January 31, 2014

Feb. 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Feb. 3 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Growing Greener Coalition To Corbett: Protect Environmental Funding

The PA Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth, Wednesday issued the following letter to Gov. Corbett urging him to protect funding for critical programs that help, protect our open space, preserve our family farms, support parks and recreation, and safeguard our historic treasures.
The text of the letter is as follows:
On behalf of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, thank you for your recent announcement of more than $20 million in grants for watershed protection projects across the Commonwealth.
These grants from the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund are important investments in our communities and play a significant role in combating pollution and keeping our drinking water clean.
As you prepare to deliver your budget address next week, the Coalition strongly urges you to protect funding for the Environmental Stewardship Fund as well as for other critical conservation and recreation programs.
In addition to the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund, these programs include Farmland Preservation, Historic Preservation, the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund and the Heritage Areas program.
The Coalition is firmly opposed to any cuts or freezes to these programs, especially at a time when Pennsylvania needs to be investing more money to protect our open space, preserve our family farms, support parks and recreation, and safeguard our historic treasures – not less.
Consider that:
— The Commonwealth still has 19,000 miles of streams that are unsafe for fishing and swimming.
— More than 2,000 family farms remain on the statewide list for preservation.
— Pennsylvania continues to lose three times as much forest, wildlife habitat, farmland and other open spaces to overdevelopment than we are able to preserve.
— Abandoned mines still scar almost 190,000 acres in 44 counties and are the cause of more than 5,000 miles of dead streams.
Also, consider that investments in conservation, recreation, and preservation bolster the economy. A Trust for Public Land study found that for every $ 1 invested in land and water conservation, $7 in natural goods and services is returned to the state of Pennsylvania.
Moreover, investments in parks and open space add billions of dollars to property values and help support Pennsylvania’s tourism and recreation industry.  A report by the Outdoor Industry Association indicates that outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania generates $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue and supports 219,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.  
In addition, conservation funding is an essential component for meeting federal Clean Water Act mandates associated with the Chesapeake Bay Blueprint and the need to reduce pollution in our local rivers and streams.  Failure to meet the requirements to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment according to the Bay Blueprints timeline opens the Commonwealth up to backstops from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  Growing Greener grants are needed for on-the- ground efforts to help meet these mandates.
Lastly, polls show strong, consistent public support for programs that improve our quality of life, boost the economy and protect the environment throughout Pennsylvania. The Growing Greener Environment Stewardship Fund – which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year – has enjoyed strong, bipartisan support from voters, legislators and governors since the beginning.
Please do not change that now.
We recognize the challenges ahead and look forward to working with you and the Legislature to ensure that funding for programs that protect our open space, preserve our family farms, support our parks and trails, and safeguard our historic treasures remains intact.
Thank you.
Sincerely, Andrew Heath, Executive Director
Gamesa Wind Turbine Plant, Touted By Rendell, McGinty Closing

Friday NewsClips

Harness Racing Driver Sues Harrah’s For Poor Track
Click Here for Today's PA Environmental News

Can It Get Any Better In Pennsylvania: Groundhog Day, Super Bowl On Same Day

The two biggest events of the year will be celebrated on the same day in Pennsylvania-- Groundhog Day where Punxsutawney Phil gives his annual weather forecast from Jefferson County-- 6 more weeks of winter or 6 more weeks until spring (?) and the Super Bowl!
Interestingly, the highest ranking leaders in both the Senate and House hail from Jefferson County-- President Pro Tempore of the Senate-- Joe Scarnati (R)-- and the Speaker of the House-- Rep. Sam Smith (R).
Party On!

January 30, 2014

Thursday NewsClips

Corbett Poll: A new Franklin & Marshall Poll release Wednesday shows 24 percent of voters have a favorable view of Gov. Corbett, 48 percent view him unfavorably, slightly different than the poll found in October-- 23 percent favorable, 52 percent unfavorable.  Other results include--
-- 46 percent would like to see liquor privatization
-- 56 percent support gay marriage
-- 81 percent support legalization of medical marijuana, 36 percent support marijuana legalization generally, 58 percent opposed
-- 40 percent believe the benefits of natural gas drilling outweigh environmental damage
Click Here for Today's PA Environmental News

January 27, 2014

LCB Begins Accepting Applications For New Tavern Gaming License

In accordance with Act 90 of 2013, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Monday began accepting applications for the new Tavern Gaming License.  
The license allows certain retail liquor licensees the authority to offer pull-tabs, daily drawings and charitable raffles.
The PLCB, Gaming Control Board, Department of Revenue and State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement recently completed seven statewide informational seminars focused on tavern gaming.
"More than 1,700 people attended the seminars to learn about tavern gaming and the application process, which is based on the legislation that was passed," said PLCB Chairman Joseph E. Brion. "It is our hope that those who attended the sessions will be better prepared to apply, making the process a little smoother and easier to navigate."
For those unable to attend but interested in tavern gaming, a video of the Harrisburg informational session will be posted on the PLCB website along with supplemental materials such as the presentation that was given and frequently asked questions.
While the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will process the applications and ultimately approve or deny them, other state agencies have a role in tavern gaming as well. The Gaming Control Board will conduct a thorough background check on applicants and provide that information to the PLCB.
The Department of Revenue will collect the applicable taxes and administer filing and payment obligations related to taverns, as well as the annual reporting requirements of the law.
The State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will enforce the licensing and gaming requirements of the new law while maintaining its current responsibilities enforcing the Liquor Code.
For more information, visit the LCB’s Tavern Gaming webpage.

Monday NewsClips

Toomey, Task Force Raise Awareness Of Alzheimer’s
Click Here for Today's PA Environmental News