Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pinchot State Forest District Meeting On Resource Management Plan Now Dec. 5 In Lackawanna County

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will now hold the public meeting on the Pinchot State Forest District Resource Management Plan on December 5 at the District Office, 1841 Abington Road, North Abington Township, Lackawanna County from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
It was rescheduled from November 13.
Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to provide input related to the new draft Pinchot State Forest Management Plan.  The meeting is open-house format; attendees may drop in at any time during the proceedings.
Questions or comments about the public meeting or the Pinchot SFRMP can be directed to the district office by sending email to: FD11@pa.gov or by calling 570-945-7133, press ‘9’.
One other State Forest Management Plan meeting remains--
-- December 12-- Bald Eagle State Forest, District Office, 18865 Old Turnpike Road, Millmont, Union County. 6:00 to 8:00.
For a listing of meetings and more information, visit DCNR’s State Forest Resource Management Plan webpage.

Senate Republicans, Democrats Elect Same Teams For 2019-20 Leadership, Except One

The Senate held leadership elections Wednesday with no changes in the Republican and Democratic line-ups, except one--
-- President Pro Tempore: Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), re-elected
-- Majority Leader: Jake Corman (R-Centre), re-elected
-- Majority Whip: John Gordner (R-Columbia), re-elected
-- Majority Appropriations Chair: Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), re-elected
-- Caucus Chair:  Robert Mensch (R-Montgomery), re-elected
-- Caucus Secretary: Richard Alloway (R-Adams), re-elected
-- Caucus Administrator: [ to be named ]
-- Policy Committee Chair: David Argall (R-Schuylkill), re-elected
-- Minority Leader: Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), re-elected
-- Minority Whip: Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), re-elected
-- Minority Appropriations Chair: Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), re-elected
-- Caucus Chair: Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), re-elected
-- Caucus Secretary: Lawrence Farnese (D-Philadelphia), re-elected
-- Caucus Administrator: John Blake (D-Lackawanna), re-elected
-- Policy Committee Chair: Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh), re-elected
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PA, NY Delaware River Groups Push For New Actions On Flooding, Erosion In Online Petition

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Friends of the Upper Delaware River, New York League of Conservation Voters and Citizens Campaign for the Environment have posted on online petition urging the Governors of all 4 Delaware Watershed states to do more to regulate water flows in the river to protect water quality and river habitats.
In particular, they are urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to "to stand with our neighboring states to protect and restore the Delaware River Basin"--
"One of our state's most important water resources, the Delaware River Watershed, is threatened by flooding, stream erosion, and sediment pollution.
“The Upper Delaware River Watershed is the source of 60 percent of New York City's water supply and supports a world-renowned wild trout fishery in Delaware and Sullivan Counties that is worth more than $400 million annually.
“The river needs greater attention if we're going to keep this waterway safe and healthy for all the families, communities, and wildlife that depend on it. Protecting the Delaware River is important to me, as I hope it is to you.
“Please meet with your fellow governors from across the watershed in the first-of-its-kind summit early in 2019 to create a new vision and plan to protect the Delaware River and its surrounding waterways for generations to come.
“The Delaware River headwaters are in New York, and we need you to be at the summit."
Click Here for more information.

Times-Tribune: Teen Girl Scout Earns Silver Award With Trail Project In Lackawanna County

On November 4, the Scranton Times-Tribune published a profile of 13-year-old Hannah Puttcamp by Gia Mazure, a Girl Scout to earn the Girl Scouts’ Silver Award for community service by building a section of the Tunnel Trail in Lackawanna State Park in Lackawanna County.  Here’s the beginning of the article--

Hannah Puttcamp never slows down.
The 13-year-old Waverly Twp. resident quells her adventurous spirit through a variety of sports and activities, including softball; field hockey; tap, jazz and lyrical dance; skiing; Girl Scouts and mountain biking with her co-ed team, Keystone Composite.
Most recently, she flexed her leadership skills through a project in which she spent 50 hours building a section of the Tunnel Trail at Lackawanna State Park, North Abington Twp.
This project fulfilled requirements for the Girl Scouts’ Silver Award as well as moved Hannah a step closer to Teen Trail Corps captain status, achievable through advocacy work, leadership and skill-building through the National Interscholastic Cycling Association and International Mountain Biking Association.
“I was trying to get my Silver Award, and (the requirements were) to make the community better and be something that everyone could use or benefit from,” the Abington Heights Middle School eighth-grader said on a recent afternoon along the trail she built. “I obviously care about the trail and use it, and it’s something everyone in the community could use, so why not? As I was doing the work, we realized most of the hours could count toward Teen Trail Captain. It just made sense.”
Click Here to read the full article.

[Editor’s Note: Puttcamp’s initiatives parallel projects undertaken by Peter Livengood, a 12th Grade student and Boy Scout from Ohiopyle, Fayette County to earn the Boy Scout’s William T. Hornaday Silver Award.  These stories and others from DCNR’s PA Outdoor Corps are inspiring examples of how young people all across Pennsylvania are actively working to protect and restore the environment.]
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Leadership Opportunity: Next City: Stormwater Greening Is Good For Business, Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Initiative

On November 5, Next City published an in depth profile of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Green Infrastructure Initiative in Stormwater Greening Is Good For Business by James A. Anderson.  The subtitle tells you Anderson’s approach to the story-- Digging into the successes and stumbles of Philly’s ambitious 25-year stormwater mitigation plan. Here’s a good read on green infrastructure--

Five years ago, Philadelphia civil engineer Dennis Shelly glimpsed a business opportunity lying out in the open-- or more precisely, he spied that opportunity from 22,000 miles in orbit. Satellite images made plain an idea back on Earth that has since helped him grow a business that moves water around just below the planet’s surface.
Shelly heads PEER Environmental, an engineering and design firm that in its fifth year is well on the way to revenues of $1 million.
PEER’s specialty is green infrastructure-- green rooftops, rain gardens or infiltration beds-- on big plots of land.  This, to shift stormwater so that it’s absorbed into the ground and kept out of the city sewers.
Shelly’s clients are rewarded handsomely by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), which not only cuts their water bills-- by as much as 80 percent, which can translate to tens of thousands of dollars per year-- but also supplies grant funding to execute the projects.
His job is the behind-the-scenes (well, underground, mostly) work of using gravity, stone, pipes, dirt and plants to manage how fast water seeps into the ground, where it can soak in gradually or even evaporate.
Click Here to read the entire article.
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National Fuel Gas Company Accepts EPA Methane Challenge

National Fuel Gas Company and five of its subsidiaries, spanning all key sectors of the natural gas value chain, announced their recent acceptance into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program.
This voluntary program within the energy industry is designed to provide a transparent platform for utilities, pipeline and storage companies, and energy producers to make, track, and communicate commitments to reduce methane emissions.
“For more than 116 years, National Fuel, its affiliates, and employees have been committed to operating safely and responsibly as important members of our local, national, and world communities,” said Ronald J. Tanski, President and Chief Executive Officer at National Fuel Gas Company. “As one of our Company’s guiding principles, environmental stewardship reflects our understanding and deep appreciation for the vital role we play in upholding standards of environmental protection. Our participation in the Methane Challenge is further evidence of our commitment to protecting the environment and natural resources.”
Each participating subsidiary of National Fuel is making independent commitments under the Methane Challenge Best Management Practices that are appropriate to its business with the expectation to further reduce methane emissions.
National Fuel’s companies have committed to analyze new and innovative approaches for further emission reduction and to explore the applicability of future best management practices or expansions of current best practices.
Seneca Resources Company, LLC, the Company’s exploration and production subsidiary, is committed to continuous improvement efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit its potential environmental footprint.
Since 2015, Seneca has partnered with the EPA to voluntarily reduce methane emissions through its participation in the Natural Gas STAR Program and committed to implementing a number of best management practices for reducing methane emissions where feasible, often beyond regulatory requirements, and has reported methane reduction actions annually to the EPA.
National Fuel’s midstream operations, comprised of National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation, Empire Pipeline, Inc., National Fuel Gas Midstream Company, LLC, work to expand the pipeline network to satisfy the growing demand for natural gas supplies.
Across these businesses, engineers have been focused on developing best management practices and utilizing the best available technologies and materials that mitigate and reduce emissions from our new facilities.
A particular emphasis has been on the design, construction, and operation of compressor station facilities with investment in technologies that meet and often go beyond what is required by stringent federal and state regulations.
National Fuel’s utility subsidiary National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation has been focused on improving safety while reducing methane emissions from utility mains and service lines through system modernization, as well as initiatives to lower our customers’ carbon footprint through energy efficiency and conservation.
The Company’s replacement of older natural gas infrastructure with more modern materials and technologies has resulted in fewer leaks across the system and should continue to lower methane emissions.
From 2012 through 2017, the utility has seen a 17.4 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily methane, as reported to the U.S. EPA under subpart W of 40 CFR Part 98.
“With each well we drill, every pipeline we build, and as we continually replace older utility infrastructure, National Fuel’s employees are dedicated to protecting the environment and the health and safety of the members of our communities,” Tanski said.
For more information on EPA’s methane reduction program, visit the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program webpage.

Leadership Opportunity: Pennsylvania Should Make Mine Water Geothermal A Key Part Of Its Clean Energy Transformation

By: Michael C. Korb, P.E., Senior Mining Engineer, Tetra Tech, Inc.

In a November 7. 2018 paper, Competitive Imperative - Choices for Pennsylvania's Energy Future, Christina Simeone, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy writes “Pennsylvania should develop a strategy to assist individuals and communities impacted by the downturn in coal demand.
“Such a strategy could consider at least two paths. The first should focus on immediate to medium-term transitional needs of individuals most significantly impacted by coal’s downturn. The second would be a community-based approach focused on long-term economic diversification and recovery of communities formerly dependent on coal.”  
One of the tactics the Commonwealth could utilize to help this strategy is to boost the use of Mine-Water Geothermal Heating and Cooling and district heating systems utilizing it.  
In a 2007 the U.S. Department of Energy presentation U.S. Mining Regions –The Saudi Arabia of Geothermal Energy, the authors Terry E. Ackman and George Watzlaf wrote “Water from a mine is a terrible thing to waste.”
Geothermal heating and cooling with heat pumps (GHPs) are proven, well-established systems that provide extremely efficient levels of indoor heating and cooling at a very economical price, and with a small carbon footprint.  
Public buildings such as universities, hospitals, low-income housing and commercial facilities would be ideal settings for GHPs because of their year-round and around-the-clock heating and cooling needs.
GHPs utilize a ground or water source to take advantage of the ground or groundwater’s constant temperature, approximately 55°F, to heat and cool a building. This makes GHPs far more energy efficient than conventional air-source heat pumps, which must compensate for wide seasonal variations in air temperature.
Many public buildings and industrial facilities are looking at retrofitting their HVAC systems with geothermal. Notre Dame University recently announced plans to join more than 100 colleges in the U.S. that use geothermal as a campus energy source.
Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania uses mine pool water pumped to a heat exchanger to cool one of its campus buildings, and water GHPs are especially suited for applications such as data centers which require cooling year-round.
In Pittsburgh, a 2006 project at the John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church constructed a geothermal circuit to capture the energy from mine drainage to heat and cool the church, and to provide for heating and cooling to a potential development next to it.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems can save 40 to 65 percent in heating costs, 30 percent in cooling costs and 15 percent for hot water costs when compared to conventional air-source heat pumps or natural gas systems.
A geothermal-served facility’s carbon footprint for heating, cooling and hot water would be also reduced by 55 to 70 percent.
Water-source heat pumps are the easiest, fastest and least expensive type of geothermal system to install. Water provides better heat transfer than earth and a large waterbody provides an excellent heat sink.
Water-source geothermal projects do not require the extensive digging and trenching that is needed for burying ground loop pipelines needed for ground-source projects. Water-source heat pumps are not practical without a good aquifer or large body of water nearby.
One of Pennsylvania’s potential sources of water for geothermal systems is mine-water pools. Heating and cooling buildings with mine-water makes use of what was previously thought of as a dirty problem.
Application of this technology is also proven for almost 40 years.
Mine-water geothermal can give many areas of the Commonwealth a rather remarkable source of heating/cooling which is perhaps the most economical, energy-efficient, low carbon footprint scheme.
Marywood University’s system is typical of a mine-water source geothermal system. The Geothermal Energy System design would include supply well(s) and recharge well(s).
The supply wells would each house a submersible pump and the recharge wells would extend back into the mine, serving as a path for the water to be discharged back into the mine pool.
Water from the supply well is pumped to and through plate and frame heat exchangers which heat/cool a separate isolated fluid loop that serves the building's heating and cooling needs.
The mine-water does not have any changes in chemistry and does not see “the light of day” nor does it see oxygen to create precipitates.  
Perhaps, in the best scenario for the environment, the water would be treated and discharged to waters of the Commonwealth.
There are currently mine-water geothermal operating systems in Nova Scotia, Scotland, Netherlands, Missouri; and Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The Kingston Community Recreation Center in Luzerne County has been heated and cooled with a mine-pool geothermal heat pump for more than 40 years.
Mines that are flooded with water - mine pools - are essentially almost unlimited aquifers.  Mine-water geothermal projects are feasible when there is a mine pool located nearby.
Much of Southeastern and Northeastern Pennsylvania are over water-filled mines.  Areas around Washington, Indiana, Johnstown, and Greensburg; and the Eastern, Western and Southern suburbs, and the southern part and selected sites in the City of Pittsburgh; are located over or near abandoned underground mines that may be full of water.
The cities of Scranton, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre Pittston, Pottsville, and Carbondale in the Anthracite Region are all over mine-water pools.  
Pennsylvania should recognize that mine pools are underutilized energy sources, should be considered community assets, and should encourage their use for future sustainable energy projects.  
District heating and cooling utilizing mine-water geothermal could be a “community-based approach focused on long-term economic diversification and recovery of communities formerly dependent on coal.”  
Water from a mine IS a terrible thing to waste.
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Michael C. Korb, P.E has had a 50-year long career working in the mining and mine reclamation field and has been committed to public outreach and education on a wide range of mining and reclamation issues.  He can be contact by sending email to: mikekorb@pa.metrocast.net.
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