Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tuesday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 5.24.22

Are You Telling Your Story?

House returns to session May 24, 25

     -- Committee Schedule

Senate returns to session May 24, 25

     -- Committee Schedule

TODAY’s Calendar Of Events

 

TODAY 8:00: House Environmental & Energy Committee meets to consider bills on flooding, extending storage tank cleanup programs. Room 515 Irvis Building. 8:00 a.m.  Click Here to watch live onlineClick Here for more on the agenda.


-- Gov. Wolf Announces DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell To Depart July 2, Names Ramez Ziadeh Acting Secretary  [PaEN]


-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: PA’s Top Environmental Regulator To Step Down


-- Tell Your Legislator NOW To Set Aside $500 Million From Federal American Rescue Funds To Support Local Environmental, State Park & Forest Projects  [PaEN]


-- York Daily Record Guest Essay: PA’s Farmers And Municipalities Pay For Legislature’s Inaction On Clean Water - By Renee Reber, PennFuture 


-- U.S. Dept. Of Interior Invites Comments On Draft Guidance For New Federal Abandoned Mine Land Grant Program Under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law  [PaEN]


-- Streambank Stabilization Project At Shirk Farms, Snyder County Highlights Importance Of Farm Conservation Practices To Improving Water Quality  [PaEN]


-- The Daily Item: Snyder County Stream Restoration Underway


-- Rodale Institute To Hold Organic Field Day July 22 In Berks County  [PaEN]


-- Warren Conservation District 'Save The Rain' Educational Workshop Highlights How Rain Barrels Help Reduce Pollution  [PaEN]


-- WHYY: Schuylkill River Dredging To Restart Thanks To $13 Million In Federal Funds


-- Coming Soon! Call For Presentations: Partnership For Delaware Estuary Science & Environmental Summit Jan. 30 - Feb. 1  [PaEN]


-- PUC Reminds Consumers Of Options For Managing Summer Energy Utility Bills; Price To Compare Going Up Dramatically June 1  [PaEN]


-- Pittsburgh International Airport, CNX Announce Strategy To Reduce Emissions, Costs For Transportation, Other Industries  [PaEN]


-- Register Now For Sustainable Energy Fund Energypath 2022 - Energy Source Diversity June 29  [PaEN]


-- PennTAP Hosts June 7 Northcentral Energy Roundtable; July 21 Financing Energy Improvements Webinars  [PaEN]


-- Reminder!  Penn State Energy Days - May 25-26


-- TribLive: DEP To get Input On Proposed Coal Mine Expansion In Westmoreland, Fayette May 25


-- AP: AG Shapiro Withdraws Objection To PPL Deal In Rhode Island


-- Reading Eagle: What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease


-- DCNR, Fish & Boat Commission Collaborate On Grants To Improve Lackawaxen River Access In Wayne County  [PaEN]


-- Scranton Times: Lackawaxen River To Receive Nearly $1 Million In Accessibility Improvements


-- WNEP: New Ways To Access The Lackawaxen River In Wayne County


-- Jenkins Woods - A Hidden Gem Of Natural Splendor In Monroe County - By Chris Mele for Brodhead Watershed Association [PaEN]


-- WHYY: Cycling Groups Get Help From Philly DA Through Anti-Violence Grants


-- Game Commission Springtime Alert: Leave Young Wildlife Alone; Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators Care For Injured Wildlife


-- PennLive - Marcus Schneck: Declining Deer Hunter Numbers Pose Serious Questions About Future Of Deer Management


-- PennLive - Marcus Schneck: In PA, There’s Almost No Chance You Saw A Murder Hornet

 

6th Oil/Natural Gas Spike: True Energy Independence Means Renewables

[There Is No Limit On What Oil/Natural Gas Industry Can Make You Pay]


-- TribLive: Pittsburgh Gasoline Prices Continue Climb As $5/Gallon Looms In Some Spots


-- LancasterOnline: 38% Rate Hike Looms For PPL Residential Electricity Customers Due To Spike In Natural Gas Prices


-- Bloomberg: LNG Natural Gas Market Is Hurtling Toward Historic Winter Shortages


-- WSJ: Biden Exploring Release Of Diesel Fuel Reserves Amid High Prices


-- Reuters: White House Weighs Waiving Summertime Smog Rules On Gasoline To Lower Pump Price


American Rescue Plan Funding

 

-- Tell Your Legislator NOW To Set Aside $500 Million From Federal American Rescue Funds To Support Local Environmental, State Park & Forest Projects  [PaEN]


-- York Daily Record Guest Essay: PA’s Farmers And Municipalities Pay For Legislature’s Inaction On Clean Water - By Renee Reber, PennFuture 

 

-- $11 Billion In Federal American Rescue Plan Funding To PA State Government, Local Governments Has Yet To Be Invested.  What’s Your Community Doing?

 

Bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Law

 

-- U.S. Dept. Of Interior Invites Comments On Draft Guidance For New Federal Abandoned Mine Land Grant Program Under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law  [PaEN]


PA Politics - Everything Is Connected

-- Post-Gazette: Democrats Kick-Off PA Governor’s Race With $2.7 Million TV Campaign Attacking Mastriano’s Abortion Stance

-- AP: McCormick Sues To Ensure Counting Of Mail-In Ballots In U.S. Senate Race

-- AP: Senate Republican 2020 Election Inquiry Contractor Extended By 6 Months

-- PennLive: 2 Lycoming County Residents Expected To Plead Guilty To Criminal Charges Related To Assault On U.S. Capitol

-- PA Capital-Star: Advocate David Thornburgh: Opening PA’s Primaries Is The ‘Right And Smart Thing To Do’

-- AG Shapiro Releases Special Report On Fentanyl Becoming Dominant Opioid In PA

-- MCall: PA Counties Go Their Own Ways In Getting Aid To Families Of Babies Born With Withdrawal Symptoms

-- Independent Fiscal Office Initial Revenue Estimate For FY 2022-23 $47.7 Billion Up From  FY 2021-22 $41.9 Billion

-- PA Capital-Star: Flush With Cash, PA Could See Its Surplus Go Down The Drain

-- The Center Square: Fiscal Office: A 60% Chance Of Stagnation For The PA Economy

-- PennLive: PA Senate Panel Holds Hearing On Juvenile Justice Reform Bills, But Advocates Ask For More

-- Spotlight PA: Sen. Haywood Urges Legislature To Make It Easier For Attorney General To Investigate Killings By Police

-- PennLive: Many Records For People Convicted Of Murder, Rape And More Are Being Hidden From Public In PA Under ‘Clean Slate’

-- PennLive: Fmr AG Kathleen Kane Pleads Guilty To Probation Violation, Sentenced To Treatment Program

-- PennLive: Gunfire Inside York County Walmart Triggered By Confrontation In Store

-- Warren Times: Automatic Knife Legalization Bill Passes State House [Switchblades]

-- Scranton Times: Education Group Finds Private Cyber Charter School Used Taxpayer Money For Concert Tickets, Vacations, Arcades

-- TribLive: Proposal Would Require Greater Public Access To Records From Pitt, Penn State, Others

-- Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh-Based Arconic Metals Plant Supplies Russian Military, Now The Company Is Trying To Sell It

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[Posted: May 24, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

U.S. Dept. Of Interior Invites Comments On Draft Guidance For New Federal Abandoned Mine Land Grant Program Under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

On May 23, the U.S. the Department of the Interior
released draft guidance for eligible states and the Navajo Nation on how to apply for the first $725 million in funding available for reclaiming abandoned mine lands (AML) as part of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The law provides a total of $11.3 billion in AML grant funding over 15 years, to eligible states and Tribes to help communities eliminate dangerous environmental hazards and pollution caused by past coal mining while creating jobs and providing opportunities to revitalize coal communities.

AML reclamation projects support vitally needed jobs by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, prevent releases of harmful gases, including methane, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage and restore water supplies damaged by mining. 

AML reclamation projects also enable economic revitalization by rehabilitating hazardous land so that it can be used for recreational facilities or other economic redevelopment uses like advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment.

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments in coal communities that will help revitalize local economies and support reclamation jobs that put people to work locally, including current and former coal workers, all while addressing harmful environmental impacts from these legacy developments,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to addressing legacy pollution and helping working families who face hazardous pollution, toxic water levels, and land subsidence both during mining and long after coal companies have moved on.”

The draft guidance provides instructions to eligible states and the Navajo Nation on how to apply for fiscal year 2022 AML grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

It also provides guidance to applicants to ensure that activities funded under the program are putting people — especially current and former coal miners —to work protecting the environment, investing in disadvantaged communities consistent with the President’s Justice 40 Initiative, and safeguarding taxpayer money in a transparent and responsible manner.

Comments on the guidance can be emailed to getinfo@osmre.gov by 11:59 PM ET on June 13, 2022, and will help inform any changes moving forward. 

The Department will host a public comment webinar on the guidance, details to follow.

Related Articles:

-- Federal Office Of Surface Mining Awards PA $26.63 Million For Mine Reclamation Projects Related To Economic Development

-- Casey, Cartwright Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Fund Abandoned Mine Treatment O&M Costs

-- PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference June 22-23

[Posted: May 24, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Pittsburgh International Airport, CNX Announce Strategy To Reduce Emissions, Costs For Transportation, Other Industries

On May 24,
Pittsburgh International Airport officials announced a new phase of their ongoing partnership with locally-based natural gas exploration, production, midstream, and technology company CNX Resources Corporation aimed at further reducing carbon emissions in the transportation industry and related sectors – by using natural gas produced at the airport and converted into alternative fuel with CNX proprietary technology. 

"We feel that natural gas and derivative products provide a path for the transportation industry both to reduce carbon emissions in the short-term while working toward a goal of net-zero in the long-term as hydrogen and other potential solutions mature," said Christina Cassotis, CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport. "This is Pittsburgh innovation at work. We believe this strategy can have a global impact."

The agreement comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf about a statewide initiative to secure a hydrogen hub and large-scale carbon storage system in Pennsylvania, bringing further partnership opportunities to PIT.  Read more here.

CNX has developed proprietary technology to cost-effectively convert on-site dry natural gas into liquified natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas (CNG), and electricity for various uses including as a hydrogen feedstock. These technologies will reduce local emissions and further reduce operating costs at the airport.

The strategy also envisions a sustainable fuel hub at PIT utilizing locally sourced, lower-cost, lower-carbon intensity LNG and CNG fueling depots for airlines, transit, cargo, fleet, military, and other energy-intensive business purposes.

CNX President and CEO Nick DeIuliis commented, "CNX views its innovative public-private partnership with PIT as the beachhead market to showcase this technology, and the associated economic development opportunities, through on-site development of low-cost and lower-carbon intensity natural gas derivative products." Mr. DeIuliis continued, "We will produce, process, and consume these natural gas-based products locally first, and, in doing so, unleash countless downstream economic opportunities and help jumpstart the hydrogen economy, leverage the region's unrivaled work ethic, create family-sustaining jobs, better the region's underserved communities, and revitalize Appalachia's middle class in a new, lower carbon economic ecosystem."

As part of the agreement, CNX will develop the Utica shale on airport property representing the first wells from this formation completed and brought into production in Allegheny County. 

The Utica shale yields a dry gas which is more easily converted into LNG and CNG alternative fuels and hydrogen.

The airport will work with CNX to identify local, end-use opportunities that would benefit from using natural gas derivative products to reduce emissions.

CNX began its natural gas development-related activities at the airport in 2014, bringing its Marcellus shale wells into production in 2016 with the airport sharing the resulting revenue. The airport would similarly collect revenue from new drilling within the new agreement.

Pittsburgh International Airport is already leading the way in energy innovation. 

Last June, the airport became the first in the world to be completely powered with its own microgrid, fueled by natural gas and more than 10,000 solar panels. Officials are planning to double the size of the solar field, which is built atop an old landfill.

Airport officials noted that the microgrid alone is forecast to reduce emissions by about 8.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year within the region. 

Visit the Pittsburgh International Airport website for more information on sustainability initiatives.

To learn more about green innovation in the Pittsburgh Region, visit the Pittsburgh Green Story website.

(Photo: CNX shale gas well drill pad at Pittsburgh Airport, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2014.)

NewsClip:

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Pittsburgh Airport Brokers New Deals With CNX To Incentivize Drilling And, Possibly, Make Fuel From Natural Gas 

Related Articles:

-- Register Now For Sustainable Energy Fund Energypath 2022 - Energy Source Diversity June 29 

-- Reminder!  Penn State Energy Days - May 25-26

-- PennTAP Hosts June 7 Northcentral Energy Roundtable; July 21 Financing Energy Improvements Webinars 

-- PUC Reminds Consumers Of Options For Managing Summer Energy Utility Bills; Price To Compare Going Up Dramatically June 1 

[Posted: May 24, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Monday, May 23, 2022

Jenkins Woods - A Hidden Gem Of Natural Splendor In Monroe County


Tucked away in the resort community of Buck Hill Falls is Jenkins Woods, a hidden gem of natural splendor.

Walking along one of its trails and suddenly the world of cellphones, internet and news alerts is left behind, partly because getting a signal here is spotty at best, but also because you’ll want to end your screen time and enjoy a rare glimpse of this privately owned forest.

Jenkins Woods, 125 acres of one of the last stands of old-growth forest in the Poconos, has been protected by conservation easements secured by the Buck Hill Conservation Foundation since 1998.

The woods, which are the namesake of the past presidents of the Buck Hill Falls Company, Howard M. Jenkins and Charles F. Jenkins, were dedicated in 1951 and rededicated by the foundation in 2001.

Buck Hill, a resort and home community that traces its founding to 1901, once featured the palatial 400-room Inn at Buck Hill Falls. The stone structure fell victim to an arson fire and was ultimately demolished in 2016 but Buck Hill continues to operate with homes and amenities, such as a golf course, pools, a clubhouse and multiple trails.

Though the trails and woods are closed to the public, more than three dozen people were recently able to go for a hike through Jenkins Woods courtesy of the Brodhead Watershed Association’s “Get Outdoors Poconos” program, which is supported by a William Penn Foundation grant. 

To the uninitiated, it’s easy to overlook some of the forest’s unique features.

Alex Jackson, the BWA’s executive director, points to an oak tree. 

He takes note of the convoluted branches in the canopy, some of which are at 90-degree angles. It’s not uncommon in old-growth forests to see branches regrow like that after they’ve been broken by ice storms or other severe-weather events, Jackson said. 

“It creates a very wild look,” he said. “The age of these trees – these guys are well over 100 years old.”

Those with a keen eye can also spot numerals attached to certain trees, which are identified in a guide. No. 1, for instance, is a red oak, No. 12 is a black tupelo and No. 14 is a sugar maple. 

Among other things, Jenkins Woods offer an excellent habitat for local and migratory birds. It serves as a stopping ground for those birds making their way north and an attractive place for local birds to nest.

One of the featured attractions of Jenkins Woods is Buck Hill Falls, which is actually made up of three waterfalls. The lower one is a mesmerizing cascade falling 34 feet into a pool. 

But as impressive as that is, the upper and middle falls really are show-stoppers. 

To access the upper falls, climb a set of stone steps – careful, hold onto the handrail because the steps are a little wet – to a viewing platform. 

Water in the upper and middle falls drop a total of 56 feet, first into a pool, then through a narrow chute and then into a bend before taking a smaller drop. The roar from the torrent fills your ears and makes you appreciate the power of water.

Jackson, who described the falls as one of the finest in the Poconos, said they get their start in groundwater that seeps along the 800-foot escarpment face of Chestnut Mountain and from bogs and fens (a type of wetland) on top of the Pocono Plateau.

A zig-zag series of stairs that rises about 50 feet and was built by the Buck Hill Falls Company with money it gained from the conservation foundation’s payments afford visitors a spectacular view of the falls.

Another waterway, Buck Hill Creek, is a tributary to Brodhead Creek in the Delaware River basin. Buck Hill Creek is designated by the state Department of Environmental Protection as “exceptional value,” the highest ranking awarded to waterways based on their overall health. 

That’s noteworthy because the creek ultimately feeds the Delaware River, which is the source of drinking water for more than 15 million people, Jackson said.

Near the upper falls, Jackson points to a hemlock tree, the upper portion of which is sheared off, leaving a sizeable trunk but no canopy. Rhododendrons sprout from the top of the tree, almost like hair plugs. 

It’s an example of how the old-growth forest of Jenkins Woods is covered with “nurse logs,” from which new plants and trees can germinate, Jackson explained. 

The Buck Hill Conservation Foundation was formed nearly 30 years ago in response to a threat to nearby Chestnut Mountain, an old-growth forest that was being targeted for logging by a private owner, said Rick Mittereder, a foundation trustee. 

In a nearly 20-year effort that the foundation describes as its “largest and most ambitious project undertaken to date,” the foundation ultimately acquired the mountain for preservation. 

The foundation later secured conservation easements on a total of 500 acres of nearby Spruce and Middle Mountains, creating an expansive preserve, permanently protected for posterity.

Arranging For A Visit

For those who did not get a chance to hike Jenkins Woods with the BWA but are interested in visiting, take note: The grounds are private and are only accessible by appointment and accompanied by a guide. 

To arrange a visit, call the Buck Hill Falls Company offices at 570-595-7511.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Brodhead Watershed Association website or Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Association.  Click Here to become a member.

[Act NOW! People Need Clean Water, Parks, Protection From Flooding

[The time is NOW to start contacting your state House and Senate members to tell them to set aside at least $500 million from federal American Rescue Fund monies the state already has to support watershed restoration, farm conservation, mine reclamation, protection from flooding, recreation, State Park and Forest safety and maintenance projects.

[Click Here to learn more, take action.]

[Posted: May 23, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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