Thursday, August 22, 2019

Reps. Comitta, Howard Tour Mariner East 1 Pipeline Site In Chester County With Gov. Wolf, DEP

On August 22, Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) and Rep. Kristine Howard (D-Chester) toured a Mariner East 1 pipeline site in Chester County with Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Environmental Protection Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh.
A high-consequence area, Chester County is affected by over 600 miles of pipelines crisscrossing the county, including the 80-year-old Mariner East 1 pipeline.
Constituents are concerned with safety and transparency.
Reps. Comitta and Howard are committed to improving lines of communication among elected officials, regulatory agencies, and operators to ensure proper oversight. 
“Public health and safety must always be our number one priority,” said Rep. Comitta. “Our families deserve to be and feel safe in their homes, schools and places of work. It is the job of elected officials to do all we can to protect the people we serve.
“We appreciate very much that Gov. Wolf is here in our community listening to the serious concerns of residents who live along the Mariner East pipeline. We will continue to work closely with the governor to keep public safety our top priority.”
“Nowhere else in the Commonwealth do pipelines zig-zag through so many high-density residential areas as here in our own backyard,” said Rep. Howard. “We let Gov. Wolf know that Chester County will not be kept in the dark. My constituents – and my family – deserve safety and peace of mind.”
“We also want to express our appreciation to all those residents living along the pipeline for their persistent and thoughtful efforts to protect public safety,” Rep. Comitta added.
Rep. Comitta, whose district covers the sites toured, has been working with the Governor and DEP since she was first elected in 2016 to improve pipeline safety and transparency, including hosting townhalls, and facilitating meetings with Energy Transfer Partners [Sunoco], the operator of the Mariner East pipelines.
NewsClip:
Wolf Tells Pipeline Activists He Won’t Shut Down Mariner East Pipelines
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PUC Investigation Of Mariner East 1 Pipeline Sinkhole In Chester County Shifts To Geological Testing [January]
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Environmental Groups Praise DEP For Revoking Beaver Conservation District's Authority Over Pipeline Permits, Call For More Action

Gov. Wolf: Feds Approve SBA Low Interest Loans For July Flooding In Clarion, Surrounding Counties

On August 22, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the U.S. Small Business Administration approved his request to declare a disaster in Clarion County after intense storms produced damaging flash flooding between July 19 and 20, 2019.
Homeowners, renters and businesses impacted by the flooding in Clarion County, as well as neighboring counties Armstrong, Butler, Forest, Jefferson and Venango may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs.
“Fast-moving storms left behind a lot of damage from significant flooding,” said Gov.  Wolf. “These low-interest loans will help survivors replace belongings and make repairs to homes and businesses.”
Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. SBA regulations permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. 
Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and assets. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial qualifications.
The SBA will establish a Disaster Loan Outreach Center to assist anyone who wishes to apply for a loan. The DLOC will be open at the following location and times: 
-- New Bethlehem Fire Co. #1, 425 Arch Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242 
-- Opening: August 27 at 11 a.m.
-- Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
-- Saturday, August 31, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
-- Closed: Sunday, September 1
-- Closing:Thursday, September 5 at 5 p.m.
SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the disaster loan outreach center to issue loan applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals to complete their applications.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the centers in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by emailing: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  
Loan applications are available online. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website
Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is October 21, 2019.  The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is May 20, 2020.
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Wildlands Conservancy Highlights Fun Programs Coming Up In September

The Lehigh Valley’s Wildlands Conservancy recently highlighted just some of the fun programs they have coming up in September--
-- September 7: Hike Haycock Mountain
-- September 8: Monarch Butterfly Tagging
-- September 28: Autumn Bike & Boat
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Wildlands Conservancy website. Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Join on InstagramClick Here to support the Conservancy.

Call For Presentations: PA Assn. Of Environmental Professionals Conference May 6-8 In State College

The PA Association of Environmental Professionals are now accepting presentation proposals for the 2020 Annual Conference to be held in State College May 6-8.  The deadline for proposals is September 30.
The theme for the 2020 Annual Conference-- 35 Years of Connecting the Keystone-- will promote the importance of working together to learn about the unique, interdisciplinary nature of our environmental industry and also highlight our successes and achievements over the past 35 years.
The Conference provides an educational and conducive environment to learn about important issues affecting our careers, lives, and world. We would like to invite all environmental professionals to submit proposals for presentations for the upcoming conference. 
As always, PAEP is interested in presentations that are innovative, relevant, educational, and motivational.
Click Here to submit a proposal.  Questions should be directed to Keith McNally at 717- 272-5114.
For more information on programs, initiatives, workshops and other special events, visit the PA Association of Environmental Professionals website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates on PAEP activities or Like them on Facebook.  Click Here to become a member.

Help Wanted: U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologists In Fairview, York County

The U.S. Geological Survey is seeking qualified candidates for hydrologist positions based in their Fairview, York County office near Harrisburg--
-- Hydrologist GS-11/12 - closes August 26:  The person in this position serves as This position serves as a senior staff member within the PA Water Science Center serving  as project leader or member of an interdisciplinary team. Plans, directs, and/or carries out complex scientific studies or significant components of very large studies, that describe and interpret hydrologic conditions in order to define, analyze, forecast, or describe both natural and human-induced hydrologic changes in the area. Investigative subjects include the hydrology of ground-water and surface-water systems and the water quality of those systems.  Click Here for more.
-- Groundwater Specialist GS-13 - closes September 9: The person in this position serves as technical liaison with Pennsylvania cooperative groundwater program and with Branch and Regional specialists. Primary responsibility for technical methods, accuracy, and adequacy of groundwater program. Maintains technical expertise in groundwater and related fields, including an in-depth knowledge of field equipment used to collect groundwater data. Click Here for more.

Wolf Announces $3.8 Million In PFAS Water Treatment Grants In Bucks, Montgomery Counties, Calls On EPA To Set Standard

On August 22, Gov. Tom Wolf was joined by Representatives Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery)  and Meghan Schroeder (R-Bucks) to announce $3.8 million in new funding to help address PFAS water contamination treatment in Warminster, Warrington and Warwick townships in Bucks County and Horsham Township in Montgomery County.
“Republican or Democrat, senator or representative, every elected official understands that clean drinking water is a critical issue,” Gov. Wolf said. “We all want Pennsylvanians to live the happiest, healthiest lives possible and today I am proud to be here to help lessen a burden for these communities that residents did not cause.”
In addition, the governor renewed his call for the United States Environmental Protection Agency to establish an enforceable, nationwide drinking water standard for PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“The federal government played a big role in causing these issues and they should be stepping up in a much bigger way,” Gov. Wolf said. “We need the White House and Congress to get serious about addressing this issue.”
Flanked by state and local leadership, the governor announced a $3.8 million grant to support water treatment efforts in Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Warwick townships. This new funding will help bolster the funding awarded over the past few years to help Warminster and Warrington address contamination, and to install the carbon filters in Horsham.
"Horsham residents shouldn't have to bear the costs of removing the federal government's contamination from our drinking water,” said Rep. Stephens. “Working together with Gov. Wolf, we've been able to provide funds to eliminate the unfair surcharges Horsham residents have been paying to ensure their water is safe to drink.”
"For years, our residents in Warminster have absorbed the cost of purchasing clean water due to the federal government’s inability to clean up its own mess. With this state funding, we will finally be able to alleviate the surcharge for this water from our ratepayers. As Warwick Township deals with similar contamination issues, we will work to ensure that this funding will assist them with needed infrastructure improvements,” said Rep. Schroeder.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances-- PFAS-- are man-made chemicals resistant to heat, water and oil, and persist in the environment and the human body. 
PFAS are not found naturally in the environment. They have been used to make cookware, carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials that are resistant to water, grease, or stains. They are also used in firefighting foams and in a number of industrial processes.
In September 2018, Gov. Wolf announced the establishment of a multi-agency PFAS Action Team and other executive actions to address growing national concerns surrounding PFAS. The PFAS Action Team places Pennsylvania at the forefront of states taking proactive action to address PFAS and other water contaminants.
“I would like to thank the local officials for the steps they’ve taken to address the PFAS contamination in Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Warwick townships,” said Gov. Wolf. “We’re here in Horsham today, but we know PFAS was likely used at other airports, military bases, and manufacturing facilities, and I am committed to identifying those locations and supporting any necessary cleanup so today’s residents don’t have to bear a costly burden of the past.”
In June, the Department of Environmental Protection began a statewide sampling plan to identify PFAS-impacted drinking water. Preliminary results from the sampling will be released in the fall. 
The Department of Health has also hired a state toxicologist, and the Department of Environmental Protection is finalizing a contract for specialized toxicology services to move forward with setting a state limit for PFAS in drinking water to establish a cleanup plan that will result in every Pennsylvanian having water free from PFAS contamination.
For more information on these contaminants, visit DEP’s PFAS webpage.

State Historical Marker To Be Dedicated At Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Sept. 14

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will dedicate an official Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission roadside marker on September 14 at 11:00 a.m. in the Visitor Center Gallery. 
Following remarks by Stephen Edge, the grandson of Sanctuary Founder Rosalie Edge, and others, guests will be invited to walk the short distance for the unveiling.
The dedication honors the 1934 founding of Hawk Mountain as the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and coincides with the Sanctuary’s 85th anniversary as a landmark in the American Conservation Movement. The event is free and open to the public. 
The historical marker will be placed along Hawk Mountain Road near the trailhead entrance. 
Other events that day include live raptor programs at 10:00, Noon, and 2:00 p.m. a sale of Native Plants, and an exhibit of artwork from long-time Sanctuary volunteer and artist Fred Wetzel. 
The event also coincides with the Sanctuary’s annual hawk migration count, which takes place daily from August 15 to December 15 at the famed North Lookout. Depending on wind and weather, mid-September migrants may include broad-winged hawks, ospreys, eagles, American kestrels, and more. 
Once a popular gathering place to shoot migrating hawks, it was in 1934 that Rosalie Edge leased the land, installed a warden named Maurice Broun, and created the first safe haven for passing hawks, eagles and falcons. 
In addition to turning away gunners, Mrs. Edge directed Broun to record a daily tally of the number and type of hawks that passed overhead, which effectively established the first systematic count of raptor populations globally and launched the study of raptor migration science.
Today the 2,500-acre nature preserve offers one of the best and certainly the most famous places in northeastern North America to watch and enjoy 16 species of migrating raptors that pass by each autumn. 
The Sanctuary trails and scenic overlooks are open to the public year round, and the forests also function as a learning center and field station used by educators and Hawk Mountain personnel and research associates for education and scientific study. 
Operated as a nonprofit organization, trail fees, membership dues, and other gifts and grants support the Sanctuary and its ongoing local-to-global research, professional training, and public education programs.
Applications for state historical markers are submitted by individuals or organizations, evaluated by a panel of independent experts from around the state, and then recommended to PHMC for final approval. 
Robyn Young of Media submitted the nomination for Hawk Mountain as part of her long-time hobby to identify and draw attention to historically significant women in Pennsylvania and their achievements. 
This is the 20th historical marker that Young has had dedicated in the Commonwealth since 2002. 
"I wanted to honor Rosalie Edge because lots of people know about Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and now people will know about its founder, who was an honest, unselfish, independent pioneer for the protection of wildlife and for the conservation movement," says Young.
Among other accolades, Edge’s grassroots activism helped to establish Olympic and Kings Canyon National Parks, and toughened protections at Yosemite and Yellowstone, but she always felt her biggest accomplishment was the founding of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
“Hawk Mountain is a true conservation success story…from shooting ground to sanctuary,” says Director of Development Mary Linkevich. 
“Today the Sanctuary is a model for other people and places globally, attracting the best and brightest young minds who visit for professional training,” she adds. “All Pennsylvanians can be proud to celebrate its founding.”
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website or call 610-756-6961.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Sanctuary, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, visit them on Flickr and visit their YouTube ChannelClick Here to support Hawk Mountain.
PA Environmental History Resources
The Pennsylvania Conservation Heritage website is a great place to learn about environmental history in the Commonwealth.
Visit the Explore PA History website to search for more key people, events and places that make up Pennsylvania’s environmental heritage.
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EPA Recognizes Veterans’ Medical Centers In Altoona, Coatesville With Green Challenge Awards

On August 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is recognizing federal facilities across the country for conserving resources and saving taxpayers’ money as part of the Federal Green Challenge.  
In EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Altoona, Blair County, and the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Coatesville, Chester County, will both receive the Region’s Federal Green Challenge Award.  
-- Innovation Award: - James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, Altoona.  The ongoing efforts of Green Teams in the Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center has made a difference by identifying and innovatively resolving issues. 
Teams do assessments in their working areas to recycle paper, turn off lights and motivate and challenge other TEAMS to be greener.  
The Green Team from the Procedure Clinic named themselves GANG GREEN, got green T-Shirts with their name on them, and established an email group to exchange ideas in greening the operating room.  
More than 90 percent of the medical center’s employees in the clinic are actively engaged in a Green Team and are promoting the program to all new employees. 
-- Waste Diversion Award: Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Coatesville. The Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center diverted waste and put it back into productive reuse by recycling 1,450 tons of materials, sending 17.5 tons of wood waste to shred into an absorbent material which is processed at an environmental recovery center; and composting all grass clippings, leaves, and wood from downed limbs and trees.
“We need innovative, sustainable practices to reduce waste, improve efficiency, save energy and reuse valuable resources,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “I applaud all of the agencies doing this good work, and congratulate Veterans Affairs and its Medical Centers in Altoona and Coatesville who will receive this year’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Federal Green Challenge Awards.”
The challenge is a national effort under the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which encourages federal agencies to lead by example in reducing its environmental impact. 
In fiscal year 2018, FGC participants reduced their environmental impact by:
-- Sending more than 235 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers.
-- Reducing transportation costs by more than $23 million.
-- Using approximately 536 million fewer gallons of potable water.
-- Decreasing paper purchasing by nearly 2,800 pounds.
-- Diverting an estimated 675,000 tons of waste from landfills.
The Federal Green Challenge is a voluntary, year-long commitment in which federal participants focus on finding more ways to efficiently manage their resources to reduce the costs of building operations, maintenance, and supplies.  
For more information on the program and this year’s award winners, visit EPA’s Federal Green Challenge webpage.
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DEP, PennDOT Invite Students Grades 9-12 To Participate In 3rd PennDOT Innovations Challenge Focused On Roadside Litter

On August 22, the departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection announced students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate in the 3rd PennDOT Innovations Challenge which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.
This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to look at cost-effective technologies and innovative solutions--  aside from laws, programs and educational campaigns-- that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to help PennDOT more efficiently, effectively and safely control litter along roadways.  
The deadline for submissions is December 20.
Last year, PennDOT spent nearly $13 million cleaning up roadside litter across Pennsylvania.  In addition, nearly 5,000 volunteers spend countless hours participating in the Adopt-A-Highway Program each year. 
These dollars and volunteer hours could have otherwise been spent on delivering a better transportation network and making Pennsylvania a better state in which to live.  
“While we are grateful for the selfless actions of our thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers, we continue to look for ways to curb the amount of roadside litter across Pennsylvania,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Through the PennDOT Innovations Challenge, students can develop a long-term, sustainable solution to address this ongoing challenge, and make Pennsylvania a cleaner and more beautiful place to live.”
“In addition to a public health hazard and eyesore, the litter along Pennsylvania’s roads is an environmental problem, degrading soil, water, and wildlife,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.  “DEP is excited to support this opportunity to have young innovators bring fresh solutions to this longtime problem for the benefit of current and future generations of Pennsylvania.”
The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore real transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation. 
“Engineering and equipment operator positions are key to building and maintaining Pennsylvania’s vast road and bridge network,” Richards added. “However, PennDOT employs more than 11,000 Pennsylvanians from a wide array of educational backgrounds in nearly 400 job classifications." 
Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete in Harrisburg for the state championship. 
This year, the PA Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful organization are providing a combined total award of $3,000 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.
For complete details, visit PennDOT’s 3rd PennDOT Innovations Challenge webpage.
Anti-Litter Information
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  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 Electronics Waste website.
Sign up now for the 2019 Pick Up Pennsylvania/ International Coastal Cleanup and volunteer or set up your own cleanup event from September 1 to October 31.  Questions should be directed to Michelle Dunn at 1-877-772-3673 Ext. 113 or send email to: mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.
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