May 26, 2017

May 29 PA Environment Digest Now Available

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

The PA Growing Greener Coalition Wednesday applauded the introduction of legislation-- Senate Bill 705-- that establishes an updated framework for renewed and increased investment in the state’s Growing Greener program.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Thursday released a letter he sent to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation warning that the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to environmental protection and clean energy programs will threaten Pennsylvania residents and businesses.

President Trump Tuesday released a more detailed budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 recommending severe cuts to the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other areas.
If enacted, these reductions would result in the elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Program, and other geographic watershed programs, as well as the National Estuary Program and critical water quality research and support grants that go directly to the states.

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday presented Governor’s Awards for Excellence to 10 state Bureau of Forestry wildfire fighters for their role in combatting a forest blaze last spring that spread for 15 days, threatening lives and property on the Pike-Monroe county line.

Four environmental programs from Western Pennsylvania were honored by Dominion and the PA Environmental Council for their innovation and effectiveness in making a positive impact on the environment at a special Western PA Environmental Awards program in Pittsburgh Wednesday.

By Diane Huskinson, Stroud Water Research Center
Earlier this month, 38 Master of Landscape Architecture students from the University of Pennsylvania visited Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County to learn about protecting clean fresh water through land use and best management practices (BMPs).

In recognition of Earth Day, GIANT and MARTIN’s Food Stores donated 25 benches made from recycled plastic bags to schools in 15 counties participating in Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful's Litter Free School Zone Program.

Exelon Corporation Wednesday announced its Three Mile Island [Dauphin County, PA]  and Quad Cities [Illinois) nuclear plants did not clear in the latest PJM capacity auction, highlighting the challenge nuclear energy continues to face without compensation for its ability to produce electricity without harmful carbon and air pollution and to contribute to grid resilience.

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants.  The are two rounds of grant deadlines-- July 14 and December 15.  (formal notice)

The Indiana Gazette recently reported the Indiana County commissioners gave their blessing to a new Sustainable Economic Development Task Force focused on developing regional initiatives in the areas of clean energy, sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism, energy efficiency and the emerging field of using green chemistry to transform manufacturing.

New and experienced hikers can again pick their pace and path through Pennsylvania's bountiful outdoors in more than 50 hikes planned across the state during Hiking Week 2017.

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation released a new video about the value of volunteerism in Pennsylvania’s State Parks and Forests to the individuals volunteering and the invaluable contribution they make to improving and maintaining recreational opportunity across the state.

By Jennifer Miller, College of Health & Human Development, Penn State University
Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly consider parks, trails and open space to be an essential component of the health care system, according to a Penn State University study.

To read the Digest, visit:  Click Here to view or 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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Sen. Scarnati: Final Approval Issued For PA’s Rural Regional Community College

Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) Friday announced the Department of Education has given final approval for the establishment of the Rural Regional Community College of Northern Pennsylvania.
Sen. Scarnati hailed the decision as a vital step in bringing affordable, accessible education alternatives to the area.  
This endeavor began in 2014 when Sen. Scarnati introduced legislation in the Senate to create a first-of-its kind rural regional college to provide post-secondary educational opportunities to underserved residents in Northcentral and Northwest Pennsylvania.  
Act 126 of 2014 was signed into law and since that time area legislators, education and business leaders, the College Board of Trustees and the Department of Education have been working together to develop the college’s operating and financial plans.
“Access to the Rural Regional College is critical to providing new career opportunities for students and improving the economy,” Sen. Scarnati said.  “I’d like to thank the Board of Trustees of the Rural Regional College, all those who worked so diligently to develop the approved plan, and especially my former Senate colleague and current Board Member Senator Mary Jo White, for helping to make this idea a reality.  I am very pleased with the major progress that has taken place as we work toward opening the college this fall.”
“This will be the first community college to offer greatly needed higher educational opportunities to Northwestern Pennsylvania,” Sen. Scarnati continued. “Thanks to input by education, business and community leaders, we can help area residents receive the training and education they need.”
Sen. Scarnati explained that the new college will offer two-year associate degrees, as well as training and certificate programs.
Curriculum of the college will be determined by the Board of Trustees, based upon the future workforce needs of the designated region of Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter, Venango and Warren counties.
“I thank the Pennsylvania Department of Education for working with me and my colleagues to establish the college,” Sen. Scarnati stated.  “This final approval brings us one step closer to providing rural communities in this area with education and training close to home and at an affordable cost.”

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