March 31, 2017

April 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The April 3 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday announced The Watershed Farm in Westmoreland County is the recipient of the 2017 Green Park Award for its demonstrated commitment to water resource protection, habitat creation and connecting people to nature.

The PA Association of Environmental Educators honored the winners of its 2017 Awards at its annual conference in mid-March.  Ruth Roperti, past president of PAEE, was recognized with the Keystone Award which recognizes an educator who has dedicated their life to advancing the quality and opportunity for environmental education in Pennsylvania.

The departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation were two of 13 Keep America Beautiful State Agency Partner Award recipients at the annual Keep America Beautiful National Awards Ceremony in January for their support of the Great American Cleanup of PA.

Development of Phase 3 of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan begins April 3, with the first meeting of the steering committee that will coordinate a broad-based effort by work groups and committed partners in the 43 watershed counties.

Monday a bipartisan group of legislators in Washington reintroduced legislation in Congress known as the RECLAIM Act – that would expedite much-needed funding from the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund for projects that restore mine-scarred land and enhance local economic development in coal field communities.

The Public Utility Commission Thursday sent a letter to members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to continue federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s Public Water Supply Assistance Program by partnering with the Department of Environmental Protection Operator Outreach Assistance Program to present a three-part instructional series on Water Loss Management in April, July and August.

Keep America Beautiful is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 National Youth Advisory Council which provides an opportunity for 10 high school students (15-18 years old) from diverse backgrounds to participate in a service learning and leadership development program.

To read the Digest, visit:  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.

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Dept. Of Health Asks Health Care Providers For Input On Medical Marijuana Program

Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy Friday encouraged health care providers to participate in an online survey as the agency moves forward in the implementation of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program.
“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Secretary Murphy said. “Many health care providers treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Provider input is invaluable to ensuring that we are able to implement this program as quickly and effectively as possible.”
During the next month, the department will be logging in applications received for growers/processors and dispensaries and begin the permit-review process.
Click Here to participate in the survey of licensed physicians.
“We know that the number one question on everyone’s mind is who applied for a permit and where are they looking to place a facility,” Secretary Murphy said. “It’s important that we take this time to ensure that we are conducting every part of this intake and review process carefully, and according to our regulatory requirements. Once that is completed, we will be able to release the number of applications that were received.”
Secretary Murphy said the department anticipates being able to release information about who applied, and for which region or county, after the permits are issued in late June.
The Medical Marijuana Program became effective on May 17, 2016, and is expected to be fully implemented by 2018. The program will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by Act 16.
More information about the program is available on Health’s Medical Marijuana Program webpage. Questions about the Medical Marijuana Program can be emailed to

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March 30, 2017

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March 29, 2017

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March 28, 2017

PA Supreme Court Approves Language Access Plan For Courts

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Tuesday announced it has adopted a comprehensive plan to improve access to justice for those with limited English proficiency and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Language Access Plan is designed to guide the judiciary in meeting language challenges brought by the growing diversity of Pennsylvania’s population. It also further solidifies the courts’ commitment to fair and equal access to justice by providing quality language access services to non-English-speaking and deaf court users.
Pennsylvania is the 10th most linguistically diverse state in the country. Approximately 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s residents speak another language at home.
Spanish is the language for which interpreters are most frequently requested in our courts, with American Sign Language at number two, followed by Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese and Arabic.
The Language Access Plan marks the latest effort by Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System to create solutions to language barriers in the state court system.
The AOPC developed a language access plan template for judicial districts in 2014 to identify existing and develop future language-related services and resources at the local level for judges, court staff, attorneys and the general public.
The plans were implemented in March 2015, and each judicial district designated a language access coordinator to oversee the availability of services in its courts.
In addition, the AOPC’s Interpreter Certification Program has steadily increased the number of certified and qualified interpreters statewide since its inception in 2008. Currently, more than 200 certified and qualified interpreters are on the program’s roster, representing more than 30 languages.  More than 1,400 candidates are currently attempting to become certified.
With the governor’s support, the General Assembly appropriated $1.5 million in 2016 to help counties defray the cost of complying with language access.  In 2016 courts spent $3.2 million in providing interpreter and related language access services.
A Language Access Advisory Group was created 18 months ago by the Supreme Court to develop the statewide plan for the court system. The advisory group included judges, court administrators, court interpreters, legal services providers, and elected government leaders.
The statewide plan provides for increased language access training and data collection procedures for the Commonwealth’s 60 judicial districts.
Pennsylvania already has statewide criminal protective orders, protection from abuse, and protection against sexual violence and intimidation forms translated into multiple languages.
The plan encourages judicial districts to increase the availability of translated local court forms and signage.
Methods for identifying the need for language services at the earliest possible point in the judicial process and the development of a procedure to monitor language access complaints are other elements in the 49-page plan.
Click Here to download a copy of the plan.
For more information, visit the PA Court’s Interpreter Program webpage.