Thursday, March 31, 2016

DEP Participates In Drinking Water Emergency Table-Top Exercise

The Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently hosted a table-top exercise regarding a how both agencies respond to natural disasters or man-made events that affect a public water supply system.
Approximately 25-30 staff from DEP’s Northeast Regional Office took part in the event, along with representatives from several municipalities and operators of public water supply system.
The exercise focused on response time, outreach to the public, communication to the public regarding updates on events and how each municipality’s emergency response plans are up-to-date in dealing with emergency scenarios.
The June 2015 explosion at a fertilizer plant in Adams County was one example used in how to prepare for emergencies.
For more information, visit DEP’s website, Like DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.
(Reprinted from the March 31 DEP News.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

March 31 DEP News Now Available

The March 31 edition of DEP News is now available from the Department of Environmental Protection featuring articles on--
-- Click Here to sign up for your own copy.
For more information, visit DEP’s website, Like DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.

Get Some: State Has $24.5 Million For Residential, Business Green Building Projects

One of the best kept secrets in Harrisburg is the $24.5 million available through the High Performance Building Program for individuals and small businesses interested in the construction or major renovation of buildings to meet green building standards.
Both grants and loans are available to individuals and businesses through the program administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
About $7 million is available to individuals for individual residence projects with a $100,000 limit on grants.
About $17.5 million is available in grants or loans for small businesses, with a $2 million limit on grants.
Applications are being accepted at any time by the CFA, but must come in at least 60 before a CFA board meeting to be considered at that meeting.  No CFA meetings have been scheduled yet for 2016.
WARNING: Act now.  Gov. Wolf’s 2016-17 budget proposal would transfer the funds for High Performance Buildings to the traditional Business in Our Sites economic development program.
If you want to get some, visit the CFA’s High Performance Building Program webpage or contact Ryan Emerson at 717-787-6245.

Keep PA Beautiful Receives Grant To Continue Cigarette Litter Prevention Program

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday announced it has received a $20,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful to continue their work with the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.  
Other Pennsylvania organizations received Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grants including: the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District which received $2,500 to explore cigarette butt and cigar tip litter within the business district and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership received $5,000 to expand their current rate of cigarette litter recycling in downtown Pittsburgh.  
Keep PA Beautiful will partner with the Fish and Boat Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on cigarette litter prevention in seven State Parks with recreational lakes, including: Bald Eagle (Centre County), Kooser (Somerset County), Moraine (Butler County), Neshaminy (Bucks County), Prince Gallitzin (Cambria County) and Pymatuning (Crawford County).
These parks together have over 6 million annual combined visitors/users.
Additionally, KPB will conduct education and outreach to the 65 charter fishing boat companies which are licensed by the Fish & Boat Commission and the marinas from which they sail.
“Moraine State Park appreciates the opportunity to partner with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful for the 2016 Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Grant.   As a conservation agency that supports more than a million visitors for various recreational activities each year, our park staff and volunteers are always challenged to keep the park free of litter and cigarette butts can be one of the most challenging aspects of litter removal.  This partnership will provide the park with additional tools and resources to collect the butts before they become litter and help to keep Moraine State Park beautiful,” said Dustin Drew, Park Manager, Moraine State Park.
Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items littered, according to "Litter in America," KAB’s landmark study of litter and littering behavior.
Over the past 10 years, the CLPP has consistently cut cigarette butt litter by approximately half based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation.  
Survey results also demonstrated that as communities continue to monitor the program those reductions are sustained or even increased over time.  
“The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is a proven tool to address the number one littered item in America. Thanks to Keep America Beautiful, we can continue to invest in this highly effective program,” explained Shannon Reiter, President of Keep PA Beautiful.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.
Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s new Electronics Waste website.
Sign up now for the 2016 Great American Cleanup of PA and set up your own cleanup and beautification event through May 31.

19 House Members Urge IRRC To Approve Final DEP Drilling Reg Update

A group of 19 members of the House members led by Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Thursday sent a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission urging approval of DEP’s final regulations that would make conventional and unconventional oil and gas drilling safer in Pennsylvania.
IRRC, the agency created to review Commonwealth agency regulations to ensure they are in the public interest, is scheduled to consider the regulations at its April 21 hearing.
Rep. Vitali said the regulations would enhance public resource protections, including those for state parks and forests, playgrounds, schools and public water supplies; provide for pre-drilling review of potential abandoned and operating wells; require water supply restoration standards for operators who degrade a water supply; and enhanced spill reporting and cleanup requirements.
The final Chapter 78 (conventional) and Chapter 78a (unconventional) drilling regulation updates were promulgated in accordance with Act 13 of 2012, and have not been updated since 2001, so modernizing them is critical to ensure protection of Pennsylvania’s environment, the group’s letter states.
The drilling industry opposes the regulations and on March 24, the PA Independent Petroleum Producers Association filed a suit in Commonwealth Court challenging them.
The House and Senate can stop the regulations by passing a concurrent resolution disapproving them, which must be signed by the governor. If he vetoes, the General Assembly can override the veto by a two-thirds majority.
However, legislators supporting the regulations argue that after two public comment periods, 12 public hearings, two dozen advisory committee meetings and nearly 28,000 stakeholder comments, the issue has been thoroughly vetted and the time has come for the IRRC to adopt them.
A copy of the letter is available online.
For more information on the regulations, visit DEP’s Oil and Gas Regulations webpage.
Related Story:
The Clock Starts: DEP Delivers Final Drilling Regs To House, Senate, IRRC For Review

Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute Accepting Applications For Student Summer Program

The Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute is now accepting applications for its summer residential program for students ages 13 to 15.  The deadline for applications is June 10.
The program will be held at the Ironmaster’s Mansion at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County from July 11-16.
This cooperative education program is coordinated by the Central PA Conservancy and Pine Grove Furnace State Park and this year is joined by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA.
Participants will spend three days at the Ironmaster’s Mansion and two days at CBF-PA’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, MD.
The program explores conservation leadership, environmental and government issues, marine biology, water quality and ecosystems, field studies, land use, agriculture, and forestry.
Students will also be taken on a workboat experience on the Chesapeake Bay.
For more information on the program, scholarships and how to apply, visit the Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute website or call 717-241-4360.
Other Student Education Programs:
Student/Educator Scholarships, Energy Camps Available For Energypath Conference
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Education Programs For Students, Teachers

DEP Awards $1.19M For Mine Reclamation Projects In Elk, Fayette, Schuylkill Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday announced the selection of 4 projects to receive $1,193,603 in funding to reclaim abandoned coal mines in Elk, Fayette and Schuylkill counties.  The projects awarded grants are--
-- Elk County: Headwaters Charitable Trust, Kyler Hollow AMD Passive Treatment System - ALD 1 & ALD 2 Rehabilitation: $618,118; and
--  Headwaters Charitable Trust, Hayes Run & Backside Hayes AMD Passive Treatment System  Modifications/Improvements: $384,918;
-- Fayette County: Mountain Watershed Association, Inc., Rondell-Correal AMD Treatment System: $123,543; and
-- Schuylkill County: Schuylkill County Conservation District, Upper Swatara Creek QHUP AMD Monitoring Project: $67,024.
The selected projects mitigate acid mine drainage (AMD) and support programs that improve water quality in watersheds, wetlands, and fisheries that have been impaired by AMD.  
“The health of Pennsylvanians depends on the health of Pennsylvania’s waterways” said Gov. Wolf. “These grants will aid projects that are committed to protecting public health by eliminating acid mine drainage.”
“Pennsylvania’s history is inextricably linked to mining,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley. “Unfortunately, acid mine drainage has also been a part of this history. The investments we are making today are essential in correcting the errors of the past to restore water quality in our streams for generations to come.”
Funding for the AMD Set Aside Program comes from a federal fee on the active mining industry designated in the Federal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act.

Brodhead Watershed Assn Swiftwater Forest Preserve Hike April 24 Monroe County

The Brodhead Watershed Association will sponsor a Get Outdoors Poconos hike on April 24 at the Swiftwater Forest Preserve in Paradise Township, Monroe County.
This is a free guided hike will explore the preserve, which is open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, birding, photography, cross-country skiing, and picnicking.
A steep old woods road runs through a mixed hardwood forest, passing the remains of a backwoods cabin and beautiful old dry-laid stone walls. A bend in the trail opens onto a surprising natural bonus — a miniature pine barren, complete with pitch pines, scrub oaks, and rocky outcroppings.
The trail, which is still being laid out and has yet to be blazed, continues uphill and down, making a loop (flagged with surveyor’s tape) through pines and hemlocks and other familiar habitats of the Poconos, including two creeks, Forest Hills Run to the north and Swiftwater Creek to the south.
Both streams join Paradise Creek a short distance downstream, to help form the beautiful Paradise Valley and feed Brodhead Creek and drinking water supplies downstream.
This hiking series is administered by Brodhead Watershed Association and part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
Meet at the cul-de-sac on Donaldson Road, off Lower Swiftwater Road, Paradise Township at 10:00 a.m. GPS coordinates: 41-06.144N, 75-17.625W.  The hike should last until 11:30.
Registration is required.  Call 570-839-1120 or 570-629-2727 or send email to:
For information about this and other hikes, visit the Get Outdoors Poconos webpage.

PA Forestry Associations Raise $8,000 For PA Children’s Hospitals

The Pennsylvania forestry community recently raised a generous donation amount for PA Children’s Hospitals by conducting a Log A Load For Kids Pheasant Hunt Sporting Event at the Warriors Mark Wing Shooting Lodge near Ginter, Clearfield County.
Under the Log A Load For Kids Program loggers (and others) donate the value of one load of logs (or any amount) to help critically ill and injured children at Children’s Miracle Network designated Children’s Hospitals.
Thirty six hunters participated in the 2016 Log A Load For Kids Pheasant Hunt and along with 29 sponsors raised the overall $8,133 donation amount for PA Children’s hospitals.
The sponsors are: Bingaman & Son Lumber, Inc.; BWP Hardwoods; C & C Smith Lumber Co.; Cam & Craig Koons; Cameron Lumber Co.; Carl Rosenberry & Sons Lumber Inc.; Deer Park Lumber Co. Inc.; Delullo Trucking, Duane Cameron; Dwight Lewis Lumber Company, Inc.; Foster F. Wineland Inc.; George Kirik; George W. Long & Sons Lumber, Inc.; Hancock Forest Management; Jim & Linda Finley; Laurel Run Pallet; Marc Lewis; Metzler Forest Products LLC; PA Forestry Association; Paul Lyskava; Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative®;R. J. Hoffman & Sons Inc.; Richard Lewis; Rorabaugh Lumber Co.; Shultheis Roofing; Stahl's Sawmill & Logging Supply; Walker Lumber Company; Wheeland Lumber Co., Inc.; and WOODBED Corp.
This Annual Log A Load For Kids Pheasant Hunt was hosted by the PA Forest Products Association and the PA Forestry Association. PFPA Membership Representative Bob Long served as overall manager for this Log A Load Event.
One of the original founders of this Log A Load Event that started 24 years ago, Bob once again exhibited his longstanding personal commitment to the Log A Load For Kids Program and to Pennsylvania Children’s Hospitals.

Columbia Gas, Exelon/PECO, UGI Join EPA Methane Challenge Program

Columbia Gas of PA Thursday joined Exelon/PECO Gas Utilities and UGI Utilities to be founding members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program.
The voluntary partnership program was launched at the Global Methane Forum in Washington, D.C.
Over the past five years, Columbia Gas has replaced more than 442 miles of aging pipe, which, in addition to other related investments, has improved safety and reliability while reducing methane emissions by approximately 74 million cubic feet.
Through its substantial capital investments, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania will continue to replace cast iron and bare steel pipelines with state-of-the-art protected steel and plastic. As part of its planned investments, Columbia Gas expects to further reduce methane emissions by more than 87 million cubic feet.
“Building a safer, more reliable, cleaner and affordable energy future is core to Columbia Gas’ sustainability goals and we’re proud to be a founding member alongside other industry leaders,” Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania President Mark Kempic said. “Through the best management practices outlined in the Methane Challenge Program, we will further reduce emissions while improving safety and service for our customers and communities.”
The Methane Challenge Program is an integral part of the EPA’s ongoing commitment to address methane emissions and global climate change. The program provides a framework through which oil and gas companies can make and track commitments to reduce methane emissions.
The EPA noted that this new program has the capability to comprehensively and transparently reduce emissions and realize significant voluntary reductions in a quick, flexible, cost-effective way.
For more information, visit EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program webpage.

Tribune-Review: John Linkes, Armstrong County, Receives National River Heroes Award

The Tribune-Review reported Wednesday that John Linkes, a volunteer active in the Roaring Run and Kiskiminetas River watersheds in Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties, has received the national River Heroes Award for his conservation efforts from the River Network.
This national award honors only five winners each year who are leaders from the river and water conservation community.
Linkes tests the water, picks up garbage, talks to local government officials and leads anti-litter campaigns — even donning an insect costume to get his point across as the PA Resources Council Litterbug.
In 1999, he started testing the Kiski River, Roaring Run and other tributaries, turning up acid mine drainage — legacy pollution from the region's coal mining history. He especially liked  doing aquatic surveys.
Links is a director on the boards of the Roaring Run Watershed Association and the Kiskiminetas Watershed Association; a member of the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center steering committee and Leechburg Recycling Center; and coordinates the annual Ohio River Sweep for the Kiski River.
He majored in earth sciences in college. Although his career path took him to the steel mills, working for Allegheny Technologies Inc. (formerly Allegheny Ludlum) in Leechburg and then Vandergrift for 40 years.
Past River Heroes Award winners from Pennsylvania include: John Klunk (2004), founder of the Codorus Monitoring Network in York County and David Hess (2002), former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Volunteer Linkes Of Leechburg Honored For Conservation Efforts

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