October 10, 2014

Oct. 13 PA Environment Digest Now Available

Oct. 13 PA Environment Digest Now Available.  Click Here To Print Entire Digest.

Last 2 Days Of Voting Session Coming Up, Senate Not Interested In Lame Duck
Tuesday and Wednesday of next week will be the last two days of voting session for the year, if the Senate sticks by its opposition to a lame duck session after election day.
As of now, any bills not on the Governor’s desk by the close of business on October 15 will have to start all over in the new session in January.

Sen. Rafferty Blunts Efforts To Have 1-House Veto Of PA Climate Plan, Not Over Yet
An amendment offered in the Senate Appropriations Committee by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) Wednesday has blunted efforts to pass House Bill 2354 (Snyder-D-Fayette) which authorizes one-House of the General Assembly to veto any greenhouse gas emission reduction plan required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The amendment passed by a vote of 14 to 12.  The bill now goes to the full Senate for a final vote where a floor fight is anticipated.  If the bill is passed in its current form, it must return to the House for a concurrence vote.

Senate Puts Anti-Stream Buffer Bill In Position For A Final Vote, Not Over Yet
The Senate Wednesday put House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton), that environmental groups say weakens DEP requirements for stream buffers in Special Protection Watersheds, in position for a final vote next week, the final two days of session.
An amendment offered Monday in Committee by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, changed the provisions of the bill to give applicants the option to install practices other than a stream buffer, but only if they can prove other practices are “substantively equivalent to” a stream buffer.

DEP Seeks $4.5 Million Penalty From EQT For Drilling-Related Pollution In Tioga County
The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it has filed a complaint with the Environmental Hearing Board requesting a $4.5 million civil penalty from EQT Production Company of Washington, Pa., for a major pollution incident in 2012 at the company’s Phoenix Pad S location in Duncan Township, Tioga County.
Two weeks ago, DEP fined Range Resources $4.15 million for violations at six of its impoundments in Washington County.

DEP Citizens Advisory Council To Discuss Oil & Gas Enforcement Policy Changes
On October 21 DEP Citizens Advisory Council will hear a presentation on proposed changes to DEP’s Oil and Gas Enforcement Policies published on October 4 for public comment.
Andy Zemba, Director of DEP’s Office of Interstate Waters, will give Council an update on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan and EPA’s evaluation of Pennsylvania’s 2012-13 milestone commitments.

StateImpact, Post-Gazette: State Court Hears Arguments On State Forest Drilling
StateImpact and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wednesday reported Commonwealth Court heard arguments in the case of PEDF v. Commonwealth challenging withdrawals from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to balance the state budget using revenues from State Forest Marcellus Shale drilling leases.