Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Better Path Coalition, FracTracker Alliance Release Pennsylvania Is Worth Protecting, A Visual Reminder Of The People, Places & Natural Resources Worth Protecting From Environmental Devastation, Climate Change

On February 28, the
Better Path Coalition, FracTracker Alliance and dozens of contributors released Pennsylvania Is Worth Protecting, a print and online gallery of more than 60 photographs of people, places, wildlife and more worth protecting from environmental devastation and climate change.

“Putting this book of photos together -- of all those things that we consider most worth protecting across the Commonwealth -- has been a great joy," said Karen Elias, Better Path and Climate Reality member and the book’s editor.  "The photos offer glimpses, open and heartfelt, of our various lives as we live them, day to day, with our pets, our kids and grandkids, and our gardens -- as well as of those moments of unexpected pleasure that we've captured by surprise. A toad that appears in the fire-pit, a sunset, a double rainbow, a stunning vista, a monarch chrysalis fastened to the edge of a canoe.  

"Taken together, they comprise a tribute to the lives we're creating across the Pennsylvania landscape, lives made more precious and precarious by the looming presence of climate change.  

"Our hope, in offering this book to our governor and legislators, is that they will sit up and take notice: We are your constituents.  These are our lives made visible.  

"This is the Pennsylvania we would like to pass on to our kids and grandkids. You have the power to make that happen.  All this is worth protecting -- and we are running out of time.”

The groups also announced the release of an online version of the book in the form of a story map created by Elias and Erica Jackson of the FracTracker Alliance. The online edition includes photos that did not appear in the book due to space limitations.

"The Worth Protecting project reminds us of our innate desire to protect what we depend on: community and natural resources. We're sharing these photos with the new administration in Harrisburg, as well as the public, to encourage all Pennsylvanians to find their personal connection to the impacts of the climate crisis and join the movement to take action on it," said Erica Jackson, Manager of Community Outreach and Support, FracTracker Alliance.

The book version was delivered to Governor Shapiro and state legislators by members of the Better Path Coalition and the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence Network

During the delivery, members of the delivery team participated in the first People’s Filibuster. 

Throughout the afternoon, they read statements from some of the people who submitted photos, testimonials by people harmed by shale gas development, essays, and poetry. 

The idea of the filibuster is to read those things aloud that our elected officials should be reading themselves. 

Future filibusters will include readings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment, studies, and reports.

“We hope that our governor and legislators will reflect on the message of the book, hear the statements and testimonies of their constituents, and recognize that they have the power and the responsibility to protect Pennsylvania. And we hope they heed our Climate Countdown Clock’s urgent warning that the time to act is now,” said Karen Feridun, Co-founder of the Better Path Coalition.

Funding for the publication of the book was provided in part by a grant from the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

Visit the Pennsylvania Is Worth Protecting online version to view the stunning photographs.

PA DEP Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Feb. 25 to March 3; More Well Plugging Sites Inspected [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - March 4 [PaEN]

-- DEP Posts 63 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In March 4 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 

PA Oil & Gas Compliance Reports

-- Feature: 60 Years Of Fracking, 20 Years Of Shale Gas: Pennsylvania’s Oil & Gas Industrial Infrastructure Is Hiding In Plain Sight [PaEN]

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Well Owners Failed To File Annual Production/Waste Generation Reports For 61,655 Wells; Attorney General Continues Investigation Of Road Dumping Wastewater  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issued 754 Notices Of Violation For Defective Oil & Gas Well Casing, Cementing, The Fundamental Protection Needed To Prevent Gas Migration, Groundwater & Air Contamination, Explosions  [PaEN]

-- DEP Report Finds: Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Routinely Abandon Wells; Fail To Report How Millions Of Gallons Of Waste Is Disposed; And Non-Compliance Is An ‘Acceptable Norm’  [PaEN]

-- DEP 2021 Oil & Gas Program Annual Report Shows Conventional Oil & Gas Operators Received A Record 610 Notices Of Violation For Abandoning Wells Without Plugging Them  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industry Has Record Year: Cost, Criminal Convictions Up; $3.1 Million In Penalties Collected; Record Number Of Violations Issued; Major Compliance Issues Uncovered; Evidence Of Health Impacts Mounts  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Bay Journal: PA Conventional Gas Wells Routinely Abandoned, Left Unplugged - By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal  [PaEN]

-- PA Capital-Star Guest Essay: It’s Time To Hear Bold Leadership On Oil & Gas In Gov. Shapiro’s Budget Address - By Melissa Ostroff, EarthWorks, Member Shapiro Transition Team   [PaEN]

-- Better Path Coalition, FracTracker Alliance Release Pennsylvania Is Worth Protecting, A Visual Reminder Of The People, Places & Natural Resources Worth Protecting From Environmental Devastation, Climate Change  [PaEN]

-- Senate Committee Meets March 6 On Bill Prohibiting Elected Officials In Local Governments From Moving To Cleaner Energy Sources To Combat Climate Change  [PaEN]

-- Senate Committee Meets March 8 To Consider Bill Allowing General Assembly To Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing On Electric Grid Reliability: Natural Gas Continues To Have Reliability Problems; Renewables Aren’t Coming Online Fast Enough; Energy Office To Be Proposed  [PaEN]

-- Sen. Yaw Proposes Independent Energy Office To Promote Development Of PA’s Diverse Energy Portfolio - Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Coal [PaEN]

-- Post-Gazette: Smoke Stacks From Closed Hatfield’s Ferry Coal-Fired Power Plant Demolished, Closing Chapter In PA Industrial History In Greene County: ‘I’m Ecstatic. It Was The Dirtiest, Dirtiest Place Ever.  It Put A Blight On Our Community’

-- PJM Interconnection Study Shows Renewable Energy Sources Not Coming Online Fast Enough To Replace Fossil Fuel Plants; Critical Path Analysis Started To Avoid Grid Reliability Risks  [PaEN] 

-- Latest PJM Interconnection Electricity Capacity Auction Shows Price Decrease, But Mixed Results In PA [PaEN] 

-- Independent Fiscal Office Reports 4th Quarter 2022 Natural Gas Production Decreased 1.6%; Average Price Increased By 82.5% Compared To Last Year [PaEN] 

-- Senate Republicans, 4 Democrats Pass Resolution Urging Restart Of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Abandoned By Company [BTW Not In PA]   [PaEN]

-- Republicans On Senate Committee Report Out Bills On Decommissioning Solar Energy Facilities, Limiting 1 Use Of PFAS Chemicals, Resolution Calling For Restart Of Keystone XL Pipeline  [PaEN]

-- Solar United Neighbors Helping Lancaster Residents Harvest Sunshine With New Solar Co-Op  [PaEN] 

-- Observer-Reporter Guest Essay: Natural Gas Pipelines Can Secure Our Energy And Economic Future - By Republican Sen. Bartolotta  [DEP hasn’t denied any pipeline permits in PA, But they are the most heavily penalized for violations of any industry in PA history]

-- Washington & Jefferson College Hosts March 8 Webinar On Renewable Natural Gas  [PaEN]

[Posted: February 28, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

Senate Republicans, 4 Democrats Pass Resolution Urging Restart Of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Abandoned By Company [BTW Not In PA]

On February 28, Senate Republicans and four Democrats voted to pass
Senate Resolution 9 (Langerholc-R-Cambria) urging President Biden to restart construction of Keystone XL Pipeline, which is not in Pennsylvania.

Democratic Senators Brewster (Allegheny), Flynn (Lackawanna), Fontana (Allegheny), Tartaglione (Philadelphia) voted for the resolution.

TC Energy abandoned its plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline for good in June 2021 to carry Canadian oil to Steele City, Kansas.  

The existing Keystone Pipeline system is still functioning delivering Canadian oil to Oklahoma, Houston and Illinois.  

The Keystone Pipeline shutdown in January after spilling 600,000 gallons of oil which will cost an estimated $480 million to clean up.  

The pipeline has experienced nearly two dozen accidents since going into service in 2010.

(Photo: 600,000 gallon Keystone Pipeline oil spill in January.)

Resource Link:

-- The Guardian: U.S. Averaging One Chemical  Accident Every 2 Days From Train Derailments, Pipeline Ruptures, Truck Crashes, Industrial Spills

Related Articles:

-- Ohio/PA Train Derailment, Pipeline Explosions, Uncontrolled Releases Put Spotlight On Public Health, Safety Threats Posed By Petrochemical, Natural Gas Industrial And Pipeline Infrastructure In PA [PaEN]

-- AG Shapiro: Energy Transfer/Sunoco Convicted Of Criminal Charges Related To Construction Of Mariner East 2 & Revolution Natural Gas/Liquids Pipelines In PA [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues $30.6 Million Penalty Over ETC Revolution Pipeline Explosion Violations [PaEN]

-- Senate Budget Hearings: PA’s Experience With New Pipeline Construction Shows State Laws Not Strong Enough To Prevent Environmental Damage, Protect Public Safety [PaEN]

-- House Committee Fails To Address $70 Million In Penalties On Natural Gas Pipelines Or Real Concerns Of People Living Near Gas Production & Distribution Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Oil & Gas Industry Impacts: Navy Veterans Patrick & Helen Robinson Relate Their 7-Year Struggle Dealing With Impacts Of Mariner East Pipeline Construction In Indiana County, And They Continue  [PaEN]

-- Oil & Gas Industry Impacts: Cambria County Family Sues Sunoco After 3 Years Of Dealing With Damage To Home, Well, Septic System, Property From Mariner East Pipeline Construction   [PaEN]

-- Natural Gas, Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Are NOT Required To Carry Insurance Or Show They Can Pay For Damages If They Explode, Leak Or Kill Someone  [PaEN]

[Post: February 28, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

EPA Awards $91.9 Million To Pennsylvania For Water Infrastructure Upgrades Funded By Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

On February 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award of $91.9 million to Pennsylvania from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that communities can use to upgrade essential water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure that protects public health and treasured water bodies.

Nearly half of the funding, which comes through this year’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), will be available as grants or principal forgiveness loans helping underserved communities across America invest in water infrastructure, while creating good-paying jobs.

“The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program is a powerful partnership between EPA and the states,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Pennsylvania communities  can use this additional funding to make a difference with the water infrastructure projects that protect public health, ecosystems and waterways throughout Pennsylvania.

Specific projects for this year’s funding have not yet been announced, but examples of projects targeted to receive CWSRF Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding from last year include--

-- The Portage Area Sewer Authority in Cambria County, Pa. is targeted to receive a $1.14 million loan and a $7.46 million grant to install 19,000 feet of sanitary sewer collection lines and convert the existing line into storm sewer lines. The project will help eliminate flooding and overflows from a treatment plant, reducing the risk of sewage discharge into the Conemaugh River.

-- The Lancaster Area Sewer Authority is targeted to receive a $111.2 million loan to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility to reduce nutrient runoff and help the facility meet discharge goals designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

“Communities across Pennsylvania rely on water and sewage infrastructure to keep their communities clean and safe every day,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (Pa.). “Thanks to the infrastructure law, Pennsylvania is receiving nearly $92 million to upgrade this essential infrastructure to protect communities across the Commonwealth from contamination, flooding, and more. Once again, the infrastructure law is working to keep Pennsylvanians safe—and creating jobs.”

In Pennsylvania, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority administers this funding. Visit the PennVEST website for information on water infrastructure funding opportunities.

Related Articles:

-- PennVEST Inviting Comments On Clean Water Procurement Program Guidelines  [PaEN]

[Posted: February 28, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Awards $1.5 Million To Help Municipalities, Schools, Businesses Switch To Clean Transportation

On February 28, the Department of Environmental Protection awarded $1.5 million in 2022
Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant funding to help municipalities, schools, and businesses around the state switch to clean transportation and improve air quality in their communities. 

The DEP Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program helps municipalities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations replace older gasoline or diesel fueled vehicles with clean fuel transportation. 

Grants were awarded in Allegheny, Beaver, Cambria, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Northampton, Potter, Philadelphia and Westmoreland counties.

This funding builds on Governor Shapiro’s agenda to create a bold, comprehensive climate and energy plan that will grow Pennsylvania’s economy, protect and create jobs, and address climate change. 

The grant recipients, ranging from a small borough to rental car, garbage truck, and school bus companies, will replace 88 old gasoline or diesel vehicles with 78 electric and 10 renewable natural gas vehicles and install 36 chargers for electric vehicles.

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to growing the Commonwealth’s economy while protecting Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to clean air and pure water,” said DEP Acting Secretary Rich Negrin. “A growing number of organizations and businesses in Pennsylvania want to lower their transportation emissions. Today’s announcement demonstrates a shared commitment between the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and our local communities and businesses to improve air quality, address climate change, and increase the use of renewable energy across the Commonwealth.”

Click Here for a list of projects funded.

“We greatly appreciate this AFIG funding from DEP,” said Michael Bellvia, president of Pro Disposal, Inc. “We’re a family-owned local business, and committed to providing the best services for our customers. This investment will enable us to begin transitioning our fleet from burning fossil fuels to using renewable resources to reduce our carbon footprint, which will benefit both our company and our community.” 

“Aero Corporation is committed to the adoption of electric vehicles,” said Tom Troxell, Director of Electrification. “This DEP grant will allow us to expand access to convenient and reliable fast charging for both our community and visitors to the keystone state.” 

Getting more zero- and low-emission vehicles on the road in Pennsylvania helps reduce harmful air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. 

It also helps lower the level of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases heating up the climate, in the air.

Gasoline and diesel vehicles generate 47 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to ground-level ozone. This affects the health of children, older people, people who work or are active outdoors, and people with asthma, emphysema, or other lung conditions. 

The transportation sector makes up 22 percent of Pennsylvania’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Visit the DEP Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program webpage for more information on this program.

Other Funding Opportunities

Here are other opportunities for clean transportation funding--

March 31-- DEP Medium, Heavy Duty Zero Emission Truck Grants

March 27-- PennDOT Begins Accepting National EV Infrastructure Grants

May 5-- PennDOT Closing National EV Infrastructure Grants

July 31-- DEP Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Station Rebates (apply anytime)

For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter, sign up for DEP Connects events, sign up for DEP’s eNotice, visit DEP’s BlogLike DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.

[Posted: February 28, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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