Friday, August 26, 2011

Aug. 29 PA Environment Digest Now Available

August 29 PA Environment Digest now available. Click Here to print this Digest.

Northeast Environmental Partners Announce Awards Winners, October 27 Dinner

The winners of 21st Annual Environmental Partnership Awards were announced Tuesday by the Northeast Environmental Partners along with the winner of the Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award.
The award winners will be recognized at a special awards dinner on October 27 at the Woodlands Inn & Resort in Wilkes-Barre. Click Here to read more...

Governor Declares Emergency, PEMA Urges Pennsylvanians To Prepare For Hurricane Irene

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Thursday urged Pennsylvanians to prepare for expected high winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Irene this weekend. Although the storm is expected to primarily impact southeastern Pennsylvania, residents across the state should remain alert and be prepared.
In anticipation of the Hurricane, Gov. Tom Corbett Friday declared a state of emergency throughout Pennsylvania.
The worst conditions in Pennsylvania are due to hit Saturday evening into Sunday. Click Here to read more...

Governor Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Hurricane Irene

Gov. Tom Corbett Friday declared a statewide disaster emergency to enable state, county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Irene, a massive storm expected to impact much of the eastern half of the state.
The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel as necessary to cope with this emergency situation.
Corbett issued the disaster proclamation this morning after meeting with Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and other emergency officials at their headquarters in Harrisburg.
“We are urging all Pennsylvanians to take action now to be prepared,’’ Corbett said. “We will continue to monitor this changing situation statewide and plan for all possible emergencies. Should the need arise, we will be able to help as quickly and efficiently as possible.’’
Citizens can find a full list of helpful suggestions on how to plan for an emergency by visiting the state’s preparedness website,, or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA.
The state's Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring conditions statewide, as well as communicating with other states and federal officials, to assess conditions and coordinate any response necessary to support Pennsylvania’s counties and municipalities in the affected areas.
The latest weather forecasts predict that the eastern portion of the state will bear the brunt of the storm with heavy rains of up to 10 inches, and strong winds gusting to 60 mph or more. The combination of wind and rain could result in downed trees and utility lines, possibly resulting in extensive power outages and flash flooding.
In addition, state emergency officials are in communication with multiple state agencies, including the state departments of Transportation, Health, Public Welfare, General Services, State Police, Pennsylvania National Guard, Turnpike Commission, Public Utility Commission and the American Red Cross, to make sure supplies and personnel are ready if needed.
Individuals needing assistance should call their local municipal emergency management office in the “Blue Pages” section of the phone book or, if they have an emergency, should call 911 immediately. Never call 911 to request or report road conditions. When calling 911 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line, even if for an extended series of rings, until the operator answers.
Motorists can check road conditions on state roads by calling 511 or visiting Available 24 hours a day, the number provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 500 traffic cameras. Regional Twitter alerts are also available on the 511PA website.

Friday NewsClips

Fracking Opponent Sells Home To Driller
Property Owners On Front Lines Of Fracking
Researcher Looks At Shale Drilling Impacts On Songbirds
Op-Ed: Gas Drilling's Grim Precedent
Fayette, Burnett Oil Sign Gas Pipeline Contract
Meet The Marcellus Shale Landmen
Southwest Oil & Gas Equipment Maker HQ In Jeannette
Planning Is Key To Long-Term Marcellus Benefit
Ensure Water Testing Before Drilling
PA Law Held Up Estimates Of Natural Gas
How Much Gas Is There Anyway?
Dueling Shale Data Leaves Confusion
The Spin On Changing Marcellus Gas Estimates
NJ Gov. Supports 5-Year Ban On Fracking
NJ Wrestles With Ban On Fracking
NJ Governor Rejects Fracking Ban, Eyes Moratorium
Gas Drillers In NY Use Compulsory Integration To Take Land
Living Green: Little Changes Make Big Difference
PA Infrastructure Withstands Quake
PEMA Pleased With State Coordination After Earthquake
Hampton Receives Grant For Flood Mitigation Project
Cumberland County Firm To Capture Carbon Monoxide From Steelmaking
Editorial: Electric Choice, Consumers Deserve Fallback Provider
Western PA Readies Help For Storm Victims
Hurricane Outlook For NE PA Worsening
Hurricane Irene Expected To Soak Central PA
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, August 25, 2011

PEMA Urges Pennsylvanians To Prepare For Hurricane Irene

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Thursday urged Pennsylvanians to prepare for expected high winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Irene this weekend.
Although the storm is expected to primarily impact southeastern Pennsylvania, residents across the state should remain alert and be prepared.
"The approaching hurricane means all residents should be sure emergency supplies are ready in our homes, and to secure outdoor items so they don't cause more damage when the winds come," said PEMA Director Glenn Cannon. "As this week's historic East Coast earthquake reminded everyone, being prepared at all times is critical."
In the event that roadways become impassable or power is lost, Cannon said residents should be prepared to survive on their own without outside assistance for at least three days. Emergency crews simply will not be able to reach everyone immediately after the danger has passed.
Have disaster preparedness supplies on hand, including:Flashlights and extra batteries; Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries; First aid kit and manual; Emergency food and water; Non-electric can opener; Essential medicines/prescriptions; Cash, credit cards and important legal documents; and Sturdy shoes.
If residents are ordered to evacuate, they should do so without hesitating, and should take important papers with them including: Checkbooks; Driver's license; Credit card information; Birth certificates; Social Security cards; and Other forms and documents proving ownership/identity.
Never drive into low-lying areas or over roads and bridges that are already under water. Just a few inches of moving water can sweep away the average car.
Individuals and families need to have a communication plan in place in order to contact or find each other if separated. As the storm approaches, residents should listen to and closely follow instructions from local and state authorities.
"Personal preparedness is an essential responsibility," Cannon said. "Individuals and families should be ready to take protective actions at any time, whether the forecast gives us several days notice of a storm, or with an unexpected event like Tuesday's earthquake."
To be better prepared for emergencies of all sorts, Cannon urged residents to visit -- a state resource that encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency or natural disaster:
-- Be Informed: know what threats Pennsylvania and your community face.
-- Be Prepared: have an emergency kit with at least three days' worth of essentials at your home, including food, one gallon of water per person per day, medications and specialized items such as baby or pet supplies. Create an emergency plan so family members know where to meet if everyone is separated when an incident occurs.
-- Be Involved: Pennsylvanians have a long history of helping one another in times of need. Specialized training and volunteer opportunities are available so citizens can help others in their community in a disaster.
Information such as checklists for emergency kits and templates for emergency plans, as well as other information and volunteer opportunities, is available at or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).

Thursday NewsClips

DEP Probes Methane Contamination
Lt. Gov: Gas Industry Is Paying Its Share
Lt. Gov. Calls For Improvements To Drilling Regulations
Lt. Gov Tours Wilkes-Barre Region On Marcellus Shale
Wyoming County Responds To Chesapeake Energy Lawsuit
UGI Seeks To Extend Gas Pipeline 27 Miles
Lighting, Not Earthquake, Burst Venango Gas Pipeline
Venango Officials Investigate Earthquake, Gas Pipeline Leak Link
Shale Gas Drilling In Springhill Twp Gets Approval
EPA Meets With PA Residents Over Drilling Fears
Residents Wary Of Drilling Appeal To Feds
Marcellus Co-Op Members Discuss Impact Fees
Gas Well Safety Bill Addresses Common Events
U.S. To Slash Marcellus Shale Gas Estimate 80 Percent
Editorial: Grave Reservations, Drilling Under Cemeteries
PBS Coals Honored For Reclamation Work
Clearfield County Backs Effort To Monitor Source Water
No Damage Or Injuries At Nuclear Power Plant
No Unusual Event At Shippingport Nuclear Plant
Propel Schools Looks To Save Energy With Workshop
Corbett Takes to The Outdoors
Gifford Pinchot III Carries Grandfather's Environmental Legacy
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PSU: Eastern Earthquake Unusual But Not Remarkable

The earthquake that shook the entire northeast Tuesday afternoon was unusual in its strength but not an unusual event, according to a Penn State geophysicists.
"It is unusual to have an earthquake of this size on the east coast, but it is not unusual to have earthquakes in this area," said Kevin P. Furlong, professor of geosciences, Penn State. "This is on the higher end of earthquakes in this area, but not unheard of."
The earthquake, which occurred at 1:51 p.m., was centered on Mineral, Va., about 92 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. and northwest of Richmond, Va. The earthquake epicenter was 270 miles from the University Park campus. It was also felt in Toronto, along the east coast and at least as far west as Flint, Mich.
"The fact that it was felt 300 miles away shows that it was a strong earthquake," said Furlong. The U.S. Geological Survey now estimates the magnitude of the earthquake at 5.8 and, according to Furlong, we may not feel any of its aftershocks this far away in Pennsylvania.
"This afternoon, since the original 5.8 earthquake occurred the U.S.G.S. has recorded two earthquake aftershocks, one 2.8 and one 2.2 in magnitude," said Charles Ammon, professor of geoscience, Penn State.
The aftershocks were also recorded in the Earth and Mineral Sciences museum on their seismographs, but were not felt by anyone in the area.
"The key thing to remember is that this fault line is probably only two to threemiles long and the aftershocks will occur in the same area or nearby, probably within two or three miles of the original earthquake," said Furlong.
Historically there were large earthquakes on the United State's east coast in the 1700s and 1800s. The Cape Ann earthquake in Massachusetts took place in 1755 and was probably between 6.0 and 6.3. In 1886, an earthquake in Charleston, S.C., was between 6.6 and 7.3. The strengths of these earthquakes are estimates as there were no seismic recording devices to record either of these events and reports relied on eyewitness reports.
"This region of Virginia is part of the Central Virginia Seismic zone and has experienced a string of earthquakes since the 1700s," said Ammon. "There was a magnitude 4.5 earthquake in the area in 2003."
While earthquakes of this magnitude occur about every five years in California, they probably are 50- or 100-year events in the east. The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 was much larger than this event.
The shaking in the University Park area was caused by the long wavelengths produced by the shallow -- about three miles deep -- earthquake. Closer to Mineral, Va. and the epicenter, the wavelengths would be shorter and produce a sharper, more pronounced shaking.
"Small earthquakes commonly occur in the front range of the Appalachian Mountains," said Furlong. "We rarely pay attention to the magnitude 1 or 2 earthquakes because we don't feel them."
Although an earthquake also occurred in southern Colorado yesterday morning, Furlong notes that there is no connection between the two events and that earthquakes occur all the time around the world. The U.S.G.S. recorded more than 25 earthquakes yesterday in places as diverse as Japan, Indonesia, Yemen and the Fiji Islands as well as Colorado, Virginia and Baja California, Mexico.
Furlong notes "Earthquakes of this size can be damaging and are not something to take lightly. Closer to the source, buildings can be badly damaged. This earthquake is approaching the size where earthquakes can cause damage to old buildings."
No damage from the earthquake was reported on the University Park campus.
University Police and structural engineers surveyed the university buildings, focusing on large glass buildings, light poles, parking decks, silos, exhaust stacks, cell towers and the water tower. They covered the area in 2.5 hours and found no damage to campus structures. Wednesday, personnel from the University's physical plant will do a walk through of Beaver Stadium and recheck some buildings on foot.
For more information, visit the PA Geologic Survey Earthquakes webpage.

DCNR Offers 2012 State Parks Calendar

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is pleased to offer a new 2012 16-month calendar featuring beautiful photography from Pennsylvania State Parks.
The calendar serves as a daily reminder of the striking natural beauty found within Pennsylvania’s State Park system. It also provides the added value of tips and facts that make it easy for people to get outside to discover what the state parks have to offer.
The calendar is $8.49 plus sales tax, and a small shipping fee of $1.95. Profits from calendar sales goes directly into maintaining State Parks.
You may purchase a calendar by calling the PA State Park Reservation Center at 1-888-PA-PARKS (727-2757), Monday through Saturday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Registration Now Open For 2011 Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference

Registration is now open for the 2011 Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference to be held September 27-28 at the Blair County Convention Center, Altoona.
This year’s conference features big changes as it moves to Altoona and the commonwealth joins forces with the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania to combine the two largest statewide brownfield conferences into one unique and informative event.
The first brownfields conference was held by the Engineers' Society in1994, a year before Pennsylvania's award-winning Land Recycling Act. was passed.
This year’s conference will focus on the redevelopment of smaller brownfields sites. Sessions will be offered for both those new to brownfields as well as the seasoned brownfields practitioner. Preceding the conference, a “Brownfield Basics” course will be offered to provide new attendees with the fundamental concepts of brownfields redevelopment. Other sessions will focus on planning and financing innovations to advance brownfield projects.
The conference agenda includes an informative field trip where attendees will experience first-hand the impressive results of Altoona’s downtown revitalization as well as tour a more traditional manufacturing reuse of a former rail car shop in Hollidaysburg. The tour will be followed by a networking event at the historic Railroaders Memorial Museum.
The conference has been approved for 6.75 organizational Professional Development Units through the Pennsylvania Economic Development Institute. For a listing of the approved sessions within the conference, call PSATS at 717-763-0930.
Additionally, the conference satisfies requirements for PA Economic Development Association Professional Development Units. Attendance at all sessions also equates to 10 Professional Development Hours for Engineers.
To see how brownfields remediation and redevelopment are benefiting communities across Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s Land Recycling webpage.
For sponsorship or exhibit information, contact the conference manager at 717-763-0930 or send email to:
For more information or to register online, visit the Conference webpage.

Wednesday NewsClips

One Month Later, Corbett Vague On Marcellus Recommendations
DEP Investigates Methane Contamination In Susquehanna County
U.S. Revises Estimates Of Marcellus Gas Higher
Shale Reserves Estimate Slashed
Marcellus Shale Drilling To Blame For Earthquake? No Fracking Way
Local Business Owners Taking Advantage Of Shale
Shale Gas A Boon To Clean Water Technology
Halliburton CEO Has Underling Drink Frack Water
Chief Oil & Gas Offers Community Video Series
Pittsburgh Authority Could Manage Flood Area
Editorial: After The Storm, Infrastructure Must Cope
Weather Services Urges PA To Prepare For Irene
Employee Error Caused Plastics Recycling Plant Fire
PPL Electric Bills To Drop Next Month
PA Earthquake Rattles Nerves, Buildings
Central PA Earthquake Disrupts Phone Service
Out Of Nowhere, Earthquake Rattles Area
Waterford Man Captures Feeder Culprits
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Northeast Environmental Partners Announce Awards Winners, October 27 Dinner

The winners of 21st Annual Environmental Partnership Awards were announced Tuesday by the Northeast Environmental Partners along with the winner of the Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award.
The award winners will be recognized at a special awards dinner on October 27 at the Woodlands Inn & Resort in Wilkes-Barre.
The award winners include:
-- Earth Conservancy, Luzerne County – Huber III Reclamation Project, Luzerne County: The Earth Conservancy is being honored for the reclamation of the Huber III mine land project, an 82 acre site, which presented environmental hazards of acid mine drainage (AMD) to the Solomon Creek Watershed. The reclamation of this dormant culm-laden site now no longer contributes AMD to the environment and can be responsibly reutilized for purposes that will improve the local economy and quality of life.
-- Joseph Orlowsky, Schuylkill County: Mr. Orlowsky is being honored for his contribution and commitment to improving the streetscape and parks in his community for the past decade. Through Mr. Orlowsky’s leadership over 500 trees have been planted along the streets of Pottsville. He has dedicated many hours above and beyond his chairmanship of the Shade Tree Commission to spearhead tree planting education and initiatives in his and neighboring communities.
-- SEEDS of NEPA, Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support, Wayne County: SEEDS of NEPA is being honored for its efforts to build demand and infrastructure for renewable energy and to encourage sustainable living through energy conservation. SEEDS partnered with Northampton Community College, Wayne County Conservation office, Workforce Wayne, PPL-Electric Utilities as well as many other organizations to provide education, training and recognition regarding alternative energy choices and options.
-- Robert Skulsky, Luzerne County: Mr. Skulsky is being honored for his leadership and commitment to enhance the environment of Northeastern Pennsylvania through his work as the Executive Director of the Greater Hazleton Area Civic Partnership. Mr. Skulsky has been integral in developing the first four miles of the Greater Hazleton Rail to Trail (GHRT). Mr. Skulsky has partnered with many organizations including Leadership Hazleton to promote environmental education, the Greater Hazleton Wellness Center, Wyoming Valley Wellness Trails Partnership and Live Well Luzerne to promote healthy living.
-- Bonnie Smith, Luzerne County: Ms. Smith is being honored for her efforts and advocacy for environmental and land protection. Ms. Smith shares her legal expertise with others to champion environmental protection throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Ms. Smith has partnered with many organizations, such as, North Pocono C.A.R.E., Anthracite Scenic Trails Association, Endless Mountains Nature Center and Stoddartsville Preservation Society among others, to protect area waterways and conserve land. Her efforts have a lasting impression on a myriad of non-profit organizations that have benefitted from her guidance.
-- South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Coalition, Lackawanna County: The South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Coalition is being honored for their activities to protect and maintain the health of the nearly 100 square mile area of the South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Watershed. The Coalition works to educate, promote and sustain the health of the Watershed. The Coalition has partnered with the Lackawanna County Conservation District to conduct dumpsite cleanups, Lackawanna State Park to provide environmental educational forums for area residents; and the Keystone College Willary Water Resource Center and the Countryside Conservancy to support their water quality monitoring program.
Shelburne Award
The Seventeenth Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award will be presented this year to: Dorrance Belin, Lackawanna County. Mr. Belin is being honored for his dedication, leadership and commitment to preserving and protecting the environment of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
For four decades Mr. Belin has been a leader in the environmental arena through his unique combination of vision and organizational skills, quiet, diplomatic persistence, legal expertise and ability to identify and inspire the human and financial resources so critical to the conservation movement.
Mr. Belin was a founding member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy as well as the Countryside Conservancy. Mr. Belin has been a steadfast, highly effective leader for the environment for the last forty years utilizing his abilities and expertise to foster partnerships and inspire others to action.
Dinner Speakers
This year’s Keynote address will be given by Secretary Michael Krancer, PA DEP. Michael Krancer was nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett to be the Secretary of Environment Protection on January 18, 2011. The nomination was confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate on April 26, 2011
Special Commentary will be given by Secretary Richard Allan, PA DCNR. Governor Tom Corbett nominated Richard J. Allan as DCNR secretary on March 23, 2011. The state Senate confirmed that nomination June 13, 2011 by a vote of 50-0.
Thomas Makowski, Vice President, Business Development and Marketing at Borton Lawson will be the Master of Ceremonies.
To receive information on attending or sponsoring this event, please contact the NE Office of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at 570-718-6507.

Tuesday NewsClips

Whitaker Center Initiative Draws Attention To Fragile Chesapeake Bay
Testimony Continues In Natural Gas Pipeline Hearing
Nutter Resists A Role In Shale Showdown
Western PA Artists To Air Both Sides Of Fracking
WV Emergency Marcellus Shale Drilling Provides Oversight
Ohiopyle Borough Receives Energy Grant
Utilities Differ On Energy Mandates
Editorial: LIHEAP Must Clean Up Its Act
DEP Fines Dentist $13,250 For Failure To Renew X-Ray License
Mt. Lebanon's Leaf Grinder Use Violated Grant Terms
Op-Ed: Recycled Content Can Now Be Verified
Armstrong County Nuclear Waste Removal On Verge Of Start
Solutions Sought For Flood-Prone Area In Western PA
New Flood Designation In Scranton Can Save On Flood Insurance
Lehigh Valley Rainfall Nearing Record
Congress Urged To Adopt Stricter Power Plant Rules
Penn State Climate Scientist Cleared
Fallingwter Takes Step To International Recognition
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Friday, August 19, 2011

Aug. 22 PA Environment Digest Now Available

August 22 PA Environment Digest now available. Click Here to print this Digest.

13th Annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Attended By Well-Known Faces

The PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference has become known as a place for many things; where experts discuss the latest abandoned mine drainage treatment technologies, historians shed light on how the region's coal mining legacy shaped today's culture, and the PA AMR community joins for brainstorming ideas to keep the movement going into the future.
The 2011 conference, celebrating 13 years, was no exception. What made this year's Conference really stand out was the abundance of PA AMR community dignitaries.
Michael Krancer, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, was the keynote speaker to kick off the Conference. Click here to read one reporter's take on Secretary Krancer's speech.
Joe Pizarchik, the 10th director of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the former DEP Director of Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, spoke during the Conference lunch.
Pizarchik gracefully answered a round of questions about growing concern over the Title IV Set Aside funds and showed great empathy for struggling watershed associations in finding funds for continuing the work they do. Click Here to read more...

Friday NewsClips

State's Gas Production Up 60 Percent In First Half Of 2011
PA Natural Gas Production Rises 60 Percent
Marcellus Waste Increases Attributable To New Rules, Errors
DEP To Allow Drilling To Resume Under Creek
Editorial: Strike Balance With Gas Drilling
Editorial: Ensure Safety Of Pipelines
Consol Selling Some Marcellus Interests For $3.4 Billion
Statistics Refute Lawmaker's Claim Of STDs In Drilling Areas
Mansfield Sees Enrollment Drop Amid Gas Drilling
Dominion Energy Sends Small Customers Back To PPL
Beaver Nuclear Exec Aids In Japanese Plant Recovery
Birth Of A Monarch
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Keep America Beautiful Launches K-12 School Recycling Competition

Keep America Beautiful, Inc., and its Pennsylvania affiliate Keep PA Beautiful, Thursday announced the launch of “Recycle-Bowl,” the first comprehensive nationwide recycling competition for elementary, middle and high-school students.
Recycle-Bowl was created to provide students with a fun, interactive way to learn about waste reduction and environmental responsibility through in-school recycling.
Open to all U.S. schools and classrooms, the incentive-based recycling competition and benchmarking program kicks off this October and registration is now open on the Recycle-Bowl website.
The competition runs from October 17 through November 12, culminating around America Recycles Day. Participating schools will track and report how much recyclable material they collect for a chance to win prizes.
At the close of the four-week competition, the school in each state that collects the most recyclable material per capita will win $1,000. A national champion will then be chosen from among the statewide winners to receive an additional grand prize of $2,500.
“Recycle-Bowl is about much more than simply winning a prize,” said Matt McKenna, president and chief executive officer of Keep America Beautiful. “Through this fun competition, we’re providing students, teachers and administrators across the country with an opportunity to learn more about the economic and environmental benefits of recycling, and inspire their families to take similar actions both at home and in their communities.”
Educational recycling activities will also be provided online and through a registration toolkit. The inaugural Recycle-Bowl is being sponsored by Nestlé Waters North America.
"Nestle Waters North America is eager to see more recycling in our schools”, said Heidi Paul, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Nestle Waters North America, “and to partner with Keep America Beautiful on this important recycling initiative.”
Outreach Webinar
To learn more about the competition, join Keep America Beautiful for a one-hour Recycle-Bowl kickoff webinar. The webinar will explain the competition, provide an overview of available resources and highlight the use of a recycling competition by Akron OH and the State of California.
The webinar will be held on August 22 at 1:00 p.m. and on August 25 at 3:00 p.m. Reserve your Webinar seat for August 22 by clicking here and reserve your Webinar seat for August 25 by clicking here.

Thursday NewsClips

Lawmaker Suggests Drilling Crews Spread STDs Amongst Womenfolk
Lawmaker Apologies For Womenfolk Crack On Drilling
John Baer: Save The Womenfolk From Drilling Crews!
Range's Appeal Of Drilling Ordinances Raises Conflicts
Accord OKs Plan For Pipeline With Rules
Wilkes University Initiative To Make Drilling Research Available
Database: Marcellus Shale Waste 2011
Database: Marcellus Shale Production 2011
Penn State Webinar On Drilling And Wildlife Aug. 25
Editorial: Marcellus Shale Interstate Pipeline Projects
Editorial: Wise Energy Use Should Know No Political Season
Study: Natural Gas Cleaner Than Coal
Schuylkill District Presents Environmental Awards
Harveys Lake Speeds Phosphorus Plan
Good Samaritan Helps Protect Environment At Accident Scene
Editorial: Solar Power, Eclipsed By Reality
Ospreys Visit Presque Isle, But Don't Stay To Nest
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Analysis: You Can't Go Fishing With A Solar Panel

Politically-motivated critics of the Corbett Administration this week generated newspaper headlines pointing to changes in office names and the restructuring of certain programs as evidence the new gang in Harrisburg is "backing away from its commitment to renewable energy and killing family-sustaining jobs" or words to that effect.
It's interesting to note here, not of course in those articles, those same critics received millions of dollars of taxpayer money during the Rendell Administration to work on renewable energy projects.
During that same time, more hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were also spent or diverted from programs which actually did clean up the environment and given to programs like renewable energy which don't.
In fact, over the last nine years $1.5 billion has been cut or diverted from environmental protection and restoration line items to balance the state budget or support programs which could not get funding on their own.
The award-winning Growing Greener Program has become all but bankrupt. And, over 600 of what was 3,200 positions at the Department of Environmental Protection have been eliminated.
Another fact not noted in the articles was over 100 DEP Air, Waste and Water Quality field staff used all or part of their time to act as managers for federal stimulus projects, projects funded by the Energy Harvest and PA Energy Development Authority programs taking their time away from permit reviews, inspections and compliance activities, things that really do protect the environment and give DEP its ability to be the environmental police.
Like it or not we now live in a public environment where "no-tax" pledges are the norm and cutting government budgets is to be expected. But cutting budgets, especially for environmental programs, did not begin with the Corbett Administration, it happened each and every year of the Rendell Administration taking a horrendous toll on DEP's ability to do its job.
And for what? Renewable energy-- solar panels and wind mills.
There is no denying the argument that spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer money on renewable energy does create jobs. Spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on almost anything that is built with concrete and steel creates jobs.
The question is does spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money on projects that have no lasting environmental cleanup value the best investment the public can make? Clearly, not in the public environment we find ourselves no.
Again, like it or not, the General Assembly and the Governor have to set priorities in spending increasingly scarce public dollars.
The choices are stark: spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects that are "nice to have" or spending money on projects through Growing Greener and other programs with lasting environmental cleanup value to meet federal Clean Water Act mandates and which contribute to Pennsylvania's number one and two industries-- agriculture and tourism.
According to DEP, Pennsylvania has over 16,500 miles of rivers and streams not meeting very real and court-enforced federal Clean Water Act mandates.
Through programs like Growing Greener, local watershed groups have cleaned up thousands of miles of streams, reclaimed abandoned mines, restored trout fisheries and tackled 125-year old programs no one thought they could, all the while investing their own $1.25 in money and sweat equity for every $1 in public money they were given.
Do we-- or any taxpayers-- feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment when we look at a wind mill or a solar panel?
Can you take your grandchild fishing with a solar panel? Or instill a sense of environmental stewardship that will last a lifetime with a wind mill?
The same question of priorities is now being debated with the Marcellus Shale severance tax and drilling fee proposals.
Will we balance the state budget or take care of pension bills state government and school districts have ignored for a decade?
Or will we invest funding from the development of Pennsylvania's natural resources and use it for programs to restore our constitutionally-guaranteed right to a clean environment to the environment's and the public's continuing benefit?
It's about setting priorities, tough as they are, and separating the "must dos" from the "nice to haves."

Wednesday NewsClips

DCED Official Suggests Drilling Under Most PA State Forest Land
Corbett Official Wants To See More Drilling In State Forests
Blog: Rep. Sturla Quote On Drilling (Rated R)
Marcellus Shale Production Jumps In Southwest PA
NE PA Natural Gas Customers Could Benefit From Marcellus Shale
Dallas Twp. OKs Gas Pipeline Agreement
Range Resources Challenges South Fayette's Drilling Ordinance
Driller Fights Ordinane In South Fayette
PA OKs Resumption Of Pipeline Project
PA American Water Supports Watershed Ed Program
Jersey Shore Still Mill Among Greenest In The World
Weis Markets Recognized For Firing Up Recycling
Editorial: Auditor General Finds More Flaws In Heating Aid
Midstate Leading PA In West Vile Virus Mosquito Reports
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

PEC Responds To DCED Secretary On Leasing More State Forest Land For Drilling

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is dismayed at the remarks of DCED Secretary Alan Walker as reported in, in which he apparently expressed support for unrestrained drilling of state forest land to generate additional income for our state. The text of a letter to Gov. Corbett follows--

Dear Gov. Corbett:

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is dismayed at the remarks of DCED Secretary Alan Walker as reported in Capitolwire this morning, in which he apparently expressed support for unrestrained drilling of state forest land to generate additional income for our state. This statement runs counter to the express recommendations of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission - of which Secretary Walker was a member; the standing Governor's Order prohibiting additional drilling of state forest land without study of impacts to ecological and public resources; and our state's longstanding heritage of sound conservation. You were witness to that very heritage last week on your sojourn through northeastern Pennsylvania.
Our state forests and parks represent more than a century of public and private investment -- dating back to the birth of the modern conservation movement which started in Pennsylvania with Goddard, Rothrock and Pinchot. Our state forests and parks are already tremendous economic drivers, whether through our nationally-recognized sustainable forestry industry or through tourism and recreation (Pennsylvania's second largest industry). Both of these are threatened by further drilling on state forest lands. The Department of Conservation & Natural Resources own website states: "no additional leasing involving surface disturbance can occur without significantly altering the ecological integrity and wild character of our State Forest system."
To use our state forests as an expedient means to generate new revenues, when there are a multitude of options including but not limited to a severance tax, is wholly inappropriate. These lands belong to the people of Pennsylvania.
The proliferation of unconventional drilling, as well as the significant associated infrastructure and activity, would be devastating to our state forests. The impacts would last several generations, and many unique natural and heritage areas could be lost forever. To do so in light of the fact that we have not even begun to assess what the impacts of current leasing activities will be is wrong. It should be said that many of the economic liabilities currently facing our state are the result of past resource extraction and poor environmental practice. Secretary Walker's suggestion ignores the lessons that history has taught us and for which we are still paying a heavy price.
We call on you to ensure that our irreplaceable state forest lands are protected.

Paul M. King, President

DCED Secretary Says More Drilling On State Forest Land Could Raise Over $60 Billion

In a interview Tuesday, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said new drilling on State Forest land could bring in $60 billion over the next 30 years to "solve just about every economic problem we have."
Walker was quoted as saying, "But the way I look at it, the potential royalty income to the state of Pennsylvania-- at a 15 percent or 18 percent and a half percent royalty rate-- over the next 30 years, if we do lease the state land, is close to $60 billion. That allows us to solve just about every economic problem we have that is hanging out there, including unfunded pension liability, infrastructure problems.
"In my opinion, we'd be foolish not to use that money. The way I look at it is that truly is the Commonwealth of the state of Pennsylvania and it should be used to solve Commonwealth problems, not one regional problem or a county problem. That truly is where you get your resources to solve statewide problems.
"The way the drilling platforms are being set up today, where you may only have to have one pad every so many square miles, it's a minium impact on the State Forest property, and in a matter of a couple years, it's going to be re-vegetated," Secretary Walker explained.
To achieve the revenue envisioned by Secretary Walker, drilling would have to be increased by at least six times the current rate to bring in $60 billion over 30 years. The question is whether there are enough remaining State Forest lands attractive enough for drillers to lease to meet that revenue estimate, especially given environmental concerns.
According to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources natural gas impacts analysis, "no additional leasing involving surface disturbance can occur without significantly altering the ecological integrity and wild character of our State Forest system."
The Rendell Administration leased about 137,000 acres of State Forest land for Marcellus Shale drilling before issuing a moratorium on more leasing a month before last November's election. There are about 700,000 acres of the 2.2 million acres of State Forest land containing natural gas deposits of all types, including Marcellus Shale.
So far, Gov. Corbett has not proposed leasing any more State Forest land for development and the FY 2011-12 state budget is not based on any increased leasing. About $63 million in royalty income is expected from the leases already developed and producing for this fiscal year increasing to about $300 million per year in 10 to 15 years.
The Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report issued in July recommended any future leasing of State Forest land should be limited to agreements which result in no or minimal surface impact to state-owned land, and prohibits surface disturbance in high conservation value forests and other ecologically important areas.
At his Senate confirmation hearing in May, DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said there have been no discussions about changing the moratorium on leasing more Marcellus drilling on State Forest lands. He said he and his staff have been focusing on developing best management practices and a better drilling monitoring program.
With respect to enacting a drilling impact fee, Secretary Walker was quoted as saying, "I think the impact fee, if it goes through, to be fair should be used where the impact was had, not in a county that doesn’t have any natural gas production or where there hasn’t been any impact. It really should go make sure the roads are maintained, if there’s a big influx of population, you have to help with the school systems – it really should be an impact fee that goes to the communities and counties that are feeling the impact.”
Walker's statement puts him at odds with Sen Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and many House Republicans who said drilling fees could be use for statewide purposes ranging from plugging abandoned oil and gas wells to funding county conservation districts and renewing the Growing Greener Program.
Over the last nine years, mostly during the Rendell Administration, $1.5 billion has been cut or diverted from environmental protection and restoration line items in balance the state budget or support program which could not get funding on their own, the award-winning Growing Greener Program has become all but bankrupt and over 600 of what was 3,200 positions at the Department of Environmental Protection have been eliminated.
Funding and complement levels at both DEP are now below 1994 levels.

Tuesday NewsClips

Drilling Impact Fee Debate Previewed
House Dems Look At Drilling In Wilkes-Barre
Pipeline Construction Continues Despite Violations
Rivals Offer Mobile Fix For Fracking Wastewater
UGI To Sell Homegrown Gas
Op-Ed: Green Has To Be Green
Medical Waste Company Opening In Forks
Corbett Administration Responds To Renewable Charges
Wind Energy Divides NE PA
A Plan For Eco-Housing In East Liberty
Philly Mayor In Rio With EPA To Teach About Green Development
Point State Park Tunnel Awaits Artistic Face-Lift
Ned Smith Center For Nature & Art Names Quigley Director
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest

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