Monday, August 31, 2020

Premiere Of Mark Ruffalo's 'Invisible Hand' Film About The Rights Of Nature Movement, Including Grant Twp., PA Injection Well Case

On September 4 at 6:00 p.m., Mark Ruffalo's ‘Invisible Hand’ film will premiere from Public Herald Studios about the Rights of Nature and community rights movements.
It features the work of Mercersburg-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in Grant Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, related to a drilling waste injection well, and Toledo, Ohio and includes CELDF’s Markie Miller, Tish O’Dell, Chad Nicholson, Ben Price, and other staff.
“Our legal system is rigged to commodify Nature, to favor private property above Life,” said Invisible Handco-writer & director Melissa Troutman. “It’s a system that makes it perfectly legal to harm innocent people without their consent and threaten the survival of the planet.”
Co-writer and director Joshua Pribanic says, “Invisible Hand is about witnessing the elephant in the room before it’s extinct. It’s showing us that, when face-to-face with the harmful effects of capitalism and our current way of life, Rights of Nature becomes the battle cry. My hope is that wherever you are, this film can speak to your fight.”
“People are adapting to these perils in daring and creative ways – and winning,” Ruffalo added. “Invisible Hand shows how to fight the forces that put profit above all else while addressing the root cause of our flawed system.”
Following the World Premiere will be a panel discussion featuring Markie Miller, degaw├źno:da’s (he who thunderz) of the Wolf Clan, Seneca Nation of Indians, Mark Ruffalo, co-directors Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic, and editor Andrew Geller.
Click Here to watch the trailer and for more information on how to watch
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[Posted: August 31, 2020] PA Environment Digest

Ehrenfeld Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project In Cambria County Wins National Recognition; Renewal Of Federal Reclamation Fee Needed Now

On August 31, the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced the winners of the 2020 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Awards.  The winner of the National Award for highest-rated reclamation project is the Ehrenfeld reclamation project along the Little Conemaugh River in Cambria County.
Approximately 70 acres of coal refuse piles located along the "Johnstown Path of the Flood Trail," posed multiple environmental threats to the area. 
Frequent erosion clogged an unnamed tributary to the Little Conemaugh River, as a result, highly acidic water leached into and subsequently impaired local streams, burning areas of refuse piles and degrading air quality for the residents. 
To address these hazards, DEP’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program removed the refuse piles, eliminated the surface burning conditions and improved the Little Conemaugh watershed. The reclamation project has resulted in new opportunities for recreation and tourism with the addition of a community park and safer walking trails.
The $13.4 million for the removal project was the first in Pennsylvania to receive funds from the 2016 Abandoned Mine Lands Economic Revitalization Pilot Program Grant. The state was one of three to receive $30 million in the initial federal grant program.
The Ehrenfeld project will get $3.5 million from the pilot program. The remaining funds will come from Pennsylvania’s AML program grant, that derives from a nationwide fee on coal.
The cost for the disposal of the material from the coal pile is $12.7 million, bringing the total cost of the project to more than $26 million.
“As a former manager of abandoned mine land projects, I understand how hard our state and tribal partners work to achieve exemplary results,” said OSM Principal Deputy Director Lanny E. Erdos. “I look forward to presenting our winners with these well-deserved awards.”
Reclamation Fee Reauthorization
Unless Congress acts to reauthorize the per ton federal abandoned mine reclamation fee that funds projects like Ehrenfeld, states like Pennsylvania that have hundreds of thousands of acres of abandoned mine lands in need of reclamation will not be able to continue these efforts.
Visit the PA AML Campaign website for more information from the point of view of local and regional groups involved in abandoned mine reclamation in Pennsylvania.
Visit the Our Work’s Not Done website supported by states involved in the federal abandoned mine reclamation program.
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[Posted: August 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

August Newsletter Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

-- Chester County’s Longwood Gardens - Education & Stewardship
-- Fragmented Ecosystems Ineffective For Biodiversity
-- COVID-19’s Impact On U.S. Travel Industry
-- Soil Dwelling Bees In Agriculture
-- Migrating Freshwater Fish In Decline
-- Conservation History: Drake Drilling First Oil Well On August 27, 1859
Click Here to read the entire newsletter.
Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Mercer) serves as Chair of the Joint Conservation Committee.
For more information, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, call 717-787-7570, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on TwitterClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Committee.
[Posted: August 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Lancaster Clean Water Partners Hold Virtual Annual Partners Meeting Sept. 11

Lancaster Clean Water Partners, who coordinate the implementation of the County's Clean Water Action Plan, will hold its Annual Partners meeting via Zoom on September 11 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
2020 isn't the year anyone expected it to be. But for our health and safety, clean and clear water is even more important in Lancaster County.
Join us to reinvigorate your own collaboration with other partner organizations and to engage in the Partners' strategy for the next few months, which includes a collaborative effort on two large scale funding opportunities. 
With 2025 and 2040 on the horizon, now is the time to move from being opportunistic to intentional!
ALL partner organizations are encouraged to attend.
In Other Partner News
Click Here to sign up for your own copy of the Partners’ newsletter and for past issues.
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Lancaster Clean Water Partners website.  Follow them on Facebook.
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[Posted: August 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Lancaster Clean Water Partners Scholar Spotlight: Marcy Hostetler, Teacher, Volunteer

After 30 years of teaching and directing high school choirs, Marcy decided it was time to leave teaching and forge a new path in life – spending more time volunteering, planting native flowers and trees in her garden, and learning about and acting on the community needs of clean water.
She describes her journey towards clean water work as a meandering stream. She picked up a bit of information here and there, bouncing ideas off of friends, but had little time to indulge in topics of interest, such as sustainable gardening and buffer plantings.
“I don’t like to do anything half-heartedly. I’ve always thrown myself fully into projects and become very passionate,” says Marcy. 
As she began delving into clean water topics, she focused primarily on planting buffers and pollinator gardens, specifically using native plants because of their superb benefit on water quality. 
Her husband, Lamonte Garber, works with the Stroud Research Center. His work and support encouraged her to continue learning and acting on her passions. 
She also became acutely aware of issues surrounding environmental justice when she learned of very high levels of lead in the water at an elementary school where she was substitute teaching. 
“Clean water is not an option, it is a mandate for healthy communities,” she says. 
As a Lancaster Watershed Leadership Academy scholar, Marcy’s especially interested in learning about watershed stewardship and leadership from experts and local leaders. 
In addition to improving her knowledge of buffers and native plants, she’s taking the initiative to find out more about stream bank erosion, best management practices on agricultural land, and water management systems.
“I knew the Academy would be an incredible opportunity but am thrilled at just how well-planned and thorough the sessions are. I’m honored to be included,” she says. 
Although there’s a learning curve, Marcy is excited to explore the ins and outs of water quality so she can share the information with family, friends, and her community. 
She wants to use the information and the leadership skills she learns to teach others, especially youth and faith-based communities, about the importance of protecting our natural areas and waterways. 
Marcy attributes her dedication to faith communities and environmental stewardship to her humble, service-oriented Mennonite upbringing. 
Growing up, she watched her parents and close relatives give fully to their church community through volunteer efforts and contributions to the church’s operations. Because of this, Marcy will use her action project to bring water quality awareness to one or more churches in Lancaster County. 
She will organize and implement green infrastructure projects and other water quality improvement practices on the church’s land. She hopes this experience, along with education and outreach, will inspire other churches in the county to consider their impact on clean water and the value of sustainability.
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Lancaster Clean Water Partners website.  Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for your own copy of the Partners’ newsletter and for past issues.

(Reprinted from the Lancaster Clean Water Partners website.)
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[Posted: August 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

5th DCNR Wildfire Crew Leaves For Colorado; PA Sends Equipment, More People West

On September 1, the fifth 20-person wildfire crew DCNR’s Bureau of Forest will deploy this year to help fight wildland fires is headed to Colorado.
Pennsylvania wildfire personnel are or have served in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming.
DCNR has also deployed two of its wildfire fighting engines along with its four person team as well as other individuals on specific assignments for a total of 133 personnel.
The fourth DCNR crew is still deployed at the Woodward Fire on the California Coast just north of San Francisco.
On August 15, DCNR reported its first two 20-person wildfire crews sent to Wyoming and California to fight wildfires returned to Pennsylvania completing their deployment with no major injuries and no COVID-19.
The third 20-person wildfire crew sent to Wyoming returned on August 20.
The first crew deployed to Wyoming on July 16, the second crew to California on July 25, the third to Wyoming on August 2 and the fourth crew on August 19.
Last year DCNR was called to send two 20-person crews, two wildfire fighting vehicles, 20 individuals as single resources for a total of 74 personnel.
When states and agencies need assistance, Pennsylvania wildland firefighters may be called upon, by virtue of mutual assistance agreements, to assist.
Pennsylvania firefighters are trained and qualified under national wildland standards to function either as a member of an organized incident management team or as a member of a wildland crew.
Firefighters are required to carry their own tent and sleeping bag to fire camp. In order to be assigned to the fire, firefighters must be equipped with flame resistant clothing (such as Nomex), leather lug-soled boots, hardhat, leather gloves, eye protection and a fire shelter before being allowed to work on the fire-line.
For more on wildfires in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s Wildfire webpage.
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[Posted: August 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Heritage Conservancy Facilitates Preservation Of Highly Visible, 97-acre Farm In Bedminster Twp., Bucks County

On August 31, working in partnership with Bucks County and Bedminster Township, the Heritage Conservancy facilitated the placement of a conservation easement on a 97-acre farm in Bedminster Township. 
Owned by the Blue Rock Investment Corporation, the property is located at the intersection of Routes 313 and 113 and features nearly 3,500 feet of road frontage that contributes to Bucks County’s landscapes. 
Community members will recognize this active farm as the property across from Weis Markets. It contains cornfields and a hardwood forest consisting predominantly of hickory nut trees, both of which serve as food sources for the community. 
Because of its heavily-trafficked location and its surrounding built environment, the property was highly susceptible to development. 
With the placement of this conservation easement, the Blue Rock Farm and its prime agricultural soils of statewide significance are protected forever.
The Blue Rock Investment Corporation is made up of the Rocco family, which includes seven siblings. Together, they have preserved this property in honor of their parents, Dr. Carmen and Mrs. Rita Rocco.
The location of Blue Rock Farm is often referred to as Kulps Corner, an unincorporated community name given to the hamlet for its long lineage of Kulp family members. The Kulp brothers worked the farm there, which Carmen and Rita Rocco purchased in 1974. 
While Carmen and Rita raised their seven children at their home in Gwynedd Valley, Montgomery County, they gave the Kulp brothers life rights to the Bedminster Township farm because they were happy to have farmers actively work their land. 
Carmen and Rita, with their young kids in tow, would often visit the brothers. The children would bring firewood and split logs for the Kulps as they heated and cooked from a wood burning stove. 
Rita, a gourmet chef, always brought a delicious meal that she had prepared for the brothers.
This tradition of food is engrained in the Rocco family. Carmen Rocco’s mother was one of the last surviving members of the institution known as Giordano Garden Groceries in South Philadelphia. 
The combination of Carmen’s Italian heritage and Rita’s French heritage blended to make for delicious family dinners together every Sunday night for the Rocco family.
Dentist by profession and originally a city boy, Carmen Rocco quickly grew to appreciate country life and was happiest on his tractor. The intention was always to eventually move from their home in Gwynedd Valley to Blue Rock Farm in Bedminster Township.
“He would have loved it if we could have built a family compound there and all lived together with our extended families, but that was not realistic.” Chip Rocco, son of Carmen and Rita, joked. 
Carmen Rocco has since passed away, and Rita now 91—their dream didn’t come to fruition the way they had hoped, but their legacy will live on.
Isn’t it fitting that, after all this time, the Rocco children would honor their parents’ tradition of bringing people together with quality food by preserving a property that serves as a food source for the community?
“This is a wonderful thing that we can do this. I know my Dad is loving it,” shared Chip.
Blue Rock Farm’s quality soils and vast road frontage contributed to its high conservation values and made protecting it a priority. Since it was highly developable land, Heritage Conservancy was dedicated to seeing this preservation become a success. 
“Heritage Conservancy is thrilled to participate in the permanent protection of Blue Rock Farm, which was once under consideration for development but will endure as part of Bucks County’s agricultural landscape,” said Kris Kern, Director of Resource Protection for Heritage Conservancy. “It will serve as a gateway to the hundreds of acres of already preserved farms along Route 113.”
The Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program contributed the majority of funding to this agricultural conservation easement; Bedminster Township and Heritage Conservancy’s Calvin Ruth Memorial Fund also contributed toward the easement purchase price.  
“The preservation of Blue Rock Farm is a first for Bucks County. Four entities, including the state, county, township, and a nonprofit, partnered together to conserve this farm,” said John Ives, Director of Agricultural Land Preservation & Municipal Open Space Programs for the Bucks County Planning Commission. “The joint easement not only protects and retains farming operations, significant productive soils, and a large wooded area, it preserves the scenic vistas along Routes 313 and 113. Bucks County is proud to continue and partner with stakeholders to preserve the County’s agricultural heritage.”
“Bedminster Township received land development plans on this property in the past and had always wanted to preserve this parcel. Heritage Conservancy was the catalyst to make this happen,” said Rich Schilling, Township Manager and Zoning Officer for Bedminster Township. “The Conservancy’s diligent work and the support of all the partners on this project made it happen!
The easement, in the standard form of the state agricultural conservation easement, will be co-held by Bucks County, Bedminster Township, and Heritage Conservancy.
“What is next for the farm? Now that it’s permanently protected, it needs someone to do the right thing with the land. We would love to see a farmer purchase it and actively steward it. Its prime location could allow for a successful farm stand,” said Chip Rocco.
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can preserve your land, visit the Heritage Conservancy website.
The Conservancy has facilitated the preservation of over 15,000 acres of land, and it has produced over 40 successful nominations for historic districts and individual properties in this area to the National Register of Historic Places. 
(Photo: Dr. Carmen and Mrs. Rita Rocco.)
[Posted: August 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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