Friday, October 20, 2017

Oct. 23 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Oct. 23 PA Environment Digest is now available.

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Senate Consumer Affairs Committee To Consider FERC Coal/Nuclear Pricing Resolution Oct. 24

The Senate Consumer Affairs & Professional Licensure Committee is scheduled to meet on October 24 to consider Senate Resolution 227 (Aument-R-Lancaster) urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to quickly implement policies to ensure baseload electricity generation (like coal and nuclear) are compensated for all the positive attributes they provide to the electric system (sponsor summary).
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and Sen. Donald White (R-Indiana) the chairs of the Nuclear Energy and Coal Caucuses.  The text of the co-sponsor memo introducing the resolution said--
“As the House co-chairs of the Nuclear Energy and Coal Caucuses, we have been raising concerns over the loss of nuclear and coal power plants in Pennsylvania.
“Our concerns have been focused on several issues, including the economic impact of premature plant closures, the potential loss of coal and nuclear plants as a strategic asset for the bulk power system, the environmental consideration of losing the largest and most reliable carbon-free and other fuel-diverse electricity production, and the long-term impacts to consumers should the overall electric grid become overly dependent on any one generation source.
“Pennsylvania is fortunate to be a top electricity producer from many sources, including nuclear, coal, gas and hydroelectric power. Together, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power produce 67 percent of our Commonwealth’s electricity and create fuel diversity in our supply of energy.
“As such, the loss of these fuel-secure resources matters greatly. For those who are not aware, fuel-secure generation resources are unique in that they are capable of storing fuel for their plants onsite for long periods of time.
“On September 28, 2017, the United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) took a significant step forward in addressing the loss of fuel-secure generation by issuing a new rule directing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) to ensure that fuel-secure generators are adequately compensated so that they can remain a viable component of the bulk power system.
“In its rule, DOE noted the following:
“The resiliency of the nation’s electric grid is threatened by the premature retirements of power plants that can withstand major fuel supply disruptions caused by natural or man-made disasters and, in those critical times, continue to provide electric energy, capacity, and essential grid reliability services. These fuel-secure resources are indispensable for the reliability and resiliency of our electric grid-and therefore indispensable for our economic and national security. It is time for the Commission to issue rules to protect the American people from energy outages expected to result from the loss of this fuel-secure generation capacity.”
“We agree, which is why we are seeking your support.
“In the very near future, we will be introducing a concurrent resolution urging the FERC to swiftly consider DOE’s proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule and implement policies and adopt tariffs to ensure fuel-secure generation resources receive proper compensation for the positive attributes they provide our nation’s and Commonwealth’s electric system – in this case, reliability and resiliency.
“Our goal is to promote Pennsylvania’s energy resources to the betterment of our economy, people and overall prosperity and to protect against unforeseen challenges that could threaten our electric grid, such as the polar vortex in 2014.
“We are all aware of the challenges that the coal and nuclear sectors of our energy economy have been facing in recent years. Please join us to encourage the federal government to finally address these very serious issues.”
An identical resolution has been introduced in the House-- House Resolution 576 (Pyle-R-Armstrong).
The meeting will be held in Room 461 starting at noon.
Sen. Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks) serves as Majority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to:  Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to:

DCNR Awarded $750K Grant For Stream Buffers In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Friday announced it was awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Grant for $750,000 to help plant forested buffers along streams to improve water quality.
DEP will match that funding with $2,144,550 for a total project value of $2,894,550.
DCNR’s Stream ReLeaf project will focus on bringing partners together and providing additional momentum to the work the department is leading to plant stream buffers along waterways,” DCNR Policy Director Sara Nicholas said at an event today at Future View Farm in Lancaster County. “The overall goal is to streamline the entire riparian forest buffer process from start to finish to improve local water quality and wildlife habitat, and to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution flowing from Pennsylvania into the Chesapeake Bay.”
Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of riparian forest buffers by 2025.
Elements of the work funded by the NFWF grant include:
-- Formalization of a partnership of leaders in riparian forest buffer implementation through the Riparian Forest Buffer Advisory Committee.
-- Developing new community-focused and producer-led marketing and outreach materials to recruit new landowners
-- Increasing technical assistance capacity and training opportunities
-- Funding riparian buffer plantings over 3 years on lands that do not qualify for other funding sources in a seven county pilot area
-- Creating a formalized mechanism for tracking new Riparian Forest Buffers planted across Pennsylvania to help with planning, prioritizing, and appropriately crediting riparian buffer implementation
This project initially will include, Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, and York counties.
Materials developed will initially be used in the seven-county pilot area to test effectiveness, adjusted as needed, and made available to all riparian forest buffer outreach and implementation partners in Pennsylvania.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will serve as a key administrative partner with DCNR on this project, helping conservation districts and conservation organizations working within the seven-county pilot area to contract private landowners willing to plant riparian forest buffers on their properties.  
The Department of Environmental Protection, Agriculture, and DCNR are leading a partnership of stakeholders in developing Phase 3 of the state plan to clean up local waters in the 43 Pennsylvania counties in the bay watershed.
"The foundation's generous support for projects that reflect deep local knowledge will restore the health of dozens more stream and river locations in our part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "This is tremendous, and underscores the great bottom-up momentum that DEP, DCNR, the Department of Agriculture, and our many committed partners are bringing to Phase 3 of Pennsylvania's plan for the watershed. Partner by partner, project by project, we aim to clean up our local waters."
“NFWF’s funding for the Stream Releaf project reinforces the importance of riparian buffers and other best management practices that farmers are employing to protect water quality,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “There is still a long road ahead. But thanks to the effective partnerships between local, state and federal agencies – as well as organizations like Stroud Water Research Center, the Lancaster Farm Trust, and the broader agriculture community – our collective efforts are making a difference in the watershed.”
For more information on stream buffers, visit DCNR’s Forest Buffers Along Waterways webpage.
For background on Chesapeake Bay Watershed cleanup in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s PA’s Chesapeake Bay Plan webpage.
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