May 30, 2014

June 2 PA Environment Digest Now Available

June 2 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

PEC Opposes Bill Mandating Different Environmental Safeguards For Conventional Wells
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council Tuesday sent a communication to the Pennsylvania State Senate to express its opposition to the recently introduced Senate Bill 1378 (Scrantai-R- Jefferson, Hutchinson-R-Venango) (P.N. 2053).

Former Rendell Officials Now Say Marcellus Natural Gas Drilling Exploited State Forests
StateImpact, the Patriot-News, Post-Gazette and the Citizens Voice Thursday reported former DCNR officals in the Rendell Administration now say the leasing of 137,000 acres of State Forest land for drilling exploited State Forests as a “cash cow.”

Budget Preview: 28 Days Before State Budget Deadline, Will Zack And Miri Get A Raise?
The deadline to have a state General Fund budget in place is July 1.  When the Senate and House return to session on June 2 they will have 28 days left before a budget should be done.
The Independent Fiscal Office said in its most recent estimates state revenues are projected to be down $608 million for FY 2013-14 and another $990 million for FY 2014-15 totaling a nearly $1.6 billion budget hole.

Delaware County High School Team Claims State Envirothon Honors
Students of Penncrest High School in Delaware County walked off with first-place honors after competing May 20 and 21 in the 31st Pennsylvania State Envirothon at Susquehanna University and PPL Montour Preserve.

Schuylkill River Celebration Highlights PA Rivers Month Activities
Plans for fun on the Schuylkill River -- from canoes and kayaks slicing through headwaters to leisurely tube floats in urban environs -- is expected to draw hundreds of paddlers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts to a rebounding waterway named River of the Year for 2014.

Friday NewsClips

Bill Would End Plans For Mandatory Graduation Tests
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May 28, 2014

Governor, Bucks Community College, Other Higher Ed Reps Support Ready To Succeed

Gov. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Frank T. Brogan and Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) Wednesday were joined by students, lawmakers and postsecondary education leaders at Delaware Valley College to share details about and advocate for the "Ready to Succeed" Scholarship program.
This merit-based program would provide financial assistance to middle-income students attending any postsecondary education institution in Pennsylvania.
"All too often, students from middle-income families do not qualify for state financial aid," Corbett said. "The 'Ready to Succeed' Scholarship will help to reduce the amount of debt students incur while pursuing a postsecondary education."
Included in Gov. Corbett's proposed 2014-15 state budget, the "Ready to Succeed" Scholarship would be open to students whose family has a gross income of up to $110,000, annually adjusted for inflation.
House Bill 1213, authored by Rep. Quinn, would create the "Ready to Succeed" Scholarship within the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).
Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be available to students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year in college. Eligible students must have and maintain a grade point average of 3.25.
Up to $2,000 annually would be awarded to full-time students and up to $1,000 each year would be awarded to part-time students.
"Because so many community college students rely on financial aid to achieve their higher educational goals, Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges appreciate this effort to make college more accessible and affordable," said Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, president, Bucks County Community College.
"This commitment to education is commendable and will make it possible for students like me to attend college," said Rebecca Jones, a biology major and the student government board president at Delaware Valley College.
"College classes can be challenging. Paying for college is also a challenge. It's encouraging that the state is considering doing more to help students like me," said Francis Bitting, a business psychology major at Holy Family University.
It's estimated that 80 percent of scholarship recipients have not previously received financial assistance through the PHEAA State Grant program.
"The 14 State System of Higher Education universities are dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable educational opportunities to Pennsylvania's families," said Frank T. Brogan, chancellor, State System of Higher Education. "Gov. Corbett's proposed program would help many of our students achieve their dream of earning a college degree while reducing their potential debt. The Board of Governors and I applaud this initiative and encourage the General Assembly to support this kind of smart, targeted investment in Pennsylvania's future."
"Many of our students and their families struggle to pay tuition expenses. They will now be able to complete their education at Metropolitan Career Center," said Amy Miller, executive director, Metropolitan Career Center. "Without this additional funding, many students would not be able to complete their education."
Gov. Corbett is committed to working with lawmakers to ensure that this program is included in the final 2014-15 state budget.
"It is imperative that the 'Ready to Succeed' Scholarship remains part of the final budget agreement," Corbett said. "I want thank Rep. Quinn for introducing legislation to move this proposal forward. I also want to thank the students, lawmakers and higher education leaders who joined with me today in support of this initiative."

Wednesday NewsClips

Editorial: Who Stacked Deck Against State Casinos?
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May 23, 2014

May 26 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The May 26 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

November Election Pits Tom Corbett Against Tom Wolf On Environmental Policy
The voters have spoken.  Tom Corbett is the Republican candidate for Governor and Tom Wolf is the Democratic candidate.  The environment, specifically Marcellus Shale development, will be key issues in the November election.  Here are the responses the candidates gave in a recent Q/A with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council on environmental issues.

Corbett Order Outlines Ground Rules For Leasing Additional DCNR Land For Drilling
Gov. Tom Corbett Friday issued Executive Order 2014-3 outlining the ground rules for leasing additional DCNR State Forest and State Park lands for Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, but only if it would not result in additional long-term surface disturbance.

TNC Study: PA Could See Up To 25,000 Miles Of Natural Gas Gathering Pipelines
The PA Chapter of The Natural Conservancy released a study in December 2011 on natural gas pipelines in Bradford County and Pennsylvania which projected Marcellus Shale development will result in from 10,000 to 25,000 miles of new natural gas gathering lines in the Commonwealth by 2030.

Penn State: Conventional Drilling Has Altered Bird Communities In Pennsylvania
Conventional oil and gas development in northern Pennsylvania altered bird communities, and the current massive build-out of shale-gas infrastructure may accelerate these changes, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

DEP Citizens Advisory Council Urges Major Review Of Act 537 Onlot Sewage Program
DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council Wednesday recommended DEP undertake a major review of the Act 537 Onlot Septic System Program with the goal of including more onlot septic system technology options and integrating sewage planning with other water-related planning programs.

Friday NewsClips

Op-Ed: Make College More Affordable
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May 21, 2014

Wednesday NewsClips

May 20 Primary Results: It was an early night for calling elections Tuesday.  The Associated Press declared Tom Wolf the winner of the Democratic race for Governor at 8:45 and state Sen. Michael Stack (D-Philadelphia) the winner of the Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor at 9:22.
With just over 99 percent of the votes counted, Tom Wolf has 57.9 percent of the vote and     Michael Stack had 46.7 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results posted by the Department of State.
Two incumbent House members and one incumbent Senator lost in the May 20 Primary election, according to preliminary results posted by the Department of State.
Rep. Jose Miranda (D-Philadelphia), who was mentioned in the sting operation run by the Attorney General’s Office, and Sen. Leanna Washington (D-Philadelphia) who faces corruption charges from the Attorney General, both lost to Primary challengers.  Rep. James Clay (D-Philadelphia) was the other House member to lose in the Primary.
One House race is in doubt as a write-in candidate is poised to oust Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Blair) Pennsylvania’s first openly gay lawmaker.
Two Congressional incumbents with Primary challengers-- Bill Shuster and Michael Doyle-- both won their Primary races and the quietest of the four candidates running in the Democratic Primary to replace Allyson Schwartz-- Brendan Boyle-- won.  
Chatham Takes Steps Toward Becoming Coed Next Year
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