March 17, 2017

March 20 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The March 20 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Here are just a few of the headlines--

President Trump released his proposed budget blueprint Thursday which confirmed earlier reports of substantial cuts to EPA grants given to states to administer federal programs, eliminating the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Restoration Programs and discretionary abandoned mine reclamation funding.
The state Department of Environmental Protection receives 30 percent of its funding from the federal government to pay for programs DEP’s administers for the federal government.  

StateImpact’s Marie Cusick reported Thursday Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt saying the cuts to funding proposed by the Trump administration will have an “immediate and devastating effect” in Pennsylvania.
“The [proposed] 30 percent cut in federal funding would significant reduce popular, successful, bipartisan programs that protect public health and the environment, and lead to economic development,” said McDonnell.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following statement concerning President Trump’s proposed budget, which eliminates funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
“This just makes no sense.  We are in disbelief. The EPA’s role in this clean up is nothing less than fundamental. It’s not just important, it is critical.
“Eliminating the EPA Bay Program will slam the door on the Bay’s nascent recovery, a recovery which is still very fragile.”

The White House’s dramatic cuts proposed Thursday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if enacted, affect grants that support an average of 27 percent of state environmental agency budgets (EABs), according to the Environmental Council of the States.
“Frankly, language in the President’s budget blueprint that ‘EPA would primarily support States and Tribes in their important role protecting air, land, and water in the 21st Century’ is wholly inconsistent with the Categorical Grant cuts,” says ECOS Executive Director & General Counsel Alexandra Dunn. ”States need these federal funds to carry out their critical functions of advancing human health and protecting the environment, and to issue permits that keep local economies moving. States operate 96 percent of federally delegated and authorized environmental programs and manage funds to implement environmental regulations and are an important link to the local regulated community and local governments.”

Locals will kick off the three-month Schuylkill Scrub by cleaning up Norristown’s Stony Creek in Montgomery County on March 25, from 8 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are needed.

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Saturday it has revised the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebates available for battery and plug-in electric vehicles.  (formal notice)

A recent U.S. Department of Energy report shows a significant increase in energy jobs in Pennsylvania spurred by Act 129, the state’s energy efficiency policy. According to the DOE report, Pennsylvania is home to 62,431 people employed in energy efficiency.

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday announced applications are being accepted for federal grants to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities better guard against the threat of fires in forested, undeveloped, and unprotected areas.  Applications are due May 18.

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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