Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Philadelphia Launches 2030 District To Reduce Energy, Water Use By Half By 2030

On October 26 the City of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council announced the launch of the Philadelphia 2030 District, a voluntary private initiative to reduce building energy and water use and transportation emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030.
“Really, this impacts everyone because unless we can get a handle on carbon emissions, and seriously reduce them, climate change is going to have an impact on the whole city and the world,” said Alex Dews, executive director of the DVGBC.
The district is currently limited to University City and Center City, where there is a large concentration of buildings that tend to be the biggest energy consumers in the city, although Dews says there are plans to expand the area down the road.
The average commercial building in Philly wastes 30 percent of its energy, while 60 percent of carbon emissions are produced by the building sector.
“The reason we’re focused on the largest buildings is because they’re by far the largest energy users,” says Dews, “and small changes in large buildings yield really big results.”
Some organizations including SEPTA and Drexel, as well as the City of Philadelphia, have already signed onto the 2030 commitment. Developer Brandywine Realty Trust also committed to the pledge early on; a number of its new buildings, including the FMC Tower and Cira Centre fall within the district and include not just commercial developments, but also residential properties.
Each year, the DVGBC will release an annual progress report to see if companies and organizations are meeting their pledged goals.
Philly is now among 18 cities in the country to commit to this national initiative known as Architecture 2030, with 15 million square feet committed to the pledge.
Dews hopes that number expands now that the program has officially launched; there is a total of 120 million square feet of properties within the district that could commit to the pledge, he says.
The commitment of private organizations and companies to energy reduction is the latest in a series of recent city efforts to combat climate change.
Last month, the city released its own Philadelphia Municipal Energy Master Plan, a multi-step roadmap to reduce energy use and clean the city’s energy supply. It also has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s buildings in half by 2030.
Earlier this summer, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed onto the Mayors for 100 percent Clean Energy effort spearheaded by the Sierra Club. The commitment for Philly to transition to 100 percent renewable energy came on the heels of the White House’s move to reject the Paris climate accord.
Of the Philadelphia 2030 District, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, “We’re really happy to be a part of this effort. With the federal government abdicating responsibility to a sustainable planet and denying climate change, we as cities need to lead.”
For more information, visit the Philadelphia 2030 District webpage.
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(Reprinted from Delaware Valley Green Building Council Philadelphia 2030 District webpage.)

Clean Air Council Joins CBF, Maryland Action Against EPA To Reduce Power Plant Emissions In PA, Other States

The Clean Air Council Tuesday announced it is joining litigation filed this month against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by a coalition of public health, conservation, and environmental groups over the problem of smog (ground-level ozone) in the northeast.  
The environmental groups seek an order compelling EPA to take action on a petition by the State of Maryland to make a finding that power plants in upwind states are undermining Maryland’s ability to meet the federal health standard for ozone.  
Although EPA was required to hold a public hearing on the state’s petition within sixty days, over eleven months have passed without a public hearing.   
“When EPA does not perform its obligations under the law, it is for the courts to uphold the rule of law and ensure that the agency does what it is legally required to do,” said Joseph Minott, the Council’s Executive Director and Chief Counsel.
The industrial plants include 36 electric generating units at 19 coal-fired power plants in five upwind states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  The plaintiffs allege the power plants have pollution controls in place, but are not running them effectively, putting the health of people at risk.
Of these five states, Pennsylvania has the largest number of these units – a total of eleven.  There is one unit at the Bruce Mansfield Plant (Beaver County), two units at the Cambria Cogen Plant (Cambria County), one unit at the Cheswick Generating Station (Allegheny County), three units at the Homer City Plant (Indiana County), two units at the Keystone Power Plant (Armstrong County), and two units at the Montour Power Plant (Montour County).  
In addition to generating smog pollution for downwind states like Maryland, Pennsylvania also suffers from smog pollution from power plants in the other four upwind states.
Properly running the pollution controls would improve air quality in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas, in other downwind states like New Jersey and New York, and in communities surrounding the power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Christopher Ahlers, a Staff Attorney of the Council stated that “not only do these practices harm the health of plant workers and their communities, they harm the health of people hundreds of miles away.”
The initial complaint in Chesapeake Bay Foundation v. Pruitt was filed by Adirondack Council, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club.
The Maryland Department of the Environment has commenced a similar action in State of Maryland v. Pruitt.
For more information on programs and other initiatives, visit the Clean Air Council website.

Integrating Stream Restoration Into PA’s Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plans Workshop Dec. 11

The Center for Watershed Protection and Ecosystem Planning and Restoration will host an Integrating Stream Restoration Into PA’s Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plans Workshop on December 11 at the Upper Allen Township Office, 100 Gettysburg Pike in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Workshop will provide training to improve understanding of how to use and apply the Chesapeake Bay Program Stream Restoration crediting protocols towards TMDL and Pollution Reduction Plan targets, to address FAQs about how to implement the protocols and how they will be affected by the new Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model, and to provide guidance on how to rapidly determine suitable candidates for stream restoration.
The Workshop will be classroom based and include lectures and hands‐on exercises.
Participants will also learn about site selection and assessment methods to rapidly evaluate existing stream conditions, recommend potential stream restoration solutions, and evaluate the feasibility of potential stream restoration projects for project implementation prioritization.
The cost of the Workshop is $40 for nonprofit groups and government employees and $100 for consultants for online registration.  The deadline for online registration is December 1.
Click Here to register and for all the details.
For more information on programs, initiatives and other training and education opportunities, visit the Center for Watershed Protection website.

DCNR Reminds Deer Hunters Of DMAP Hunting Opportunities On State Forestlands

With less than one month remaining before the start of Pennsylvania’s traditional deer hunting season, Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday reminded hunters Deer Management Assistance Program permits remain available for state forest tracts across the state.
“As of mid-October, more than 1,700 permits still were available in four state forest districts among those participating in the Game Commission’s Deer Management Assistance Program, or DMAP,” Dunn said. “DCNR views DMAP as an invaluable tool in promoting hunter enjoyment and healthier forests. Always paramount in DCNR’s use of DMAP is the belief deer are an integral part of a healthy forest ecosystem and a tremendous asset for the state.”
Allowing landowners to apply for permits to encourage antlerless harvests on their property, the program designates DMAP areas across the state that enable DCNR and private landowners to more effectively manage white-tailed deer populations and curtail damage to forests and crops.  
Michaux State Forest has more than 300 DMAP permits that have gone unclaimed. Other state forests with permits available as of mid-month included: Tioga, DMAP Unit 2860, 94 permits available; Susquehannock, 2010, 667; Susquehannock, 2858, 36; Susquehannock, 2859, 137; Tioga, 2860, 94; Rothrock, 1881, 100; Rothrock, 1883, 70; Rothrock, 2109, 49; and Rothrock, 2110, 247.  Click Here for a map showing state forest areas.
Applicants for DMAP permits can find DCNR tract locations and maps, availability numbers, past hunter success rates and other information at DCNR’s website.
“By focusing DMAP antlerless harvests in our state forest districts and some of our state parks, hunters can help balance deer populations with available habitat, and promote healthy forests and healthy deer while enjoying quality hunting experiences,” Dunn said.
DCNR continues to adjust DMAP applications based on habitat conditions. For instance, some years some state forest districts will not participate in the program because of improved forest regeneration, previously impacted by deer.  
“In some areas where we have seen decades of overabundance, the DMAP program serves as a tool to help those areas recover,” Dunn noted.
For questions about the statewide DMAP program, the application process, coupon availability, or DMAP regulations, visit the Game Commission’s DMAP webpage or call 717-787-4250.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
(Photo: Deer hunters in Michaux State Forest.)

PA Parks & Forests Foundation Accepting Nominations For 2018 Awards

The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Tuesday announced it is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Awards which recognize exemplary work being done in parks and forests by both staff and volunteers to improve Pennsylvania’s quality of life and protect our natural resources.
The deadline for nominations is December 18.
Nominations are being accepted for the State Park of the Year, State Forest of the Year, Volunteerism Awards-- Volunteerism, Improvement, Education Awards, Young Volunteer of the Year.
The Foundation also selects award winners for the Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award, Joseph Ibberson Government Award and the President’s Award.
Award winners will be announced in January and honored at the PPFF’s awards banquet in May.
Nominations can be sent to the PPFF office at 1845 Market Street, Suite 202, Camp Hill, PA 17011 or emailed to mmowery-ppff@pa.net.  Click Here for more information on the Awards Program.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.  Click Here to become a member of the Foundation.

States Release Framework For First-Ever National Energy Efficiency Registry

Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, The Climate Registry and the National Association of State Energy Officials Tuesday released the National Energy Efficiency Registry Principles and Operating Rules.
The NEER Principles and Operating Rules are the critical foundation for the first-ever national web-based platform to collect standardized and transparent data on the savings associated with energy efficiency projects across the U.S.
They also outline a credible, broadly supported reporting and verification standard that could underpin a voluntary energy efficiency trading market.
In tandem with the Principles and Operating Rules, the group has published a NEER Roadmap that identifies potential opportunities for the NEER to support state and regional energy objectives.
In 2015, the NEER project partners were awarded competitive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the concept for the national Energy Efficiency Registry.  Since then, the Project Team has consulted with other states, local governments, academic institutions, the energy efficiency community and the public to ensure the NEER can support a wide range of energy efficiency policies and programs.
“The National Energy Efficiency Registry Project shows the advances states can make when they work together.  The NEER has the potential not only to help states achieve their energy efficiency goals, but also to support the Administration’s goals for affordable, reliable and resilient energy for the American people,” said Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, U.S. Department of Energy.
“Over 2.2 million Americans are now working in energy efficiency jobs, and building-related energy efficiency investments generated $68.8 billion in revenues last year.  Energy efficiency will play a key role in reducing Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions and increasing our competitiveness and we welcome tools that help us capitalize on the opportunity,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
“Energy efficiency can play a key role in improving air quality by reducing the need for power generation and lowering associated emissions. The National Energy Efficiency Registry addresses one of the key challenges in attributing these air quality benefits to energy efficiency: the ability to quantify the impacts of specific policies or programs in a standardized, transparent way,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau.
“The Pacific Northwest has a long tradition of recognizing the value of energy efficiency, which is an important carbon-free resource that also reduces costs. Oregon is pleased to work with our colleagues in other states on initiatives like the National Energy Efficiency Registry so we can reap the full range of benefits associated with energy efficiency,” said Janine Benner, Acting Director of the Oregon Department of Energy.
The NEER is intended to serve as a central repository that will allow the public and private sectors to: (1) transparently track energy efficiency and conservation savings, and (2) support the documentation of program compliance and voluntary tracking of sustainability and energy goals.
“The National Energy Efficiency Registry will allow public and private sectors to unleash the tremendous market potential of energy efficiency across our nation. Energy efficiency already accounts for nearly two-thirds of the more than 3 million U.S. jobs supported by the broad advanced energy industry. NEER will help private and mainstream investors gain the confidence to engage in energy efficiency more than ever before, driving further investments in this growth market and the millions of U.S. jobs that it supports,” said Graham Richard, Chief Executive Officer of national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE).
“The National Energy Efficiency Registry will support a range of energy efficiency projects and program types, ranging from ratepayer-funded programs to ESCO projects. NEER will help us overcome the barriers to deploying energy efficiency measures by providing better measurement, tracking and recognition of energy efficiency and conservation savings,” said Matt Elliott, Executive Director of the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA).
“The National Energy Efficiency Registry has broken new ground by building broad stakeholder support for a national repository for energy efficiency projects. The Climate Registry is delighted to support the NEER as it will help the public and private sectors collect consistent, comparable and transparent data on the impacts of energy efficiency,” said Ann McCabe, TCR’s Interim Executive Director.
“Energy efficiency is a prominent resource in U.S. energy markets, not only in utility customer-financed programs but also through non-utility and voluntary investments and initiatives. The National Energy Efficiency Registry offers an important framework for State Energy Offices and their partners to identify and verify energy efficiency adoption and benefits across these various marketplaces in support of their states’ energy and environmental goals,” said David Terry, NASEO Executive Director.
Additional resources to support the development of the NEER were provided by E4TheFuture and APX.
Click Here for a copy of the NEER Principles and Operating Rules.  Click Here for a copy of the Roadmap for NEER.
For more information on the project, visit the National Energy Efficiency Registry webpage.

Gov. Pinchot's Grey Towers Opens Free For Veterans, Active Military Nov. 11 In Pike County

Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, Pike County, will offer a fee-free Open House for veterans, active military personnel and their families on November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The event is in keeping with the Pinchot family tradition of welcoming the community, including veterans, to their home at Grey Towers, when Gov. Gifford Pinchot and his wife Cornelia lived here.
On September 13, 1919, the Pinchots hosted a Welcome Home Reception at Grey Towers that included baseball, games, music and speeches.
The 1886 mansion was active with guests and visitors during its heyday when Pinchot, who also was founder and first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, was Governor of Pennsylvania.
In addition to welcoming veterans to his private home in 1919, Pinchot rode the fire truck during a parade in Milford at the conclusion of World War II and authored numerous articles making a case for conservation as the foundation for global peace.
Grey Towers will be closed in observance of the Federal holiday on November 10, but will re-open for the special Veteran’s Day Open House on November 11.
For information about the fee-free Veterans Day event contact Grey Towers by sending email to: greytowers@fs.fed.us or call 570-296-9630.
For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Grey Towers Heritage Association.  Click Here to sign up for updates from the Association, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, visit their YouTube Channel, become part of their Google+ Circle and follow them on Instagram.
 Also visit the Grey Towers Historic Site website and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation website for information on its conservation research and policy programs.  Click Here to sign up for the Institute’s regular updates.
(Photo: Cornelia and Gifford Pinchot camping.)

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Begins Accepting Applications Nov. 1

The PA Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program begins accepting applications November 1 for cash grants sent directly to the utility company or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.
For eligibility guidelines, benefits paid and to learn how to apply, visit the Department of Human Services LIHEAP webpage.  The deadline for applications is April 6.
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Philly Green City, Clean Waters: 1,000 Greened Acres Keep Nearly 28 Million Gallons Of Polluted Runoff Out Of Rivers

The Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Water Program recently celebrated the greening of its 1,000th acre.  So far, the program has prevented nearly 28 million gallons of polluted runoff from entering Philadelphia waterways.
While the Philadelphia Water Department designed the Green City, Clean Waters program, its scope has grown far beyond PWD since being approved by state and federal environmental agencies in 2011.
As we’ve seen over the last six years, it takes much more than Water Department crews and contractors building rain gardens to transform Philadelphia’s landscape on a scale that’s big enough to have an actual impact on our rivers.
That’s why PWD, Mayor Kenney and our partners across City government wanted the spotlight on community groups, nonprofits, businesses, organizations and residents as we celebrated the 1,000th Greened Acre created under Green City, Clean Waters.
The diverse group of people and organizations at the City Hall 1,000 (Green) Thank Yous celebration was a real tribute to the dedicated coalition that’s working to protect Philadelphia’s water.
Much more than a number, the 1,000 Greened Acres you helped us build represent a true transformation of our urban landscape, one that’s having a positive impact on our waterways.
Today, green tools can keep nearly 28 million gallons of polluted runoff out of our rivers during just one inch of rain—an amount that can add up to a billion gallons of stormwater and sewer overflows not going into our waterways annually.
Visit the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Water Program webpage to learn more.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Water Department Blog.)

George B. Stevenson Dam, Sinnemahoning State Park In Cameron County Restored

State and local officials Monday marked the restoration and rededication of the George B. Stevenson Dam at Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron County.
One of four dams placed specifically to control flooding on the West Branch Susquehanna River, the George B. Stevenson Dam is the only one not operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” Dunn told a group of more than 80 attendees gathered on the park lake’s shore. “This places an intense burden of responsibility on the shoulders of park staff and DCNR engineers. Maintenance and operation of a large dam dating back to 1955 is no small feat, but it never could never be accomplished without the expertise of those gathered here today.”
By controlling, the reservoirs in the comprehensive four-dam initiative provide significant flood prevention to the towns downstream.
Among other state officials joining the DCNR secretary were Richard D. Flinn Jr., director, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency; Marcus Brown, director, Pennsylvania Homeland Security; Roger Adams, acting director, Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, Department of Environmental Protection; and Scott Dunkelberger, deputy secretary, Department of Community and Economic Development.
“Ensuring public safety is necessary to allow visitors and residents alike to enjoy the outdoor activities our great state has to offer,” said PEMA Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. “PEMA was proud to work with DCNR and county and local officials to help with emergency planning and notification systems to ensure that visitors to Sinnemahoning State Park and local first responders have the tools they need to protect the public.”
Before the dam was built, the surrounding valley and downstream watershed saw several catastrophic floods, claiming life and land. Its high-hazard classification implies there is potential risk for significant property damage or loss of life downstream, should a breach occur.
This classification is determined by the storage volume of the impoundment, the height of the dam, and the potential extent of personal and economic loss, if the dam were to fail.
Included in the wide-ranging, two-pronged project, costing almost $12.2 million and started in 2011, were electrical, sensor, siren and computer upgrades; toe drain and filter improvements; dredging, stream realignment, and shoreline stabilization.
“DCNR’s work at Sinnemahoning and other state park impoundments across the state has not gone unnoticed,” noted Dunn. “The department recently was recognized on a national level at the Association of State Dam Safety Official’s 2017 Dam Safety Conference, and presented with the 2017 ASDSO Northeast Regional Award of Merit for ‘outstanding work done in improving the condition of its high hazard dams.’ This prestigious award is presented to individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, or other entities working in the dam safety field that have made outstanding contributions to dam safety on a regional level.”
In addition to the safety and well-being of those living downstream from the reservoir outflow, visitors to the state park, one of many enriching the Pennsylvania Wilds, also share in the rewards of these projects. Sediment removal and dredging in the upper half of the lake increases water depth in the lake for fishing and boating. In hand with sediment dredging, stream alignment and shoreline stabilization projects were completed while the lake level was down.
“These resource management and remediation projects improved fish and wildlife habitat in the lake while decreasing potential for future sedimentation buildup,” Dunn said. “The northeast U.S. has seen more than a 70 percent increase in heavy rain events because of climate change, and this has led to a significant increase in sedimentation in many of our lakes. Returning the streams that feed these lakes to their natural contours, dredging, strengthening our dams and installing water level monitoring systems, as we’ve done here, helps to ensure that we can adapt as our climate changes.”
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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