August 27, 2016

Saturday PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

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August 26, 2016

August 29 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Aug. 29 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

Continuing efforts to reduce annual loading of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay, the Department of Environmental Protection has notified a selection of farmers in the Bay Watershed that officials will be visiting farms soon to verify and review the operation’s manure management and agricultural erosion and sediment control plans.

On August 16 the Delaware Watershed Initiative at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University awarded 10 research grants totaling $4 million.  The grants are funded by the Delaware Watershed Research Fund, established with the support of the William Penn Foundation, to inform and advance on-the-ground conservation

The PA Environmental Council Friday sent a letter of support to the General Assembly for House Resolution 908 (Everett-R-Lycoming), which would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct an exploratory study on industrial and commercial water withdrawal fees.

The Pennsylvania Sea Grant Program and the Department of Environmental Protection will hold the next meeting of the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Forum on September 19 at the Erie County Conservation District, 1927 Wager Road in Erie from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The PA Coal Alliance Monday announced it recently recognized the efforts of several member companies who performed above and beyond the federal and state regulations for reclaiming coal mining sites to environmentally sound conditions with productive uses.
Pennsylvania continues to be a leader in reclamation efforts. Completed at no cost to the Commonwealth or taxpayers, the awarded sites cover 890 acres and include the reclamation of 50 acres of previously affected abandoned mine lands.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful invites Pennsylvania residents to coordinate a cleanup as part of the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) from September 1 through October 31.

The Department of Environmental Protection will now closed the application period for its Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program on September 9.

The Western PA Conservancy is pleased to provide a series of environmental lesson plans to aid educators in connecting young people to the natural world.

Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy Monday reminded Pennsylvanians of the importance of taking proper precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones against Lyme disease and other tick-related illnesses.

With the addition of 26 new farms, Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program reached a new milestone Wednesday, surpassing the 5,000-farm mark.
Pennsylvania’s program leads the nation in the number of farms and the number of farm acres that have been preserved in perpetuity for agricultural production.

To read the Digest, visit: www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com.  Click Here to print the entire Digest.

PA Environment Digest is edited by David E. Hess, former Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and is published as a service of Crisci Associates.


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Questions?: Send email to David Hess at: DHess@CrisciAssociates.com

Friday PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Senate Returns Tuesday To Confirm Beemer As AG, Castor Has Porn Email Report: The Senate Thursday announced it is returning to session Tuesday to confirm Bruce Beemer as Attorney General, replacing Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor.  The Senate held a brief non-voting session day August 23 to accept Beemer’s nomination from Gov. Wolf.
At about the same time, Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor sent an email to the 800 employees in the Office of Attorney General saying he is now reviewing the porn email report prepared by Douglas Gansler of the Maryland law firm Buckley Sandler, according to the Associated Press.  Click Here for more.
Bumsted: Employees Being Notified If Names In Porn Email Report
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August 25, 2016

Senate Returns Tuesday To Confirm Beemer As AG, Castor Delays Porn Email Report

The Senate Thursday announced it is returning to session Tuesday to confirm Bruce Beemer as Attorney General, replacing Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor.  The Senate held a brief non-voting session day August 23 to accept Beemer’s nomination from Gov. Wolf.
At about the same time, Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor sent an email to the 800 employees in the Office of Attorney General saying he is now reviewing the porn email report prepared by Douglas Gansler of the Maryland law firm Buckley Sandler, according to the Associated Press.
On Friday, the Fraternal Order Of Police, which represents investigators in the Office of Attorney General, filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court seeking to block Castor’s release of the porn email report, according to Philly.com.
Later on Friday, PennLive.com reported Castor said he would delay release of the porn report indefinitely or until his Office could develop a procedure that allows those listed in the report more information on which to respond.
In an email to Office of Attorney General employees Friday, Castor said, “The notice many of you received from Buckley Sandler sets a deadline of 10 a.m. Monday, August 29, 2016 to respond to the fact that your name would either be listed in a report or in an appendix. The notice does not give you any indication of what content was allegedly inappropriate. In keeping with past office practice, and in my own judgment, OAG should not require responses from people until those same people have had an opportunity to see what they are responding to: a simple matter of fairness.
“Thus, while I remain Attorney General, I will not be approving the release of any part of the report until we can devise a procedure that, at the very least, allows for informed responses. Therefore, the response deadline of August 29th at 10am as set by General Gansler is extended indefinitely pursuant to my authority as the current Attorney General.
“Yesterday, I asked you to remain calm and not be anxious. I do so again. The report was not released in May because I was unhappy with it. It was not released in July because I was unhappy with it.  There were zero “leaks” in all that time because I had the only copies. So please trust me now when I assure you that I am acutely aware of the damage this information could do, however unwarranted, to many of your reputations. I am proceeding with extreme caution during my few remaining days with this agency, and the men and women that are part of it that I have come to admire and respect.”
Castor told employees in an email Thursday they should have been notified if their names were included in the report.  The note then went on to say, according to Philly.com,  “Please don’t be anxious.  I am conferring with senior staff on how to proceed.”
PennLive.com printed what it said was the Castor’s entire Thursday email--
"I have learned that some of you received emails notifying you that your names may be included in the Buckley Sandler Report. I want to reassure you that the report and all attachments are now with me for review, and cannot be released without my approval. I am reminding General Gansler of that today.
"When there is more to report, I will let you know. Please don't be anxious. I am conferring with Senior Staff on how to proceed."
PennLive.com quoted Castor later Thursday as saying: "I'm not going to make a decision that affects a lot of people's lives and their family's lives without thinking it through.  When I'm confident I am making the right call I will make it," he added, "and not until then."
The Tribune Review reported Thursday the porn email report would name only those individuals who had sent 50 or more offensive emails in the Attorney General’s Office, other law enforcement offices and other agencies.
PennLive.com reported Friday the report is said to name 38 persons as "high-volume" senders who sent or forwarded more than 50 offensive emails to others, plus "several hundred" staffers who will be listed in an appendix as having sent less than 50.
Philly.com Thursday reported the notice to employees and others named in the report gave them until Monday (August 29) to contest their naming, even though the notice did not indicate which of their emails were included in the report.
Gansler was hired by convicted former Attorney General Kathleen Kane to review the offensive emails and prepare a report.
Just 9 days ago (counting the weekend), Castor told a press conference the Buckley Sandler report was in very poor shape; one draft even gave his computer a virus.  He also said he had very little success in getting Gansler’s law firm to do anything he wanted them to do.
Apparently that changed.
NewsClips: