Wednesday, June 29, 2022

U.S. DOE Seeks Public Input On $500 Million Bipartisan Infrastructure Program To Turn Former Mine Lands Into Clean Energy Projects

On June 29, the U.S. Department of Energy
issued a Request For Information (RFI) to inform a $500 million program funded by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to place clean energy demonstration projects on current or former mine lands across America. 

Operated through DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, the Clean Energy Demonstrations on Current and Former Mine Land Program will fund clean energy projects – such as geothermal energy – on mine land to benefit communities and their economies, create good-paying jobs and reduce carbon pollution. 

The revitalization of mine land to deploy cheaper, cleaner power to more Americans will further the objective of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities which seeks to deliver federal investment to revitalize hard-hit energy communities. 

It will also advance the Justice40 Initiative which aims to deliver 40% of the benefits of clean energy and climate investments to disadvantaged communities. 

“Developing clean energy on mine lands is an opportunity for fossil fuel communities, which have powered our nation for a generation, to receive an economic boost and play a leadership role in our clean energy transition,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The investments in the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help America's mining workforce apply their skills to grow and deploy cheaper, cleaner energy across the country.”   

Located in geographically diverse regions across the U.S, mine land offers an important opportunity to spur economic development and create jobs in clean energy industries. 

A recent EPA analysis found approximately 17,750 mine land sites located across 1.5 million acres in the United States. 

If all of these current or former U.S. mine land were to be redeveloped with clean energy projects, up to 89 gigawatts of clean electricity could be deployed, enough to power millions of American homes. 

The Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land will demonstrate innovative mine land conversion to clean energy projects with a goal of replication across the country. 

The program will support projects that demonstrate one or more of the following clean energy technologies on mining sites:

-- Solar

-- Microgrids 

-- Geothermal energy 

-- Direct air capture 

-- Fossil-fueled generation with carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration 

-- Energy storage, including pumped-storage hydropower and compressed air 

-- Advanced nuclear 

Two of the clean energy demonstration projects funded under this program must include solar energy and DOE is seeking information from respondents about opportunities to use domestically-manufactured solar for these projects.

DOE is seeking feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, community organizations, environmental justice organizations, labor unions, and state and local governments. 

Public input is sought on how to design the program such that it will best encourage private-sector investment in similar projects leading to economic development for underserved communities located near current and former mine land while advancing environmental justice. 

The selected projects will chart a course to navigate federal, state, and local rules and regulations for siting and grid interconnection, mine remediation, post-mining land use, environmental safety and other important processes to successfully develop and operate clean energy projects on current or former mine land. 

In addition to this DOE program, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land grant funding at the Department of the Interior 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. 

These reclamation projects 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 being funded by this DOE program. 

DOE expects to announce a funding opportunity to solicit project proposals in 2023. 

Click Here to provide feedback to this RFI

Related Articles:

-- Federal Office Of Surface Mine Reclamation Awards PA $25 Million For Mine Reclamation With Environmental, Economic, Recreation, Solar Energy Benefits

-- Leadership Opportunity: Pennsylvania Should Make Mine Water Geothermal A Key Part Of Its Clean Energy Transformation

-- Advocating For Solar Energy Projects On Abandoned Mine Lands

-- Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition Highlights Projects To Restore Old Coal Sites, Including EPCAMR Solar Energy Redevelopment On Abandoned Mine Sites

-- Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition Supports EPCAMR Partnership To Develop Solar Energy On Mine Reclamation Sites

[Posted: June 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Encore Tire Recycling Event July 9 In Greensburg, Westmoreland County; Volunteers Needed

We all know the positive benefits of recycling.  And removing scrap tires has an additional one-- it gets rid of a place where mosquitoes like to take up residence.  

Tire recycling costs are based on the type of tire (passenger, light truck, tractor trailer, agricultural/farm tractor, highway/construction/heavy equipment).  

Click Here for all the details on cost.

The $1-off recycling discount is applied to all tires and cash, checks, and credit cards will be accepted.

Business and member discounts do not apply during the July 9 special tire recycling event.

Groups collecting illegally dumped tires can receive free recycling IF they notify Cleanways before July 5.

Event Volunteers Needed

If you want to help even more, consider volunteering to help at the July 9 event.  You can if you are 18 years or older, and able to lift 25-50 pounds.  

All you have to do is register first by contacting Chrissy at  by July 5.  We’ll give you more details on where to arrive and what to wear when you contact us. 

For more information, visit the July 9 Tire Recycling Event webpage. 

Visit the Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling and the Westmoreland Conservation District’s West Nile virus Program websites for more information on their programs and initiatives.

[Posted: June 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Wednesday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 6.29.22

Are You Telling Your Story?

Senate returns to session June 29, 30 [Budget Time!]

     -- Committee Schedule

House returns to session June 29, 30  [Budget Time!]

     -- Committee Schedule

TODAY’s Calendar Of Events

Take Action Now!

-- Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers, Hunters, Anglers, Farm, Environmental, Recreation Groups All Working Together, Down To The Wire, To Bring Home A Win On Growing Greener III Funding [PaEN]


-- Most UNwanted List: Lookout For Bad Environmental, Energy Provisions During Final Budget Week  [PaEN]




-- DEP To Recommend Fee Increase For Erosion & Sediment Control Permits To EQB July 12  [PaEN]


-- 30 Years and Counting - Stroud Water Research Center’s Education Department Makes Cutting-Edge Freshwater Science Fun  [PaEN]


-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Bay Dead Zone Forecast Smaller Than Average Area


-- Bay Journal: Susquehanna Greenways Deliver Recreation, Eco-Tourism For River Towns In PA - By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal [PaEN]


-- University Of Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory Will Lead Regional Network To Improve Water Quality  [PaEN]


-- PA Environmental Council Video: An Unlikely Team Works To Restore Native Woodlands On Reclaimed Mining Site In Cambria County


-- Three Rivers Waterkeeper Hosts 3 Rivers Watch Summer Training Events July 9, August 6  [PaEN]


-- PASA Sustainable Agriculture Hosts July 16 Trees For Your Animals & Land Workshop In Perry County  [PaEN]


-- Huntingdon Daily News: Eagle Scout Teams Up To Plant Trees At Camp Anderson


-- DEP Teaching Green: Environmental Education Grant Program Expanding  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Guardian Newsletter Now Available

-- Nextracker And BCI Steel Renovate Abandoned Pittsburgh Steel Factory To Serve Growing U.S. Utility-Scale Solar Market  [PaEN]

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: U.S. Steel Meets U.S. Solar In Leetsdale Manufacturing Facility

-- NextPittsburgh: BCI Steel Reopens Leetsdale Factory To Make Solar Components


-- TribLive: DOE Secretary Talks Western PA’s Clean Energy Future During Visit


-- WESA: In Pittsburgh Visit, Energy Secretary Touts Economic Benefits Of Combating Climate Change


-- OGCI Climate Investments Invests In KeyState Natural Gas Synthesis, Carbon Capture & Storage Project In Clinton County

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: EPA Hearing On Drilling Wastewater Injection Well Hears Plum Borough Residents’ Complaints

-- Natural Gas Used In Homes May Contain Harmful Air Pollutants, Study


-- PennLive Guest Essay: Pennsylvanians Reaping Millions Of Dollars In Benefits From Act 13 Drilling Impact Fees On Natural Gas Wells - Marcellus Shale Coalition  [IFO: 2023 Tax Rate Equals 0.6%, Lowest On Record]


-- Spotlight PA: DEP Waited More Than 2 Years To Test Wells For PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ After Finding Nearby Contamination Near State College Airport


-- EPA Awards Villanova University Innovative Solutions Student Research Grant Related To PFAS Stabilization In Soils  [PaEN]


-- MCall: How Much Pollution Are Tractor-Trailers Causing In Lehigh Valley?  This Group Is On A Quest To Find Out


-- TribLive Guest Essay: Electric Fantasyland Led To Higher Rates, Higher Taxes, More Terminations, Policymakers Need To Be Held Accountable - By Erie Epstein, Three Mile Island Alert


-- PA American Water Customers Reach $5 Million Milestone In Federal Water, Wastewater Bill Assistance Grants Program


-- DEP Took Action On 668 Permits, 94% Within Permit Decision Guarantee Deadlines; Conducated 1,006 Inspections; Responded To 5 Environmental Emergencies Last Week


-- Penn State Names Lara Fowler Interim Chief Sustainability Officer, Director Of Sustainability Institute


-- Warren Times: Allegheny 100 Hiking Challenge Again Brings Hikers To Allegheny National Forest


-- The Valley Ledger: Delaware River Sojourn Committee Honors High Admirals In Northampton County


-- Scranton Times: Tuscarora And Locust Lake Sister Parks Celebrate Half A Century


-- Fox43: Harrisburg City, DCNR Launches New PA Outdoor Corps Youth Environment Cleanup Program


-- Sen. Robinson’s Boat Registration Bill Becomes Law


-- TribLive - Mary Ann Thomas: Game Warden, U.S. Steel Employees Rescue Bald Eagle; Bird’s Sibling Helped Rescuers Find It 


-- Erie Times - Brain Whipkey: Summer Is A Fine Time In PA To Catch Trout


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

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

-- Bloomberg: G7 Leaders Want Urgent Evaluation Of Russian Oil/Natural Gas Price Caps [Why Just Russian?] 


-- Bloomberg: G7 Leaders Favor LNG Investment In U-Turn Due To Energy Crisis

“Leaders from the Group of Seven… on Tuesday supported temporary public investments in gas projects to help navigate an unprecedented energy crisis that’s contributing to inflation and leading to more coal use in power generation.”


-- NYT: Liquefied Natural Gas Comes To Europe’s Rescue, But For How Long

“Today’s high L.N.G. price may lead Europe to turn away even more rapidly than previously planned from gas, building more wind and solar energy facilities.”


-- Reuters: EU Countries Reach Deal On Climate Laws After Late-Night Talks

“ "The climate crisis and its consequences are clear, and so policy is unavoidable," EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said, adding that he thought the invasion of Ukraine by top gas supplier Russia was spurring countries to quit fossil fuels faster.”


-- Reuters: Factbox: EU Countries Agree On Laws To Fight Climate Change

American Rescue Plan Funding


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


Other States/National/International

-- Utility Dive: EPA Regional Ozone Proposal Threatens Electric Reliability: RTOs, State Utility Regulators

PA Politics - Everything Is Connected

-- Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh-Area Man Charged With Crimes Related To Assault On U.S. Capitol Says U.S. House Hearings Have ‘Poisoned The Jury Pool’ For Trial

-- TribLive: Feds Make Plea Offer To Crawford County Man Charged With Crimes Related To Assault On U.S. Capitol

-- PennLive - Charles Thompson: Ex-White House Aide - Republican PA Cong. Scott Perry Was In On Talks About Ex-President Going Along To Assault The Capital On Jan. 6

-- AP: Fight Over 2020 Election Records Lands In Lycoming County Court

-- Spotlight PA: How PA Keeps Its Voter Rolls Clean And Updated

-- Post-Gazette Editorial: High Voter Turnout Is A Symptom Of Polarization, Not A Cure

-- AP: Talks Yield No Pennsylvania Budget Deal With 3 Days Left To Deadline

-- PA Capital-Star: The Clock Is Ticking For Lawmakers, Wolf On State Budget, What To Know So Far

-- City & State PA: Republican House Budget Chair - Budget Unlikely To Be Done By June 30 Deadline; Wolf’s Budget Secretary Says Deal Is ‘Very Close And Within Reach’

-- Post-Gazette: Pitt Funding, State Budget All On Hold As PA’s Budget Deadline Looms

-- ABC27: Gov. Wolf On Stalled PA Budget Talks: ‘Republicans Screwing Around’

-- TribLive: Allegheny County Democrats Push For Pitt Funding As PA Budget Deadline Edges Closer

-- PA Capital-Star Guest Essay: Who Runs Harrisburg? You Or The Corporate Elite?  Lawmakers Have A Choice To Help Working Pennsylvanians

-- MCall: Where Did Pennsylvania’s $63 Billion In Federal COVID Relief Money Go?

-- Post-Gazette Editorial: Nursing Home Crisis Demands State Action

-- PA Capital-Star: Bad Faith Use Of Constitutional Amendment Process Reduces Power Of Voters Under The Guise Of Increasing It - Philadelphia Bar Assn.

-- City & State PA: Republicans Again Replace Gun Control Bill Language With Concealed-Carry Legislation

-- MCall - Ford Turner: House Passes Ban On Sale Of Kratom To Minors

-- PA Capital-Star: Community College Of Philly Pays Off Students’ Unpaid Balances For 2nd Year

Click Here for latest PA Environmental News

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[Posted: June 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Bay Journal: Susquehanna Greenways Deliver Recreation, Eco-Tourism For River Towns In PA

Back in the late 1990s, when the term “greenway” was fairly new, Pennsylvania environmental and transportation officials resolved to come up with a plan to create linked open spaces that were valued as vital contributions to the state’s ecological and human communities.

For land along the Susquehanna River, two large public-private greenway efforts emerged, aimed at protecting, revitalizing and promoting a 500-mile stretch of land and water trails, mostly along the river’s main and west branches.

Revitalizing nearly 70 river towns forged during now-played-out industrial eras was another main goal.

The first initiative formally coalesced as the nonprofit Susquehanna Greenway Partnership in 2006.

A second, the Susquehanna Riverlands Conservation Landscape, grew to focus on the lowest reaches of the Susquehanna where, unlike most rivers, the waterway’s steepest fall is created at the end of its journey. 

There, the river carved an impressive gorge through flanking forested hills with no room for roads at river’s edge.

Since 2008, the Riverlands group has concentrated on protecting this unique geology on both sides of the river and promoting sustainable tourism through recreation and the considerable cultural and historical gems in growing Lancaster and York counties.

The partnership of public officials and businesses from the two counties, along with the state and National Park Service, received a boost in 2019 when Congress designated the Susquehanna National Heritage Area as the nation’s 50th national heritage area. 

The area was already one of four visitor centers on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

So far, 6,300 aces of wooded riversides have been protected, including 1,100 acres in York County in April. 

Most of the preservation has come from the sale of utility lands to the Lancaster Conservancy, which then works to provide access to them.

“You have protected viewsheds, pristine streams and real access opportunities for everyone,” said Fritz Schroder of the conservancy.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has awarded millions of dollars in grants for land-preservation projects through the years. 

Its secretary, Cindy Adams Dunn, said that initiatives along the Susquehanna are proof that “greenways are powerful tools to achieve sustainable growth and livable communities.”

Greenway Partnership

Although the greenway is not yet complete, the partnership has preserved large strips of the river corridor and helped to instill in its residents a new sense of river-bound pride, livability and accompanying ecotourism.

The partnership oversees the 240-mile West Branch Susquehanna River Water Trail and helps link and promote several hundred miles of land trails and parks in a narrow strip on both sides of the river. 

A rule of thumb is if you can see the river, you are in the Susquehanna Greenway.

To date, 16 river towns up and down the Susquehanna have formally joined the greenway partnership, meaning they have created planning groups that work on ways to connect residents and visitors with the river.

The signs of momentum are seen in both subtle and dramatic ways. 

For example, in March 2021, The Nature Conservancy announced the purchase of 1,200 acres where the Kittatinny Ridge crosses the Susquehanna, a well-known landmark only a short distance north of the state capital in Harrisburg. The preserve protects the viewshed for hikers on the famed Appalachian Trail.

In a more subtle event in May 2022, hundreds of residents and volunteers from businesses in 12 river towns collected hundreds of tons of trash from the river, streams and parks as part of Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week

The number of participating towns doubled from the year before, when the cleanup was first launched.

“We are in our teen years,” said Corey Ellison, executive director of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. “What needs to happen is [that] we are all united under this vision of connected corridors. We all need to embrace the value of open space and quality of life.”

Susquehanna Riverlands

“We’re happy. Business is booming.”

That’s Leo Lutz, longtime mayor of Columbia Borough, a Susquehanna River town in Lancaster County that was once considered as a site for the nation’s capital. The town has mostly languished for the last century.

That began to change when the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center was built along the river in 2016. It serves as a starting point and information nexus for exploring several land and river trails, the national heritage designation and boat tours that shuttle visitors between historical and recreational attractions on both sides of the river. 

Prodded in part by COVID-19 restlessness, more than 200,000 people came to the visitor center in 2021.

Lutz excitedly ticked off a list of new local assets: a paddling outfitter, a new cafĂ© in the old rail station across from the trail center, antique shops, industrial buildings repurposed for apartments and an overall new vibe. 

All are the result, he said, of the Susquehanna Riverlands initiative.

“The work being done is second to none,” said DCNR’s Dunn “There have been so many impressive projects that have expanded outdoor recreation opportunities, while also protecting the region’s rich historic and cultural resources. The result has been sustainable economic development and an incredible opportunity to connect visitors to nature in a meaningful and lasting way.”

Mark Platts, president of the Susquehanna National Heritage Area, used to worry people who didn’t have a boat couldn’t get to the river easily. And aside from nice views, there wasn’t much to do.

But now, he said, “core groups have put the river on the map as a place you can spend time at and experience, not just look at. There is this energy and accessibility and variety of experiences that weren’t here 20 years ago.” 

(Reprinted from Chesapeake Bay Journal.)

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[Posted: June 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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