Friday, November 21, 2014

PA Resources Council Launches New Anti-Litter Campaign With Video In Pittsburgh

The PA Resources Council has launched its latest anti-litter campaign and encourages residents to share the message via 21st century technology such as social media and electronic communication.
Serving as the centerpiece of the campaign is a “Crying Steelers Fan” video produced in tribute to the Keep America Beautiful “Crying Indian” public service announcement of the 1970s.
“We know Pittsburghers are proud of their city, and we want to use that pride to stop litter before it happens,” said PRC Regional Director Justin Stockdale.  “We are proud of our beautiful state, but litter threatens our environment and health, while costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year.”
The 90-second video, funded by Colcom Foundation and produced by Fireman Creative, follows an everyman resident, portrayed by actor Kevin Brown, as he navigates his way through Pittsburgh’s scenic neighborhoods, shorelines and landmarks.  The sight of abandoned televisions, tires and abundant trash brings a single tear to his eye.
“We wanted to show the scenic beauty of this city in juxtaposition to the litter, and we think the imagery will pierce the psyche of people,” according to Paul Fireman, President of Fireman Creative.  “If we can get everyone to see the beauty of the city and then see the ugliness of the trash, we can get people to start picking it up or, more importantly, stop dropping it in the first place.”
The public service announcement’s audio message is succinct:  “We are proud of our city and rivers, but we need to see how the trash we toss leaves lasting effects on Pittsburgh and everyone in it.  We made this problem.  We can stop it.  Don’t be a litterbug.”
Stockdale explains, “This is a different type of anti-litter campaign and a real departure from anything PRC has done since introducing the litterbug icon in the 1950s.  We’re now challenging residents to look beyond cleaning up litter and instead place blame on litterbugs.  
Community members can help spread the word by sharing the message via social media.  Help us fight litter before it starts by liking, sharing and pledging not to be a #litterbug.”
Click Here to watch the video.  To learn more, visit the PA Resources Council website or Facebook page.

CBF-PA Calls On Gov.-Elect Wolf To Appoint Clean Water Commission In First 100 Days

As Gov.-elect Tom Wolf continues to announce his transition team, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA calls on him to ensure that his new administration makes clean water a priority and commits the needed resources to work to implement Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint.
Nearly one-quarter, almost 20,000 miles, of the rivers and streams that Pennsylvanians rely on for fishing, recreation, farming, and for drinking and household uses are polluted.
“The Bay watershed includes over half of the Commonwealth, and implementing the Blueprint, will ensure that Pennsylvania’s local rivers and streams are restored to health, and will contribute to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay,” said CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. “By cleaning up local waterways Gov.-elect Wolf can improve both our quality of life and the economic vitality of the Commonwealth.”
Unfortunately, a recent analysis by CBF of progress made by Pennsylvania shows that the Commonwealth’s pollution-reduction activities need to be dramatically accelerated if we are to achieve 60 percent of water quality improvements by 2017, as scheduled, and to avoid regulatory “backstops” that could dramatically affect local communities and businesses.
A growing number of Pennsylvania counties have signed CBF’s Clean Water Counts resolution, recognizing that reducing water pollution benefits all citizens of the Commonwealth by protecting drinking water quality, supporting local and regional economies, improving aquatic habitat, and ensuring we have numerous places to fish and swim.
CBF’s economic analysis indicated that cleaning up the rivers and streams in Pennsylvania that flow to the Chesapeake will result in more than $6 billion in additional natural benefits each year to the Commonwealth.
Gov.-elect Wolf can show his commitment to clean water and economic growth by ensuring that his administration is positioned to help implement practices that reduce water pollution, particularly from agricultural sources and urban and suburban polluted runoff.
“To jump start restoration of local waterways, CBF calls on Gov.-elect Wolf to establish a Clean Water Commission within the first 100 days of his administration,” Campbell said. “The commission should be tasked with outlining a specific course of action to restore and protect all the lakes, rivers, and streams of Pennsylvania.”
CBF also calls for the re-constitution of stakeholder workgroups to advise the Department of Environmental Protection on strategies to reduce pollution from agriculture, urban/suburban runoff, and sewage treatment plants.
Those workgroups should include members from the private and public sector. In the past these workgroups served as vital communication hubs among state and federal agencies and those representing clean water advocates, farmers, businesses, communities, researchers, and others.
“We look forward to working with the Wolf Administration toward a goal of ensuring that all Pennsylvanians enjoy clean rivers and streams,” Campbell said. “The Commonwealth’s efforts to date are to be applauded, but there is much more work to do. Healthy families, strong communities, and a thriving Pennsylvania economy depend on clean water.”

Lehigh County Community Found With Very High Radon Levels, DEP Urges Testing

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday urged residents in the Center Valley area of Lehigh County to have their homes tested for radon. This comes after recent tests by the department and a DEP-certified laboratory revealed that several homes in that area have record high levels.
DEP has also scheduled an open house on December 4 in Center Valley to answer questions residents have about radon and radon testing.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can enter a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Pennsylvania and causes about 20,000 lung-cancer deaths in the U.S. every year.
Several homes in the Center Valley area were found to have radon levels of over 1,000 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). One specific home tested at 2,750 pCi/L and is one of the highest radon values ever recorded in the state.
These levels are hundreds of times more than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of 4 pCi/L; a level where a home should be remediated to lower the radon concentration.
“This community serves as an important reminder to all Pennsylvania residents to test their homes for radon,” Acting DEP Secretary Dana Aunkst said. “Protect yourself and your family from this invisible, cancer-causing, radioactive gas.”
Open House
Area residents are invited to an open house with DEP’s radon professionals to learn more about this threat and how to mitigate it. The open house will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. December 4 at the Upper Saucon Township Municipal Building, 5500 Camp Meeting Rd., Center Valley. Residents will receive lists of area companies certified by DEP to perform radon testing, mitigation and laboratory analysis.
DEP has sent letters to more than 500 Center Valley area residents in the local area with very high radon levels urging them to test their homes. Pennsylvania law prohibits DEP from publicly identifying any private residences radon testing results. The department has, however reached out to the local school district to ensure that radon testing has occurred in the schools.
Testing for radon is the only way to know if a home, school, workplace or other structure has elevated levels of radon. The best time to test is during the cold-weather months when windows and doors are closed and the radon levels are often at their peak.
Most test kits can be purchased at hardware or home improvement stores at an average cost of $15 to $25 per test.
While radon problems may be more common in certain regions of the state, the potential exists for any home in Pennsylvania to have high radon levels. Radon has been detected in all 67 counties, making Pennsylvania particularly prone to elevated radon levels. About 40 percent of homes in the state having radon levels above EPA’s action level.
For this reason DEP certifies all radon testers, mitigators and laboratories doing business in the state. This ensures all radon tests performed provide quality results, and those who remediate radon problems do quality work.
For more information about radon, including information on interpreting test results and finding a Pennsylvania-certified radon contractor, visit DEP’s Radon webpage, or call 800-23-RADON.

Sen. Costa: January Legislative Session Inappropriate, Unprecedented, Inexcusable

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) issued this statement about the possibility of a lame-duck legislative session in January--
“The suggestion by the incoming Senate majority leader that the General Assembly engage in a lame-duck session in January – to take advantage of Gov. Corbett’s last days in office – is inappropriate, unprecedented and inexcusable.  The citizens have spoken and they have chosen a different governor with new ideas to move Pennsylvania forward.
“The ill-conceived idea to empower and use an unaccountable governor in his last days in office to revive already rejected policies would be viewed as an act of desperation and a serious blow to reform.  I would be very surprised if Gov. Corbett would allow himself to be used by Republican leadership in this way.
“The voters of Pennsylvania spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted Gov. Wolf to work with lawmakers on solutions, not to perpetuate gridlock.  The idea that a January lame-duck session would be productive is ludicrous and counter to any conceivable measure of good government.“

DEP CAC Transition Report Pt. 1, Advisory Committee Recommendations Now Available

DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday adopted Part 1 of an expected two part Transition Report to the incoming Wolf Administration as well as a set of recommendations for improving DEP Advisory Committee interactions.  The reports are now available online.
Part 1 of the Council’s Transition Report deals with issues related to DEP leadership challenges, public credibility and public involvement and multi-state regional cooperation.
Separately, the Council Tuesday adopted a series of recommendations on improving the use of agency Advisory Committees which were incorporated into the Transition Report.

Help Wanted: DEP California District Mining Office Environmental Group Manager

The Department of Environmental Protection is looking for an eligible candidate to fill a vacancy for Environmental Group Manager in the California District Mining Office, Washington County.  
This vacancy will be filled using the list for Licensed Professional Geologist.  To be eligible, the applicant must have possession of a license as a Professional Geologist issued by the Pennsylvania State Registration Board for professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists and possession of a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license.  
The starting salary is $58,719 annually and employees receive an outstanding benefits package.  
Interested individuals may apply online through the state Civil Service Commission.  Register by creating a user ID and password, then select “View Open Jobs and Apply” from the menu.  Reference test announcement #2010-050 for Licensed Professional Geologist.  
Applicants will be rated on their experience and training.  Scores will be based on the information provided on the application and application supplement.  
For questions regarding the application and testing process, please contact the PA State Civil Service Commission at 717-783-3058 or send email to: ra-cs-recruitment@state.pa.us.  For questions regarding this particular vacancy, please contact the Department of Environmental Protection at 717-783-6220 or send email to: DEPJobs@pa.gov.

Corman Does Not Rule Out January Session Before Corbett’s Term Ends

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) told an interviewer for WHP-TV, as reported by PennLive.com, he is not ruling out a lame-duck January legislative session while Gov. Corbett is still in office to move important legislation.
In the same interview, Sen. Corman was cool to Gov.-Elect Wolf’s proposal for a natural gas severance tax and income tax increase proposals saying the state needs to look for savings and other efficiencies before a tax can be considered as a last resort.
Corman said pension reform is a top priority for the General Assembly.
NewsClips:

DRBC Will Subject PennEast Pipeline To Review And Docket

Responding to multiple requests by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, supported by hundreds of letters from individuals, the Delaware River Basin Commission has determined the PennEast Pipeline Project will be subject to DRBC jurisdiction and must obtain a docket before it can proceed.
In a letter sent to Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini wrote:  “…based upon our internal review of recent submittals by the project sponsors to DRBC and other agencies, we have advised the sponsors that the project is subject to review under Section 3.8 of the Delaware River Basin Compact and implementing regulations.  The PennEast project sponsors have been requested to submit an application to the DRBC and to request a pre-application meeting.”
“DRBC’s decision to review the PennEast pipeline project is to be commended,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, of the decision made.  “Pipelines are a known and growing source of water pollution from polluted runoff, and to the devastation of wetlands, streams, and healthy forests critical for water, flood and species protection.  They are also responsible for the increased taking of private and public lands through the exercise and/or threat of their eminent domain authority.  They are the big bully partners of the gas drillers.  
"Having a truly independent agency take a look at the impacts of the PennEast Pipeline project is vitally important for the rivers and residents of our watershed.  We look forward to engaging in the DRBC review process and to offering science, data, facts and information to inform their decision,” van Rossum added.
Click Here for a copy of the DRN petition. Click Here for the DRBC response.  Click Here for the DRN response to the DRBC response.  Click Here for the DRBC jurisdictional determination letter.
NewsClips:
DEP To Fine Sunoco For Releasing Drilling Clay Into Creek

Report: PA Solar Power Growing By 49 Percent A Year

Solar power is growing so fast in Pennsylvania that goals once considered ambitious are now seen as readily achievable, according to a new report by the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center.
“We can get to 15 percent solar in Pennsylvania if we just keep our foot on the accelerator,” said Elowyn Corby, PennEnvironment’s Clean Energy Associate. “That’s a small fraction of what’s possible, but it will make a big difference in the quality of our lives and the future of our planet.”
The group’s researchers found that solar has grown 49% annually in recent years. If solar photovoltaic (PV) installations continue to increase at the same rate annually between 2014 and 2025, Pennsylvania would have enough solar energy to generate 15 percent of its electricity — a goal once thought improbable by many.
Achieving this target, the report said, would cut as much carbon pollution as 3.7 million cars emit in a year and put Pennsylvania more than halfway to the benchmark set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which requires cuts in power plant carbon pollution of 30 percent.
Under this scenario, solar could nearly meet all of the renewable requirements under the EPA’s sample Clean Power Plan for Pennsylvania, which depends on 16 percent of the state’s electricity coming from Renewable’s by 2030.   
“Sometimes, as we search for the answers to complex questions, we realize the answer was in front of us the entire time,” said Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Chair of the City Council Committee on the Environment.  “Such is the case with harnessing the power and energy of the largest free energy resource available to us—the sun. Solar power will play an increasingly significant role in developing the energy strategies of the future.”
Solar is currently the fastest-growing industry in the country, adding 143,000 jobs nationwide in 2013. According to the latest solar jobs census from the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed more than 2,900 people in Pennsylvania in 2013.
“While solar has grown in Pennsylvania it's still only a fraction of a percent of our electricity use” stated Akil Marsh, head of Business Development at Solar States. “Furthermore, its growth has lagged behind other states. Simply mimicking policies executed in other states could reinvigorate Pennsylvania as a state for green jobs.”
The report quantifies the state’s enormous solar energy potential using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Already, more than 1,300,000 residential and commercial rooftops could host solar panels.
"We look forward to more solar work in the near future in PA, mostly because solar installation costs are much lower now” said Ron Celentano, president of the Pennsylvania Solar Industries Association and Pennsylvania VP of the Mid Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association.  
“When it comes to solar energy, the sky’s the limit,” said Corby. “Getting to 15 percent solar is the just the first step to a future powered entirely by pollution-free energy.”
A copy of the report is available online.
NewsClips:
Editorial: China Climate Deal Just Hot Air