Monday, December 29, 2008

DEP To Implement Clean Air Interstate Rule

Pennsylvania will move ahead with its plans to implement the federal Clean Air Interstate Rule on Jan. 1 after a federal court reversed an earlier decision that struck down the rule, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fix flaws in the Clean Air Interstate Rule, or CAIR, but did not set a deadline. In the meantime, the rule will be implemented. (Click here for full announcement)

House GOP Appoints Committee Chairs

House Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) today appointed Republican Chairs to each of the standing committees--

Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) was again appointed Minority Chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee--
"Energy and environmental issues have been in the forefront of the local and national conversation for the last few years," Rep. Hutchinson said. "With the current economic forecast, it is even more important for us to look at ways to save our residents and employers money on their heating and other energy costs."
In the upcoming session, Rep. Hutchinson would like to see a larger focus on home-grown, proven resources to fuel the energy needs of Pennsylvanians, including responsible energy production on state-owned land. Additionally, he wants to look at ways to lessen the impact that the upcoming lifting of electricity rate caps will have on residents of the Commonwealth.
"In the immediate future the Legislature must look at ways to mediate the expiration of the electric rate caps," Rep. Hutchinson said. "Although alternative fuel sources should be developed, we must also be careful not to over-regulate or over-tax the oil, gas and coal industries since they are a critical part of the Commonwealth's energy and economic futures, especially if we wish to lower our dependence on foreign oil."
He also continues to serve as the chairman of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee, a position he has held since April 2001. The Joint House-Senate Committee studies a variety of environmental issues from Heritage Parks and waste tire cleanup and electronics recycling, to forestry and water-sewer infrastructure. The Joint Committee also conducts public hearings to help determine the need for legislation on emerging environmental issues.

Rep. Sam Rohrer (R-Berks) is the new Minority Chair of the Agriculture Committee--
"I am looking forward to serving the agricultural community and all residents of Pennsylvania as the Republican chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee," said Rep. Rohrer. "Agriculture brings more revenue into the Commonwealth than any other industry, and during this time of economic hardship, it is important that we not only maintain the industry, but also foster expansion and job creation in farming and related sectors."
"It will be a pleasure to work with the hard-working family farmers of Berks County to develop policies that work for farmers," said Rep. Rohrer. "I am also going to continue my fight to completely eliminate school property taxes, which stifle farm and homeowners."

Rep. Craig Dally (R-Northampton) is the new Minority Chair of the Game and Fisheries Committee;
"Hunting and fishing are very popular activities in my legislative district and throughout Pennsylvania," said Rep. Dally, an avid sportsman and an outspoken defender for the Second Amendment right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
"Studies show the recreational, economic and wildlife conservation benefits of hunting, fishing, and boating," he added.
Reviewing all legislation concerning hunting and fishing, balancing the interests of residents and the importance of wildlife to the state, and determining fees and costs for licensing are just some of the major areas the committee considers. When House session resumes, both the Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission will come before the committee to issue and discuss annual reports and request legislation that they may need.
"Pennsylvania's hunters and anglers contribute billions of dollars in revenue to our state and local economies through the purchases of licenses, registrations, firearms, ammunition, other sporting equipment and travel and lodging," Rep. Dally said. "I pledge as Republican chairman of the committee to speak for them."

The full list of Republican Chairs appointed today include:

Aging & Older Adult Services: Tim Hennessey (R-Chester)
Agriculture & Rural Affairs: Sam Rohrer (R-Berks)- NEW
Appropriations: Mario Civera (R-Delaware) (previously elected by the Caucus)
Children & Youth: Dennis O'Brien (R-Philadelphia)- NEW
Commerce: Dick Hess (R-Bedford)
Consumer Affairs: Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery)
Education: Paul Clymer (R-Bucks)- NEW
Environmental Resources & Energy: Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango)
Finance: David Argall (R-Schuylkill)- NEW (pending the outcome of his special Senate election race)
Game & Fisheries: Craig Dally (R-Northampton)- NEW
Gaming Oversight: Curt Schroder (R-Chester)- NEW
Health & Human Services: Matt Baker (R-Tioga)- NEW
Insurance: Nicholas Micozzie (R-Delaware)
Intergovernmental Affairs: Chris Ross (R-Chester)- NEW
Judiciary: Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin)
Labor Relations: Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks)
Liquor Control: John Taylor (R-Philadelphia)- NEW
Local Government: Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh)- NEW
Professional Licensure: William Adolph (R-Delaware)
State Government: Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre)- NEW
Tourism & Recreational Development: Stephen Barrar (R-Chester)- NEW
Transportation: Richard Geist (R-Blair)
Urban Affairs: John Perzel (R-Philadelphia)- NEW
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness: Russell Fairchild (R-Snyder)

House Democrats are expected to appoint their committee chairs in January.

The Senate appointed its committee chairs earlier in December: Senate Republican Chairs, Senate Democratic Chairs.

Monday NewsClips

Western PA Officials Lick Chops At Prospect Of Stimulus
Townships Hope To Welcome Sun Power
Economic And Green Potential In Trails
Modified Plants May Yield More Biofuel - Penn State
Editorial: Signs Dim Hopes For Coal Industry Revival
Excitement Over Gas Drilling Turns To Guarded Optimism
Company Measures Natural Gas Pockets Over Marcellus Shale In Scranton
Landowners Wary Of Natural Gas Company
What's Good For The Bay Pinches Wallets Far Away
Recycling Centers Brace For Cardboard Deluge
Merck Settlement Helps Fund Land Preservation
Editorial: Cherry Valley Refuge Receives Fed Designation
Delaware River Flooding Feared In Poconos
Green Roof Project Nears Completion at Tobyhanna Army Depot
Campaigns, Scandals Topped 08 Political News

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dec. 22 PA Environment Digest Now Online Click Here To Print Digest
Selected Headlines
Using DCNR Funds To Balance Budget Will Not Need Approval
Opinion- Marcellus Shall Should Help Build For The Future
Farmers Receive Help From REAP To Install Conservation Practices
Nutrient, Carbon Credit Trading Seminars Set For Feb.
Game Commission Offers Seedlings For Schools Program
Applications For $3 Million In Environmental Community Grants
Land Conservation Governmental Awards Due
Nominations For Western PA Environmental Awards
Two From PA Among 40 Receiving Green Fellowships
Opinion- West Branch Susquehanna River Restoration

Friday NewsClips

Legislative Surplus Should Help Trim State Budget Deficit
PA Consumer Advocate Criticizes Electric Prices
Consumer Advocate Faults Energy Pricing
Editorial: Shutting Off Heat
Pittsburgh Infrastructure Project Wish List Totals $1 Billion
Legislation For Siting Of Wind Turbines In Potter County OKd

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Environmental Groups Oppose Plan To Use DCNR Revenue To Balance State Budget

14 environmental groups today sent a letter to Gov. Rendell opposing his plan to use $174 million in revenue from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to help balance the state's budget. Click here for announcement. Click here for letter.

Wednesday NewsClips

Rendell: Use Drilling Fees to Plug Hole In Budget
Students Solve Problems Of Vacant Pittsburgh Lots
Op-Ed: Green Economy Waiting To Emerge
PEC: Connellsville Ready to Take Off
Foreign Mussels Invade Susquehanna River
DuBois Natural Gas Bonanza
Properties Acquired For Mine Reclamation Projects
Editorial: Green - The Color Of Money Saved
Pennsylvania Wants Everyone To Curtail Energy Use
Manor, Lancaster County, Gets $1M for Rail-Trail
Herb Field: It's Been A Good Run

Guidelines OKd For $800 M Water Infrastructure Funding

The Commonwealth Financing Authority today approved guidelines for approving applications under the $800 Million H2O Water Infrastructure Funding Program that will fund water supply, sanitary sewer, stormwater, high hazard dams and flood control projects outside Allegheny and Philadelphia counties from gaming revenues. Click here for announcement. Click here for guidelines.

Friday, December 5, 2008

First State Of Delaware River Basin Released

(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission joined with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum today to officially release the 2008 State of the Delaware River Basin Report, as well as reintroduce PDE’s 2008 State of the Delaware Estuary Report which was released in July.  Click here for announcement. Click here for report.

Dec. 8 PA Environment Digest Headlines

Go To PA Environment Digest
Click here to print a copy of this week's Digest
Selected Headlines--
Rendell Freezes Wages, Cuts $128 Million As State Revenues Fall
Video Blog - Inside Look At Marcellus Shale Natural Drilling Operations
Video Blog - Meadville Market House Supporting Local Farmers
New Items! Consider Holiday Gifts That Help PA's Environment
13 Environmental Groups Urge Tighter Natural Gas Drilling Rules
PA Coalition Seeking Statewide Streamside Buffer Regulations

Friday NewsClips

RiverQuest Boat Wins Top Environmental Award
Bayer Pushes Energy Efficiency
Editorial: More Federal Funds, Generosity Will Keep Homes Warm
Erie Art Museum Gets Money For Green Study
Drilling Firm Gets Water Use Approval
PPL Time Of Day Billing Test Earns Approval
Delaware River Report: Water Better, Floods Worse
Editorial: Don't Let Delaware River Plan Get Stagnant
Editorial: Delaying Sale Of Harrisburg Incinerator Risks Adding More Debt
Natural Gas Company To Stay Despite Regulatory Climate
What's In That Fracking Fluid?
Editorial: The Big Bluff By Drilling Industry
Planting Possibilities For Renewable Energy Alternatives
Fall Cleanup Program Declared A Success
Water Withdrawal In Luzerne County Denied For Drilling Operation
Op-Ed: Buffer Plan Would Be A Good Development
Ethanol Plant Plans Fall Through

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trees For Success Grant Program

The Home Depot Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation strongly believe that the strategic planting and preservation of community trees has a positive impact on the health of local communities. To promote that policy, they have teamed up in the 2009 Trees For Success National Tree Planting Campaign. (click here for more)

Rendell Orders Another Round Of Budget Cuts

Gov. Rendell today announced another $128 million in budget cuts, bringing the total funds in budgetary reserve to $439 million to help deal with an expected $1 to $2 billion budget deficit this fiscal year.
The Governor also said he would freeze non-union wages and begin negotiations with the state's union employees to achieve savings there as well.
“The detailed list of budget reductions is still being finalized, but the cuts will be broad-based across a multitude of agencies and programs. I expect nearly 400 out of a total of 500 appropriations under my jurisdiction will be reduced," said the Governor. (click here for more)
Governor Adds To Budget Cuts As Revenue Lags
Scarnati Sworn In As Lt. Gov, State Faces Challenges
Non-Union State Workers Face Wage Freeze

Wednesday NewsClips

Northampton Sees Green Opportunity In Open Space Fund
Merck's $4.5 Million Fine Goes Toward Open Space
Process Has Begun For Harrisburg Incinerator Sale
Trash Rates Outside Harrisburg Could Soar
Recycling Woes In Schuylkill County
Op-Ed: Environmental Buffer Plan Would Raise Cost Of Housing
Letter: Streamside Buffers Offer Many Economic Benefits
Editorial: Managing Growth
A Carbon Tax On Cows, Climate Change Opportunity For Farmers
Energy Projects Planned At Mifflinburg Schools
Air Products Gets Solar Contract

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