April 29, 2016

May 2 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The May 2 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

A new publication by the American Water Resources Association highlights the Rock Lititz Floodplain Restoration Project in Lancaster County that uses an innovative private-public partnership to reduce sediment and nutrient loads going to the Chesapeake Bay without taxpayer money.

The PA Association of Environmental Professionals Thursday announced Carol Collier is the winner of the 2016 Karl Mason Award and the Natural Lands Trust is the winner of the Walter Lyon Award.

The Northeast Environmental Partners are seeking nominations for the 26th annual Northeast Environmental Partnership Awards.  Nominations are due June 25.

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday issued an order to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority requiring testing for lead at 100 sites in Pittsburgh’s water system because the Authority made changes to its water treatment process without approval by DEP that could have resulted in an increase in lead in drinking water.

A paper written by Penn State University student Michael Cavazza, a Schreyer Scholar majoring in petroleum and natural gas engineering, won first place in the Eastern North America regional Society of Petroleum Engineers student paper contest, held April 9 at Louisiana State University.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Wednesday announced the addition of two new members to its staff, Fred Siekkinen and Dana Rockwell, to help bolster its fight against illegal dumping across the state.

The PA Resources Council will hold the first of 6 Household Chemical Collection events in Western PA on May 7 at the swimming pool area of North Park in Allegheny County.

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday announced the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the highest-ranking state government user of green power on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Top 100 list of the largest green power users from the Green Power Partnership.

Staff from the Department of Environmental Protection’s  Oil and Gas and Air Quality programs this week kicked off a study to evaluate the integrity of plugged, abandoned, and orphan oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania, as well as provide insight into potential greenhouse gas implications associated with methane emissions from these wells.

Seventeen individuals and organizations are the recipients of a 2016 Arbor Day Award in honor of their outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship from the Arbor Day Foundation Wednesday.

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.

Additional Tools--
Click Here to sign up to receive the Digest directly by email.
Click Here for a Calendar of Upcoming Events.
Click Here to search back issues of the Digest.
PA Environment Digest Twitter Feed: Update on PA environmental issues.
PA Environment Daily Blog: Update on PA environmental issues.
Green Works In PA Google+ Circle: Update on PA environmental issues.
Questions?: Send email to David Hess at: DHess@CrisciAssociates.com

Friday PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Click Here for Continuous Updated PA Environmental NewsClips & News
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle

April 28, 2016

Thursday PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Click Here for Continuous Updated PA Environmental NewsClips & News
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle

April 27, 2016

State Employees Retirement System Sets 29.5 Percent Contribution Rate

The Board of the PA State Employees’ Retirement System Wednesday formally adopted the composite employer contribution rate set by current law at 29.5 percent of payroll for the Commonwealth’s 2016-17 fiscal year.
The contribution rate for FY 2016-17 was 25 percent.
“Even during very difficult budget negotiations, policymakers and our employers have remained disciplined to restoring funding to employee pensions according to the levels established in Act 120,” explained SERS Executive Director David Durbin. “Only two budget cycles remain until the employer contribution rate peaks and begins to steadily drop each year.”
The board adopted the employer rate following a report by the system’s actuary, Hay Group, on the 2015 actuarial valuation key results.  Hay Group will proceed in producing the full 2015 valuation report to be published this June.
The employer rate reflects a 4.5 percent “collar” established by Pennsylvania Act 2010-120 which limits year-to-year increases in employer contributions while still gradually increasing funding to the pension system over time.  
According to the key results, the actual cost of retirement benefits earned by new employees in FY 2016-17 – the “employer normal cost” – is approximately 4.52 percent of payroll.  
This is the rate employers would pay if there were no unfunded liability and all other actuarial assumptions proved to be exactly accurate over the year. Incorporating the unfunded liability, however, the composite employer rate to fully fund the system would be more than 32 percent of payroll without the Act 2010-120 rate collar.
The composite employer rate represents a weighted average of 18 different rates for the system’s various classes of service; SERS will notify each employer of the actual rates for its employees.
For more information, visit the PA State Employees’ Retirement System website.

Statewide Referendums: Philly Traffic Court Retired, But Not State Judges

On the two statewide ballot referendums, the question about abolishing the Philadelphia Traffic Court passed by 59.7 percent.  Although the results don’t count at this stage, the question increasing the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 lost, but it was close-- just over 49 percent voted yes and 50.9 percent voted no.

Wednesday PA Capitol Digest NewsClips - Election Results

PA Primary Election Results: Trump, Clinton, McGinty, Shapiro Win.
Four House incumbents-- Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia), Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis (D-Philadelphia), Rep. Frank Farina (D-Lackawanna) and Rep. Lynwood Sava (D-Philadelphia)-- all lost their bids for reelection in the Primary.
Indicted incumbent Rep. Vanessa Brown (D-Philadelphia) beat 6 other opponents for the Democratic nomination for this seat with 36.4 percent of the vote.
Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) beat indicted incumbent Congressman Chaka Fattah.  No other incumbent members of Congress lost.
One key to this year’s races-- several incumbents survived by having multiple opponents in the Primary.
Summary Of Results
Actual counted election results are available at the Department of State’s Election Results website.
Click Here for Continuous Updated PA Environmental NewsClips & News
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle