Attend Training for Dirt and Gravel, Low-Volume Roads
Townships that maintain dirt and gravel/low-volume roads should consider participating in upcoming training through the Penn State Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies.
The Center's Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) Course is an intense two-day classroom session focused on providing the knowledge and tools to maintain roads in a more cost-efficient and environmentally sensitive manner. The course runs form 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and includes lunch. It's available at no cost to townships involved in Pennsylvania’s Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Road Program.
To be eligible to apply for dirt and gravel or low-volume road grants, the township official in charge of work plan development and project implementation must have completed the required environmentally sensitive maintenance training within the past five years.
ESM training sessions will be held on the following dates:
- May 26-27 — Luzerne County
- June 2-3 — Warren County
- June 16-17 — Lycoming County
Click here to register and for more information. Pre-registration is required and must be done online.
House Passes Bill to Withdraw EPA's 'Waters of the U.S.' Proposal
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed Waters of the United States rule and consult with states and the regulated industry before determining how to move forward on the issue.
The EPA rule would, if adopted, tighten federal control over the nation’s waters and land, including private property. It would do this by expanding the definition of “waters of the U.S.” to include not only “navigable waters” that flow between states, typically rivers, but also streams, wetlands, ponds, and even temporary bodies of water created by heavy rains and flooding, such as ditches.
PSATS believes that if the rule is adopted, townships may be forced to ask for federal approval before cleaning drainage ditches or even spraying pesticides in standing water.
H.R. 1732, sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), passed with a 261-155 vote. It has the backing of agriculture groups and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway. "It is important that we go ahead and kill this proposed rule now," Conaway said in a floor speech before the vote.
The passage of this bill is a significant step in stopping this unfunded mandate. PSATS will continue to work with members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and the National Association of Towns and Townships to have EPA withdraw this proposed rule.
Dave Sanko Discusses Current Township Topics on 'Behind the Headlines'
In the latest edition of Behind the Headlines, a production of the Susquehanna Valley Center for Public Policy, PSATS Executive Director David Sanko gives a recap of the PSATS conference and the interaction it promotes between township and state officials.
He also discusses townships' concern about Gov. Wolf's proposed move from a natural gas drilling impact fee to a severance tax, municipal pensions, and the declining number of volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania — a crisis in the making, considering that a switch to paid firefighters would cost the commonwealth an estimated $6 billion.
Three PA Townships Named in Top 25 Safest Communities in America
SafeWise, a home security resource company, recently ranked the 100 safest communities in America with a population of 10,000 or more. (We’ll forgive them for calling their report the “100 Safest Cities in America.”)
Seventeen Pennsylvania communities made the list, including three townships of the second class in the top 25! Here’s a congratulatory shout out to Upper Providence Township in Delaware County (No. 2), South Park Township in Allegheny County (No. 5), and Lower Salford Township in Montgomery County (No. 24).
Other commonwealth communities in the top 25 were Whitehall in Lehigh County (No. 19) and Franklin Park in Westmoreland County (No. 21). Two more townships of the second class, Peters in Washington County and Willistown in Chester County, were ranked at No. 61 and No. 99 respectively.
You can view the entire list, with a description of each community, at www.safewise.com/safest-cities-america.
Congratulations to these and all other PA communities that made the list. Keep up the great work!
Note: SafeWise states that it calculates its safety rankings by analyzing and weighting the total number of crimes in a community in relation to its population and other factors. It then identifies relevant safety, health, and educational information and programs that help make each more secure.
Give Feedback to Help Plan PA's Transportation Future
PennDOT and the State Transportation Commission are beginning the biennial update of Pennsylvania's Twelve Year Transportation Program and need your input. Here's how you can participate in planning the commonwealth's transportation future:
Attend the Online Public Meeting on April 16, 2015, at 7 p.m. - Join STC Chair and PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards for an interactive online meeting where you can hear more about the STC and the recently released Transportation Performance Report and learn more about how to participate in the TYP update.
Registration is required. Click here for more info.
The presentation will be recorded and posted on the STC website.
- Take the TYP Survey April 16 - May 29 - By participating in the survey, you can share your priorities for transportation investment and pinpoint specific transportation needs in your community. The survey is available online and in writing. Printed copies of the survey are available upon request by calling Julie Harmantzis at 717-787-2913.
Enter Sustainable Snowfighting Contest by June 1
Townships that responsibly store and use salt to de-ice their roads are encouraged to enter the Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting Award contest sponsored by the Salt Institute.
The award is presented to government agencies that have demonstrated best practices in sustainable salt storage and snowfighting. Entries must be received by June 1.
The contest encourages the construction of sound salt storage facilities, as well as practices that minimize environmental hazards and promote worker safety and snowfighting techniques.
Winning entrants will receive a certificate and be recognized in a Salt Institute news release.