Friday, April 29, 2011

May 2 PA Environment Digest Now Available

May 2 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Gov. Corbett Announces 2011 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Gov. Tom Corbett this week announced 13 environmental projects from across the state will be awarded the 2011 Environmental Excellence Award.
The projects include abandoned mine drainage reclamation, solar panel installation, and reducing the environmental impact of glass processing.
“These businesses, schools and organizations have demonstrated a commitment to finding new approaches to reduce our impact on the environment,” Corbett said. “I commend them for their efforts, as these projects certainly raise the bar for all citizens, businesses, and organizations to be more environmentally conscious.” Click Here to read more…

Friday NewsClips

Susquehanna River Expected To Crest Above Flood Stage
New Flooding Fears Grip NE Region
Senate Bill Would Place Impact Fee On Gas Drilling
Scarnati Unveils Drilling Impact Fee
Sen. Scarnati Unveils Plan For Local Impact Fee On Gas Drillers
Senator Proposes Per Well Impact Fee
Scarnati's Bill Sets $10,000 Fee On Gas Wells
Lawmaker Thinks Fees On Marcellus Shale Drillers Unavoidable
Scarnati Reveals Proposal For Fee On Marcellus Shale
Votes For Drillers' Fee, Budget Cuts May Be Linked
Corbett Suggests PA Universities Drill Marcellus Shale
Corbett Tells Universities To Consider Shale Drilling
Group Admits Errors In Energy Tax Report
Think Tanks Battle On Marcellus Shale Tax Policy
Former State Official Fears Drilling Could Harm State Parks, Forests
House Democratic Policy Committee Looking Into Marcellus Shale
Shale Drilling Protested At Oakland Meeting
Editorial: Just So Much Gas
Editorial: State Regime Coddles Drillers
2 Injured In Drilling Explosion Sue
Marcellus Activity Boosts EQTs Bottom Line
Consol Energy Profits Jumped 92 Percent
Nutrient Credit Trading Cornerstone Of Lycoming County Bay Plan
Pair Behind Fishing Derby Hope To Spur River Stewardship
Environmental Groups Build Community
Northampton Solar Panel Course Latest In Ed Innovations
Nuclear Regulators Found Safety Violations In Beaver
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gov. Corbett Announces 2011 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Gov. Tom Corbett announced today 13 environmental projects from across the state will be awarded the 2011 Environmental Excellence Award.
The projects include abandoned mine drainage reclamation, solar panel installation, and reducing the environmental impact of glass processing.
“These businesses, schools and organizations have demonstrated a commitment to finding new approaches to reduce our impact on the environment,” Corbett said. “I commend them for their efforts, as these projects certainly raise the bar for all citizens, businesses, and organizations to be more environmentally conscious.”
Any business, school, government agency, trade organization, non-profit or agribusiness involved in efforts to promote environmental stewardship and economic development in the state was urged to apply for the award program. Applications were then reviewed in conjunction by the Department of Environmental Protection and the non-profit Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
The award winners will be honored tonight at a dinner hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, with acting DEP Secretary Michael Krancer offering keynote remarks.
“It is no secret that innovation is paramount to our ability to craft a sensible environmental policy,” Krancer said. “We applaud the forward-thinking of these organizations and businesses.”
The winners include:
-- Allegheny County - Allegheny Land Trust: Allegheny Land Trust collaborated with the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation and addressed a community need to improve and expand the park system on Mount Washington.
Formerly known as "Coal Hill" because of the many mines that operated there, Mount Washington was once stripped of vegetation. Now, Mount Washington embraces Pittsburgh with a unique urban forested natural backdrop, and provides a host of environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration and stormwater management ─ two very important natural functions for a city striving to improve air and water quality.

-- Cambria County - Vessels Coal Gas, Inc.: Vessels Coal is a Denver-based company developing and operating coal mine methane producing properties in the Rocky Mountain and Appalachian coal basins. Vessels operates a coal mine methane recovery property in Cambria County that began production in May of 2008. The site of the operation is at the Cambria 33 mine, a very large abandoned underground coal mine where mining operations ceased around 1995.
The methane gas is collected from the mine workings, preventing its release to the atmosphere. The plant has since sold more than 330 million cubic feet of pipeline quality natural gas to Peoples Natural Gas, a Pittsburgh based natural gas utility. Through this process the project has produced over 120,000 tons of Certified Emission Reductions by reducing the same volume of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from being released to the atmosphere.
As an extension to this project Vessels has recently installed an electrical generation unit capable of producing 750 kilowatts per hour of electricity. This phase of the project will further increase the volume of CERs from the project.

-- Columbia County - Rieter Automotive: Ninety percent of the residual waste generated from manufacturing carpet is carpet scrap. This includes the trim from molding and die-cutting operations, quality assurance samples, roll ends and excess primary backing. Rieter Automotive has used a recycling system for years to utilize carpet scrap as an ingredient in secondary backing. Rieter Automotive is capable of recycling 50,000 pounds of scrap carpet on a daily basis.
Last year, the company’s team eliminated 6,000 tons of material from entering a landfill and saved over $3 million in raw material purchases. To date, the company has recycled 12 million pounds of scrap carpet. Rieter Automotive will continue to develop its recycling operations, which are a key component to the company’s environmental commitment and mission statement.

-- Crawford County - Optical Filters USA LLC: Optical Filters was nominated for a project designed by their own in-house engineers that recovers waste water and heat from a glass-processing line. The process removes grinding debris and then cycles the recovered water through heat exchangers to warm the water used again in the glass processing line. The heat is recovered from the hot waste-cooling water from a glass laminating autoclave, enabling another recycling process of cooling water from the autoclave. The process was implemented in phases beginning in January 2010. Optical Filters continues to refine the process based on system performance.

-- Cumberland County - Carlisle Area School District: The Carlisle Area School District installed 5,178 solar panels and seven inverters on 6.2 acres of its main campus. The project is expected to generate 1.5 million kilowatt-hours per year, or 17 percent of the district’s annual electrical usage. It will also save the district $150,000 per year in energy costs and avoid air emissions from traditional electricity generation.
The district established a renewable energy lab and a website, to educate students and the community. The district has partnered with Dickinson College to share resources and expertise with respect to energy generation, efficiency, conservation and career development. The district matched a PEDA-ARRA grant of $1 million with more than $3.8 million of additional funds.

-- Erie County - Engineered Plastics, Inc.: Engineered Plastics, Inc. developed a post-industrial materials recycling program that has helped the company weather a recession that forced many other plastics manufacturers to lay off employees, outsource jobs overseas or go out of business.
With the help of a Recycling Markets Infrastructure Development grant from DEP and technical assistance from Penn State’s Plastics Engineering Department, EPI developed and then expanded a plastics recycling program that has become an integral part of EPI’s business where it has not only filled a void in post-industrial recycling locally, but is expanding nationally.
EPI matched a $500,000 DEP grant with almost $700,000 of its own investment to purchase processing equipment and develop the facilities necessary to process plastic waste for reuse as manufacturing feedstock material, thereby reducing landfilling costs, helping customers meet environmental and cost reduction goals, and creating demand for new recycled materials.

-- Lebanon County - Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority: The Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority is responsible for managing a comprehensive solid waste disposal system for the county, and must be in accordance with the 2000 Lebanon County Solid Waste Management Plan. The GLRA operates the county's solid waste disposal facility.
In fall of 2009, GLRA worked with PA Cleanways/Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to complete an inventory of illegal dumps in Lebanon County. In July 2010, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful released the Illegal Dump Survey for Lebanon County that identified 43 dumps with 36 tons of trash. GLRA systematically cleaned up all 43 dumps with the aid of volunteers solicited through its newsletter.
The authority also took action to prevent future dumping with video cameras and media coverage. Throughout the process the authority involved the local media which included several newspaper articles and a television news clip.

-- Lehigh and Northampton counties - Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation: In 2010, the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative was awarded one of only six EPA Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grants for $1 million.
The effort also secured $1.2 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through EPA Cleanup RLF Grants for the region. LVLRI brings together the two counties, three cities, and the development community. It fosters large projects such as Sand Island Park in Bethlehem, the Simon Silk Mill in Easton and assists on smaller projects like Sal’s Spaghetti house. LVLRI provides the technical assistance that is often needed for a municipality to deal with the environmental concerns on brownfields.
LVLRI balances economic growth with the environmental health of the Lehigh Valley. In 2009, LVLRI was awarded Program of the year by the Northeast Economic Development Association. In 2008, LVLRI won an Environmental Achievement Award by the EPA Region 3 for the work that is done in partnership in the Lehigh Valley.

-- Lycoming County - East Lycoming County School District: The East Lycoming School District has taken several steps toward a reduction in its carbon footprint and carbon emissions, saving money and providing educational resources for their students.
The district’s mission is to reduce its impact on the environment, save taxpayers money by lowering heating costs and help other schools and businesses become greener by providing a local example in energy efficiency. The district also wants to use the new technology to educate and involve the students in the growth of the community.
The utilization of biomass will allow the district to grow its own energy source on school grounds and burn them to heat the high school. The district is harnessing wind power to provide a completely carbon-neutral solution that uses the natural resources of the earth. The district has invested in geothermal power to heat and cool Ferrell Elementary.
ELSD has teamed up with PPL Renewable Energy as part of a power-purchase agreement. The company will provide $1.4 million in matching funds to the school’s $1 million already invested in the project to install a new, ground-mounted solar field near Hughesville High School. The solar facility will have a generating capacity of 700,000 kilowatt-hours per year, according to PPL Renewable Energy, supplying about 50-percent of the school’s energy usage.

-- Monroe County - Pocono Raceway: Roughly 4,000 American-made solar panels spread across 25 acres comprise Pennsylvania’s largest solar farm, as well as being the world’s largest-such project at a sports venue. This 3-megawatt (3,000 kilowatt) solar farm was funded without state incentives and largely done as a hedge against increased electricity costs in the post-rate cap era of energy deregulation, which held the potential to increase the annual electric bill at Pocono Raceway by as much as $500,000.
The project went online generating electricity in August, 2010. By December 2010, the project had already produced one-million kilowatt hours of electricity and is expected to produce more than 72-million kilowatt hours of electricity in the next 20 years. Beyond meeting the needs of Pocono Raceway, this project will supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 1,000 homes and will displace the production of more than 3,400 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

-- Philadelphia County - Philadelphia International Airport: The Philadelphia International Airport’s Ground Service Equipment Electrification Project, which is part of the airport’s comprehensive Green Airport/Environmental Stewardship Program. It partnered with airlines to replace 48 diesel-powered ground service equipment vehicles (baggage tractors) with electric baggage tractors and install 15 recharging stations to service those vehicles. This project will greatly reduce fuel use and will avoid over 250 tons of nitrogen oxides, 16 tons of volatile organic compounds, and 15 tons of fine particulates over the lifetime of the equipment. The emission reductions achieved at the airport will allow the state to continue to make progress in attaining and maintaining the health-based ozone and fine particulate matter national ambient air quality standards. This voluntary program has also reduced the exposure of airport employees, travelers, and the local community to harmful diesel exhaust emissions and has reduced fuel use.

-- Schuylkill County - Schuylkill Headwaters: The Schuylkill Headwaters Association, working with a multitude of partners, has implemented several innovative projects. These projects use both anoxic and oxic limestone drains, retaining basins, and/or wetlands to greatly reduce AMD flow by thousands of gallons per minute into the Schuylkill headwaters. By decreasing acidity and iron sedimentation in this water resource, these projects will restore and protect aquatic habitats, and ensure eco-based economic security and recreational enjoyment for present and future generations. Partners include the Schuylkill Action Network (SAN) Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Workgroup - the Schuylkill Headwaters Association, the Schuylkill Conservation District, the United States Geological Survey, and the state Department of Environmental Protection, with support from the Philadelphia Water Department, Aqua Pennsylvania, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

-- Washington & Jefferson counties - Oxford Mining Company: The Oxford Mining Company project involves full reclamation of mining site including abandoned, pre-law highwalls and wetland restoration.
Prior to mining, the site had approximately 2,800 feet of abandoned highwall and water impounded in abandoned mine pits. Highwalls were removed and reclaimed to stable slopes and a wetland was temporarily dewatered to allow mining without flooding the active operation. The wetland was enlarged and restored as part of the site reclamation.
Benefits to the landowner and local community include safer site conditions and increased wildlife habitat. The site is located on the Pennsylvania/ West Virginia border. The project required coordination among state environmental agencies.

Sen. Scarnati Announces Proposed Marcellus Shale Drilling Impact Fee

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) today unveiled a Marcellus Shale impact fee proposal he said will generate $121.6 million in FY 2011-12, more, he said, than the proposal many Senate Republicans were willing to support during last year's discussions.
The proposal would have a base fee of $10,000 per well, plus an additional factor for gas production and the price of gas. Over time, Sen. Scarnati said, as production and the price of natural gas increases to $5 per MCF, his proposal could generate $1 billion in revenue over five years.
The Public Utility Commission would be in charge of administering the fee and distributing the proceeds to county and local governments impacted by drilling and to the statewide restoration programs included in the plan.
Sixty percent of impact fee revenue would go to a newly established Local Services Fund for counties and local governments affected by drilling operations: 36 percent for counties with producing wells, 37 percent municipalities with producing wells and 27 percent to municipalities without producing wells, but located in counties with producing wells.
These funds could be used by counties for:
-- Reconstruction, maintenance and repair of municipal roadways and bridges;
-- Preservation and improvement of municipal water supplies;
-- Maintenance and capital improvements to municipal waste and sewage systems;
-- Preservation and reclamation of the surface waters of the municipality; and
-- Other lawful purposes reasonably related to the health, welfare and safety consequences of severing natural gas in the municipality.
The remaining 40 percent of the fee revenue would go to:
-- County conservation districts, perhaps as much as half of this amount; and
-- Statewide environmental and infrastructure impacts, including environmental cleanup projects distributed through the Commonwealth Financing Authority, water and sewer infrastructure, impacted state highway improvements and hazardous sites cleanup.
Sen. Scarnati said he is open to discussing changes to the proposal, but would not look to reduce the 60 percent share of revenue going directly to impacted local governments.
The proposal would also direct the Public Utility Commission to publish a model municipal zoning ordinance to regulate Marcellus drilling operations within their existing authority. Any county or municipality adopting measures which go beyond this model ordinance would be ineligible for impact fee revenue.
The $121.6 million revenue estimate for the proposal's first year are based on collecting the new fee for both 2010 and 2011 from Marcellus Shale drilling companies. It uses a natural gas price of $4.50 per MCF and assumes 1,500 new wells per year will be drilled in the state beginning this year.
Sen. Scarnati said he met with Gov. Corbett on Monday and talked about the proposal in detail, saying he got a "yellow light" from the Governor, not a green light or red light, a yellow light.
With respect to the House, Sen. Scarnati said, "I cannot see how we get a state budget process done with all the cuts without addressing an impact fee on this industry." The public has connected the dots, he said, between big budget cuts and the drilling industry not paying a fee or tax and he's confident House Leadership will too.
He hopes to introduce the proposal in bill form in about a week and looks to move it out of committee after the May 17 Primary Election break with a final Senate vote in early June.
A summary of the proposal is available online, along with revenue estimates for coming fiscal years.
Listen to a portion of Sen. Scarnati's conference call with reporters announcing the proposal.

Thursday NewsClips

DCNR Official Talks Of Limiting Drilling In State Forests
Chesapeake Energy Spill Heightens Pressures
Gas Driller's Response Team Came From Texas To PA
Corbett Defends Advisors On Marcellus Shale
Governor Asked Chesapeake Energy To Quit Commission
Blog: Environmentalists Picket Shale Commission Meeting
Activists Line Up In Front Of Drilling Panel
Stilp, Fellow Activists Disrupt Shale Meeting
Protesters Disrupt Marcellus Meeting
Benton Gas Well Hearing Canceled, Protesters Crowd Center
Wyoming Drilling Wastewater Consultant On Spot
Take Action, Drilling Critics Urge
Cabot Oil Quarterly Profit Drops 55 Percent
BP Wind Energy Opens Wyoming County Office
Ross Township To Install Solar Panel To Save Money
NJ To Portland Power Plant: Clean Up Your Act
Prescription Drug Collection Saturday In Dauphin County
EPA Proposes Stricter Controls On Water Pollution
Piping Plover Spotted At Presque Isle State Park
Rising Susquehanna Leads To Flood Warning In NE
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Poll Again Shows Wide Support For Taxing Drilling Companies

A new poll released today by Quinnipiac University again shows wide support for a tax on Marcellus Shale drilling companies-- 69 percent support, 22 percent oppose.
The same poll also gauged the public's support/opposition for budget cutting/saving measures--
-- Oppose 50 - 43 percent state worker layoffs;
-- Oppose 53 - 36 percent selling or leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike;
-- Support 64 - 28 percent selling state liquor stores;
-- Oppose 64 - 32 percent cutting state funding for state and state-related universities; and
-- Support 68 - 27 percent freezing the wages of state employees.
While 39 percent of Pennsylvania voters approve of the job Gov. Tom Corbett is doing, 37 percent disapprove, a statistical tie, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This is a big jump in his negative ratings from a 39 - 11 percent job approval rating in a February 16 survey.
Pennsylvania voters say 50 - 39 percent that Gov. Corbett's budget-cutting proposals are unfair to people like them, the independent Quinnipiac University survey finds.
There is a large gender gap as men say the cuts are fair 45 - 43 percent, a tie, while women say unfair 55 - 34 percent. Republicans say 59 - 27 percent the cuts are fair, but Democrats say unfair 69 - 22 percent and independent voters say unfair 47 - 41 percent.
Still, voters say 55 - 39 percent that balancing the state budget should be done by spending cuts only and not by a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.
Detailed poll results are available online.

Wednesday NewsClips

Corbett Tells Gas Drillers He Opposes Forced Pooling
Governor Tells Drillers He Opposes Forced Pooling
Corbett Opposes Forced Pooling Of Natural Gas
Anticipation Builds For GOP-Sponsored Shale Impact Fee
Blog: Scarnati To Drop Shale Impact Fee Proposal Thursday
Study: Drillers Avoid PA Corporate Tax
Taxes Paid By Drillers Disputed
Study: Energy Companies Paid Less In Taxes
Editorial: Pandering Instead Of Severance Tax
Gas Panel Members Rack Up Violations
PA, Feds Still Seeking Answers On Marcellus Well Blowout
Op-Ed: PA Well Prepared To Regulate Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling
Bradford Gas Well Response Time Questioned
PA Utility Regulator Cheers On Shale Drilling
Proposed Pipeline Placement Prompts Litigation In NE
Rally Planned Before Gas Drilling Hearing In Benton Twp
Fracking Debate Heats Up In New York
Range Resources Announces First Quarter Results
Op-Ed: Priority Is To Develop Rigid Nuclear Power Safety Standards
Op-Ed: Nation Can't Afford To Halt Nuclear Power
Western PA Gets An F For Air Pollution
Erie Air Quality Still Poor
NE Air Pollution Levels Better, But Still Bad
Mine Subsidence Ruled Out In North Versailles Trench
Urban Forest Study Shows Value Of Scranton's Trees
Pike Environmental Agency Notes 5 Years Of Success
Prescription Pill Take-Back Set In Hampton Township
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Senate Confirms Michael Krancer as DEP Secretary

The Senate today voted 50 to 0 to confirm Michael Krancer as Secretary of Environmental Protection.

DEP Secretary To Appear Before House Environmental Committee

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer will appear before the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on May 3 to discuss a variety of environmental topics important to Pennsylvania, according to Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the Committee.
The meeting will be held in Room 60 East Wing starting at 9:00.

Study: Natural Gas Drillers Pay Little In State, Local Taxes

Of the 783 natural gas drilling companies to file Pennsylvania corporate net income tax returns in 2008, 85 percent paid nothing in taxes, according to a new study by the PA Budget and Policy Center. Many other drillers, including nine of the top 10 permit holders in the Marcellus Shale, structure their businesses so that they pay the much lower personal income tax, avoiding the corporate net income tax altogether.
"Drillers profiting from the rich gas reserves of Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale are getting a free pass," said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. "Federal incentives significantly cut their tax bills at all levels. Most drilling corporations pay no corporate income taxes, and the majority of all big oil and gas companies in the Marcellus Shale are paying the same tax rate as the person serving coffee at the corner diner."
The industry claims Marcellus Shale production has generated more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue, but the Department of Revenue data show the oil and gas industry paid only $38.8 million in state business taxes in 2008. That includes $17.8 million in corporate net income taxes, $13 million in personal income taxes and $8 million in capital stock and franchise taxes.
In 2009, oil and gas drillers in Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia paid considerably more in state and local taxes than they did in Pennsylvania. Drillers paid $44 million in Pennsylvania sales and business taxes, while in Texas, they paid $8.8 billion in drilling, property, sales and corporate taxes.
"Texas has about 34 times as much oil and gas drilling as Pennsylvania, but took in 200 times as much in taxes from the industry," Ward said. "Clearly, drillers are getting big tax breaks in Pennsylvania that they don't enjoy anywhere else."
In drilling and property taxes alone, oil and gas drillers paid $820 million in Louisiana and $183 million in West Virginia. (Data on business and sales taxes paid by oil and gas drillers in those states were not available).
The center's report recommends that Pennsylvania policymakers follow the lead of every other major gas-producing state in the nation and enact a single statewide drilling tax, without costly upfront tax exemptions. It also recommends closing a court-imposed tax loophole that prevents local governments from assessing property taxes on oil and gas reserves.
"Virtually every other state with natural gas reserves is able to marry robust economic growth with a boost in tax revenue to support schools, health care, the environment and other investments in the state's long-term prosperity," Ward said. "Pennsylvania should do the same."
Tax Breaks For Drillers
Generous federal tax incentives for energy production sharply reduce the state and federal income taxes paid by drillers. For example, Range Resources, the No. 2 Marcellus Shale well driller in Pennsylvania, had an average federal income tax rate of 0.4 percent from 2005 to 2008, due in large part to these giveaways.
But federal incentives are only part of the picture. Loopholes, tax breaks and other giveaways in Pennsylvania's antiquated tax system make this a very favorable tax state for the industry.
Drillers operating as corporations can shift income earned here to tax-haven states like Delaware, leaving little or no income on the books in Pennsylvania. This is one reason why 85 percent of the drilling companies that filed corporate tax returns in 2008 paid no corporate income taxes at all.
A much larger number of drillers structure their businesses as limited liability companies (LLCs) or limited partnerships (LPs) to avoid corporate income taxes altogether and instead pay the much lower personal income tax rate on profits. At least 80 percent of all permit-holding drilling companies are now operated by LLCs or LPs.
While many drillers also paid capital stock and franchise taxes in 2008, this levy's days are numbered. The tax will be completely phased out by 2014, amounting to yet another tax break for gas drillers in Pennsylvania.
Drillers also pay state sales taxes on non-drilling items like computers and office chairs, but a manufacturing exemption in the tax means much larger purchases, including fracking chemicals, drilling equipment, testing equipment, and pollution control devices, are tax free in Pennsylvania.
At the local level, drillers also enjoy generous tax breaks and exemptions.
A 2002 court decision prohibited municipalities and school districts from collecting property taxes on oil and gas reserves. Unlike in most states, Pennsylvania's property tax also exempts trucks, equipment and supplies in the drilling process.
Other local tax breaks further reduce drillers' tax bills:
-- Drillers avoid paying local business privilege taxes since gas drilling falls under a manufacturing exemption to that tax;
-- Net profits earned by drilling corporations are exempted from local earned income taxes; and
-- State and local hotel taxes are waived on the long-term rental of living quarters for out-of-state industry workers.
The full report is available online.

Tuesday NewsClips

Pittsburgh Area Gas Stations Could Face Shortage
Scarnati Impact Fee To See Daylight Soon
Editorial: Keep Growing Greener Green
DEP Leaves Emergency Planning To Drillers
EPA Steps Into Probe Of Fracking Spill In Bradford
Workers Continue Efforts To Seal Bradford Gas Well
PA Ponders Penalties Over Bradford County Drilling Site Mishap
Residents Claim Negligence, Sue Chesapeake Energy
Editorial: Solve Gas Drilling's Wastewater Problem
Editorial: The Public Deserves A Marcellus Shale Incentive
Advice To Marcellus Task Force: Don't Hold Your Questions
Number Crunching The Footprint Of The Fracking Boom
Lehman Twp Officials Working On Drilling Ordinance
NY Watchdog Group Compiles Fracking Petition
What The Frack Is Hydraulic Fracturing?
State Geologists Mapping Deep Aquifers
Northampton Power Plant Balks At Pollution Controls
Countryside Conservancy Moves On Abingtons Hiking Trail
PEC Receives York County Foundation Grant
Grant Funds Green Roof On Chambersburg Senior High
Environmental Steward, Philanthropist Joseph Ibberson Dies
Click Here for Pa Capitol Digest

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 25 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 25 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Winners Of Governor's Award For Environmental Excellence, Awards Gala April 28

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has announced the award ceremonies for this year’s recipients of the 2011 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence will take place at an awards gala on April 28 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 recipients will be honored at a dinner on April 28 at the Hilton Harrisburg located on One North Second Street in Harrisburg. Click Here to read more…

Friday NewsClips

Crew Stops Flow Of Drilling Fluid From Bradford Well
Chesapeake Energy Suspends Fracking In PA Wells
Chesapeake Energy Suspends Well Completion Operations
Driller Halts PA Fracking After Blowout
Chesapeake Shutting Down Fracking As Spill Continues
Blown-Out Bradford County Well Stable But Not Killed
Texas Workers Hope To Cap Blown Out Marcellus Well
Well Blowout To Be Top Kill Plugged
Chesapeake Energy Stops Fluid Leak
Bradford Commissioner Criticizes DEP In Letter To Governor
After Blowout, Most Evacuated Families Return To Homes
Gas Well Blowout Spills Frack Fluids On Farm, In Streams
Gas Well Blowout Probe Continues
Editorial: PA Still Lagging In Gas Drilling Oversight
Chief Oil & Gas Supports PA Efforts To Reduce Water Pollution
Editorial: DEP's Waste Request Should Have Been An Order
Editorial: DEP Drilling Water Request, With Sugar On Top
Murrysville Panel Hears Marcellus Testimony
Murrysville Marcellus Shale Hearing
Earth Day Activists Protest Natural Gas Drilling
Drilling Industry Behind Airport's Request For More Parking Spots
GOP House Members Hear Ideas For Marcellus Improvements
Shale Legislation Needed, House Members Say
Agency OKs More Gas Drilling On State Game Lands
Everett Talks Anti-Pollution Requirements For Chesapeake Watershed
Conservation Groups Plan Earth Day Rally For Sensible Delaware Plan
Women Key In Environmental Activism
Amid World Environment, Earth Days, Western PA Events
Earth Day 2011, Easy To Be Green
Earth Day: Going Green, Saving Green
Single Stream Recycling Increases Pike Participation
Taking Out The Trash In Monroe County, Illegal Dump Survey
PA Recycling Industry Grows Into Green Force
Op-Ed: Trees vs. Sidewalks, A Truce
Post-Gazette Series Sparks Debate About Air Pollution
DEP Investigating Crack In Alley In N. Versailles, Possible Mine Subsidence
Lehigh Company's Coating Makes Solar Panels Work Better
Pittsburgh Company Expands Landfill Gas To Energy Operations
Western PA Company To Supply 1 Million Hybrid Car Batteries
Harrisburg Federal Courthouse Could Have Green Design
Quecreek Mine Fines Over Maps In Appeals
Judge Upholds Fine In Quecreek Accident
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Natural Gas Well Blowout In Bradford County Releasing Fluids

Natural Gas Well Suffers Blowout, Releasing Fluids In Bradford County
Gas Drilling Emergency In Bradford County
Natural Gas Well Suffers Blowout In Bradford County
Spill At Marcellus Well Site Prompts Evacuation

Bucknell Environmental Center Debuts Stories From The Marcellus Shale

The Nature and Human Communities Initiative at the Bucknell University Environmental Center is proud to announce the debut of its website - Stories from the Marcellus Shale - which showcases the work of five students doing research on the community impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
The students, which were part of the Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute, spread out around the Marcellus Shale region to listen and tell stories of how the latest resource-extraction boom in the northern Appalachians is transforming communities and cultural landscapes.
Their work took them from country roads in northeastern Pennsylvania to forest paths in the north-central part of the state, from the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois headquarters at Lake Onondaga to government offices in Harrisburg.
Students Emily Anderson MA '11, Rob Duffy '11, David Manthos '11, Lexie Orr '10, and Stephanie Quinn '10 were guided in their work by acclaimed nature writer and Bucknell English Professor Chris Camuto, with Pulitzer-winning University of Maryland Journalism Professor Deborah Nelson, and with Bloomsburg University oral historian and Anthropology emeritus Professor David Minderhout.
Bucknell German and Humanities Professor Katherine Faull, and Geology Professor Carl Kirby, worked with the students on historical-cultural and scientific aspects of their projects. English Professor Alf Siewers, Environmental Studies Professor Amanda Wooden and Nature and Human Communities Coordinator Molly Clay served as co-directors of the Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute.
Bucknell thanked Skip Wieder for helping to provide funding through the Forum for Pennsylvania's Heartland and the Degenstein Foundation.
This pioneering environmental humanities project melds techniques of oral history, environmental journalism, policy analysis, and creative non-fiction writing.
The students sought to answer the Haudenosaunee charge that humans, as ecological beings, need to consider land-use decisions based on the "seventh generation" of life to come, rather than just the "discovery" principle that has guided resource extraction in North America for centuries.
In the process, the students found complex stories of the costs and benefits of Marcellus Shale drilling. The five stories and the related mapping were the first result of a project that is hoped will continue in future years with expanded connections of interviewing, writing, photography and GIS.
Here is a quick summary of each of the articles--

by Stephanie Quinn
For a small but proud remnant of Pennsylvania’s native peoples, the Marcellus Shale boom is (as for many other people) both a potential financial boom and a troubling dilemma—but one that raises within the native community difficult questions about how to define its own traditions of consensus and sacred landscape in a much-changed world.

by Emily Anderson
“In the center of the town there is an attractive park known as ‘The Green’ which was deeded to the county in 1806 by Benjamin Wister Morris, the founder of Wellsboro. This is faced on the west by the Tioga County Courthouse…on the north by the Baptist church, on the east by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and on the south by the church of the Seventh Day Adventists”—Elfriede Elisabeth Ruppert, A Historical and Folklore Tour of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, 1964.

by Rob Duffy
The Marcellus Shale gas-drilling boom, whatever its benefits and costs, puts unexpected pressure on traditional notions of private property and community in a conservative region of rural America. To see how, take a hike along Carter Road in Dimock Twp. in northeastern Pennsylvania’s scenic Susquehanna County.

by David Manthos
A search for truth by bicycle through Pennsylvania’s northern forestlands in the Marcellus Shale drill zone ends up in the halls of Commonwealth government in Harrisburg. Information in the end proves more elusive—but potentially more valuable–than the gas deposits themselves deep below.

by Lexie Orr
At ground zero in controversy over gas-drilling in Pennsylvania, many residents are happy with their leasing checks but not with a perceived lack of information from public regulators. Poisoned groundwater and the silence of Dimock’s resident (former) congressman frame larger questions about energy policy and the role of information in free markets.

For more information, visit the Stories from the Marcellus Shale.

Wednesday NewsClips, 2 Hour State Office Delay

Harrisburg State Government Officies On 2 Hour Delay Today
State Asks Drillers to Curb Wastewater Going To Treatment Plants
State: Keep Wastewater Out Of Public Plants
State Diverting Shale Wastewater From Treatment Plants
State Calls Halt To Shale Wastewater Treatment At 15 Plants
PA Acts To Block Drill Water At Treatment Plants
PA Urges Curbs On Marcellus Shale Wastewater
Gas Drillers Asked To Change Method Of Waste Disposal
Range Resources Supports DEP Actions On Wastewater Treatment
Drilling Water Ban A Boon?
Editorial: DEP Not Up To Natural Gas Boom?
PennDOT Suspends Driller's Road Use Permits
Op-Ed: Is It Fair Not To Tax Gas Producers In PA?
Residents Say No To Frack Water In NE
Chesapeake Plans More Wyoming County Drilling
Panel: Drilling Impact Fee On Table
Gas Firms Pay $18 Million To Drill Game Lands
High Pressure Line Injures Gas Worker At Amwell Site
Police Cut Off Protest At Range Resources Office
Dallas Twp Residents Question Pipeline Notice
PA Congressman Backs Export Of Shale Gas
Chesapeake Bay Program To Release Bay Grass Data
What Can A Dairy Feed Management Plan Do For You?
Column: Saving For A Rainy Day, Rain Barrels
Luzerne Levee Fee Is Re-Authorized
Students, Groups Promote Sustainability For Earth Week
Earth Week At Keystone College
Op-Ed: Earth Day Message, Lighten Our Load On The World
Old Railroad Beds On Track for New Mission
Trail Plan Aims To Link Sites
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2011 John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award

The Friends of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie are now accepting nominations for the 2011 John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Award. The deadline for nominations is May 9.
The award recipient is selected by the Board of the Friends of TREC to recognize significant environmental leadership at location(s) such as TREC, Presque Isle, the Erie Bay, and on the PA Lake Erie shoreline.
It will be presented to the recipient by Gov. Tom Ridge at the June 16th Sunset Celebration at TREC. There is a $1,000 honorarium with the award.
The award is named in honor of John C. Oliver, the first Secretary of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the first Board Chair of the Friends of TREC, and lifelong environmental leader.
For more information, visit the John C. Oliver Award webpage or contact Mike Gildea, Executive Director, at 814-450-0647 or send email to: mgildea@friends

DEP Calls On Gas Drillers To Stop Giving Treatment Facilities Wastewater

At the direction of Gov. Tom Corbett, acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer today called on all Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operators to cease by May 19 delivering wastewater from shale gas extraction to 15 facilities that currently accept it under special provisions of last year’s Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) regulations.
“While the prior administration allowed certain facilities to continue to take this wastewater, conditions have changed since the implementation of the TDS regulations,” Krancer said. “We now have more definitive scientific data, improved technology and increased voluntary wastewater recycling by industry. We used to have 27 grandfathered facilities; but over the last year, many have voluntarily decided to stop taking the wastewater and we are now down to only 15. More than half of those facilities are now up for permit renewal. Now is the time to take action to end this practice.”
The 2010 revised regulations require publicly owned treatment works and centralized waste treatment facilities to treat new or increased discharges of TDS to more stringent standards. Removing TDS from water also removes bromides. The previous administration, however, chose to allow facilities that had historically accepted drilling wastewater to continue to accept it, as long as they did not increase their input load of wastewater.
Recent surface water sampling has found elevated levels of bromide in rivers in the Western portion of the state, where the majority of natural gas drilling is taking place. Bromide, itself non-toxic, turns into a combination of potentially unsafe compounds called Total Trihalomethanes once it is combined with chlorine for disinfection at water treatment facilities.
“While there are several possible sources for bromide other than shale drilling wastewater, we believe that if operators would stop giving wastewater to facilities that continue to accept it under the special provision, bromide concentrations would quickly and significantly decrease,” Krancer said.

Tuesday NewsClips, Capitol, Capitol Complex Closed For Second Day

Capitol Complex Closed For Second Day Due to Another Water Line Break
Hershey, Pa (AP) - Gov. Tom Corbett told a crowd of local-government officials Monday that he would oppose a new state tax on natural gas extraction even if the industry had not contributed nearly $1 million to his election campaign, and he vowed to protect Pennsylvania’s water supplies from drilling-related degradation.
Corbett Doesn't Waiver In Anti-Drilling Tax Stance
Corbett Remains Opposed To Taxing Natural Gas Producers
Corbett Speaks Against Drilling Tax
Corbett Favors Pollution Controls, But Not Taxes On Drillers
Corbett Refuses To Budge On Gas Tax Policy
Corbett Argues Against A Severance Tax
Tax Day Groups: Close Loopholes, Taxing Natural Gas Drillers
Corbett Vows To Keep Gas Drillers From Poisoning Water
Corbett Promises To Guard Resources
Corbett Vows Clean Water
Blog: Corbett: I"m Not Going To Let Drillers Poison The Water
John Bear Blog: Shale We Tax?
Editorial: Forget Corbett, Pass Shale Gas Tax
Editorial: PA Needs A Tax On Natural Gas Drillers

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