March 13, 2015

March 16 PA Environment Digest Now Available

March 16 PA Environment Digest Now Available.  Click Here To Print Entire Digest

Budget Hearing: DEP Forming Task Force To Look At Natural Gas Pipeline Issues

Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said Wednesday DEP is forming a task force to look at ways of promoting cooperation and reducing the environmental impacts of the 25,000 to 30,000 miles of natural gas pipelines expected to be developed in Pennsylvania over the next few years.  But, he was not interested in expanding DEP regulations over pipelines.
The announcement was made in response to questions from members of the House Appropriations Committee at a hearing on DEP’s budget request for FY 2015-16.
Quigley also said Gov. Wolf wants to maintain the existing Act 13 drilling impact fee at its “highest level,” and the environmental programs it funds, including grants to local governments.

Rep. Everett: If We Don’t Meet Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Milestones, It Isn’t Pretty

At the House hearing on DEP’s budget Wednesday, Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) asked Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley what the Wolf Administration’s strategy is to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup milestones.
Rep. Everett is a member of the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission and has been working on Bay-related issues for many years and Lycoming County has undertaken innovative programs to meet the Bay requirements.
Quigley agreed Pennsylvania is not meeting our cleanup targets for the Bay, other than wastewater treatment plants.  He said in meetings with the departments of Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources everyone is clear we need to “reboot” the Chesapeake Bay effort.
In a follow-up, Rep. Everett said Pennsylvania should use Gov. Wolf’s proposed $675 million bond issue for water quality cleanup, instead of for alternative energy and other uses.
“A much wiser use of that money, should we go to borrow money, would go to cleaning up the streams rather than searching for alternative energies that may or not be efficient because they need subsidies and can’t stand on their own,” suggested Rep. Everett.
Rep. Everett said at a recent Chesapeake Bay Commission meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlined what the consequences were for missing the milestones and “it isn’t pretty.”

DEP Outlines Major Changes In Final Version Of Chapter 78 Drilling Regulations
The Department of Environmental Protection Monday outlined changes in a revised final version of Chapter 78 drilling regulations covering conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells which Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said respond to the public’s concerns about drilling.
“These proposed revisions focus on the need to protect public safety and the environment while enabling drilling to proceed,” said Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley.  “These areas reflect the emphasis of the comments we received. We received more than 24,000 comments, and want to be deliberate and transparent as we seek continued input on the proposed revisions from our advisory committees and the public.”

DEP Issues Erosion Control, Stream Crossing Permits For Constitution Pipeline
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice on March 14 of final erosion and sedimentation and encroachment permits it has issued for the proposed 25-mile long Constitution Pipeline in Susquehanna County (PA Bulletin page 1314).
The project includes 93 wetland crossings and 88 stream crossings associated with the pipeline, workspace and access roads. The project permanently encroaches on approximately 9.50 acres of wetlands and temporarily encroaches on approximately 5.05 acres of wetlands. The project also encroaches on approximately 6,225 feet of stream channel.