Thursday, March 31, 2022

State Museum Of PA, DEP Host April 8 Webinar On The Rachel Carson Building’s Peregrine Falcons

Pennsylvania State Museum and the Department of Environmental Protection will host an April 8 webinar on the peregrine falcons nesting on the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg starting at 12:15 p.m.

The peregrine falcon population was once eliminated from the eastern United States by use of the harmful pesticide DDT, a pesticide Pennsylvania's Rachel Carson fought against in the 1960s.

After DDT was banned in 1972, efforts were made to reintroduce the species, including to nesting sites in Pennsylvania. 

Successful restoration programs resulted in the removal of the peregrine falcon from the federal endangered species list in 1999 and Pennsylvania’s threatened species list in 2021.

Join the webinar to hear Bert Myers, Director of Environmental Education for DEP talk about falcon natural history, Pennsylvania's successful peregrine falcon reintroduction, and explore a year in the life of the falcons nesting on the appropriately named Rachel Carson State Office Building that serves as the headquarters building for DEP and DCNR.

Presentations will start at 12:15 p.m. and will last approximately 20 minutes followed by a question and answer period.

Click Here to register for the webinar.

Visit DEP's Falcon Cam webpage to watch the falcons nurture their five eggs and keep up-to-date on what's happening.

To learn more about “Teaching Green,” visit DEP’s Environmental Education webpage.

[Posted: March 31, 2022] PA Environment Digest

Federal Court Hears Senate Republican Caucus Appeal For Standing In Challenge To Delaware River Basin Commission Ban On Fracking

On March 31, the
Courthouse News Service reported lawyers for the PA Senate Republican Caucus and Senators Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) argued before a Federal Appeals Court they should have standing to sue the Delaware River Basin Commission over its moratorium on fracking.

In January 2021, Senate Republicans filed the lawsuit against the Commission’s fracking ban saying it is a taking of private property without compensation and exceeds the authority given the Commission in its compact.  Read more here.

Sixteen Senate Democrats intervened in the lawsuit to oppose efforts by the Republicans to overturn the DRBC fracking ban.  Read more here.

Bucks and Montgomery counties also opposed the Republican lawsuit.  Read more here.

Last July, the Federal District Court in Philadelphia ruled the Senators did not have standing to bring the case and threw out their lawsuit against the Commission because they did not prove they had been injured by the fracking ban.  Read more here.

It was the second time the Republican Senators have been thrown out of federal court on the same issue when they previously tried twice to intervene in similar litigation brought by the Wayne Land and Mineral Group in 2017.  Read more here.

Both the Courthouse News Service and Bloomberg Law reported the Federal Judges hearing the appeal appeared to be very skeptical of Republican arguments.

The Senate Republican lawsuits are part of an ongoing effort by Senate and House Republicans to overturn the DRBC fracking moratorium on behalf of Wayne County property owners and others in the watershed.

Last week, House Republicans moved ​​House Bill 2450 (Fritz-R-Wayne) and House Bill 2451 (Fritz-R-Wayne) to amend the multi-state Delaware River Basin Compact to eliminate the ban.  Read more hereRead more here.

For more information on natural gas fracking moratorium, visit DRBC’s Natural Gas Drilling webpage.

(Map showing Marcellus Shale formation in the Delaware River Watershed.)


-- Courthouse News Service: PA Republicans Fight For Standing To Challenge DRBC Fracking Regulations

-- Bloomberg Law: Pennsylvania Senators Face Wary Third Circuit In DRBC Fracking Row

Related Articles:

-- Republicans On House Committee Move Bills To Unleash Natural Gas Industry In Pennsylvania, Kill RGGI  

-- Republican Rep. Fritz Introduces Bills To Unilaterally Amend Delaware River Basin Commission Compact To End Fracking Moratorium

-- PA Senate Republican Caucus Files Lawsuit Against Delaware River Basin Commission Over Shale Gas Drilling Moratorium

-- Federal Court Grants Request For 16 PA Senate Democrats To Intervene In PA Senate Republican Caucus Legal Challenge To Delaware River Basin Commission Natural Gas Fracking Ban

-- Bucks, Montgomery Counties Join Opposition To PA Senate Republican Caucus Court Challenge To Delaware River Basin Commission Fracking Ban

-- Delaware River Basin Commission Bans Hydraulic Fracking Drilling Activities In Watershed; Will Develop Regs To Manage Drilling Wastewater

[Posted: March 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

$3.8 Million Federal Grant For Coal Community Revitalization Awarded In Bedford, Huntingdon Counties

On March 31, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a $3.8 million investment, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, to create and retain more than 100 jobs, grow manufacturing, and support small diverse businesses in Bedford and Huntingdon counties.

“I’m grateful that the Biden Administration shares my commitment to supporting the diverse businesses and industries that power our economy in Pennsylvania while simultaneously creating new, good-paying jobs,” said Gov. Wolf. “This is a $3.8 million investment in a successful future for these communities.”

The $3.8 million investment is part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment Program to support coal communities in their pandemic recovery, create new jobs and opportunities, and expand industry sectors.

Bedford County is receiving $2.6 million to construct a 24,000-square foot, multi-tenant building at Bedford County Business Park to support manufacturing businesses. 

The grant is generating a $640,000 local investment and expected to create 46 jobs and retain 36 jobs.

Juniata College in Huntingdon County is receiving $1.2 million to renovate and expand the capacity of their Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. 

The expansion will provide new space to be used by several diverse local businesses. Matched with $290,000 locally, the project is expected to create or retain 25 jobs.

Visit the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Coal Communities Commitment Program webpage for more information on this program.

[Posted: March 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

House Passes Bill To Block RGGI Regulation - Again; Senate Republicans File Lawsuit

On March 30, the House voted 126 to 72 to pass
House Bill 637 (Struzzi-R-Indiana) designed to block the final DEP regulation establishing a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plants that’s consistent with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The vote total is not enough to override a Governor’s veto, which happened to a similar bill in 2020.  Read more here.

This House Bill, however, is different from the 2020 legislation because House Republicans amended it to include a one-time allocation from federal American Rescue Plan funding--

-- $125 million for research, development, construction or site development of carbon dioxide and methane reduction technologies, including carbon capture, micro-grid nuclear power plants, sequestration and hydrogen fuel projects.   At least $12.5 million is to be used for methane abatement projects from plugging abandoned gas wells.

-- $62.5 million for sewer and water infrastructure and stormwater mitigation, including riparian planting for carbon dioxide reduction, stream buffering and streambank restoration.

-- $62.5 million for assisting workers and communities impacted by electric generation or manufacturing plant closures, including training projects, extended unemployment benefits and investments in projects to redevelop the closed plant sites.

The new language is an attempt to attract some Democrats to vote for the bill, but the vote on House Bill 2025 in 2020 was about the same-- 130 to 71.

The House chose not to move a companion bill they also had on the Calendar-- Senate Bill 119 (Pittman-R- Indiana), but which does not include the one-time funding.  

The bill was reported out of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and then referred to House Appropriations without changes.  Read more here.

Senate Republican Lawsuit

On March 29, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Senate Republicans filed a petition with Commonwealth Court asking for an injunction to block publication of the regulations in the PA Bulletin so they would not go into effect.  Read more here.

On February 3, the Associated Press reported the Department of Environmental Protection filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court to compel the publication of the final regulations in the PA Bulletin so they would become effective.  Read more here.

This lawsuit is still pending.

Veto Override

There has not yet been an attempt to override Gov. Wolf’s January 10 veto of Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1 passed by the Senate and House that would have blocked publication of the final regulations under the Regulatory Review Act.  Read more here.

One of the stated reasons Gov. Wolf vetoed the resolution was that the House did not take action on the original measure within the deadlines established by the Regulatory Review Act, so that will be a point of dispute if this action is taken to court..

The resolution has been Tabled in the Senate and House since January 18.  

A veto override attempt must be made in the Senate by no later than April 5, according to provisions in the Regulatory Review Act. The Senate is scheduled to be in session the week of April 4.

If successful in the Senate-- which it will probably be-- the veto attempt then moves to the House which has interpreted the law to mean it has 10 legislative days or 30 calendar days to act, whichever is longer-- although the deadlines may be in dispute.

A veto override is thought to be less likely in the House.

Senate Joint Hearing

On March 29, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and Community, Economic and Recreation Development Committees heard very familiar and often repeated pro/con comments on the economic and environmental impacts of the final Carbon Pollution Reduction regulation.  Read more here.

Some sparks did fly at the hearing when Sen. John Yudichak (I-Luzerne), who Senate Republicans appointed as Majority Chair of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, called opponents of natural gas infrastructure projects “radical environmentalists” and arguments by supporters of the RGGI carbon pollution reduction regulations covering power plants “hysteria.”  Read more here.

Sen. Yudichak’s remarks came a day after the Republican Chair of the House Environmental Committee Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) said opponents of natural gas infrastructure projects “just need to be ignored and politically ran over.”  Read more here.

Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage for more information on the final regulations.


-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: House Republicans Move To Block PA From RGGI Climate Program, Offer One-Time Federal Money Instead

-- Post-Gazette - Laura Legere: Republican Senators File For Injunction To Block Gov. Wolf’s Carbon Pollution Cutting Plan For Power Plants - RGGI

-- League Of Conservation Voters: 43 PA Conservation, Faith, Business, Environmental Groups Oppose House, Senate Bills To Kill RGGI 

-- PA Capital-Star Guest Essay: RGGI Carbon Credit Opponents Play Cynical Games With Dangerous Costs - Clean Air Council

-- PennLive Letter: Pennsylvanians Support Caps On Power Plant Pollution - PA League Of Women Voters

-- Inquirer Guest Essay: Investing In Clean Energy Will Add Over 126,000 Jobs In PA - Keystone Research Center

Related Articles:

-- Senate Committees Hear Familiar Pro/Con Comments On Economic, Environmental Impacts Of EQB’s Final Carbon Pollution Reduction Program Covering Power Plants - RGGI  [PaEN]

-- Majority Chair Of Senate Committee Calls Opponents Of Natural Gas Infrastructure ‘Radical Environmentalists,’ Arguments By Of Supporters Of RGGI ‘Hysteria’  [PaEN]

-- Republicans On House Committee Move Bills To Unleash Natural Gas Industry In Pennsylvania, Kill RGGI  [PaEN]

-- Republican Chair Of House Environmental Committee Believes Opponents Of Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects ‘Just Need To Be Ignored And Politically Ran Over’  [PaEN]

[Posted: March 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

PA Resources Council Celebrates Three Pioneering Women - Hilda Fox, Cynthia Calhoun, Ruth Becker

By Winnie Branton, PRC Board Chair

One of the things that attracted me to join the PA Resources Council was its history of female leadership.  

Almost half of PRC’s first board of directors in 1939 were women.  

PRC’s first Executive Director was a woman (Ruth Becker).  

Many women have served as board chairs, board members, and staff.  

Today, three of four members of PRC’s senior management team are women (Sarah Alessio Shea, Diana Andrejczak, Ashley DiGregorio).  

As Women’s History month draws to a close and Earth month is upon us, it seems like a perfect time to remember some of the women who have led PRC.

Two of PRC’s early women leaders – Hilda Fox and Cynthia Calhoun – were way ahead of their time.  

Hilda and Cynthia were trailblazers.  They used their resources, skills, and influence to preserve Pennsylvania’s natural beauty, fight billboards, and prevent litter.  

They did this though the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, long before the first Earth Day.

Hilda Fox

Hilda Fox lived in Media [Delaware County] and was an active member and leader of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, where she got her inspiration and motivation for the organization that would become PRC.  

Hilda was with PRC from the very beginning, joining with others who were concerned with the growing proliferation of billboards and junkyards along the roadways.  

She was an early disruptor – organizing boycotts and letter writing campaigns against companies who advertised on billboards, highlighting the worst offenders in print and TV ads, and organizing public campaigns for cleaner streets.  

She never let up.  Hilda was a national leader on scenic preservation and litter prevention.  

Under her leadership, in the 1950s, PRC introduced the Litterbug and initiated a national “Don’t Be a Litterbug” campaign in conjunction with the National Council of State Garden Clubs and Keep America Beautiful.  

She served as PRC’s President for 15 years. Hilda was a persistent, feisty, environmental champion.

Cynthia Calhoun

Cynthia Calhoun had roots in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  She supported and led many public service organizations in both cities, from PRC to Planned Parenthood and the Pittsburgh Symphony.  

\Cynthia worked closely with Hilda to advance PRC’s mission to preserve scenic beauty and conserve natural resources.  

Elected President of PRC in 1956, Cynthia led a successful battle to enact PA’s first billboard control law as well as legislation to control strip mines, regulate junkyards, and preserve open space.  

Cynthia was a tireless, dedicated, environmental champion.

Ruth Becker

Ruth Becker was the perfect choice for PRC’s first Executive Director in 1973.  Like Hilda and Cynthia, she is a passionate advocate for waste reduction, recycling, and the preservation of a quality environment.  

Ruth led PRC through the 1970s and 1980s when the modern environmental movement was beginning.  

Among her many talents, Ruth was an engaging and sought-after speaker, crisscrossing Pennsylvania and traveling to other states advancing PRC’s mission of environmental protection and conservation.  

She relentlessly pushed for legislation to mandate recycling – hosting workshops, organizing outreach and education campaigns, and advocating to legislators.  

Ruth played a starring role in the passage of Act 101 in 1988.  In recognition of Ruth’s work, PRC honored her with the coveted PRC Fox Calhoun Award in 1992.

Cheers to Hilda, Cynthia, and Ruth!  Uncommon leaders who made an exceptional contribution to conservation and environmental protection in Pennsylvania.

And cheers to all the women of PRC who have followed their lead: staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters!

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Resources Council website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates, follow PRC on Twitter or Like them on FacebookClick Here for PRC’s Events Calendar.  Click Here to support their work.

PRC is Pennsylvania’s oldest grassroots environmental organization founded in 1939.  PRC has worked to protect resources for future generations through environmental education, recycling, waste diversion programs, anti-litter campaigns and other initiatives. 

(Photos: Hilda Fox, Cynthia Calhoun, Ruth Becker.)

Related Articles:

-- PA Resources Council: Launches 2022 Household Chemical Collect Events April 16 In Allegheny County

-- PA Resources Council Hosts April 30 Household Chemical Collection Event In Beaver County 

-- PA Resources Council Hosts Webinars On Rain Barrels, Backyard Composting, Recycling In April

-- PA Resources Council, Partners Offer Traveling Glass Recycling Bin Collection Locations In Allegheny, Mercer Counties In April

-- PA Resources Council Announces 2022 Household Chemical, Electronics Waste, Hard-To-Recycle Collection Events In Eastern, Western PA

[Posted: March 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Butler County-Based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition Looking For Stream Bank Restoration Projects, Other Updates

latest Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition has an invitation to landowners with stream bank erosion problems to contact the Coalition.

Stream bank erosion is one of the larger sources of non-point source pollution in the watershed. Unstable banks contribute sizeable amounts of sediment into streams smothering macroinvertebrates and fish that live on the bottom of streams. 

The SRWC has successfully developed several stream bank restoration projects that uses a combination of bioengineering techniques.

Funding opportunities are available that can cover the cost of stabilizing the banks at no cost to the landowner.

If you own a property along a creek and have severe erosion occurring, please contact Shaun Busler at (724) 776-0161. 

Spring Is The Time For Planting 

As the days get longer and start to warm, you know it’s close to planting time. Usually around the end of March or early April, bareroot trees and shrubs are available at many local nurseries and online. 

Some species require you to order them months in advance due to their popularity. Bareroot plants are any tree or shrub that are dug up from the ground while dormant and have their soil or growing medium removed from around the roots. 

These plants are grown in large quantities and are easier to produce than other types of plants allowing them to be sold for less. Native, ornamental, and edible varieties of plants can be bought as bareroot. 

The SRWC typically buys bareroot trees and shrubs for our stream bank restoration projects. 

One of our favorite places to order plants is from Pikes Peak Nursery in Indiana County. They have some of the best prices around but you typically have to order more than 50 at a time!

Care must be taken not to let the roots dry out or the plant will die. The roots can be dipped in a gel polymer substance that absorb hundreds of times their weight in water, which help the plants from drying out.

It helps to reduce transplant shock and decreases the frequency needed for watering. Smaller bareroot plants are usually planted with a dibble bar, a tool specifically made to quickly plant bareroot seedlings.

With practice, you can plant over 500 seedlings per day!

Potted and ball and burlap plants are also excellent choices, but you may pay a little extra. Many big box retailers, including Lowes, Home Depot, and even Walmart, carry these types of plants. 

These plants also are more flexible as far as timing. They can be even planted in the summer with enough watering.

Spring plantings typically require less watering since nature takes care it for you. More herbaceous plants are available as potted than bareroot due to their delicate root structure. 

Reeds Run Restoration Area Trash Cleanup - By: Ben Busler 

The Aultman Watershed Association for Restoring the Environment (AWARE) has been cleaning up the Aultmans Run Watershed located in Indiana County for over 20 years. 

From their first efforts at dump cleanups to the construction of three abandoned mine discharges, their work has drastically improved the quality of the streams in the watershed. 

Their work has included the SR286 Passive Treatment System, the Neal Run Restoration Area, and the Reeds Run Restoration Project. 

AWARE also has two new AMD/AML projects are on the horizon, the Neal Run Restoration and Rail Trail Development and the Coon Hollow Restoration.

On Saturday March 19th it started off a little bit rainy but it didn’t stop seventeen people from coming to the trash cleanup at the Reeds Run Restoration Area. 

Equipped with gloves and bags, eighteen volunteers, from age 13 to adult, including six students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, collected trash for six hours. Even though it started off a little rainy it ended up being a nice day.

Trash has likely been accumulating at this old mine site for the last 40 years. Trash was also picked up along a half-mile section of Locust Road. 

An estimated 5,000 pounds of trash and 250 tires were collected, which filled up an entire roll off dumpster! 

Rosebud Mining Company, a local coal company producing metallurgical coal for steel companies around the world, donated the dumpster for the cleanup effort. 

Some interesting things we found were: an old light from the underground mine, an old camera and radio, a flat screen television, a large pool liner, many old car parts, and motor oil bottles. 

Glass bottles were the most numerous items that volunteers had to bag up. Unfortunately, there is still a lot more than needs to be done. 

KIDS Catalyst

And don't miss the KIDS Catalyst word game - science jokes.

Click Here to read the entire Catalyst newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.

For more information on programs, projects, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up to sign up for regular updates.

[Posted: March 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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