Thursday, April 18, 2024

DCNR Highlights Conservation Job Opportunities In PA Outdoor Corps As 2024 Season Begins

On April 17, Shapiro Administration officials worked with members of the
Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps on a project to improve the Joyce Kilmer Trail in Union County in Bald Eagle State Forest.

The four-member crew of young people age 18-25 working at Bald Eagle is based in Williamsport.

To improve public lands, Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget builds on the success of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps with a $5 million investment in a regional effort to diversify and strengthen conservation career and workforce pathways for young people.

“The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps has a successful track record helping young adults develop the job skills needed to succeed in today’s economy,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Gov. Shapiro believes now is the time to invest in Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy by expanding opportunities for skill development and paid work experience that will create economic opportunity and a ready workforce for conservation and recreation.”

Gov. Shapiro also is supporting the outdoor recreation economy by proposing an $8.5 million additional investment in parks and forests that will make Pennsylvania a premier destination for exceptional trail experiences, benefiting the economic competitiveness of communities, tourism, and public health.

This year, a total of about 200 young people will participate in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, a statewide workforce initiative to introduce people ages 15-25 to natural resource conservation and related jobs.

It also teaches participants about public service and provides job skills to make them better employees.

Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps members in 2024 will work in more than 100 parks, forests, and communities across the state on projects including:

-- Trail work

-- Habitat enhancement

-- Improving park and forest assets such as buildings, drainage structures, and landscaped areas

-- Tree planting

-- Storm damage restoration

-- Inventorying trees planted in communities

2023 Accomplishments

In 2023 alone, PA Outdoor Corps members--

-- Improved 91 miles of trails

-- Planted 2,894 trees

-- Improved 512 acres of natural lands and wetlands

-- Improved 79,579 feet of shore and waterways

-- Provided a formative and rewarding experience for participants

The corps is managed by DCNR and the Student Conservation Association and is supported through funding provided by the Department of Labor and Industry, as well as private philanthropic partners.

The Williamsport Outdoor Corps efforts for this week are focused on the Joyce Kilmer Trail, which is a hiking only trail that spans approximately three-quarters of a mile in Hartley Township, Union County.

The team is working on renovating a footbridge that crosses Bear Run, ensuring safe passage for forest visitors.

This iconic trail serves as the gateway to the 77-acre Joyce Kilmer Natural Area, a sanctuary of old growth forest and pristine wilderness.

Named in honor of the renowned poet Joyce Kilmer, this tranquil haven boasts a diverse array of flora and fauna, including towering hemlocks and majestic hardwoods.

Bald Eagle State Forest has more than 300 miles of hiking trails.

The Governor’s budget as proposed would enable DCNR to:

-- Design and construct new trails in parks and forests

-- Retrofit, widen, and otherwise improve existing trails

-- Prepare to respond to damage that currently cannot be quickly addressed when emergencies occur.

$17 Billion Recreation Economy

Outdoor recreation adds $17 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, supporting 164,344 jobs, and accounting for 1.8 percent of the Commonwealth’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Gov. Shapiro’s first budget resulted in the launch of the Pennsylvania Office of Outdoor Recreation.

More information about this program is available at the DCNR Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps webpage, the Student Conservation Association website, or in videos on the DCNR YouTube page.

Visit Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA for recreation areas near you.

Visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation’s Events webpage and DCNR’s Calendar of Events for activities happening near you.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Related Articles:

-- DCNR Highlights Conservation Job Opportunities In PA Outdoor Corps As 2024 Season Begins  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Announces Improvements Planned For Kinzua Bridge State Park Skywalk In PA Wilds  [McKean County]

-- DCNR Accepting Permit Applications For Northcentral Regional ATV Trail Riding; Season Dates Set

-- DCNR Grants Newsletter: Featured Project: Preserving An Underground Railroad Site; Volunteers Make The Difference In Tree Planting 

-- PAEE/NAAEE: Relaunch Of 'Outside For 5' Campaign Urges Educators To Embrace Outdoor Learning  [PaEN]

-- Keystone Trails Assn. Welcomes 3 New Staff Members To Expand Presence In Bedford, Clinton & Lancaster Counties  [PaEN]

NewsClips:

-- Observer-Reporter: Residents, Business Owners Celebrate Ohiopyle’s ‘Best Small Town’ Designation 

-- Inquirer - Frank Kummer: For 100 Years, Friends Of The Wissahickon Has Been Protecting The Park From Everything From Cars To Climate Change 

-- York Daily Record: Nature Preserve In York County Named To Honor Robert A. Kinsley

-- Republican Herald: Schuylkill River Trail From Saint Clair To Frackville To Spark An Economic Boon, Officials Predict

-- WHYY: Montgomery County, Partners Working To Transform 2 Norristown Trailheads 

-- WNEP: Volunteers Plant Trees, Clean Up Nesbitt Park In Wilkes-Barre

-- Forests For The Chesapeake Bay Update: Habichats Wetland Walk; Upcoming Events; Know Your Flowers 

-- Republican Herald - Tyler Frantz: Outdoors Companies Offer Eco-Friendly Products

[Posted: April 18, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

​​PA Resources Council Launches 2024 Household Chemical Collections May 4 At Allegheny County Event; First Of 8 In Western PA

The
Pennsylvania Resources Council will launch its 2024 household chemical collection campaign in Western PA on May 4 by hosting a drive-thru event in Allegheny County.

The collection events will provide residents of Pennsylvania with an opportunity to safely dispose of household cleaners, automotive fluids, paints, pesticides and other products containing potentially hazardous components.

Events will be held in Allegheny, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette and Washington counties

“It’s critical to divert household chemicals from landfills since many contain toxic elements that can leach into our waterways or introduce dangerous toxic materials into our environment,” according to PRC Executive Director Darren Spielman.  “Since launching household chemical collection events in 2003, PRC and its many partners have facilitated the safe management of 6.5 million pounds of household chemicals collected at more than 100 events.” 

This first PRC household chemical collection is presented in partnership with Allegheny County Health Department, and will take place on Saturday, May 4, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in North Park.

A $20 fee will cover the cost of disposing up to 10 gallons/50 pounds of aerosol cans, automotive fluids, chemistry sets, gasoline and kerosene, household cleaners, mercury thermometers, paint products, pesticides/garden chemicals, photo chemicals and pool chemicals.  

Loads exceeding 10 gallons/50 pounds will be subject to additional fees at the discretion of on-site staff.

Participants must register in advance online

When preparing to attend this event, participants should pack all materials in their car trunks or truck beds and then stay in their vehicles while the contractor unloads the materials.  

The certified contractor will process the hazardous wastes for proper disposal.

According to the U.S. EPA, an average home can easily accumulate 100 pounds or more of cleaners, automotive fluids, paints, pesticides and other products containing potentially hazardous components.  

While these products are safe to use if proper precautions are taken, problems generally arise via improper use or disposal.

Full Schedule

Upcoming 2024 PRC household chemical collections will take place--

-- May 4: North Park, Allegheny County, 

-- June 8: Cambria County; 

-- June 15: Fayette County; 

-- June 22: Washington County; 

-- August 17: Boyce Park, Allegheny County; 

-- September 7: South Park, Allegheny County; 

-- September 21: Fayette County; and 

-- October 12: Beaver County.

Sponsors

The 2024 PRC household chemical collection campaign is sponsored by Allegheny County Health Department, Allegheny County Parks Department, Beaver County Commissioners, Cambria County Solid Waste Authority, Fayette County Commissioners, Fayette County Conservation District, Washington County Planning Commission, Colcom Foundation, LANXESS, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania American Water, UPMC, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Fayette County Recycling Convenience Center, Washington Wild Things, Washington County Family Entertainment, and 100.1 FM and AM 1020 KDKA.

For more information about the May 4 collection event, visit PRC’s Collection Events webpage or call PRC at 412-488-7490.

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, watershed and other initiatives. 

Related Articles - PRC:

-- PA Resources Council Launches 2024 Hard-To-Recycle Collection Campaign April 20 In Western PA [PaEN] 

-- PA Resources Council: Registration Open For Weekday Electronics Waste Collections In Allegheny County  [PaEN] 

Related Articles This Week:

-- PA Resources Council Offers Free Statewide Recycling Webinar On Earth Day, April 22  [PaEN]

-- Yuengling Brewery, Keep PA Beautiful Celebrate Partnership With Cleanup In Schuylkill County  [PaEN]

-- Little Juniata River Assn.: More Than 100 Volunteers Clean Up 30 Miles Of River Banks In Huntingdon, Blair Counties  [PaEN] 

-- Encina Announces Chemical Plastics Recycling Plant Will Not Be Built In Northumberland County  [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing: The Case For An Immediate, Total Ban On Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater  [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing: Penn State Expert: ‘No More Research That Needs To Be Done’ To Justify A Ban On Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater  [PaEN] 

-- Senate Hearing: First-Hand Account Of Health, Environmental Impacts From Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater - ‘Inhaling Oil & Gas Wastewater 24-Hours A Day’  [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing: 3.5 Million Gallons Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Dumped On PA Public Roads Since DEP’s ‘Moratorium’ On Dumping Started 6 Years Ago  [PaEN] 

-- Senate Hearing: DEP Still Evaluating The Data On Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater; Asks Public To Report Road Dumping  [PaEN]

NewsClips This Week:

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: PA Oil & Gas Wastewater Treatment/Disposal Company Was Building A Conglomerate; What’s Left Is A Pile Of Waste  

-- Republican Herald: Schuylkill Commissioners Have Productive Meeting With DEP Over Compost Facility Odors

-- The Allegheny Front: Tiny Plastic Pieces Top The List Of Trash On Great Lakes Beaches 

[Posted: April 18, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

Encina Announces Chemical Plastics Recycling Plant Will Not Be Built In Northumberland County

On April 18, Texas-based
Encina Development Group announced it will not move forward with its chemical plastics recycling plant in Northumberland County "at the current time."  The company said it will pursue other projects in the US, Saudi Arabia and Southeast Asia.

“Encina has had several key projects under review or development in the USA, KSA, and SE Asia for more than 18 months. Our extensive research shows that these projects offer Encina opportunities to meet the needs of our customers to provide their end products with ISCC+ circular chemicals to help meet their sustainability goals in the coming years at the scale they are expecting.

“Ultimately, our facilities must meet these increased demands, therefore, after careful consideration and thorough analysis, Encina’s management team has decided not to proceed with the construction of our circular manufacturing facility in Point Township, Pennsylvania but will move forward in our other customer markets.

“We applaud former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly who ushered in ground-breaking legislation classifying advanced recycling technologies correctly as those that fall under the purview of manufacturing. 

“We also are grateful for the support we received from the Shapiro administration, elected officials, local trade unions, community partners, as well as our employees and investors. Your input and support were instrumental. 

“While we were excited about the many attractive opportunities for expansion and growth in Point Township, we have determined that our current strategic objectives and long-term goals will be better met through this decision.”

Click Here for the complete announcement.

Reaction

“This is a huge win for the residents of Northumberland County, for the six million people who use the Susquehanna for drinking water, and for all Pennsylvanians who have a constitutional right to clean air,” said Alex Bomstein, Executive Director of Clean Air Council, which has been supporting residents and applying legal scrutiny on the project. 

“Chemical recycling is not a solution to the plastics crisis. Encina sold false promises to our state, and this must be a wake-up call to elected officials that toxic boondoggles like chemical recycling have no place in Pennsylvania.”

“This project threatened the region’s clean air and water and would have harmed our way of life in the area, especially for the people who live next to the proposed facility,” said Sandy Field, member of the local residents group Save Our Susquehanna

“Community members stood up and spoke out about these unacceptable risks, and Save our Susquehanna is thrilled that Encina will not be building their toxic chemical plant in our area. But we do not wish this plant on others, and we will continue to warn other communities about chemical recycling and the danger it poses to communities." 

"This community is safer without Encina's proposed chemical recycling plant looming in the floodplains. Chemical recycling isn't a solution to plastic waste, but rather a transformation of plastic waste like a bottle in the river, into toxic air, soil and water pollution for the community,” said Jess Conard, Appalachia Director at Beyond Plastics

“Encina’s departure is a welcomed relief for everyone, and it has been an honor to work alongside the Save Our Susquehanna team."

This announcement follows the closure of a similar chemical recycling facility in Oregon, and major issues at other facilities in Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina, according to the Clean Air Council. 

The Council said the industry’s poor track and lack of technical and economic viability, more chemical recycling facilities are proposed and the industry has successfully lobbied state governments, including Pennsylvania, to avoid regulations intended to protect residents. 

“The significance of this win cannot be overstated,” said Bomstein. “But the fight is not over. Toxic chemical recycling is a false solution to the plastics crisis. It doesn’t belong in Point Township. It doesn’t belong in Pennsylvania. And it doesn’t belong in any other community.” 

[Posted: April 18, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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