Friday, February 16, 2018

Feb. 19 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The February 19 PA Environment Digest is now available.

[ Headlines ]

[ News From The Capitol ]

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[ Technical Guidance Agenda ]

[ Water/Wastewater Systems - Watershed Restoration/Protection ]

[ Local Environmental Protection ]

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[ Land Conservation ]

[ Wildlife - Invasive Species - Habitat Restoration ]

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PA Environment Digest is edited by David E. Hess, former Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  He can be contacted at 717-576-0420 or send email to:

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Gerrymandering Issue Now With PA Supreme Court

Raise your hand if you have NOT submitted a Congressional redistricting map to the PA Supreme Court.  
It almost seemed that way this week as Gov. Wolf rejected the plan Sen. Scarnati and Rep. Turzai submitted without legislative approval leaving the Court the job of drawing Pennsylvania Congressional districts.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) and House Majority Leader David Reed (R-Indian) said Thursday they both asked Gov. Wolf to petition the PA Supreme Court to allow the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office to work together to develop a new Congressional districts map, but he declined.
As a result, Sen. Corman said Gov. Wolf choose “chaos.”  
BTW “chaos” was a mild term compared to the Scarnati/Turzai reaction to Gov. Wolf’s rejection of their map which they called “absurd.”  Gov. Wolf responded by saying “elementary school students have the sophistication to draw a fair map.”  
Then, of course, 8th graders in a Quaker school near Philadelphia proved the Governor’s point saying it is not very hard.
So Gov. Wolf (near the midnight deadline Thursday) submitted his own map to the Court, along with Senate and House Democrats, and many others.  Even Lehigh Valley piano teacher  Amanda Holt, who was involved in 2011 challenges to Senate and House districts, submitted her own map.
Next week, the PA Supreme Court is expected to hear recommendations from its own redistricting expert-- Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford Professor-- and make a decision.
Sen. Corman said, while they will weigh all options, they will likely file a challenge in federal court to whatever map the PA Supreme Court comes up with based on what he called the Court “usurping” the authority of both the Legislative and Executive branches of government to draw Congressional districts.
Meanwhile Congressional candidates are in limbo, not knowing if they are even in the districts they announced to run in until this mess gets resolved.
The Department of State did push back the dates for circulating nominating petitions-- February 27 to March 20-- but that does not leave a lot of time to let federal legal challenges play out.
Lots of political energy being used up at the Capitol on this issue.
Stay tuned for more….
(Photo: The redistricting submission by the 5-year old daughter of Sen. Scarnati’s Chief of Staff Drew Crompton. (Not really submitted.))

DEP: No Environmental Education Grants Due To Budget Restraints

The Department of Environmental Protection this week told the Citizens Advisory Council in its monthly report of activities (page 10) there will be no Environmental Education Mini-Grant Program for 2018 “due to budget restraints.”
DEP did say, “As the year progresses and fines are processed this subject will be revisited with a potential new EE General-grant round in the Fall of 2018.”
The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates that five percent of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the Department of Environmental Protection be set aside for environmental education.
Since the inception of the environmental education grant program, DEP has awarded more than $10 million in grants to support the environmental education efforts throughout Pennsylvania.
The funds are used for projects ranging from creative, hands-on lessons for students, teacher training programs, and outdoor learning resources to conservation education for adults.
For more information on the program, visit DEP’s Environmental Education Grant Program webpage.
For more information on education activities, visit DEP’s Environmental Education webpage, call 717-772-1828 or send email to:   Click Here to sign up for DEP’s Teaching Green newsletter.
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DEP Keystone Energy Education Workshops For Teachers Coming Up

The Department of Environmental Protection is again hosting a series of Keystone Energy Education Workshops for teachers in the next few months.
This free teacher workshop focuses on energy education.  Attendees will learn--
-- All about the Energy Pathway in the Eco-Schools USA program
-- Where to get energy data and resources
-- How to use your building as a teaching tool
-- Ways to teach about alternative/renewable energy and fuels
-- How to assist a student energy team in measuring their successes
Participants will get take home instruments and curated activity and lesson plans to use at their school.
The workshops scheduled so far will be held from 8:30 to 3:00 on these dates--
-- March 20: Tyler State Park, Newtown, Bucks County.  Click To Register;
-- March 21: Ridley Creek State Park, Media, Delaware County.  Click To Register;
-- March 22: Jacobsburg Environmental Ed Center, Nazareth, Northampton County. Click To Register;
-- May 8: DEP Northwest Regional Office, Meadville, Crawford County.  Click To Register.
-- May 9: Westmoreland County Conservation District Office, Greensburg, Westmoreland County. Click To Register.
-- May 17: King’s Gap Environmental Center, Carlisle, Cumberland County. Click To Register.
For more information on education activities, visit DEP’s Environmental Education webpage, call 717-772-1828 or send email to:   Click Here to sign up for DEP’s Teaching Green newsletter.
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