Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 11.13.19

Auditor General DePasquale releases Report on Climate Change Crisis TODAY at 11:00 a.m. in Capitol Media Center.  Click Here to watch live:  or Watch via Facebook: 
Wednesday PA Capitol NewsClips 11.13.19 -- Click Here
Click Here for latest Environmental NewsClips & News (Daily Subscriber Email 2:00)
Click Here for latest PA Capitol NewsClips & News (Daily Subscriber Email 2:00)
[Posted: November 13, 2019]

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

DCNR Announces $11.2 Million Investment In 37 Trail Development Projects Across The State

On November 12, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the investment of $11.2 million in 37 trail development projects across Pennsylvania.
The funding was provided by the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Pennsylvania Trails Fund, the PA Heritage Area Program, PennVEST and the ATV Restricted Management Account Fund.
“Trails provide a close-to-home connection to nature and recreation that is always free or affordable,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. 
DCNR has a goal of providing a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvanian. Dunn said anyone who wants to visit a trail but is not sure where to go can find more than 11,000 miles and events listed on the website  
Learn more about trail experiences in Pennsylvania in this short video
In Pennsylvania, outdoor recreation generates $29.1 billion in consumer spending, $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue, $8.6 billion in wages and salaries, and sustains 251,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.
Next Round Of Applications Due April 22
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the next round of Community Conservation Partnership Grants.  The deadline for applications is April 22.
Workshops on how to apply for the grants have been scheduled around the state in November.
(Photo: Montour Trail in Allegheny and Washington counties, 2017 Trail of the Year.)
Related Article:
[Posted: November 12, 2019]

DEP Identifies Source Of PFAS Contamination At Ridge Run Hazardous Waste Site In Bucks County

On November 12, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has identified property owned by Bergey’s Realty Co. and/or Bergey’s Retread Technologies, as the source for PFAS contamination at the Ridge Run PFAS Site in East and West Rockhill townships, Bucks County.
Bergey’s Realty Co. and/or Bergey’s Retread Technologies are now considered potentially responsible entities under the state’s Hazardous Site Cleanup Act.
DEP's investigation confirmed the presence of PFOS and PFOA contamination at the Bergey property address, which historical records indicate was the location of a tire fire in 1986 that was extinguished with firefighting foam.
DEP began its initial investigation in 2016 after being notified that one public supply well was found to contain combined concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) that exceeded the Health Advisory Level (HAL) established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). 
The supply well, which previously serviced several dozen homes, was taken offline and those previously served by it were connected to a nearby water supply. 
Between September 2016 and 2018, DEP focused its investigation on private drinking water wells, sampling over 150 homes in the area. 
DEP initiated an interim response action in 2018 to address the 14 homes that were found to be impacted above the HAL.
Throughout 2019, DEP’s contractor installed monitoring wells in the area and performed soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater sampling at 1419 Bethlehem Pike in West Rockhill Township.
“We understand these investigations can take longer than expected and that the process can be frustrating to those living with impacts,” said Southeast Regional Director Pat Patterson. “We appreciate the community’s assistance in this investigation and their ongoing patience and coordination. While this is an important step, we still have much work to do.”
DEP will work with its contractor and attempt to engage with the newly identified potentially responsible person to determine what additional sampling may be needed to further understand the extent of contamination and options for remediation. 
DEP continues to work with those homeowners with private drinking water wells above the HAL on the installation of in-home treatment systems to remove PFAS from their water.
For more information on this site, visit DEP’s Ridge Run PFAS Site webpage.
Visit DEP’s PFAS: What They Are webpage for more information on Pennsylvania’s response to PFAS contamination problems.
[Posted: November 12, 2019]

Media Advisory: Nov. 14 PA Litter Summit To Share Research Findings On Littering In Pennsylvania

The 2019 Pennsylvania Litter Summit brings together industry leaders and stakeholders to kick off a statewide initiative to develop a behavior change strategy to reduce littering. The event is being hosted in Harrisburg by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation. 
The environmental consulting firm Burns & McDonnell will present findings from the Pennsylvania Litter Research Study, which was funded by DEP, PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, and Keep America Beautiful.
Agency leaders from DEP, PennDOT, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will present the state perspective on the high cleanup costs and other negative impacts of litter in a panel discussion. 
Other guest speakers include Dr. Wesley Schultz, Dean of Graduate Studies & Research at California State University, sharing the psychology of littering behavior and Anne Johnson, Principal and Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability for RRS, presenting on the environmental, economic and reputational costs of plastics.
Attending will be representatives from the food, beverage and waste industries, enforcement agencies, state and municipal governments, water departments, watershed groups, conservation districts, county recycling and solid waste departments, tourism, environmental advocacy, community and economic development, and philanthropy. 
The event will be held at the Hilton Harrisburg from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
Click Here for the full agenda and complete list of speakers.   Questions should be directed to Barb Christner, Director of Development for Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, by calling 724-836-4121 or sending email to:
[Posted: November 12, 2019]  

CBF-PA: Planting Trees Is Part Of Treating The Land Right At Drager Farms In Lancaster County

By Codi Yeager, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Nathan Drager talks about farming the way most people talk about religion, with a mix of passion and reverence. Standing in a pasture aglow with late October sun, he describes the interaction between the land and his herd of certified grass-fed beef cattle as a flow of energy. 
"It's this whole relationship," he says. "It's almost like the land knows when the cows are on it, and the earth wants what the cows do. It's just amazing, if you manage it correctly, how well everything responds." 
On his 50-acre farm, he moves his cattle between pastures every day, a practice known as rotational grazing. The grass is thick and knee-high and hums with life. Instead of using chemicals and fertilizers, the cattle do the work for him—finding their own forage, spreading their own manure, even trampling in the hay he lays down in winter to add organic matter and seeds to the soil. 
It's a complete 180 from the conventional dairy farm where he grew up, just minutes down the road outside of Marietta, Lancaster County. 
"Back when we were a conventional dairy, I was all about corn and cutting trees down, doing everything mechanical, buying these big tractors or leasing them," he says. 
His brother first suggested grazing when Drager started a small beef herd, a year after selling the dairy cows. But his mindset didn't fully change until he began searching for ways to eliminate the chemical sprays that bothered his fiancĂ©, Crystal. 
"I said, well I'll just graze it, try to make a healthy environment around us, because she's very sensitive to a lot of that stuff. And I love my girl," he says. "It's almost like I was walking one way and turned around and started walking the exact opposite way." 
He listened to podcasts and attended farm workshops about regenerative agriculture. The term is used broadly in reference to agricultural practices that treat the farm as an entire ecosystem—from building healthy soils to managing insect pests by providing habitat for natural predators like birds. 
"It's all about bringing the soil life back, trying to establish healthy soils with little microbes and earthworms, everything working together," says Drager. "A field of corn, after they harvest it, it's almost like a field of death—there's nothing alive out there. Here, I'm trying to bring in as many lifeforms as possible."
Rotationally grazing livestock is one regenerative practice; incorporating trees into the farm is another. Over the past year, CBF's Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership worked with Drager to plant hundreds of trees on his farm—the latest planting, in October, added 200 native trees and shrubs along a small stream that runs through several pastures. 
The buffer will help trap any nutrients and sediment that might otherwise flow downstream to the Susquehanna River, which lies just beyond sight to the farm's south, as well as provide habitat for birds and insects. Earlier this year, the partnership also planted trees in Drager's pastures that will provide shade for his cattle and fruits and nuts for forage.  
Farmers like Drager are a critical part of reaching the partnership's goal to plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania's portion of the Bay watershed by the end of 2025. 
Whether they already use best practices—like rotational grazing—to reduce polluted runoff or not, the partnership works with farmers where they're at, says Partnership Manager Brenda Sieglitz.
"We're really trying to just get farmers to think about making that first step," she says. "We'll provide free trees and supplies to them, help them recruit volunteers, bring out the tools, just to get them to look at the idea of planting trees along streams instead of crops the whole way up to the stream banks." 
Drager hopes the trees will help his cattle, as well as the farm ecosystem as a whole. His transition to rotational grazing has already paid off for water quality by keeping the rain from hitting bare soil. The continuous grass cover instead slows down the water and filters it into the soil, which has more organic matter to hold it in place.  
"When we were row cropping, even no-till row cropping, the water that lays in my driveway after a big rain was always brown and dirty," he says. "Now, when a big heavy rain comes, now that everything is growing and everything is in a full pasture state, the water that comes and lays in my driveway is almost clean. I would almost drink that water."
Find out more about tree planting initiatives in Pennsylvania, visit the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership and learn how you can help farmers plant more trees along Pennsylvania's streams!
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.
Visit DEP’s PA Chesapeake Bay Plan to learn more about what the state is doing to meet its Chesapeake Bay Watershed clean water obligations.
(Photo: Nathan Drager works with CBF Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership Manager Brenda Sieglitz to plant a tree.)

(Reprinted from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website.)
[Posted: November 12, 2019]

Friends Of Rothrock State Forest Hold Deer, Forest Health & Hunting Program Nov. 21 In Centre County

Join the Friends of Rothrock State Forest for an educational and social event November 21 on Deer, Forest Health and Hunting at the Boalsburg Fire Hall, 113 E Pine Street in Centre County from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The program will feature a host of experts and resource professionals, including--
-- Dr. Duane Diefenbach of Penn State and Helen Schlemmer of the Game Commission will present findings from The Deer-Forest Study taking place in Rothrock State Forest. The Deer-Forest Study tracks white-tailed deer using GPS technology to investigate how deer browsing and soil conditions interact to affect the understory vegetation in our forests. 
-- Game Commission biologist Mark Ternent and Josh Thompson of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry will discuss the Deer Management Assistance Program in Rothrock State Forest and the important role hunters and hunting play in the overall management of deer in Penns Woods. 
-- Mike Steingraber of the Game Commission and Mark Potter from the Rothrock State Forest District will provide overviews of their respective conservation agency’s mission and responsibilities and how the agencies collaborate together to manage and conserve the native fauna in the Rothrock State Forest.
The evening will include a Q & A with all presenters and some light refreshments and social time with the presenters and other attendees.
For more information on this program, contact Katie Ombalski by sending email to:
For more information on programs, initiatives, other upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Friends of Rothrock State Forest website or follow them on Facebook.
[Posted: November 12, 2019]

Court: Republican Senators Lack Standing To Sue Environmental Quality Board Over Missed Deadline On Manganese Standard

On November 12, Commonwealth Court ruled Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, lacked standing to file a petition for mandamus relief to compel DEP and the Environmental Quality Board to set a water quality standard for manganese as required by an October 2017 rider to an Administrative Code budget bill.
The 2017 amendment was added to the bill at the last minute as a favor to the coal industry and shifts the burden for treating manganese discharges from abandoned mine sites and other sources from those who pollute the water to those using the water, like public water suppliers.
The Court concluded, "Senators do not identify any direct interest beyond that of the common citizen in compliance with Act 40. They do not allege that the EQB’s failure to promulgate proposed regulations within the timeframe impaired their authority to legislate or to vote on legislation. Act 40 does not involve internal affairs of the Senate or otherwise impact the exercise or effect of legislative power. As a result, Senators lack standing in their capacity as legislators.”
The 2017 change sweeps away nearly 30 years of environmental protection for Pennsylvania waterways impacted by the consequences of acid mine drainage, and imposes additional testing, monitoring and treatment at public water supply operations along these waterways.
Current science shows manganese is harmful to human health as a possible nervous system toxin with implications to early childhood development at levels that are less than the threshold levels that impact aquatic life.
The amendment directed the Environmental Quality Board to adopt a proposed manganese standard within 90 days that includes the 1 milligram/liter manganese standard established under 25 Pa Code Chapter 93.7 and insure the standard is met at the point of intake for water suppliers (25 Pa Code Chapter 96.3). 
The 1 milligram/liter standard is 20 times the level of manganese that water suppliers are allowed to have in their water supplies, according to EPA’s secondary maximum contaminant level. Click Here for more.
Local government groups, drinking water suppliers and many other groups opposed the amendment. Click Here for more.
DEP’s Proposal
In January of 2018, DEP published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting information on changing the water quality standard.  
DEP said it will use the information received to “evaluate the adequacy of the existing manganese water quality criterion when the point of compliance is moved to the location of an existing or planned surface potable water supply withdrawal.”
DEP consulted with the Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Center, the Agricultural Advisory Board and the Water Resources Advisory Committee.
On July 25, the Water Resources Advisory Committee overwhelmingly urged DEP to move forward with a proposal to set a new toxic substances health water discharge limit for manganese of 0.3 mg/L, rather than 1 mg/L, because existing literature shows the 1 mg/L standard is not protective of human health due to its neurotoxic impacts.
DEP would still propose moving the point of compliance of the 1 mg/L standard to the point of water intake as required by Act 40, although several members of the Committee were opposed to moving the compliance point from “polluters to the public.”
The new proposed 0.3 mg/L toxic health standard would apply to all discharges going into surface waters as the 1 mg/L had been before Act 40.
There will still be increased costs for the proposed new standard to water suppliers, but less than moving the compliance point for the 1 mg/L standard alone. 
During the Water Resources Committee discussion, Jeff Hines, P.E., York Water Company, said the cost of meeting the original change required in Act 40 alone would impose an estimated upfront cost of $1 million per 1 million gallons per day of water treated, just to get to the .05 mg/L secondary contaminant level, plus $100,000 in annual operating costs.
Even at the .05 mg/L standard, Hines said customers could experience some taste, oder and laundry stain issues.
Hines said meeting the proposed 0.3 mg/L standard would still be significant, but not as high as if the Act 40 change was done alone.
DEP said of the 340 surface water treatment plants in the state, they received comments saying 280 of those plants would have to do an evaluation to determine what water treatment process changes would be needed to meet the Act 40 change.
DEP also said one major water supplier estimated a $40 to $60 million facility upgrade would be needed to meet the Act 40 change alone.
Hines voted against the Committee recommendation, only because it would still impose significant costs on water suppliers like Act 40.   Click Here for more.
(Photo: Senators Scarnati, Yaw)
[Posted: November 12, 2019]

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner