Saturday, March 23, 2019

Op-Ed: Trout Unlimited Supports Common Sense Federal Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act

By Chris Wood, President & CEO Of Trout Unlimited

PA Council of Trout Unlimited: “Climate change is a problem that we’re going to have to solve together. It’s a sportsmen’s issue we’re going to have to solve if we want future generations to have the same opportunities to fish for our native brook trout and wild trout.” The Council recommended reading this article by Chris Wood--

Someone recently said to me, “Trout Unlimited should get out of political issues such as climate change and focus instead on what it does best—fixing streams!”

Here is a secret… everything we do at Trout Unlimited helps our rivers, streams and fisheries withstand the harmful effects of climate change.
When we protect the highest quality sources of cold and clean water; reconnect those areas downstream; and restore streams we are helping to recover nature’s resilience to the more intense floods, more frequent and damaging fires, and prolonged drought brought on by climate change.
TU scientists and collaborators predict a 47 percent decline in total suitable habitat for trout in the interior west by 2080 because of the changing climate.
Native cutthroat trout are estimated to lose 58 percent more habitat due to thermal stress and negative interactions with non-native trout.
These predictions are affirmed by recent research published in the journal, Restoration Ecology, that predicts brown trout could competitively displace brook trout from key thermal refuge habitats.
Thus, it will be more difficult for brook trout to withstand increasing temperatures, especially when they share their waters with non-native brown trout.
Salmon will not fare better.
For example, scientists from the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station predict that sockeye salmon returning to spawn will face a 5–16 percent increase in “thermal exposure.” That means that while there will certainly be suitable habitat for migratory salmon in most rivers, some reaches will prove lethally warm for these iconic fish.
Trout and salmon anglers should be the strongest advocates for our efforts to help salmon and steelhead adapt to climate change.
That alone, however, is not enough.
Just as we learned in the 1990s that we had to move from the stream to the watershed scale to recover trout and salmon, we must reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change.
For this reason, Trout Unlimited is supporting passage of common sense legislation such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The bill would put a fee on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. The fee starts low and would grow over time.
This will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, leading industries, and American consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options.
The collected fees will not sit in Treasury. Every American taxpayer will receive a share of the amount collected. Most important, it would yield a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions over the next 12 years.
Make no mistake, we will double down on making communities and landscapes more resilient to the effects of climate change, and do so in a way that benefits wild and native coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
At the same time, we will work very hard with our many partners and members and supporters to pass federal legislation that slows the causes of climate change.
A generation ago, acid rain causing sulfur dioxide emissions threatened the health of our fisheries. Trout Unlimited volunteers, scientists and staff advocated for a market-based legislative solution.
The result was the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The legislation’s cap and trade approach contributed to dramatic reductions for acid rain causing sulfur dioxide emissions.
Some were skeptical of cap and trade in 1990. Some will be skeptical of new legislation to control carbon emissions now.
Just as with the amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990, we are at the start of a long legislative process—a process that we must begin and finish.  
The time for band-aids is past. Nothing less than the future of trout and salmon; the future of fishing—the future for our children is at stake.

Chris Wood is President and CEO of Trout Unlimited.

(Reprinted from the Trout Unlimited Blog.)
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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Energy Co-op’s Alexandra Kroger Appointed Philadelphia WRISE Chapter President

The Energy Co-op’s Energy Program Manager Alexandra Kroger was recently appointed president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE).
WRISE is one of the nation’s premier organizations for women in energy and related fields with more than 30 chapters nationwide.
Alexandra joined The Energy Co-op last year, where she manages the organization’s renewable energy programs – electricity and natural gas. She oversees the acquisition of clean energy and develops and implements strategies to ensure that the organization acquires clean energy cost-effectively on behalf of its membership.
Alexandra brings a diverse professional background to her leadership role at WRISE including experience with the City of New York, a solar energy company, and a public policy nonprofit in Washington, DC.
“The Energy Co-op is committed to leading the ongoing energy evolution and helping the residents of southeastern Pennsylvania buy, use, and understand energy better,” said Energy Co-op Executive Director Ronald Fisher. “Alexandra is an integral and valued member of our team, and we congratulate her on her appointment.”.
The Energy Co-op was founded in 1979, the Energy Co-op, based in Philadelphia, Pa. is leading the energy evolution by helping members buy energy as sustainably and affordably as possible.
The organization has been addressing Pennsylvania’s energy challenges for over 40 years and offers renewable electricity, renewable natural gas and affordable home heating oil.
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Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing On Redding As Secretary Of Agriculture April 9

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is scheduled to meet on April 9 to consider the re-confirmation of Russell Redding as Secretary of Agriculture.
Redding has led the Department of Agriculture since being named Acting Secretary in January 2015 and was later confirmed by the Senate.
Redding is the former dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College.
Redding has extensive experience as a public servant, having spent more than 20 years serving Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and Washington D.C.  He worked on Capitol Hill as Agriculture Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and served for 16 years in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, serving as secretary from 2009-2011 under Governor Rendell.
The hearing will be held in Room 461 of the Main Capitol starting at 12:30.
Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and can be contacted by calling 717-787-3076 or sending email to:  Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-8925 or sending email to:
[Note: No word yet on confirmation hearings for Patrick McDonnell at DEP or Cindy Adams Dunn at DCNR.]

PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Workgroup Estimates Funding Gap Of $1.467 Billion Over Next 6 Years

The Funding Workgroup of the PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee estimated an annual funding gap of $244.5 million over at least the next 6 years totaling $1.467 billion to implement practices needed to meet Pennsylvania’s Bay cleanup obligations.
If Pennsylvania continued with its existing programs and resources, it would miss the 2025 nitrogen reduction goal by at least 19 years (2044).
In contrast, with existing programs, Pennsylvania should meet its phosphorus reduction goal by 2025.
The Chesapeake Bay Program and DEP presented estimates it would cost about $459.6 million annually for the next 6 years to achieve the nitrogen and phosphorus reductions recommended by the Agriculture ($313.1 million), Stormwater ($78.5 million) and Forestry ($67.7 million) workgroups considering capital, maintenance and operating costs over the life of the best management practices recommended.
The Funding Workground said agency implementation of the Bay Watershed Plan for the state and counties will result in needing an additional 188 people at an annual cost of $14.1 million.
Between implementing the Workgroup recommendations and the personnel needed, the Funding Workgroup said there was a need for $473.5 million annually for at least the next 6 years.  Existing resources equal $229.1 million a year, so there is a gap of $244.5 million a year for the next 6 years.
Among the list of options included in the Funding Workgroup Report to close the gap were--
-- Expand funding for TreeVitalize, Growing Greener and Abandoned Mine Reclamation
-- Use PennVEST funds to create county revolving loan funds
-- Leveraging the existing Farmland Preservation Program to promote conservation
-- Provide agriculture integrator incentives and industry pressure
-- Adopt the Restore Pennsylvania funding initiative, PA Farm Bill
-- Expand the REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit Program
-- Use pay for performance mechanisms to attract private capital
-- Eliminate the Sales Tax Exemption for bottled water
-- Adopt a water use fee
The presentations given at the meeting are included in these handouts--
The next meeting of the Steering Committee has been scheduled for April 3, 2nd Floor Auditorium, Rachel Carson Building starting at 9:00 a.m. to review the draft of the Watershed Implementation Plan.  Click Here to join the meeting via Skype.   Participants may also need to call in +1 (267) 332-8737. CONFERENCE ID: 75588007.
For more information and copies of available handouts, visit the PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee webpage.
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PA Projects Receive Over $1.7 Million In Federal Delaware River Watershed Restoration Grants

On March 22, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation jointly awarded the first round of 25 Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grants totaling $4,140,000 in federal funds.
This is the first time that dedicated federal funding has been allocated to on-the-ground projects that conserve and restore the Delaware River Basin.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 round of Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund Grants.  Click here for more.
Pennsylvania projects received a total of $1.757,319 million, the most of any state in the Watershed.  The projects include--
-- Stream Restoration at Jeffersonville Golf Club, West Norriton Township, $158,946
-- Restoration, Research and Outreach in the Cherry Creek Watershed, Friends of Cherry Valley Inc, $200,000
-- John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Tidal Marsh Restoration, Ducks Unlimited, Inc, $86,000
-- Returning American Eels for Ecological Restoration of the Schuylkill Watershed, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, $88,506
-- Fish Passage Improvements and Stream Restoration in Bushkill Creek, Wildlands Conservancy, Inc., $183,001
-- Implementing Green Stormwater Infrastructure at Drexel Gardens Park, Pennsylvania Resources Council, $202,340
-- Aquatic Habitat Restoration at Aquetong Spring Park, Solebury Township, $250,000
-- Unassessed Waters Initiative-IV, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, $50,000
-- Expanding Stream Restoration in the Red Clay Creek, Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, $249,556
-- Wissahickon Headwaters Riparian Restoration, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, $249,970
Several multi-state grants were also awarded that will benefit Pennsylvania, including--
-- Enhancing Aquatic Connectivity and Flood Resilience at Road Stream Crossings, Trout Unlimited, Inc., $55,021
-- Reducing Microplastics in the Delaware Estuary, Delaware River Basin Commission, $60,454
-- Planning and Implementation of a Living Shoreline at Bartram's Garden, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc., $125,000
-- Enhancing Forest Habitat in the Northern Delaware River Watershed, Wildlife Management Institute, $249,917
Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grants were awarded to organizations to address key issues facing the watershed, such as conserving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat, improving and maintaining water quality, sustaining and enhancing water management and reducing flood damage, and improving recreational opportunities and public access.
A large pool of worthy projects was submitted for consideration, signifying the need for continued robust federal funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed website.
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