Tuesday, May 30, 2023

DEP: Large Wildfire In Nova Scotia To Contribute To Air Quality Action Day Wednesday, May 31 In Lehigh Valley, Southeast PA, Susquehanna Valley

On May 30, the Department of Environmental Protection announced an easterly wind is forecasted to transport smoke from a large
wildfire in southern Nova Scotia that will likely contribute to daily average concentrations of fine particulate matter in the Code Orange range on Wednesday, May 31 in these areas of Pennsylvania--

-- Philadelphia Area, which includes the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia;

-- Lehigh Valley-Berks Area, which includes the counties of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton; and

-- Susquehanna Valley Area, which includes the counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York.

On an Air Quality Action Day, young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

Residents and businesses within the Air Quality Action Day areas are strongly encouraged to voluntarily help reduce fine particulate matter air pollution by--

-- Reducing or eliminating fireplace and wood stove use;

-- Avoiding the open burning of leaves, trash, and other materials; and

-- Avoiding the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

For more information, visit DEP's Air Quality Partners webpage and EPA's AirNow webpage.


-- KYW: Canada Wildfire Could Impact Philadelphia Area: Check The Smoke Map

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

PA U.S. Senators Casey, Fetterman Request Full Environmental Impact Statement On Maryland Air National Guard Very Low Level Military Training Flights [100 Feet] Over PA Wilds

On May 26, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Fetterman (D-PA)
sent a letter to the Maryland Air National Guard and the Air National Guard Readiness Center to request a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the Air Force and National Guard Bureau’s proposal to lower the altitude floor at which pilots can fly in the Duke Military Operating Area (MOA) to as low as 100 feet Above Ground Level (AGL). 

Duke Military Operating Area is located in a portion of the PA Wilds-- Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter and Tioga counties.

The letter follows concerns from North Central Pennsylvania organizations and residents about the possible effects of this proposed change on quality of life and on the environment in the Commonwealth’s largest collection of public lands.

“Low, loud, and frequent flights could disrupt livelihoods in a region that has built its identity on outdoor recreation and bucolic tranquility,” the Senators wrote. “The proposed changes to the use of the airspace over the PA Wilds region may threaten the rich natural resources of the area, damage quality of life in the Wilds, and threaten the vitality of the growing outdoor and tourism economy.”

The Senators said without a full EIS, it is impossible to accurately determine the cumulative effects of lowering the altitude floor may pose to the lives and livelihoods of North Central Pennsylvania residents. 

Many state officials, local leaders, conservation groups, and community members share the Senators’ concerns about the Duke Low MOA, highlighting its potential negative impacts on local economies, public health and safety, wildlife, and outdoor recreation.  [PaEN]

Click Here for a copy of the letter.

Related Article:

-- PA Wilds Center Seeks Full Environmental Impact Statement For Proposed Very Low-Level [100 Feet] Maryland Air National Guard Training Flights; Take Action Now   [PaEN]

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

Electrification Coalition Hosts June 20 PA Medium, Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Boot Camp And Showcase At Harrisburg University

This in-person event will provide the latest information on the deployment of electric trucks and buses in the Keystone State. 

Policymakers, EV advocates, fleet managers, local and state government officials, and other stakeholders are invited to join this informative set of discussions on policy opportunities, vehicle availability, and the wide range of benefits EVs will provide for Pennsylvanians.

We’ll hear from leaders across Pennsylvania who are leading the charge from the state legislature, city and county governments, state agencies, and utilities. 

Manufacturers will bring their latest models onsite for an EV showcase, giving participants the opportunity to explore this new technology in person.

Click Here to register or for more information.

New Federal EV Funding 

The U.S. Department of Energy recently opened two new competitive funding opportunities to support the deployment of electric vehicles and charging stations--

-- Ride and Drive Electric Program is offering up to $51 million to support EV charging reliability, resiliency, equity, and workforce development.  Deadline To Apply June 16.  Click Here for PennDOT's Summary.

-- Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity is offering up to $99.5 million for various research projects related to electric vehicles and charging. Deadline to apply June 26.  Click Here for PennDOT's summary.

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition: Jennings Environmental Center, 3MJC Host Historic Foltz One Room School Open House Events; Mine Drainage Treatment At Slippery Rock U.

May Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition features articles on upcoming Foltz One Room School open house events at the Jennings Environmental Center and an overview of a presentation on acid mine drainage treatment at Slippery Rock University.

Foltz One Room School

Jennings Environmental Education Center and 3MJC [Moraine, McConnells Mill and Jennings Commission] are opening the doors of the historic Foltz School to visitors this summer and fall for a series of open house-style days. 

This quaint and recently restored one-room schoolhouse is nestled on the edge of JEEC, along route 8. 

Each open day will have its own theme, allowing visitors to experience a number of different activities and information when they visit. No fee or registration is required to attend. Parking and restrooms will be available onsite during open hours. 

These open days are a unique opportunity for individuals of all ages to experience a piece of history and gain insight into what life was like for students attending a one-room school in the past. 

Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted by knowledgeable volunteers who will provide brief overviews of the school's history and answer any questions guests may have. 

The Foltz School has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s and visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its origins, its role in the local community, and how it operated as a one-room schoolhouse.

In addition to the volunteer-led overviews, visitors will be able to engage in self-guided interactive activities, designed to provide a hands-on experience of what it was like to be a student in a one-room schoolhouse, and that reveal the differences and similarities between schooling yesterday and today. 

As visitors explore the schoolhouse, they will have the opportunity to view authentic artifacts from the time period, such as antique desks, textbooks, and school supplies. They will also be able to see how the building has been preserved and restored to maintain its historical integrity.

Jennings' staff had long desired to restore the old, abandoned, one-room schoolhouse, which operated from 1880-1963, and utilize it as a museum of early local education history and culture and environmental education. 

Stream Restoration Incorporated (SRI) and the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) received an Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant from the PA DEP to complete a multi-faceted project consisting of three sub-projects on public lands, one of which was the Foltz School improvements.

The all-volunteer community organization Moraine, McConnells Mill and Jennings Commission (3MJC) was invaluable in the efforts to restore the schoolhouse. 

The school’s interior and exterior were renovated, including electric heaters, insulation in walls and ceiling, wainscoting, drywall, trim, replica antique light fixtures, shutters, interior and exterior paint, driveway, and parking improvements. 

The photo montage below shows the appearance of the school house over a span of over 100 years. Be sure to come visit on an open house day for a unique experience and amazing step back in time.

Open House Dates:

-- Sun. June 11 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sun. July 9 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Thurs. Aug. 3 — 3 PM to 8 PM

-- Sun. Aug. 13 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sat. Sept. 2 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sun. Sept. 10 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Sun. Oct. 8 — 10 AM to 3 PM

-- Wed. Oct. 18 — 10 AM to 3 PM  

[Click Here for more information on the Foltz School restoration.]

Slippery Rock University Presentation

On March 23rd, Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) participant Cliff Denholm of Stream Restoration Incorporated (SRI) was invited to give a presentation at Slippery Rock University’s Geography, Geology, and Environment Club (GGE) meeting.

 Cliff was asked by the group to give a presentation about the work that the SRWC and SRI have been working on in the headwaters of Slippery Rock Creek.

Cliff started his presentation with an overview of the formation of acid mine drainage (AMD), differences between historic and modern methods of coal mining, land reclamation, and explanations of active and passive treatment systems. 

He then went on to discuss the work of the SRWC before delving into some specific projects that the SRWC has been working on the last few years as well as future plans.

Cliff explained how the North Country Trail (NCT) passes beside or, in some cases, directly through several passive [mine drainage treatment] systems, including SR81, Ferris Complex, SR101A, SR109, and SR114. Cliff discussed the designs and water quality of the treatment systems as well as the current ongoing efforts to rehabilitate several of those treatment systems through funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program and the US Office of Surface Mine Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program (WCAP). 

In addition, the SRWC had received a grant through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program that included funding for trail improvements along the NCT which the Butler County Chapter of the NCT completed last year and work by the 3MJC and Jennings Environmental Education Center to restore the Foltz School House (see above).

As part of this project, the Ferris West system was completely rebuilt while maintenance was performed on the Ferris East system. 

At the SR101A system a sludge pond was constructed, and the settling pond and wetlands were cleaned and ready to remove more iron. 

You can read more about these efforts in past Catalyst issues. 

This year we will be rebuilding the SR81, SR114B, and SR114D treatment systems. Look for more articles about these projects in the coming months.

The students seemed very interested and asked excellent questions. Cliff was happy to give a presentation at his alma mater where he first got involved with the SRWC many years ago. 

Click Here to read the entire newsletter, see more photos and have students finish the special KIDS Catalyst May Flowers Word Search!

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.

The Butler County-based Coalition was established in 1994 to restore land, water and wildlife resources in the Slippery Rock Watershed.

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers June 14 Conversation Cafe Webinar - A Story Of Nonprofit Resilience - The Upper Merced River Watershed Council (California)

PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers invites you to attend the upcoming webinar and conversation café -- The Upper Merced River Watershed Council- A Story of Nonprofit Resilience on Wednesday, June 14 at 6:00 p.m.

It’s not an unfamiliar story: a passionate group of volunteers rallies to address an imminent threat, citizen engagement efforts flourish, grant funding to secure an executive director is secured, partnerships are developed to implement restoration projects and create environmental education programming around the most prominent issues and threats. 

Until…the threat is defeated, funding priorities change, community interest wanes, board leaders age out or founder's syndrome limits innovation.

And yet, there remains a small group of dedicated board volunteers who manage to keep a small flame of the mission burning while struggling to regain the organization’s former footing. 

And then an opportunity to help fan that flame presents itself- now what?  

How does the organization take full advantage and create something sustainable that can meet the current needs of the water resource, the local communities, and be able to adapt to the future needs as well? 

How can it reintroduce itself to partners, new funders, and community members?

This is the story and the journey the Upper Merced River Watershed Council (California) still finds itself traveling. Perhaps it sounds a bit like your story?

POWR invites you to attend this webinar to learn a little more about the Upper Merced Watershed’s story but, more importantly, to explore the future- theirs and yours. 

What can we all learn from each other as we seek to create a new watershed organization, reinvent one, or re-ignite the passion, the efforts, and the successes of our current one. 

What are your key challenges? What lessons can you share from your successes?

Click Here to register and for more information.

Visit the POWR Events webpage for upcoming events and recordings of past online events and educational sessions.

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and help available to community-based watershed organizations, visit the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers website.  Follow them on Facebook.

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

Lehigh Valley-Based Wildlands Conservancy Seeking Stream Team Volunteers To Help Maintain Riparian Buffers

Wildlands Conservancy is seeking volunteers for our Stream Team on Fridays from June through September as they maintain vegetative areas along streams (riparian buffers) and help ensure the survival of young, native trees in the forest buffer. 

These vital areas improve water quality in local communities, reduce erosion and flooding concerns, and provide habitat for wildlife.

Volunteers will maintain tubes placed over the trees to protect them from deer and remove invasive vegetation.

Volunteers must be 16 years or older OR be accompanied by a parent/guardian if under 16; be able to work outside for the duration of the shift, on uneven ground; wear safe footwear and clothing that can get dirty.

To sign up for your desired shift(s), contact Nic Ziegler, Events and Volunteer Coordinator, at nziegler@wildlandspa.org with the subject line: Stream Team Volunteer.

Click Here for more information.

Upcoming Events

-- June 10-11: Lehigh River Sojourn

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Wildlands Conservancy website.  Click Here to sign up for updates.  Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Join on InstagramClick Here to support the Conservancy.

Wildlands has protected more than 56,700 acres of high-conservation-value lands, it benefits more than 19,000 school-age children annually through environmental education and is focused on improving water quality and wildlife habitat within and beyond its nine nature preserves totaling more than 2,600 acres.

[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

Tuesday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips - 5.30.23

Are You Telling Your Story?

House holds Regular Session June 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22

-- Committee Schedule

Senate holds Regular Session June 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

-- Committee Schedule

TODAY’s Calendar Of Events 

WEDNESDAY 1:30: PA Recycling Markets Center Webinar Environmental Justice Issues For Recycling Facilities, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY-- TreeVitalize Conference To Focus On Urban Trees, Community Resilience May 31-June 1 In Philadelphia

-- 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]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Low Stream Flows Trigger SRBC Water Withdrawal Restrictions On 46 Oil & Gas Drilling Operations & Other Water Users; Report Violations  [PaEN] 

-- Visit U.S. Geologic Survey Real-Time Water Data Map For Pennsylvania Showing Very Low Stream Conditions All Over The Commonwealth

-- PennLive: Harrisburg Area On Pace To Have The Driest May Ever Recorded 

-- Altoona Mirror: Logan Twp. Crew Does Newburg Stream Work; Needs Permit

-- GridPhilly.com: At Former Philadelphia Refinery, Pollution Concerns Persist Under The Surface

-- Delaware County’s 2nd Annual Sustainability Conference June 8, Widener University, Chester, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

-- LancasterOnline: Four Seasons Produce Warehouse Dramatically Reduces Energy Use, Price Of Electricity In New Cool Warehouse Expansion 

-- PittsburghUnionProgress.com: Home Repair, Energy Efficiency Program To Open Applications In Allegheny County May 30

-- Observer-Reporter: Lock And Dam 4 Project Nearing Completion On Monongahela River

-- York Dispatch: West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found In York County, What Can You Do? 

-- Patch.com: $2.5 Million In Preservation Grants Awarded By Chester County Commissioners

-- WHYY: Hibernia County Park In Chester County Gets 5-Acre Wildflower, Grass Meadow

-- Williamsport Sun: Susquehanna Greenway Partnership June 3 Outdoor Expo

-- TribLive: Canoe, Kayak Trip Set For Sewickley Creek June 3

-- WHYY: Roughly 500 Illegal Dirt Bikes, ATVs, Motorcycles Flood Streets Of Philly, Drive Into Montgomery County

-- Williamsport Sun - Bill Bower: Reflections In Nature - Many Animals And Birds In Wild Have Albinism In Nature

Norfolk Southern Train Derailment

-- TribLive: Westmoreland Officials Talk Train Derailment  Contingency Plans With Expert 

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: European Natural Gas Price Drops Again To Lowest Levels In Over 2 Years, Solar Energy Power Hits Record 

-- Reuters: Crude Oil Price Falls 2% On U.S. Debt Deal Struggles, OPEC+ Talks Uncertainty

Other States/National/International

-- Bloomberg: Constellation Energy’s Billion-Dollar Plan To Make Hydrogen With Nuclear Power On Hold As DOE Considers Limiting Tax Credits

Click Here for latest PA Environmental News

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[Posted: May 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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