Friday, March 30, 2012

April 2 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 2 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this entire Digest.

Counties With 64 Percent Of Marcellus Wells File To Adopt Drilling Fee
So far, 18 counties with a total of 3,174 natural gas wells (63.7 percent) have formally filed their intent with the Public Utility Commission to adopt a drilling impact fee under the Act 13 Marcellus Shale Law.
            This means 64 percent of the $211.1 million the Act is suppose to raise in revenue in 2012 or about $126.6 million will be available so far.
            The counties include: New- Allegheny (9 wells), Bedford (1 well), Butler (109 wells), New- Carbon (0 wells), New- Columbia (3 wells), Elk (58 wells), Forest (6 wells), New- Greene (415 wells), Lawrence (2 wells), Lycoming (473 wells), New- McKean (53 wells), Perry (0 wells), New- Sullivan (41 wells), New- Susquehanna (462 wells), Tioga- (693 wells), Washington (560 wells) and Westmoreland (191 wells), New- Wyoming (98 wells) counties.
            4,344 of the 4,982 producing Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania are in just 11 counties: Bradford-1,008, Tioga-693, Washington-560, Lycoming- 473, Susquehanna-462, Greene-415, Westmoreland-191, Fayette-185, Clearfield-136, Armstrong-112 and Butler-109.
            For 2012, counties have until April 16 to adopt a drilling fee ordinance.            For more information, visit the PUC's Act 13 Drilling Fee and Drilling Fee Public Documents webpages.

Senate Sets Action On Budget Bills Monday

The Senate is scheduled to unveil and consider its FY 2012-13 budget proposal Monday in the Appropriations Committee which is set to take action on 16 budget bills, including the General Fund-- Senate Bill 1466-- appropriations bills for state-related colleges and universities as well as a Capital Budget bill. Links to all the bills are available on the Senate Committee Schedule webpage.

Friday NewsClips

Towns Sue PA Over Marcellus Shale Law
7 Municipalities File Lawsuit Over Shale Drilling Law
Western PA Suburbs Part Of Drilling Lawsuit
Emergency Responders At Natural Gas Compressor Explosion
Explosion At Susquehanna County Gas Compressor Station
Cabot, Williams Detail Damage To PA Gas Compressor
Williamsport Frack Water Treatment Facility Expands
Women At Work In The Marcellus Shale Industry
Lackawanna College Gets 35,000 Pound Gift From Gas Company
Energy Firm Building Gas Power Plant Names Liaison
Op-Ed: Marcellus Shale A House Of Cards
Editorial: Gas Pipelines  Remain A Threat
Editorial: PUC Pipeline Information Secrecy
Coal, Natural Gas Industry Fight For Coveted Land
Beattie Career Center Nominated For Green Ribbon School Award
First Veterinary Positive For West Nile Virus In 2012
Casey Announces PA Eligibility For Flood Funds
Op-Ed: The Countless Shades Of Green Jobs
National Park Services Endorsed Power Line Route
PPL Power Line Gets Nod From National Park Service
More Changes In Store For DCNR's Wild Resource Grant Program
Helicopter Helps Fight Another Blue Mountain Forest Fire
Game Commission Sparks Debate On Feral Hogs
NE PA Workshop Focuses On Bird Songs
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PA Environmental Council On Marcellus Law Chemical Disclosure Provisions

The PA Environmental Council Thursday put out the following statement in response to questions about the chemical disclosure provisions of the new Marcellus Shale drilling law (Act 13 of 2012).

The chemical disclosure provisions of Pennsylvania's new law relating to shale gas drilling are not perfect, but they are far ahead of what was required before. Since the passage of Act 13, there has been a lot of discussion on the disclosure for chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Some of this discussion has mischaracterized the new law as we understand it.
            During deliberations of the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission last year the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), recognizing there were no health representatives on the Commission, proactively reached out to the health community (Drexel School of Public Health and University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health) to solicit specific recommendations for consideration in the Commission's final report. PEC submitted those recommendations and all were included in the final report. Since that time PEC has consistently advocated for prompt action on those recommendations, which do not require new legislation for implementation. To date these recommendations await action.
            PEC's primary focus on the legislation (House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100) that ultimately led to Act 13 was improvements to the environmental protection provisions in the Oil & Gas Act, consistent with our landmark July 2010 Policy Report, our point-by-point May 2011 Legislative Proposal for amending the existing law, and our November 2011 response document to House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100. The latter two proposals were developed in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
            As the public legislative debate came to a close at the end of 2011, and worked shifted to resolving differences between the House and Senate bills, PEC saw an opportunity to improve the chemical disclosure provisions in the legislation. It was apparent that, without a strong push, the final bill would likely have done nothing more than codify the existing agency rules for disclosure. These rules were anemic to say the least.  They only required disclosure of a partial subset of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing treatment. And there was no meaningful public reporting of even that partial list.
            Working with legislative leadership and the Governor’s office, PEC was able to help secure language that will now require disclosure of all chemicals, along with the concentrations at which the chemicals are used on a well-by-well basis.  Further, in addition to reporting these chemicals to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), operators of unconventional wells will be required to post their chemical disclosures on, a website that is rapidly becoming the main disclosure platform used by states and operators around the country.
            Yes, just as has been the case in every single state that has adopted chemical disclosure requirements, operators will be allowed to assert trade secret claims to keep the identities of certain chemicals secret. Here, PEC fought to make sure trade secret claims would be subject to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know law.  Because we were successful, any citizen will have a right to challenge trade secret assertions – giving Pennsylvania one of the better systems of any state in the nation for policing trade secret claims.
            Now, however, concerns have been raised about the chemical disclosure language some are calling a “gag order” on medical professionals.  Our understanding of the language is this:
            The language provides a mechanism to ensure that medical professionals can quickly get direct access to chemical information for which trade secret protections have been claimed in cases where it’s needed for diagnosis or treatment of a patient.  As part of the process, companies can require a confidentiality agreement when circumstances permit, but the law ensures that medical professionals can get the information first.
            PEC did not write this language. This language replicates the same process that is in place for the same purpose in other states and that has existed for decades in the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) and the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
            Our understanding is that without such language, there’s nothing to guarantee that a doctor will be able to compel companies to turn over trade secret information quickly or even at all.
            Prior to Act 13, health professionals would have had to submit a request to DEP for trade secret information, or pursue a Right to Know claim. And even after passage of Act 13, they still have that option available to them without any new limitations.
            If the professional health community believes the framework unduly restricts the ability of medical professionals to get access to chemical information and use that information to treat patients or address public health impacts, then Pennsylvania needs an open and immediate discussion on how the disclosure provisions of Act 13 need to be changed.
            PEC fully supports this discussion. We maintain our long standing principle that public health is a fundamental element for proper management of shale gas development in Pennsylvania. 
            For more information, visit PEC's Marcellus Shale webpage.

PPMCSA: Pittsburgh Summer Gasoline Potential Supply Issue Imminent

The Pennsylvania Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association today wrote to all members of the House of Representatives advising members time is short to deal with a developing summer gasoline supply crisis in the Pittsburgh Region.  A copy of their letter follows:

FROM: JOHN V KULIK, Executive Vice President
DATE: March 29, 2012

Motorists in the seven counties around Pittsburgh are now facing a situation we have not seen since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s: will they be able to buy gasoline to get to work?  Fortunately we've had many warnings this was coming and the General Assembly has the ability to head off the worst of this problem-- if you choose to act. 
          The issue is simple.  Pennsylvania regulations require a special blend of low-RVP gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties to help fight air pollution.  That gasoline is normally made by refineries and shipped to the region by pipeline. No other area within 350 miles of Pittsburgh has this same gasoline blend.  In normal years the transition to the new summer time gasoline starts in April, which in the last few years has been bumpy at best. This year marketers will be focused on whether adequate supply will arrive at all.  This concern will continue through the summer. Three of the refineries that did supply almost a third of the complying gasoline have either closed or will be closing by July 1.  
          The U.S. Energy Information Agency issued a report in the last few weeks saying the loss of the capacity from these refineries to make gasoline and other fuels will have a significant impact on the fuel market and increase prices dramatically.  In particular they said the situation will be even more difficult in terms of supplying the special gasoline to Pittsburgh.

          Over the last several weeks the two major pipeline companies which supply complying gasoline to Pittsburgh warned of the serious potential of supply shortages.  Last year at about this same time, without closed refineries, Pittsburgh experienced significant disruption in its gasoline supplies.  In fact, stories filled the news media of service stations running out of gasoline.  Those issues were resolved after several weeks of uncertain supplies, but with significant price increases for gasoline.  According to studies, last summer gasoline in the seven county area was ten to fifteen cents higher per gallon -sometimes more - than prices in Ohio.
          As a member of the General Assembly you can take action to avoid this potential crisis.  You can support Senate Bill 1386, sponsored by Senator Elder Vogel and Senator Tim Solobay, which was passed by the Senate two weeks ago.  The bill is now awaiting action in the House.  There are currently only five voting days on the House and Senate schedule before the low-RVP gasoline requirement kicks in.  Now is the time to act before consumers in the Pittsburgh region are faced with the uncertainty of where they will get gasoline.

          A fact sheet on the issue is available on the PPMCSA website.

Thursday NewsClips

House OKs Bill To Spend Millions To Fix Flood-Damaged Bridges
Susquehanna County Passes, Lackawanna Introduces Drilling Fee
Dimock: A Town Divided On Drilling Impacts
Lycoming Residents Get A Reprieve From Fracking Operation
Allegheny County Hits Pause On New Drilling Setbacks
Proposed Gas Compressor Another Chink
A Three Mile Island Primer - 33 Years Later
House Panel Drops Mine Fund Transfer
LIHEAP Heating Aid Deadline Extended, Not For Shutoffs
ConocoPhilllips Extends Deadline For Trainer Refinery Sale
Midstate Developer Proposes Solar Apartments, Retail Space
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DCNR: Independent Review Hails State Forest Management

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan Tuesday applauded results of an independent review team’s study of state forestlands, noting its findings affirm the state’s efforts to conserve these resources and ensure their long-term health through sound management.
            “This continued certification of our state forests is a reaffirmation of the pride we take in managing our state forest system for many values and uses, while maintaining its long-term health and viability,” said Allan. “Today, there are many threats and challenges in forest management, including fragmentation and disturbance, invasive plants, destructive exotic insects and insufficient regeneration.
            “The certification process is a strong affirmation that we are doing everything we can to meet these challenges through management plans and practices. More importantly, it helps us identify areas we can improve to ensure our forests are well managed and in line with stakeholder expectations,” Allan said.
            For the 14th consecutive year, researchers lauded Pennsylvania’s commitment to its forests, and its exemplary practices and innovation in managing its 2.2 million acres of forest resources.
            The review was conducted in September 2011 by SmartWood, a world-leading, New York City-based operation accredited to offer forest landowners independent, third-party certification of sustainable forest-management practices.
            Pennsylvania state forests are certified by the Rainforest Alliance under the Forest Stewardship Council™ standards. The council is an independent organization supporting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.
            SmartWood applauded the Bureau of Forestry for:
-- Continued responsible management of gas drilling activities;
-- Timber harvesting practices that ensure regeneration of future forests;
-- Partnerships used in protecting sensitive species; 
-- Use of advanced management practices to further protect and enhance our ecosystems; restore habitat; and promote regeneration; and
-- Identification, adaptation and management of High Conservation Value Forests.
            The evaluation team and SmartWood work with the Bureau of Forestry to resolve any issues that may be found during audits. No major shortcomings were cited in the 2011 audit.
            The assessment was designed to evaluate the ecological, economic and social performance of the Bureau of Forestry according to forest management guidelines established by the Forest Stewardship Council. The council was formed in 1993 by environmental, social and forest-products industry representatives to establish guidelines for sustainable forest-management practices.
            A SmartWood project team consisting of a forest ecologist/silviculturist and a socio-economic assessor toured Lackawanna, William Penn, Delaware and Loyalsock state forest districts. They met with DCNR officials and stakeholders, scoring woodlands on timber-resource sustainability, forest-ecosystem maintenance, financial and socioeconomic considerations and other categories.
            SmartWood is recognized as the world's leading Forest Stewardship Council forest management certifier. Certification assures consumers that wood products from the state’s public forests come from a sustainable, well-managed system, which helps Pennsylvania to compete in the growing niche consumer market for “green” label wood products.
            “Just as recycled products have become common in the marketplace, many environmentally conscious timber consumers look for ‘green’ wood grown in certified forests,” Allan said. “Continuing certification is especially good news when you consider our quality hardwoods help support the state’s $5 billion forest products industry that employs almost 100,000 people.”
            Copies of the SmartWood 2011 state forest evaluation is available online.   For more information, visit the State Forest Certification webpage.

PEC: What's Next After Passage Of Marcellus Shale Drilling Law

PA Environmental Council Monday published a comprehensive overview of the provisions included and not included in the new Marcellus Shale drilling law.  The report also summarizes the recommendations not yet acted on from the Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission report.  Here's their statement:
            The continuing work of adapting Pennsylvania laws and regulations (for Marcellus Shale drilling) took a significant step forward in February 2012 with the signing of Act 13. But, for as difficult as it was to reach this milestone and though the legislation falls short of our expectations in certain aspects, it is only a step on the path to comprehensive energy development and regulation.
            A copy of PEC’s full analysis of Act 13 is available online.
            Unconventional shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania is still at the start of what appears to be a century of development and production. And we are also at the beginning of understanding and adapting to a new era of drilling and production technologies that have redefined gas production in Pennsylvania and continue to evolve as new processes emerge and are utilized.
            To manage with the environmental challenges posed by this growing industry, the state has updated the regulations governing cementing and casing, production reporting, and total dissolved solids in wastewater. It has called for voluntary changes in wastewater handling, increased permitting fees, changed the process for erosion and sedimentation permits, and enacted Act 13. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) will continue to seek more stringent regulation and enforcement, and continuously work to make Pennsylvania the model for deep shale drilling and development nationwide.
            While we look forward to revisiting these issues, PEC is also focused on those steps that have been left undone.  One of our highest priorities is to ensure that the environmental protection standards set forth in Act 13 are expeditiously enacted into regulation by DEP.  In fact, we believe that there are a number of standards in the Act that DEP and the industry can implement immediately through a repeat of the DEP Secretary’s call for voluntary action on the part of the shale gas industry.
            Further, we encourage DEP and the Governor’s office to promptly implement the recommendations from the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission that do not to need legislative action, including both environmental protections and those related to public health. This is also an immediate imperative as there are a number of critical pieces that remain outstanding from that report.
            PEC’s implementation priorities for 2012 includes:
A. Act 13 (Agency Rulemaking or Policy Revisions)
-- Criteria for Water Management Plans consistent with new standards included in Section 3211.
-- Criteria for new well site containment standards, including siting restrictions in floodplains [Sections 3218.2 and 3215].
-- Criteria for wastewater tracking and reporting requirements pursuant to Section 3218.3.
-- Criteria for tacking and reporting of air contaminant emissions pursuant to Section 3227.
-- Procedures for disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process pursuant to Sections 3222 and 3222.1.
B. Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission Report Recommendations
-- Legislation establishing construction standards for private water wells. [9.2.17]
-- Promote the use of non-freshwater sources for hydraulic fracturing. [9.2.22]
-- Openly identify and establish adaptive Best Management Practices for the industry that can be utilized in addition to regulatory measures. [9.2.23]
-- Maintain public benchmarking of Pennsylvania’s regulatory management programs. [9.2.25]
-- Enhance planning efforts and resources by proactively identifying areas of high ecological value; establish additional criteria or restrictions for development in or near these areas. [9.2.26]
-- Improve planning and permit review through adoption of enhanced site assessment criteria. [9.2.29]
-- Advance public health evaluation and reporting efforts. [9.2.37 to 9.2.43]
            Looking ahead, PEC remains confident that the best way to manage the impacts of the burgeoning shale gas industry is through aggressive adaptive management. To achieve this, policymakers, regulators, industry, communities, and advocacy groups must all work toward development, understanding, and enforcement of strong and evolving standards that are protective of human health and the environment.
            For our part, PEC pledges to continue on this path and will continue to fight for the standards that we believe are necessary to allow the industry to develop but within strict parameters that protect Pennsylvania’s common good.
            For more information, visit PEC's Marcellus Shale webpage.

Tuesday NewsClips

Column: In Danger, State Park Funding
Peters Twp Joins Opposition To Drilling Law
Luzerne County To Vote On Gas Impact Fee
PEC: New Marcellus Shale Drilling Law: What's Next
Mansfield Forms Institute To Educate Gas Drilling Workers
Federal Judge Rejects Drilling  Industry Motion On Allegheny Forest
Casey Wants More Pipeline Information Made Public
Ethane Cracker's Pollution Potential
Shale Execs Debate On Process Of Hydraulic Fracturing
Shrill Noises From Compressors Could Affect Plants
Study: Fracking May Increase Air Pollution Health Risks
Natural Gas Futures Settle At 10 Year Low
Maryland House Approves 7.5 Percent Severance Tax
NE PA Audubon Society Offers Summer Camp Scholarships
Radnor Middle School Nominated For Green Ribbon School Award
Volunteers Plan Rescue Of Bethlehem's Native Plant Preserve
Lancaster Stresses Green Approach On Runoff
House Panel Approves Flood Road Repair Bill
Using Your Phone To Find Cheap Gas
Gas Prices Already Closing In On Last Year's High
Home Depot Supports City Beautification Efforts
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 26 PA Environment Digest Now Available

March 26 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this entire Digest.

Update: Counties With 2,093 Marcellus Wells File With PUC To Adopt Drilling Fee

So far, ten counties with a total of 2,093 natural gas wells have formally filed their intent with the Public Utility Commission to adopt a drilling impact fee under the Act 13 Marcellus Shale Law.  
            The counties include: New- Bedford (1 well), Butler (109 wells), New- Elk (58 wells), Forest (6 wells), Lawrence (2 wells), Lycoming (473 wells), Perry (0 wells), NewTioga- (693 wells), Washington (560 wells) and Westmoreland (191 wells) counties.
            4,344 of the 4,982 producing Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania are in just 11 counties: Bradford-1,008, Tioga-693, Washington-560, Lycoming- 473, Susquehanna-462, Greene-415, Westmoreland-191, Fayette-185, Clearfield-136, Armstrong-112 and Butler-109.
            For 2012, counties have until April 16 to adopt a drilling fee ordinance.            For more information, visit the PUC's Act 13 Drilling Fee and Drilling Fee Public Documents webpages.

Friday NewsClips

Pittsburgh Summer Gas Rule Draws Fire
EPA Considering Waiver Of Summer Gasoline Rules For PA
With Gas Prices Rising, Public Tries To Place Blame
Enviro Group Promotes Another Misleading Report On River Pollution
Environmental Group Says Delaware Most Polluted
Ohio Dirtiest River Penn Environment Study Finds
PA 7th In Toxic Substances Released Into Waterways
Westmoreland Asked to Use Drilling Fees To Protect Public Health
Column: Atrocious Gasland Movie Could Discredit Environmentalists
EPA Requests $14 Million To Continue Fracking Study
Audit: Gas Lines Tied To Fracking Lack Oversight
DEP Blasting Not To Blame For Somerset Mine Water Blowout
Mining Site Restoration Fundraiser
Appalachian Coal Fights For Survival On Shale Boom
Editorial: Control, Enforcement Add Up To Better Air
Goodwill Gets Permit To Collect Electronic Items
Editorial: Update Nuclear Plant Evacuation Plans
Op-Ed: Proposed Transportation Tax Comes Up Empty
Milton Hershey School Combines Fire, Science, Conservation
Game Commission Plans Controlled Burn In Lancaster
Lehigh Rails-To-Trails Committee Not Out To Take Property
Bucks County Preserves 150th Farm
Scenes From Trout Stocking In Boiling Springs
Birding By Ear At PPL's Lake Wallenpaupack
Warm Nights Speeding Up Maple Syrup Season
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PEC Announces April 18 Event To Honor Governor's Environmental Award Winners

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council announced Thursday the award ceremonies for this year’s recipients of the 2012 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence will take place at a special awards dinner on April 18 in Harrisburg.
            The Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence are presented each year by the  Department of Environmental Protection to highlight the best in environmental innovation and expertise throughout the Commonwealth.
            The awards are the highest statewide honor bestowed upon businesses and organizations for environmental performance and innovation from cleaning up watersheds, saving energy, and eliminating pollution, to reducing waste and more.
            The Honorable Michael Krancer, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, will serve as the keynote speaker for the event and Janelle Stelson, News Anchor for WGAL, Channel 8 television will be the program emcee.
            Award Winners
            This year's recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence are:
-- ARCA  Advanced Processing for the First URT Refrigerator Recycling Plant in the U.S., City of Philadelphia;
-- Bald Eagle Area School District for the Wingate Complex Renovation with Solar, Geothermal & Environmental Center - Centre County; 
-- Chambersburg Area School District for the CASD Energy Management, Conservation, and Energy Star Partnership - Franklin County; 
-- Connoquenessing Watershed Alliance, Inc. for the  Thorn Creek Habitat Improvement Project - Butler County; 
-- Earth Conservancy for the Espy Run Wetlands Enhancement Project - Luzerne County; 
-- ElectroCell Technologies, Inc. for the Snavely Farms Green Cycle Nutrient Trading/Odor Reduction Project - Lancaster County; 
-- Giant Eagle for the Giant Eagle Delivering a Cleaner Future - Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) - Allegheny County; 
-- Greener Partners for the Longview Center for Agriculture - Montgomery County; 
-- Mount Joy Borough Authority for the Nutrient Credit Trade and Class A Implementation Program - Lancaster County; 
-- PA  Apiculture, Inc. for the  PennApic Learning Center & Public Outreach Program - York County;
--  PECO for the PECO Energizing Education Program (PEEP) – City of Philadelphia; 
-- Philadelphia Zoo for the  Bird Lake Wetland – City of Philadelphia; 
-- Propel Schools for the Sunflower Fields Forever - Allegheny County; 
-- Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission for the Regional Traffic Signal Program - 1st Cycle - Allegheny County; 
-- Sunnyside Farm for the Farming Without Petroleum - York County; 
-- Trout Unlimited for the West Branch Recovery Benchmark Project - Clinton County; and 
-- Anthony Rymar of UGI for the UGI-PNG former Water Street Manufactured Gas Plant - Berks County.
            Dominion Resources is the Premier Platinum Sponsor of this year’s event! Silver Dinner Sponsors are Chevron, PECO, The Franklin Institute-The NEED Project and Pennoni Associates, Inc.; Bronze Table Benefactors are EQT Corporation and Exelon; Environmental Excellence Sponsors are Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, Gannett Fleming, Inc., Giant Eagle, Inc. and McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC; Innovator Dinner Sponsors are Brown & Keener, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, RT Environmental Services, Inc., Saul Ewing LLP and Schaedler Yesco.
            Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact Angela Vitkoski of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at 570-718-6507 or send email to:

EPA Considering Waiver Of Summer Gasoline Rules For PA

EPA Considering Waiver Of Summer Gasoline Rules For PA

Department of Education Issues Draft Environmental Literacy Plan

Environmental educators and others with an interest in formal and non-formal education are being invited by the Department of Education's Environmental and Ecology Education program to comment on a draft PA Environmental Literacy Plan designed to move environmental education forward for the next 10 years.
            Comments are due by April 13.    
            The draft was developed by the Pennsylvania Advisory Council under the guidance of the Department of Education.  This plan correlates directly with the goals, outcomes and strategies for the newly developed Mid-Atlantic Elementary and Secondary Environmental Literacy Plan.
            The Pennsylvania literacy plan looks at eight areas of importance for both formal and non-formal educators in the area of environmental education.  These areas are:
A. School System (state regulations and laws pertaining to formal education)
B. Life Long Learners (Meaningful Learners and Civic Engagement)
C. Sustainable Practices, Healthy Living and the Environment
D. Funding and Implementation
E. Partnerships
F. Early Childhood Education
G. Pre-Service Education 
H. Professional Development (formal and non-formal)
            For each of the eight areas of the Pennsylvania Literacy Plan recommendations, action steps and main responsible parties have been developed.  Each recommendation addressed a very specific topic and then steps to meet the recommendations focused on 2 both formal and non-formal education. 
            Multiple partners are identified in each area who the council felt would hold the primary responsibility to ensure that actions would be taken to meet the recommendations. These partners are at the regional, state and federal levels.
            There are four goals for the plan and its recommendations:
-- Goal 1: Every student in the region graduates with the knowledge and skills to make informed environmental decisions.
-- Goal 2: All educators in the region responsible for instruction about or in the environment have access to sustained professional development opportunities, tools, and resources that support their efforts to provide students with high-quality environmental education.
-- Goal 3:  Every school in the region maintains its buildings, grounds, and operations to support positive environmental and human health outcomes.
-- Goal 4: The education community in the region functions in a unified manner and coordinates with key national, regional, and stat programs to represent the full suite of information and opportunities available for PK-12 audiences.
            Comments and suggestions on the plan and its recommendations should be directed to Patti Vathis by sending email to:
            History of EE in PA
            Pennsylvania was a pioneer in environmental education.
            In 1984 Pennsylvania developed the state's first Environmental Education Master Plan developed by Department of Environmental Resources Secretary Nicholas DeBenedictis and Education Secretary Dr. Margaret Smith under Gov. Dick Thornburgh.
            In 1993 the General Assembly passed and Gov. Bob Casey signed into law the PA Environmental Education Act (Act 24) earmarking five percent of the fines and penalties collected by the Department of Environmental Protection to fund local and state environmental education efforts.
            In 1996 Gov. Tom Ridge, by executive order, created the PA Center for Environmental Education to help coordinate environmental education efforts in the Commonwealth. The Center was governed by a board members from relevant state agencies, the PA Association of Environmental Educators and county conservation districts.
            The Commonwealth was the first state in the country to approve specific, state academic standards for Environment and Ecology education in 2002 under Gov. Mark Schweiker.  The standards require students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 to show proficiency in basic environmental concepts like they do math, science and reading.
            In 2008 the General Assembly passed and Gov. Ed Rendell signed Act 71 creating the Center in law with an expanded board as an organization under the State System of Higher Education and Slippery Rock University.
            In 2011 the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Corbett zeroed out the budget for the Center and it was disbanded.  The online resources developed under the Center are now housed, in part, on the PA Association of Environmental Educators website.

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