Thursday, October 29, 2020

Thursday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 10.29.20

returns to voting session Nov. 10 or at the Call Of President Pro Tempore

House returns to voting session Nov. 10 or at the Call Of The House Speaker

DEP Posts Accomplishments By Winners Of 2020 Governor's Award For Environmental Excellence [PaEN]

Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Announces Watershed Milestones Award Winners [PaEN]

DEP Adds One County To Drought Watch, Bringing Total To Thirty [PaEN]

Marcus Schneck: PA Drought Watch Area Expanded Again

Cap-Star: Nearly Half Of PA Counties In Drought Watch

Rain, Boosted By Zeta, Not Expected To Pose Flooding Threat In Pittsburgh Area

AP: Zeta Barrels Northeast After Battering Storm-Weary Gulf Coast

New Ohio River Watershed Plan To Benefit Economy, Environment, Communities In 15-State Region [PaEN]

Creating A Collaborative Water Resource Network In Southwestern PA; Water Stakeholders GIS Map [PaEN]

Penn State Extension Water Cooler Talk: Chesapeake Bay Lawsuits, Engagement More Nov. 18 [PaEN]

Don Hopey: Pittsburgh Plans To Reduce Sewage Discharges Into Region’s Rivers

Scranton Sewer Plant Operator Sentenced To Supervised Release After Federal Charges

With Carbon Capture Funding, Trump And Biden Have Common Ground On Energy Jobs

PennDOT Announces Opening Of Hermitage CNG Transit Fueling Station In Mercer County [PaEN]

Op-Ed: PA Should Keep Fracking And Oil As Pro-Energy Policies

DCNR Good Natured Blog: Bringing Recreation Close To Home By Investing In Local Parks, Trails, Rivers Projects During Pandemic

Marcus Schneck: Approaching Storm Could End PA’s Fall Foliage Season Early

Presque Isle Peninsula Walk Reveals Sand Replenishment Success

Op-Ed: Taking Aim At Decline Of PA’s State Bird Ruffed Grouse

Agriculture Offers Advice To Hunters, Processors To Protect Against Chronic Wasting Disease

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak In Deer In PA

Marcus Schneck: How Is West Nile Virus Impacting PA’s Turkey Population?

Fish Trapped In Shallow Water Near Blair County Dam Cause Concern

Click Here For This Week’s PA Coronavirus NewsClips

Thursday PA Capitol & Coronavirus NewsClips 10.29.20 -- Click Here


Trump Administration Rolls Back Dishwasher Water Conservation Rules

Utility Dive: Election 2020: For DOE, Staffing, Renewable Spending, Transparency At Stake Nov. 3, Analysts Say

UtilityDive: Biden Win Could Double Annual Solar Deployments, Increase Financial Impacts To Utility Customers

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FairDistrictsPA: Fix Our Broken Redistricting Process 

[Posted: October 29, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal Program Honors PPL Electric Utilities

On October 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced award recipients at its first annual
Responsible Appliance Disposal Program Leadership Awards Ceremony.  

Of the 14 partners receiving awards, PPL Electric Utilities of Allentown, was presented the RAD Champion Award for outstanding program achievements in appliance recycling.

Partners in EPA’s RAD program commit to collecting and disposing of old appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, window air conditioners, and dehumidifiers, using best environmental practices. 

While complying with EPA laws and regulations on the recovery of refrigerant, used oil, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), partners have also committed to recovering appliance foam, promoting the recycling of all durable goods, and the permanent disposal of old, inefficient appliances to save energy.

As a result of their commitments, RAD partners have achieved significant environmental benefits since the program first launched in 2006, including reducing emissions of ozone-depleting substances by nearly 2,000 tons.

“Our RAD partners have increased appliance recycling by using best practices to reduce emissions, save energy and build partnerships in our communities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.  “I am proud to recognize the positive impact our partners have on the environment as we add PPL Electric Utilities to this exceptional group.”

PPL received this 2020 RAD Champion Award for “outstanding performance in foam recovery to avoid emissions of ozone-depleting substances.” This included:

-- Starting their appliance recycling program in 2009 (refrigerators, freezers, room ACs).

-- Adding dehumidifiers in 2017.

-- Having recycled over 65,500 units to date.

-- Continuing an extensive customer awareness and engagement program, including newsletters, bill inserts, website banners, billboards, TV ads, social media messaging, hosting appliance recycling and food drive events in partnership with local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, attending community events and participating in national ENERGY STAR programs like “Flip Your Fridge.”

-- Actively highlighting and promoting their energy efficiency rebate and incentive programs to encourage customer participation to save energy and money.

Click Here to learn more about PPL’s Appliance Recycling Program.

Visit EPA’s RAD Program webpage to learn more about this program.

[Posted: October 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Adds One County To Drought Watch, Bringing Total To Thirty

On October 28, after a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, the Department of Environmental Protection added Columbia County to the list of counties on drought watch, bringing the total to thirty.

Drought watch has been declared for Armstrong, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Cumberland, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Warren, and Wyoming counties.

Three additional counties—Clinton, McKean, and Potter—are on drought warning.

In counties on drought warning, consumers are asked to reduce their individual water use 10 to 15 percent, based on a statewide average of 62 gallons per person per day. This means a reduction of six to nine gallons a day.

In counties on drought watch, consumers are asked to reduce their individual water use 5 to 10 percent, or a reduction of three to six gallons of water per day.

DEP is notifying water suppliers in these counties of the need to monitor their supplies and be prepared by updating their drought contingency plans as necessary. Varying localized conditions may lead water suppliers or municipalities to ask residents for more stringent conservation actions by residents.

Thirteen public water suppliers have begun requiring consumers to reduce their water use. Eleven suppliers are asking consumers to voluntarily make reductions. 

Find this list and more information on DEP’s Drought webpage.

“Although there's been precipitation in some areas, and some indicators are beginning to improve in some counties, we still have a ways to go to get out of these deficits,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We're asking consumers in these counties to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water.”

There are many ways to reduce water use around the house and yard, including:

-- Run water only when necessary. Don’t let the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving. -- Shorten the time you let the water run to warm up before showering. Use a bucket to catch the water and reuse it to water your plants.

-- Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.

-- When watering your garden, be efficient and effective: Water in the evening or morning, and direct the water to the ground at the base of the plant, so you don’t waste water through evaporation.

-- Water your lawn sparingly and only if necessary. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth, and results in shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought.

-- Reuse old water from bird baths, vases, or pet bowls to water plants.

-- When mowing your lawn, set the blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil, improving moisture retention. It also grows thicker and develops a deeper root system, so it can better survive drought.

-- Check for household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.

-- Sweep your sidewalk, deck, or driveway, rather than hosing it off.

-- Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40-50 percent less energy.

-- Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.

Click Here to find more tips for indoor and outdoor water saving at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

DEP makes drought watch, warning, or emergency declaration recommendations based on four numeric indicators. The agency gets stream flow and groundwater level data from a statewide network of gauges maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

In addition, DEP monitors precipitation and soil moisture. DEP also factors in information it receives from public water suppliers.

There are normal ranges for all four indicators, and DEP makes its drought status recommendations after assessing the departures from these normal ranges for all indicators for periods of 3-12 months. Declarations are not based on one indicator alone.

 For details on indicator monitoring, see this DEP fact sheet: Drought Management in Pennsylvania.

DEP shares these data and its recommendations with other state and federal agency personnel who make up the Commonwealth Drought Task Force. Drought watch and warning declarations are determined by DEP, with the concurrence of the task force. 

Drought emergency declarations follow the same process, with final approval by the Governor.

A drought emergency has not been declared for any county.

The next Drought Task Force meeting will be held in approximately two weeks.

For more information, visit DEP’s Drought webpage.

[Posted: October 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Penn State Extension Water Cooler Talk: Chesapeake Bay Lawsuits, Engagement More Nov. 18

Penn State Extension will host another in its Water Cooler Talk Series on November 18 on Chesapeake Bay Lawsuits, Engagement and More from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

The webinar will be presented by Lara Fowler, Professor with Penn State Law and Assistant Director for Outreach and Engagement at the Institutes of Energy and the Environment at Penn State University.

Addressing water quality in the Chesapeake and its watersheds, including Pennsylvania, has been a long-standing challenge. 

The need for further action has been highlighted by a recent set of lawsuits by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a set of states against the Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to address water quality concerns in Pennsylvania and New York. 

This talk will briefly set the stage for these lawsuits and discuss what this might mean for managing water issues in Pennsylvania, especially as the Commonwealth is undertaking work through the Watershed Implementation Planning process at the county level while also updating its statewide water management plan.

Click Here to register for this free webinar.

PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

For more information on how Pennsylvania plans to meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations, visit DEP’s PA’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan webpage. 

Click Here for a summary of the steps the Plan recommends.

How Clean Is Your Stream?

DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.

Related Articles:

-- Op-Ed: Chesapeake Bay Foundation Suing EPA Will Benefit Pennsylvanians And Other Others Who Value Clean Water

-- DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets Oct. 20 To Hear Update On PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Cleanup Efforts [Includes update on actions]

-- DEP October Newsletter Updates Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation

-- Draft Conowingo Dam Watershed Implementation Plan Calls For An Additional 6.41 Million Pounds Of Nitrogen Reductions In PA; Comment Period Open

[Posted: October 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Announces Watershed Milestones Award Winners

The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership will host its 9th Annual Watershed Milestones Ceremony virtually on November 12 from 6:30 to 7:30 honor this year’s award winners. 

The ceremony recognizes local individuals and organizations who have supported clean water efforts in the TTF watershed community. These honorees include outstanding volunteers, regional educators, municipal leaders, and corporate and nonprofit stewards who have made an impact in our watershed.

The winners include--

-- Migdalia Rosado will receive the Friend Award for being a dedicated volunteer, participant, and advocate for the TTF watershed. She has attended many bird and nature walks with her family and even spoke at the Philadelphia City Council hearing in support of Plastic Bag Legislation. She regularly walks in Tacony Creek Park, picking up litter with our Cleanup Kit. Our watershed and park are becoming healthier spaces thanks to caring and active volunteers like Migdalia.

-- Martin Selzer will receive the Educator Award for graciously sharing his skills and expertise with the TTF community for many years by leading bird walks in Tacony Creek Park. As a longtime Wyncote Audubon Society leader and avid international birder, he has brought his thoughtful guidance and eagerness home to our watershed, helping park visitors better connect with the natural world around them. Martin’s commitment to the TTF community is what has earned him the distinction as a true Watershed Hero.

-- The APEX class at Abington School District’s McKinley Elementary School will win the Youth Champions Award for the student investigation of the restoration site behind the school campus. The young scientists surveyed for indicator species present in the restored wetland along Jenkintown Creek and are an inspiration and model for students whose school is close to a creek!

-- Bryan Havir will win the Municipal Leader Award for his passion for environmental advocacy on behalf of the township. He previously served as Manager of Cheltenham Township and partnered with the Philadelphia Water Department to establish and sustain the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership. This enabled TTF to develop into a premier non-profit dedicated to sustainable watershed protection and community stewardship. We recognize his critical contribution to our creation, success, and ongoing partnership with Cheltenham to improve our creeks and support parks and trails.

-- Andy Oles will receive the Municipal Leader Award for his support of TTF led projects, planning, and implementation. During his 16 year tenure with Abington Township, he assisted with a Temple University design course utilizing Abington’s Alverthorpe Park. Students conducted infiltration testing, delineated drainage areas, and studied site conditions within the park. TTF values Andy Oles for his work and commitment to improving the health of local watersheds.

-- The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will be honored with the Nonprofit Steward Award for its dedication to collaborating with and funding riparian buffer and rain garden plantings at Friends Hospital, and numerous sites along the Jenkintown Creek through Treevitalize and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

-- CSAA Insurance Group will receive the Corporate Steward Award for its valued partnership and dedication to volunteerism. CSAA employees shared this commitment at our Community Service Breakfast and at numerous plantings to enhance Tacony Creek Park’s Tabor and Olney Gateway.

-- Rep. Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery) will win the Legacy Award for his support, service, and raising up of TTF’s work. He has provided us with the opportunity to testify about our clean water work at numerous public hearings and consistently promoted our programs, leaving us with a legacy of commitment to water and climate in our backyards and across the globe.

The Partnership will also be honoring our Partner Alliance members, particularly our Philanthropists, Benefactors, and Ambassadors: Globe Dye Works, PECO, Pixel Parlor, Smithbridge Gardens Nursery and Design, Aquareale, University of Pennsylvania, Aqua, and Garfield Refining.


Milestones is free, but registration is required. The event will feature a silent auction with unique nature related prize packages from local businesses. 

The auction goes live on November 5 at noon. Bidding ends after the award ceremony at 8:00 p.m. Stay tuned for social media posts with updates!

For more on this event, visit the 9th Annual Watershed Milestones Ceremony webpage.

Visit the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership website for more information on programs, initiatives, other upcoming events and how you can get involved. 

The Partnership works to implement programs in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties that educate neighbors and stakeholders about clean water issues and how we can all make a difference in our own backyards, parks, and communities.

Related Articles:

-- DEP Posts Accomplishments By Winners Of 2020 Governor's Award For Environmental Excellence

-- Wolf Administration Recognizes Recipients Of Governor's Awards For Local Government Excellence

-- DCNR Now Accepting Nominations For 2021 PA Trail Of The Year

[Posted: October 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

New Ohio River Watershed Plan To Benefit Economy, Environment, Communities In 15-State Region

Ohio River Basin Alliance released a sweeping strategy to help the 15-state Ohio River Watershed region and its more than 25 million residents tackle urgent environmental threats and economic needs, including inadequate river infrastructure, pollution to the river and its tributaries, and increased flooding that is only expected to get worse due to climate change. 

The western one-third of Pennsylvania forms the headwaters of the Ohio River Watershed, including the Allegheny and Monongahela river watersheds.

Click Here to read the strategy.

“The regional plan provides a roadmap for needed investments that will benefit millions of people in the region by boosting our economy, protecting our drinking water, restoring our environment, protecting our public health, supporting our outdoor recreation, and improving our quality of life,” said Harry Stone, chairperson of the Ohio River Basin Alliance. “We have a historic opportunity to stand up for communities large and small in the region—and we are going to do it. We look forward to working with stakeholders in the region, as well as local officials, governors, and members of Congress to implement these common-sense solutions, before these challenges get more difficult and costly. We have solutions, and it’s Mme to use them.”

The plan, which covers portions of the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, highlights six regional priorities:

-- Restoring the river, its tributaries and ecosystems to protect the health of people, fish, and wildlife;

-- Addressing flooding to protect vulnerable communities and infrastructure;

-- Ensuring abundant clean water for people, fish and wildlife, and businesses;

-- Increasing nature-based recreation and tourism;

-- Growing water-borne commerce and ensuring efficient waterborne commerce through

adequate lock and dam infrastructure; and,

-- Supporting robust research and education to inform the needs and opportunities of the region.

The goal is for the regional strategy to be implemented by collaborating with local communities, states, and federal government and other diverse partners that leads to robust new federal investment in the region, akin to what other regional initiatives have received in the Chesapeake Bay, Florida Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf Coast, and Puget Sound. The next phase is to craft implementation plans for the six goals.

“We look forward to working with local partners to put forward solutions that benefit our environment, economy, and communities—especially those communities that have historically borne the brunt of pollution and environmental harm, such as people of color, low-income and rural communities, and Tribal Nations,” said Stone. “We have an obligation and responsibility to help all of the people who call the region home, and we believe that the regional plan can lift all boats.”

The “Plan for the Ohio River Basin 2020 - 2025 Planning Assistance to States Study” was funded and performed under an agreement between Ohio River Valley Water sanitation Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, with financial support from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The plan received input from a diverse set of stakeholders, including state and federal agencies, colleges and universities, businesses, industry associations, cites, and non-governmental organizations.

The Ohio River basin covers 204,000 square miles encompassing parts of 15 states, including the western part of Pennsylvania. It is home to over 25 million people. The Ohio River supplies drinking water to more than 5 million people.

Click Here to read the strategy

Implementation Planning

The Ohio River Basin Alliance is now guiding the process of creating six inter-related implementation plans connected to each of the six regional priorities. 

Recently elected ORBA steering committee members Caren Glotfelty and Annie Quinn strongly encourage Southwest Pennsylvania residents to engage with plan implementation through sharing your expertise on any of the six priority workgroups.  

Click Here to express your interest in being part of this workgroup

Visit the Ohio River Basin Alliance website for more information.

(Reprinted from the October newsletter from The Water Center, University of Pennsylvania.)

Related Article:

Creating A Collaborative Water Resource Network In Southwestern PA; Water Stakeholders GIS Map

[Posted: October 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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