Monday, March 25, 2019

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction To Go Right Through Girls Softball Field, Threaten Season In Chester County

Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) and Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester) released this statement on how Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline construction is threatening Exton's girls softball season in Chester County by going right through the outfield of their ball field--
Uniforms are in. The field is being prepped and practice starts Saturday for about 100 girls in Exton Little League’s Softball program.
But they may not want to dust off their gloves and bats just yet. The entire softball season may be in jeopardy because of Sunoco/ETP’s Mariner East pipeline project.
Dave Stevenson, Exton Little League President, said from the beginning this was his fear – that construction on the pipeline, which impacts playing fields at Meadowbrook Manor Park – would interfere with the spring season of the league’s eight softball teams serving girls age 7 to 12.
“Our biggest concern is that work would happen during the spring season which is the busiest and most impactful time. And just today I got a call that they intended to start in two weeks – that’s opening day,” he said. “I find it completely unacceptable that they are making this announcement to us without any notice.”
According to Stevenson, he and Greg Pfeifer, the League’s Vice President for Softball, have been negotiating and communicating with Sunoco/ETP via Percheron, its contractor for land agent services for years, prior to this week’s sudden announcement.
“Were this to happen in the offseason, I would take it as an opportunity to get some field improvements [from Sunoco]. But one thing we’ve talked about from beginning is it not impacting our season,” Stevenson said. “This is just crazy.”
Pfeifer said that in his last communication in January with Bob Riley, a land agent with Percheron, he was assured that this was still the case – that construction wouldn’t start this spring nor impact the dozens of young athletes and their families looking forward to the softball season.
But all that changed this week when Sunoco/ETP reached out to the league’s field manager to announce it intended to start construction in two weeks and requested a meeting on Monday to discuss their construction plans.
Pfeifer echoed Stevenson’s comments and also noted the financial and logistical impact such a move would have on the volunteer little league program and others throughout the region.
“We’ve already spent $1,500 on dirt. We just had volunteers spread it. Saturday is our field maintenance day. We have community sponsors. We have registration fees. Uniforms have been purchased,” he said. “And we have a schedule with other little leagues. We negotiate with a school district. Other teams will be impacted because we won’t have a place for the girls to play.”
Pfeifer, too, said the league was more than willing to work with Sunoco/ETP from the beginning to try to minimize the impact of construction and hopefully get some benefit for its athletes before being completely blindsided this week. He again highlighted that the situation could have been completely avoided.
“This has been going on for years. We’ve been waiting and wondering. Now, it just couldn’t have come at a worst time. They could have told us in January or even February. They could have told us sooner and given us an opportunity to try to make alternative plans,” he said.
Rep. Danielle Friel Otten said it was just another example of how Sunoco is a terrible partner for Pennsylvania.
“They do not respect or value our families or communities,” she said. “Knowing how excited my son is to begin his very first year of Little League, I can only imagine the disappointment these kids are feeling to have their season disrupted indefinitely, all for the construction of a pipeline carrying hazardous, volatile natural gas liquids.”
Sen. Dinniman said this development was just another example of the complete lack of respect for local communities.
“Even for Sunoco/ETP, this is a new low – an all-time low. What’s more American than some kids playing baseball or softball? And they want us to put our community traditions and our family activities aside for a pipeline that’s carrying natural gas liquids to Europe?” he asked. “No company, no matter how big and powerful it thinks it is, should be threatening to kick kids off our playing fields. I say, ‘Stop this nonsense and play ball.’”
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Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 25 PA Environment Digest Now Available

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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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