150 individuals and groups involved in agriculture, forestry, business, industry, education, science, environmental awareness, community service, and government have been honored.
Nominations may be made by a person or persons involved in the activity, or by a third party.  Nomination forms are available online.
Award presentations will be made during the Environmental Partnership Awards Dinner to be held on October 25, at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, Wilkes-Barre Pa.
The Northeast Environmental Partners  include: Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University.

DEP Invites Schools In 15 Central PA Counties To Join Energy Saving Program

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced the start of a free program to help schools in 15 Southcentral Pennsylvania counties better manage their energy and water usage and costs while preventing pollution.
DEP’s Southcentral region includes: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York counties.
“This innovative program gives schools the tools to implement resource conservation strategies that save energy, reduce pollution and measure their effectiveness on a real-time basis,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Schools already play a big role in making Pennsylvania a healthier, cleaner place to live and DEP is happy to provide this opportunity to do even more.”
The program will help schools establish Energy Star portfolio accounts, which can help track a school’s utility costs and usage and compare it to neighboring schools and the national average. Over time, this data analysis has the potential to find possible billing errors and identify opportunities for savings.
Training will be offered to school district personnel on how to manage their portfolio accounts.
Other program features include a monthly email sent to school districts, which will include custom reports of their buildings’ performance; notice of upcoming conservation or funding opportunities; and details about neighboring schools’ achievements or problems they have encountered.
Each school district in DEP’s Southcentral region will receive a letter about this program that will include an enrollment form. The form should be updated annually and re-submitted to DEP.
For more information on this program, call 717-705-4703.

Thursday NewsClips

GOP Legislative Leaders Project United Budget Front
GOP Legislative Leaders Mull State Budget
Editorial: Not The Time To Stop Land Preservation
Column: Conservationist Cries Foul Over Budget Cuts
Shale Gas Researcher Is Drawing Criticism
Rex Moves Into PA Utica, Chesapeake An Acquisition Target?
Range Accused Of Providing Misleading Data To PA Families
Propane-Fueled Taxis On Way To Pittsburgh Streets
Berwick Nuclear Reactor Shut Down For Inspection
Column: Better Lancaster? Bicycles Can Take Us There
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 28 PA Environment Digest Now Available

May 28 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this entire Digest.

Luzerne County High School Wins 2012 PA State Envirothon

MMI Preparatory School located in Luzerne County was the winner of the 2012 PA State Envirothon held at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on May 22 and 23.  The school scored  537 points of a possible 600.
            Rounding out the top 10 winners' spots were:
-- Second Place – Penncrest High School, Delaware County, with a score of 535;
-- Third Place – Homeschoolers, York County, with a score of 527;
-- Fourth Place – Blue Mountain High School, Schuylkill County, with a score of 520.6;
-- Fifth Place – Carmichaels Area High School, Greene County, with a score of 497.3;
-- Sixth Place – Bald Eagle Area High School, Centre County, with a score of 486.6;
-- Seventh Place – United Jr. Sr. High School, Indiana County, with a score of 444.3;
-- Eighth Place – Northern Cambria County High School, Cambria County, with a score of 442.6;
-- Ninth Place – Eastern Lebanon County High School, Lebanon County, with a score of 441.6; and
-- Tenth Place – Downingtown East High School, Chester County, with a score of 438.
            The Pennsylvania Envirothon awarded scholarships to the first, second, and third place teams.  The scholarships were sponsored by EXCO Resources (PA), PPL Corporation and Pennsylvania Envirothon.  Each of the top ten teams received a plaque and other prizes.
            High school students from 62 Pennsylvania counties participated in this year’s event.
            At the Envirothon, five-member teams participate in a series of field-oriented tests that focus on five topic areas – soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and environmental issues.  The 2012 current environmental issue focused on Nonpoint Source Pollution and Low Impact Technology.  
            The teams also prepare and deliver oral presentations to panels of judges who evaluate each team on its problem-solving capabilities, oral presentation skills and recommendations to help solve the specific environmental challenge, which relates to the current environmental issue.
            Teams participating represent the best and the brightest of the thousands of high school teens who have competed in county Envirothon competitions sponsored by conservation districts across the state. 
            At the state level, the Envirothon is sponsored by Pennsylvania’s sixty-six conservation districts, the State Conservation Commission and the PA Association of Conservation Districts.  
            The program is managed by a board of directors representing those sponsors.  Technical expertise is provided by the following agency partners: Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Game Commission, Fish and Boat Commission and the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service.  
            Sponsors of the 2012 Envirothon are EXCO Resources (PA), The Hershey Company, American Honda Foundation, PPL Corporation, Air Products Foundation, Bayer HealthCare, Canon Envirothon, PA Trappers Association, PA Outdoor Writers Association, Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, State Conservation Commission and the PA Growing Greener Program. 
            The Hershey Company, Dwight Lewis Lumber, Lewis Lumber Products and Cargill are “Corporate Station Sponsors.”
            The 2021 PA Envirothon champions will represent the Commonwealth at the 25th Canon Envirothon North American competition planned for July 22 – 27 at Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. 
            Pennsylvania has won the North American event in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2009.
            More than 45 states, eight Canadian provinces, and one Canadian territory have initiated Envirothon contests based on the program that was originally developed by Pennsylvania’s conservation districts.
            For more information, visit the PA Envirothon website program, contact your county conservation district or contact the Pennsylvania Envirothon by phone 814-623-7900 ext. 111 or send email to:

Friday NewsClips

Methane Gas Found In 3 Wells, Two Streams
DEP Issues Statement On Bradford County Methane Migration
Powdermill Compiles List Of PA Shale Wells
Injection Well Construction Booms Despite Drilling Water Recycling
Japanese Knotweed Overtaking Kiski River's Shoreline
Fish For Free On Memorial Day In PA
Natural Lands Trust Breaks Ground On Lenfest Center
Hiking Trail Bridge Replacement Focuses On Tourism
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Survey Finds Strong Support For Nuclear Energy In PA

The Pennsylvania Energy Alliance Thursday released the results of a new statewide survey that shows a strong majority of Pennsylvanians continue to support the use of nuclear energy.
            The poll of 700 Pennsylvania residents found that nearly 9 of 10 respondents believe the use of nuclear power is an important part of meeting the United States’ electricity needs.
            “It’s quite apparent that people recognize the benefits of nuclear power as a clean, safe and reliable source of energy,” said PA Energy Alliance Executive Director Melissa Grimm. “The state needs to have a reliable source of electricity, especially now with summer approaching and our energy demands increasing.”
            Other notable results from the Susquehanna Polling & Research poll include:
-- 79 percent of respondents agree that nuclear is a reliable source of energy
-- 71 percent of respondents support allowing existing nuclear plants to extend their operating licenses
-- 65 percent agree that nuclear power is a safe method of generating electricity
-- 65 percent support the construction of new nuclear power plants in the state
            “This survey clearly shows Pennsylvania’s support for nuclear power and its importance to the future energy needs of the Commonwealth,” said James Lee from Susquehanna Polling & Research. “It’s also interesting to note that for those people who told us they live in close proximity to one of the five nuclear generating facilities in Pennsylvania, 72-percent had a favorable opinion of that facility. The poll tells us that these plants are thought of as 'good neighbors' in their communities."
            A copy of the poll results are available online.

Thursday NewsClips

Corbett To Face GOP's Tough Love
Fines Against Drillers In PA Down 70 Percent
Groups Criticizes DEP Over Shale Drilling Violations
PA Considers Leasing University, Prison Land For Drilling
Marcellus Institute Offers Summer Camp At Mansfield
Op-Ed: Petition Is First Of Many Steps To Help Susquehanna
Phipps Previews Greenest Building
New Building In Phipps Greenest Of Its Kind
Conservancy Acquires Creek Bank, Erie Lakefront
Nature Trails Open In Highspire, Lykens, Millersburg
June Celebration Of Carlisle LeTort Spring Trail Upgrades
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Former DEP Officials Support Putting Susquehanna, Juniata Rivers On Impaired Waters List

On May 15, 22 retired environmental professionals from the Department of Environmental Protection wrote to current DEP Secretary Michael Krancer asking his agency to reverse its decision to not list the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers on the 2012 Section 303(d) impaired waters list.  The letter follows--
Dear Secretary Krancer:
I represent a group of 22 retired DEP professionals with over 600 years of combined service in managing, establishing standards, permitting, monitoring, and enforcing in the Commonwealth's water quality and pollution control programs. Our names are included on the attached list. Our careers spanned from the 1950s to the recent past. Most of the Commonwealth's water quality related laws, regulations and policies were developed and implemented on our watch.  We believe in the goals of improving and maintaining water quality for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.
            We are writing to express our concern and submit comments regarding DEP's proposed 2012 Section 303 (d) list. Specifically, we are concerned about environmental conditions that exist in the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers, particularly regarding the smallmouth bass population and DEP's refusal to acknowledge that these waters are impaired. Our concerns are similar to those of PA Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway, which he has recently conveyed to you.
            Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act requires that the states periodically provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a list of impaired and threatened waters and their cause, if identified. A number of us were involved in preparing this list during our years of employment. We maintain it is not necessary to know the cause or source of the impairment prior to listing. According to EPA's most recent fact sheet, there are thousands of waters nationwide where the causes or sources are not yet identified. In fact, DEP's proposed 2012 list of impaired and threatened waters also includes 3,482 miles of streams and rivers that are classified by DEP as impaired without knowing the sources, and 1,140 miles of streams and rivers that are classified by DEP as impaired by unknown causes.  The Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers fit several of EPA’s listing categories. These include failure to meet a designated use (Warm Water Fishes), violations of the dissolved oxygen criteria, and presence of noxious weeds. All of these conditions are well documented from Sunbury to the Holtwood Dam in the Susquehanna River basin. A warm water fishes use is defined as maintenance and propagation of fish species and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a warm water habitat (25 PA Code Chapter 93).  The evidence is clear that the water quality of the rivers no longer supports this use. 
            We further believe that these rivers meet the following criteria for high priority impaired and threatened designation: Risk to human health and aquatic life; Degree of public interest and support; Recreational, economic and aesthetic importance; and Vulnerability and fragility as an aquatic habitat.
            Listing the rivers as high priority impaired and threatened will compel DEP to develop a TMDL in two years (40 CFR 130.7(d)(1)).  This will be a first step toward bringing the rivers back to a healthy condition.
            Frankly, we do not understand DEP's reluctance to list the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers as impaired. It is not necessary to know the reason for the impairment. Listing would focus attention and funding on the issue. This, in turn, will help to resolve the problem.
            These rivers were once a valuable water supply, recreational, and economic resource. They were recognized as a world class smallmouth bass fishery. Many of our group enjoyed what they had to offer. We would like to enjoy these attributes again.
            As former DEP scientists, engineers and attorneys we take pride in what we have accomplished. We are also willing to volunteer our time and experience to assist DEP in restoring and preserving this significant resource.


-- Stuart Gansell, PE, Director, Bureau of Watershed Management (Ret), 35 years
-- Robert Agnew, Chief, Environmental Analysis and Support, Bur. of Mining and Reclamation, 34 years
-- Daniel L. Alters, Environmental Program Manager, Williamsport Regional Office, 35 years
-- Charles D. Ferree, Jr., Sewage Planning Supervisor, Water Management Program 32 years
-- Andrew E. Friedrich, Chief, Division of Mine Hazards, Bur. of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, 35 years
-- Robert P. Ging, Jr., Esq.  Assistant Attorney General, 4 years
-- Steve R. Jones, Chief, Division of Mine Hazards, Bur. of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, 26 years
-- Michael J. Klimkos, Water Pollution Biologist II, 32 Years
-- Susan M. Klimkos, Clerical Supervisor, 15 years
-- Milt Lauch, Chief, Division of Wastewater Management, Bureau of Water Quality Management, 33 years
-- Walter A. Lyon Pa. Water Quality Administrator, 22 years
-- John Meehan, Mining Program Manager, 33 years
-- Leon M. Oberdick Jr, Water Management Program Manager, Southcentral Regional Office, 35 years
-- Kenneth Okorn, Chief – Compliance and Monitoring, Bureau of Water Quality Management, 32 years
-- Curtis Pieper, Executive Assistant, Office of Mineral Resources Management, 20 years
-- Robert J. Schott,  BS/MS, Water Pollution Biologist Supervisor, Water Management Program, 32 years
-- Joseph Schueck, P.E., PG. Chief, Division of Acid Mine Drainage Abatement, BAMR, 36 years
-- Evan T. Shuster, Hydrogeologist, 35 years
-- Peter Slack, Division Chief, Bureaus of Water Quality Management and Mining and Reclamation, 30 years
-- Khervin D. Smith, Esq., 35 years
-- James T. Ulanoski, BS/MS, Water Pollution Biologist, Chief Aquatic Biology Section, 25 years
-- Robert J. Wellington, Biologist, 36 Years

Wednesday NewsClips

Cambria Envirothon Students Seeking Pollution Solutions
Drilling Checks May Dry Up Amid Low Natural Gas Prices
Washington County Appeal Of DEP Marcellus Finding Moves Ahead
Allegheny County Airport Drilling Deal Reached
New Delaware Valley Marcellus Shale Business Association
Column: Bradford County Beauty Getting Drilled
Column: Fracking Spurs A Municipal Mutiny In PA
Op-Ed: Drilling Risking Out Environment, Is It Worth It?
Refinery Woes
Shickshinny Group Unveils Blueprint For Flood Recovery
Three Rivers Heritage Trail To Be Extended
Column: Parks & Recreation Funding Fall Short In Philly
West Nile Gets Early Start In Erie County
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Monday, May 21, 2012

2012 PA Waste Watcher Award Nominations Due May 25

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania announced Monday they are now accepting applications for the 2012 Waste Watcher Awards.  Nominations are due May 25.
           The Pennsylvania Waste Watcher program is open to municipalities, counties, businesses/industries, schools/colleges/universities, community nonprofit organizations, and individuals who have made a significant contribution in recycling, composting, and waste reduction/reuse efforts during the 2011 calendar year.  
           Applicants must demonstrate that their efforts are above and beyond services normally required or typically provided.
           Click Here to download the nomination form.

Monday NewsClips

Legislative Surplus A Target
Waivers Could OK Drilling Near Water
Drought Worries Ease Along Stonycreek River
Energy Saving Gadget Giveaway Aims To Spur Public Action
Editorial: Obama's Coal Crock
Littering: The Bad Habit Of Other People Right?
Renewal Follows Flames At French Creek State Park
UPJ's Concrete Canoe Team Paddles To Nationals
Click Here for PA Capitol NewClips

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 21 PA Environment Digest Now Available

May 21 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this entire Digest.

State Budget Deadline Less Than 20 Voting Days Away

The House has 19 and the Senate 17 voting days scheduled between now and the July 1 deadline to have a state budget and we have already seen lots of discussion in the media between Senate and House Republicans and the Governor on spending levels.
            With a bipartisan vote on their budget last week, Senate Republicans staked out the higher ground on rolling back a little more than $500 million in spending cuts Gov. Corbett had suggested, including $19 million for the Keystone Fund.
            Both Gov. Corbett and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) have called the Senate $27.6 billion General Fund budget number the ceiling and Gov. Corbett's proposed $27.1 billion budget from February the floor on spending.
            Gov. Corbett this week was sticking to his no-tax, austerity message in appearances in Philadelphia and Allentown, but hinted he would consider higher spending than his own budget proposed.
            In Philadelphia he asked a Chamber of Commerce crowd to raise their hands if they thought the economy was turning around and none did, making his point obviously that he continues to feel state revenues will be shaky.
            Even with current state revenues not as bad as projected, Gov. Corbett again raised the issue of  how the state was going to deal with state worker and school employee unfunded pension liabilities.  Legislators are also pushing the Administration to do something serious on highway and transit funding.
            House Republicans have said they want to get the state budget done by June 15, but so far they  are behind where they were last year in moving budget bills.  In 2011 the House passed its version of the budget by May 9.  This year the Senate took the early honors.
            With more than $500 million separating the floor and ceiling of negotiations, there's lots more to talk about.
            2002 Environmental High Water Mark
            Funding for environmental programs in the last 10 years through each of the 8 years of the Rendell and the now two year old Corbett Administrations has been cut by over $1.8 billion from the high water mark achieved during the Ridge-Schweiker Administrations.
            DEP's authorized complement is now 2,759, down from 2,770 last year and 3,211 in FY 2002-03, and DCNR's is now 1,375, down from 1,389 last year and 1,391 in FY 2002-03.

Friday NewsClips

5 Drilling Companies Spend $1.3 Million In Lobbying Fee Bill
Wayne Paper Stands Behind Story About DEP Secretary
Game Commission To Lease Land For Drilling In Bradford
Peters Twp. Official Concerned About PSATS Role In Drilling Law
Leaders Mull Natural Gas Boomlet In NE PA
Forum: Shale, Health Care Bringing Change In NE PA
UGI To Drop Rates In December
Presentation On Water Protection, Gas Easements In Elk County
Private Sector Leads On Clean Energy, Covanta
PA Utility Companies Expect Faster Recovery Of Fees
DEP Sets May 30 Hearing On Armstrong County Site Cleanup
Cleanup To Begin Soon At Former GAF Site
June 14 Meeting On Northumberland Transfer Station Postponed
Flood Wall Repairs In Kittanning Moving Ahead
Court Decision Ends Developer's Challenge To Farm Preservation
BioBlitzers Take Aim On Kings Gap Environmental Center
Point State Park Fountain Project Boosted By Mild Winter
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

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