The Pennsylvania Environmental Digest Blog reports that a new bipartisan bill introduced in both houses of the state legislature seeks to create a plan to make the Commonwealth reliant on 100% renewable power by 2050. Here’s more information on this bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Robb and Senator Charles McIlhinney: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.no/2018/04/bipartisan-senatehouse-bills-would.html
Responsibility for Keeping the Chesapeake Bay Healthy in PA Shifts from State to County
According to Lancaster Online‘s Ad Crable there is a policy shift going on in Pennsylvania.
Lancaster County farmers and residents will have a new taskmaster as the state tries a significantly different approach to make up ground to remove nutrients and sediment polluting the Chesapeake Bay.
The state will now rely on private and public sector leaders in Lancaster County itself, hoping for a more cooperative approach to vastly step up removal of the pollutants.
Farm-related runoff of manure, fertilizer and soil, as well as trying to capture stormwater, will be the focal points for the new initiative.
Is this new “localism” a good idea?
PA Clean Transportation Infrastructure Bill Approved By House Committee
by Nadirah Wilson
On March 12th, the PA Clean Transportation Infrastructure Bill was approved by the House Committee. Under this bill establishment; “House Bill 1446”, there will be more encouragement and support on infrastructure for electric and natural gas fueled vehicles. Pennsylvania will create a state goal of expanding our electric transportation usage by at least 50 percent over baseline forecasts by 2030. Also, the state will direct the development of regional transportation plans so Pennsylvanians will be able to continue to live, and work all the while transitioning to electric. The requirements includes utilities to submit infrastructure investment proposals based on the regional frameworks that help cost-effectively build out backbone charging infrastructure that meets their local needs. In the proposal they must complete a statewide interstate and turnpike fast electronic natural gas refueling networks, and create opportunities to increase the exportation of natural gas vehicles to support fleets and other high-value uses. The main sponsor of the bill, Representative Marguerite Quinn stated that electric powered cars are becoming more affordable for both business and personal use. Although electric powered cars are on the rise, people have been reluctant on consuming these products because of the lack of charging and refueling stations. Fortunately, with the new legislation and passing of the new bill there will be more stations available in the future. This new legislation is very beneficial to the economy and the environment, because alternative fuel vehicles provides a great opportunity to obtain a clean environment. Pennsylvania will be a leader in adopting these new technologies, succeeding in environmental friendliness.
Pennsylvania’s Fight Over the Eastern Hellbender
by Matthew White
Last year Pennsylvania Senator Yaw of Williamsport advocated for the instatement of the eastern hellbender salamander as the state amphibian for Pennsylvania. This bill easily passed through senate, but has been contested in the house. The eastern hellbender is an evasive species to PA so some believe that it is not fit for the job of state amphibian. The eastern hellbender is a freshwater salamander that is very sensitive to the purity of the water it lives in. Some states have already put this salamander on their endangered species list because they have been dying due to unclean waterways. The main reason for the advocacy of this salamander is to cause awareness of the pollution in Pennsylvania’s waterways. Although being evasive, this amphibian has been found all over western PA waterway, but that has been cut in half because of pollution.
Pennsylvania and Water Testing
By Wil Cacciatore
“Pennsylvania Calls for More Water Tests” explains how Pennsylvania wanted to run tests involving treatment plants and drinking water facilities to monitor for any radioactive pollutants that are ending up in the satellite rivers in that area. Since this article was written in 2011, Barack Obama had established a policy for stabilizing the environment regarding the water systems, air pollution from harmful fumes from factories, and also dumping grounds for sludges and other disastrous actions. Pennsylvania also made new guidelines for the factories for how to detect these harmful substances, so the E.P.A wouldn’t have to intervene with the regulators for the state. Although these policies and guidelines were set, E.P.A officials heard that a Johnstown plant was receiving biosolids sending them to fields for spreading them. During Barack’s terms, Pennsylvania and even the whole nation has seen an improvement in environmental regulation, but the overall contributing factor is not keeping up with regulations and not being aware of the surroundings. Regulators have to realize that long term effects can be prevented with one simple change. An example of this would be waste treatment plant operators didn’t define radium as a harmful containment for the production of fertilizer. This one arrangement could have conveyed a long period of change for the environment as a whole.
Pennsylvania DEP Proposes Increase to Shale Gas Well Permit Fee
by Othniel T. Degahson, Jr.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is proposing an increase in the price of a shale gas well permit from $5,000 per well to $12,500 per well. The Department of Environmental protection justifies this as a necessity to keep the state’s oil and gas oversight program from operating at a deficit, as permit fee revenue has seen a large decrease since 2014-2015. As the DEP gets a large amount of its funding from permit revenue, they have had to decrease the amount of employees in their oil and gas program.
Permit fees for shale gas wells are paid once at a well’s birth and inspection responsibilities continue until the well is plugged decades later.
The state government under Governor Tom Wolf has known that the DEP needed more money, yet they delayed on permit fee increases due to state budget negotiations that had the possibility of a severance tax on shale, which would have a portion of those funds allocated to the DEP’s oil and gas program.
Industry representatives are generally supportive of a fee increase “to provide DEP’s oil and gas program with the resources it needs” but were blind sighted by the size of the fee increase, especially given what they viewed as excessive amounts of time for the permits to become approved. Marcellus Shale Coalition data shows the average permit wait time increase from 57 days in 2016 to 111 days in 2017.