Tuesday, November 30, 2021

PA Supreme Court: UGI Can Be Held Liable For Taking Natural Gas Rights Around A Tioga County Natural Gas Storage Field To Form A Proposed 3,000 Acre Buffer

On November 29, the
PA Supreme Court issued a ruling saying UGI Storage Company could be held liable for taking oil and gas drilling rights in a proposed 2,980-acre protective buffer zone around the 1,216 acre Meeker natural gas storage field in Tioga County.

The case started in 2009, when UGI Storage Company applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a certificate of public convenience to acquire natural gas distribution facilities that included the underground 1,216 acre Meeker natural gas storage field in Tioga County

The application included permission for UGI to acquire, by eminent domain if necessary, a 2,980-acre buffer zone around the facility to provide a 3,000-foot safety zone.

The property owners in this case owned gas and oil rights within the proposed buffer zone and alleged UGI wanted to buy the property to ensure there were no oil and gas extraction activities in close proximity to the storage field.

FERC did not grant permission for the 2,980 buffer zone, although the Commission said a storage field buffer is necessary to protect the integrity of the storage reservoir.

The property owners went to county court to challenge the proposal of a buffer zone as a de facto taking of property rights.  

They alleged the only way to effectively retrieve gas deposits located on their properties was through hydraulic fracturing.

The property owners said UGI's actions and statements relative to the proposed buffer zone “were sufficient to prevent oil and gas exploration and production companies from seeking to exploit the land located in the Meeker Buffer Zone for oil and gas.”

The case went through several trips to county court until it was appealed to Commonwealth Court which ruled in UGI's favor saying it was not a de facto taking.

The PA Supreme Court said, "...it is enough that the condemnor has proceeded by authority of law for a public purpose."

The PA Supreme Court overturned the Commonwealth Court ruling in the case and remanded the case to the Court for further proceedings consistent with the ruling.

Click Here for a copy of the opinion.

Gas Storage Fields In PA

The Department of Environmental Protection has a list of 48 active underground gas storage fields, 6 inactive fields, and approximately 40 former or decommissioned fields in 26 counties in Pennsylvania. 

The majority of the Pennsylvania UGS fields are contained within depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs (host rocks, typically sandstones, in which the economic oil and/or natural gas has been removed). 

These locations coincide with historical oil and gas production, which is predominantly in the western half of Pennsylvania. 

DEP regulates gas storage fields to help protect their integrity from coal mining and oil and gas drilling and ensure their safe operation.

In addition to DEP’s oversight, federal regulators such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are responsible for enforcing federal regulations pertaining to UGS fields.

Click Here for a DEP fact sheet on Gas Storage Fields.

[Posted: November 30, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

PA Assn. Environmental Educators Urge You To Attend Dec. 1 Virtual Board Of Education Committee Meeting On State Environment & Ecology & Agriculture Education Standards

On November 30, the
PA Association of Environmental Educators issued a call to attend a December 1 virtual meeting of the Board of Education Academic Standards Committee that is critical to the fate of the Environment and Ecology and Agriculture education standards.

The meeting begins at 10:00 a.m.  Click Here to attend via Zoom.  Passcode: 546304  By Telephone: (346) 248-7799 (Toll Free)  Meeting ID: 916 1591 2270


The Pennsylvania Science Standards have been under revision since September of 2019. 

At the September 8, 2021 meeting the State Board of Education charged the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) with reconvening the Steering and Content Committees to revisit the proposed standards to address the over 1,000 public comments and bring their suggested revisions back to the Board of Education.

The PA Association of Environmental Education issued a call to educators across Pennsylvania in January to help restore the Environment, Ecology and Agriculture Education Standards so they apply across K-12 education.

In September 2019, the Department of Education released new proposed academic standards for science that do not explicitly include Environment, Ecology and Agriculture standards.

The existing Environment and Ecology standards were separate and distinct and applied to all educational disciplines.

The Association said, “These three topics [Environment, Ecology and Agriculture] are critical to ensure that Pennsylvania students are informed citizens and are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century economy.

“In these times of global climate crisis and national uncertainty regarding the environment, it is urgent that we as educators of current and future generations of national and global citizens take action to ensure that our students young and old, in formal and non-formal settings, are prepared for what lies ahead.”

DCNR’s Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council met last September to hear an overview of the proposed changes to the standards.  Read more here.

Jean Devlin, a Natural Resource Program Specialist for DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, told the Council, "(I)f something is a mandated standard it will be assessed, and therefore it will be taught. So if there is a subject matter that is not mandated it probably is not going to be assessed, and chances are very unlikely it will be taught.”

The standards are also used to design curriculum materials for students and help guide what educators are taught to teach.

Devlin said the state’s existing Environment and Ecology Standards were formally adopted in 2002 and made “...Pennsylvania a leader in education.  We have become the best practice that other States look to to have separate standards for environment and ecology.”

DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn told the Council having good, solid Environment, Ecology and Agriculture standards are critical for many things, but in particular for educating agriculture, forestry and conservation professionals.

“We depend on the students of today learning science environment, ecology, environmental civics, getting involved and real hands-on practices in agriculture and forestry and recreation and management,” said Dunn. “The bulk of DCNRs work is more in environment [and] ecology, also important aspects of agriculture, integrated pest management, managing the landscape, whether it's forestry or agriculture and ecological work.”

She pointed out these students become not only agriculture, forestry, recreation and environment and ecology professionals, they become the good stewards of Pennsylvania’s resources and environment in the future.”

[Note: The Environment and Ecology Standards were part of a broader initiative by the Ridge and Schweiker Administrations to deepen and coordinate environmental education efforts for students and people of all ages.

[It included creating an interagency, interdisciplinary PA Center for Environmental Education based at Slippery Rock University created by Gov. Ridge through an Executive Order in 1996 and then in law by Act 71 of 2008.  Funding for the Center was eliminated in 2011.

[Some of the functions of the Center were later picked up by the PA Association of Environmental Educators.]

Call To Attend

PAEE is asking that you take some time to join the meeting tomorrow and have your voice heard on the importance of current and encompassing Environment & Ecology and Agriculture standards. 

“Our voices were heard during the public comment period this past summer with the Board of Education receiving more public comments than ever before. Help make sure they are not overlooked when it is needed the most.”

Click Here for the meeting agenda and other ways to join the meeting.

For more information on programs, initiatives, resources and other upcoming events, visit the PA Association of Environmental Educators website.  Click Here to sign up for the PAEE newsletter (bottom of page, left).  Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to support PAEE’s work.

The PAEE will hold its 2022 Virtual Annual Conference March 21-22.

Related Articles:

-- Board Of Education Posts Education Standards Eliminating Environment, Ecology & Agriculture K-12 Academic Standards For Comment; Environmental Educators Oppose

-- DEP Teaching Green: Will Education Standards Still Eliminate EE?

-- DCNR: Having Strong Environment & Ecology Education Standards Critical To Developing Career Opportunities & Good Stewards Of PA’s Environment, Natural Resources

-- Guest Essay: Why Environmental Literacy Should Be Part Of Pennsylvania’s Education Standards

[Posted: November 30, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Call For Presentations Northeast Recycling Council Virtual Spring Conference April 12-13

Northeast Recycling Council has issued a call for presentation proposals for its virtual Spring Conference on April 12-13.  The deadline for submissions is January 5.

NERC’s Conferences are unique in that they provide an opportunity for government and industry to discuss the issues considered the most important and timely for advancing toward a circular economy. 

The Conferences attract an expert speaker pool and a diverse audience of government, industry, non-profits, consultants working in sustainable materials management, and students interested in recycling issues. 

NERC is only seeking abstracts about the following topics:  

-- Ecodesign: Products, Packaging & Repairability

-- Mergers & Acquisitions in Recycling

-- Construction & Demolition Debris: New Strategies for Reusing Old Materials

-- Agricultural Plastics: Types, Uses, Challenges & Innovation

-- The Sustainability of Batteries: Resource Use, Recycling Options & Safety Concerns

Abstract submissions should include--

-- Abstract (350 words or less sent as a Microsoft Word or PDF file)

-- Detail the proposed presentation content and specify the topic listed above in which it fits.

-- Specify if and when you have presented the topic at another event (must include event name, location, and date)   

-- Speaker bio & contact information

-- Headshot (JPG file)

Submissions and questions should be directed to  Mary Ann Remolador by sending an email to: maryann@nerc.org or call 802-451-8852.

[Posted: November 30, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

PPL Releases 2021 Climate Assessment Report, Analysis Supports Company's Path To Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2050

On November 30,
PPL Corporation released its updated climate assessment report, which highlights risks and opportunities associated with climate change, evaluates potential future emissions and generation mix using scenario analysis, and outlines the company's strategy and goals to enable a responsible transition to a cleaner energy future. 

Since PPL's last climate assessment report in 2017, the company has taken a number of steps to advance its emissions reductions and overall clean energy transition strategy. 

This has included retiring aging fossil plants, advancing the planned retirements of others, reimagining the energy grid through innovation and making investments in clean energy technology research and development.

PPL has set a clear goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with interim reduction targets of 80 percent from 2010 levels by 2040 and 70 percent by 2035. 

To help achieve these reductions and support our net-zero goal, PPL has developed a clean energy strategy aimed at decarbonizing our owned generation and operations, bringing smart grid technology and renewable energy solutions to our customers, and investing in research and development necessary to support the deployment of affordable and reliable clean energy technologies.

"The transition to a clean energy future offers us an opportunity to rethink how energy is produced, stored, delivered and used. In the process, it offers opportunities for us to further reduce our environmental impact, invest in new infrastructure, empower customers with new options, and drive innovation that benefits society," said Vincent Sorgi, PPL president and chief executive officer. "Our 2021 Climate Assessment Report highlights the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and outlines our strategy to enable a responsible transition that balances our commitments to the environment, our customers, our employees and our communities."

PPL's Climate Assessment Report follows the Task Force for the Climate-Related Financial Disclosure framework, which informs the company's approach to supporting a clean energy transition and communicating with stakeholders in a transparent and consistent manner.

With emissions from owned generation resources representing the largest component of PPL's carbon emissions footprint and its corporate-wide carbon reduction goal, the company examined several climate scenarios, including mitigation pathways consistent with limiting global temperatures to an increase of 1.5° Celsius over pre-industrial levels and aligned with the United States' commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Through this analysis, and informed by assumptions and analysis included in the company's PPL 2021 Integrated Resources Plans in Kentucky, PPL projects that it is on a path to achieve its interim targets and outlines the technological advancements, partnerships and investments that are necessary to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The report also provides detailed analysis of the physical risks to our operations associated with climate change and how PPL's operating companies are mitigating those risks. 

PPL's planning and resource allocations processes focus on strengthening grid resilience to reduce damage and speed recovery from severe weather impacts that could result from climate change.

Click Here for a copy of the report.

To learn more about the company’s net-zero initiatives, visit PPL’s Sustainability webpage.

[Posted: November 30, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

EPA Awards $2.4 Million Grant To Chester, Delaware County For Green Stormwater Infrastructure

On November 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $2,366,000 grant that will be used by the City of Chester, Delaware County, for a green infrastructure project to help fix flooding problems caused by stormwater overflows.

“Urban stormwater is a significant source of water pollution and can be a serious public health concern,” said EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “This funding will support the City of Chester’s efforts to reduce stormwater overflows by using green infrastructure upgrades that will help protect public health and the environment.”

Stormwater improvements in the City of Chester also support efforts to restore the Delaware River Estuary, which is the ultimate recipient of urban water runoff from Chester.

The funding comes from EPA’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants (OSG) program and will be awarded to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, which will provide a sub-award to the City of Chester.

Chester will use funds to address excessive runoff and flooding in the city’s Veteran's Park area due to an outdated stormwater system that lacks sufficient pipes, inlets, and outfalls.

The project, located in a community with historic environmental justice concerns, will consist of approximately 1,600 feet of pipe, 325 inlets, four manholes, roadway restoration, 1,600 square feet of porous panels, inlet inserts, and filters. 

It also includes establishing a regional stormwater control basin with a drainage area of 196 acres and a storage volume of 14 acre-feet.

Overall, EPA will be awarding more than $67 million in OSG grants. For more information, visit EPA’s OSG Program webpage.

[Posted: November 29, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Giving Tuesday - PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 11.30.21

returns to session Dec. 13, 14, 15

     -- Committee Schedule

Senate returns to session Dec. 13, 14, 15

     -- Committee Schedule

-- Updated 2022 Voting Session Day Schedule

TODAY’s Calendar Of Events


-- TODAY Is Giving Tuesday - Support The Nonprofit Groups Of Your Choice - Many Gifts Doubled Today Only


-- Vote Now For Pennsylvania's 2022 River Of The Year!  [PaEN]

-- Video Showcase Now Open For Westminster College, Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition Student Symposium On The Environment  [PaEN]

-- Lackawanna College Announces Spring Session Of The Conservation & Natural Resource Certificate Program  [PaEN]

-- Inquirer: Rebuilding Philly: Spurred By The Pandemic, A Renewed Call To Protect The City’s Waterways

-- PA Environmental Council: Growing Freshwater Mussels For Healthier Waterways

-- WITF Smart Talk 9:00 a.m.: How Will Pennsylvania Use Infrastructure Money? [DEP, PennDOT, PA Chamber] 

-- House Committee Holds Dec. 15 Hearing On Bonding & Decommissioning Solar, Wind Energy Facilities  [PaEN]

-- PennLive Letter: We All Have A Right To Clean Air [RGGI]

-- Charleston Gazette-Mail: Watershed Cleanup Advocates Fear New Infrastructure Law Interpretation Will Limit WV’s Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Potential

-- PA Resources Council Announces 2021 Lens On Litter Photo Contest Winners  [PaEN]

-- PG Editorial: Bagging Up Throwaway Culture [Single-Use Plastic Bags]

-- DEP Posts Permits Automatically Triggering Use Of Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy  [PaEN]

-- DEP’s Environmental Justice Newsletter Spotlights EJ Champion Rashida Lovely From Scranton [PaEN]

-- PG: Pittsburgh City Council Set To Consider Lead Safety Law

-- Ohio River Valley Institute: Bitcoin Mining Breathes Life Into Zombie Coal-Fired Power Plants

-- Courier Times: Snipes Farm Continues Legacy Of Bucks County Farming While Working To Ensure Land’s Future

-- PG: Study: Great Allegheny Passage Trail Is ‘An Economic Highway’ That Generated $121 Million In 2019

-- TribLive: Archaeology Crew Sifting Thru Ohiopyle State Park’s Past In Search Of Cultural Treasure

-- Courier Express: Brookville Trail Hub Asks Jefferson County To Support ‘Missing Link’ Five Bridges Trail Project

-- Land Health Institute Blog: Tour Guide Of Philadelphia Greenspaces

-- Billy Penn: A Rare, Magnificent Mandarin Duck Is Paddling Around Pennypack Park In Philadelphia 

-- PA Wilds Blog: Something’s Fishy In The Forest - Reestablishing Fishers

-- WBTimes: State Reminds Motorists To Use Extreme Caution To Avoid Deer Collisions

Bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Bill

-- WITF Smart Talk 9:00 a.m.: How Will Pennsylvania Use Infrastructure Money? [DEP, PennDOT, PA Chamber]

-- Charleston Gazette-Mail: Watershed Cleanup Advocates Fear New Infrastructure Law Interpretation Will Limit WV’s Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Potential


-- AP: In Shadow Of Texas Gas Drilling Sites, Health Fears Escalate

-- USA Today: Meet Biden’s ‘Climate Cabinet’ Tackling Climate Change

-- USA Today: Busy 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends Today

-- The Guardian: World’s Vast Networks Of Underground Fungi To Be Mapped For First Time

PA Politics

-- PennLive - Jan Murphy: PA Lawmakers’ Salaries To Rise Automatically By Nearly $5,000

-- Spotlight PA: PA Latinos Work To Turn Huge Population Gains Into Political Muscle, But Still Face Barriers

-- Inquirer: Dr. Oz Expected To Join PA’s Republican U.S. Senate Race

-- CourierT: America First Party Candidate Bradley Lanning Announces Challenge To Republican Cong. Fitzpatrick

-- MCall: Berks County Man Facing Charges From Assault On U.S. Capitol Wants Jury Trial

-- PG Editorial: U.S. Senate Ethics Panel Must Assess Republican Senators’ Role In Assault On U.S. Capitol

-- WBTimes Guest Essay: Redistricting Doesn’t Give Us Fair Representation, Single Transferable Voting Does

-- PennLive: PA Warning System Shows Another Rise In COVID Infection Rate

-- PennLive: If Vaccine Works So Well, Why Is COVID Surging Again In PA?

-- York Dispatch: Omicron Variant Raises COVID Alarm As Vaccination Rate Declines

-- PG: New Omicron Variant Underscores Need For Vaccination, Pitt Expert Says

-- WHYY: How Philly Area Scientists Are Looking Out For The Omicron Variant

-- PG: With Omicron Looming, PA, Allegheny County Continue To Fight Against COVID, Delta Variant

-- AP: CDC Says Ages 18 And Up Should Get Booster Shot

-- MCall: Childhood COVID Cases Up 8% Statewide, 36% In Lehigh County; Adult Cases Down 25% Statewide

-- PG: CDC Is Fixing Its PA Vaccine Data After Reports Of Inaccuracy

-- TribLive: COVID Outbreak Hits Westmoreland Jail As Caseload Surges Throughout County

-- CentreDT: State College Borough Poised To Extend Masking Ordinance

-- House Republican Leader Rep. Kerry Benninghoff: Diagnosed With Breakthrough Case Of COVID 

-- House Republican Rep. Mark Gillen Tests Positive For COVID

-- Gov. Wolf: More Than 15,000 Small Businesses & Hospitality Businesses Received Over $480 Million In COVID Relief Funding

-- MCall: AG Shapiro: Opioid Settlement Funds Can Help Deal With Drug Treatment Staffing Shortages

-- WESA: Witnesses Testify In PA School Funding Lawsuit, Decision Still Weeks Away

-- York Dispatch: How Do We Fix York County’s Child Welfare Crisis? ‘A Sinking Ship’

-- PA Cap-Star Guest Essay: Pennsylvania Is One Of 49 States With Citizen’s Arrest, Pro-Lynching Laws

-- YorkDR Guest Essay: PA Gun Debate Obscures The Fraught Racial History Of 2nd Amendment - Rep. Bullock (D-Philadelphia)

-- TribLive Editorial: Most Important Part Of Gun Ownership Is Responsibility

-- Inquirer Editorial: Are Any Of Philly’s Anti-Violence Tactics Working?  Without Better Tracking We’ll Never Know

-- PA Cap-Star: Bucks County Students Push To Make Hershey’s Kiss PA’s State Candy

-- PennLive: 11 Largest Private Companies In PA, According To Forbes

-- WHYY: Wawa Ranks As PA’s Largest Privately-Owned Company

-- PennLive: Many Weis Markets Employees To Get Appreciation Bonus

New COVID Variant

-- Financial Times: Moderna Chief Predicts Existing Vaccines Will Struggle With Omicron

-- AP: Nations Close Borders, But More Omicron Cases Emerge Globally

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[Posted: November 30, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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