Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lackawanna Historical Society June 28 Webinar Features Prof. Allen Dietrich-Ward On An Environmental History Of Pennsylvania

The
Lackawanna Historical Society will host a June 28 webinar exploring Pennsylvania's environmental history with Shippensburg University Professor Allen Dietrich-Ward starting at 2:00 p.m.

Professor Ward is the author of the forthcoming book Cradle of Conservation - An Environmental History of Pennsylvania due out in September.

From the origins of “Penn’s Woods” to the controversial practice of fracking, Cradle of Conservation provides the first comprehensive study of Pennsylvania’s environmental history. 

The story starts with forester Ralph Brock at the dawn of the conservation era and continues through the eras of energy production using coal, oil, natural gas, and other resources. 

Allen Dieterich-Ward also investigates how the non-human world shapes the history of the Commonwealth and examines the impact of pollution.

Cradle of Conservation moves across time and place, from the Haudenosaunee people of the Susquehanna Valley, to the iron furnaces of nineteenth-century Pittsburgh, to the diesel trucks on the twentieth-century Pennsylvania Turnpike. 

In addition, Dieterich-Ward explores the histories of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River and the state’s anthracite region and traces the environmental movements and crises that have led to public policy changes in the face of climate change.

Tune in to the webinar to learn more about the birth of environmental conservation with cameos from local favorite Gifford Pinchot and more! 

Click Here to join via Zoom.  Meeting ID: 826 0204 4936  Passcode: 085593

The webinar is presented by the Lackawanna Historical Society as part of its Lackawanna Past Times series.  Visit them on Facebook.

Visit the PA Conservation Heritage website to learn more about Pennsylvania’s conservation history.

Related Articles:

-- We've Heard This Before: "We're Providing Jobs - Stopping Pollution Threatens Jobs" -  Until Air Pollution Killed People, Then We Said No

-- We've Heard This Before: "We're Providing Jobs - Stopping Pollution Threatens Jobs" - Until Hunters Could Find No Game And Anglers Could Find No Fish, Then We Said No.

-- We've Heard This Before: "We're Providing Jobs - Stopping Pollution Threatens Jobs" - Until Mountains Of Coal Waste, Ravaged Landscapes Killed Our Streams, Then We Said No.  [Photos]

-- We've Heard This Before: "We're Providing Jobs - Stopping Pollution Threatens Jobs " - Until More Streams Were Killed, Breaker Boys Worked For Pennies, A River Disappeared Into Mines, Then We Said No.  [Photos]

-- We've Heard This Before: "We're Providing Jobs - Stopping Pollution Threatens Jobs" - Adverse Health Impacts, Polluted Drinking Water, Land, Air, Dumping Waste, Explosions, Flaring, Noise, Uncontrolled Gas Venting - When Will We Say No To The Oil & Gas Industry?   [Photos]

-- We’re Heard This Before: ‘We’re Providing Jobs - Stopping Pollution Threatens Jobs’ - A Brief Review Of Pennsylvania’s Conservation History  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 22, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

Friday, June 21, 2024

June 21 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

The
June 21 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks & Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

-- Friends of Tyler State Park Officially Launched - Contact John O’Brien to join in!  jobrienjr@verizon.net.  

-- Blog Post By Intern Martha Moon On Civilian Conservation Corps & Juneteenth

-- June 26 Virtual Book Club On Susquehanna River

-- Trivia, Photos, Much More!

Click Here to read the entire Take FiveClick Here for back issues and to subscribe.

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

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

For more information on programs, initiatives, special events and how you can get involved, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter or tune in to their YouTube ChannelClick Here to become a member of the Foundation.

The Foundation and their 48 chapters mobilize 65,000 volunteers annually to steward YOUR state parks and forests.

(Photo by Kinda McCurdy of Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Cumberland County.)

Related Articles:

-- State Budget: PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Pennsylvania Residents Overwhelmingly Support Investments In Trails  [PaEN] 

-- PA Parks & Forests Foundation Virtual Book Club Features 'Susquehanna River Of Dreams' Author Susan Stranahan June 26  [PaEN] 

-- June 21 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation  [PaEN]

-- DCNR, Local Groups Celebrate The Allegheny River As The 2024 River Of The Year  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Showcases Improvements At Leonard Harrison State Park - PA’s Grand Canyon - In Pennsylvania Wilds

-- Western PA Conservancy Protects 250 Acres To Safeguard Forestland, Water Quality In The French Creek Watershed, Venango County  [PaEN] 

-- Land Conservancy Of Adams County, Hugh & Nell Matthews Partner On 37+ Acre Conservation Easement  [PaEN]

NewsClips:

-- TribLive: ‘Special’ Allegheny River Recognized As PA River Of The Year

-- Republican Herald Blog: Did You Know PA State Parks Are Nationally-Renowned?

-- Erie Times: Presque Isle Ranks High For Summer Solstice Sunrise Watching In Erie

-- Reading Eagle: Surprises Await Schuylkill River Sojourners Around Every Bend

-- Reading Eagle: Paddlers Partake In 26th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn

-- Beaver County Times: Corry Link In Erie To Pittsburgh Trail Is On Hold, Why Neighbors Don’t Want It

-- Inquirer: Appalachian Trail Hikers Are Always Hungry: Here’s Where they Like To Eat In Pennsylvania 

-- Delco.Today: Community Support Could Secure $200 Million For Trail Development In Greater Philadelphia

-- WNEP: Little Mexico Trailhead Opens In Monroe County

-- Inquirer: Appalachian Trail Hikers Are Always Hungry: Here’s Where they Like To Eat In Pennsylvania 

-- US Army Corps Of Engineers: Love Your Lake During July At Blue Marsh Lake In Berks County 

-- Warren Times: Allegheny National Forest To Offer Free Orienteering Program

-- National Park Service: Paddling The Beautiful Conowingo Islands In The Susquehanna River

-- MCall: Hundreds Of Teens Gathered In The Lehigh Valley For National Youth Bike Summit 

[Posted: June 21, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

State Budget: Growing Greener Coalition Urges Lawmakers To Support $80 - $100 Million Healthy Outdoors For All Program; Contact Your Legislator

On June 12,
WeConservePA and the partner organizations of the Growing Greener Coalition sent an open letter to members of the Senate and House urging them to support a $80 - $100 million Healthy Outdoors For All Program as part of the 2024-25 state budget.

A copy of the letter follows--

The partner organizations of the Growing Greener Coalition, on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of supporters and together with hundreds of allied organizations across the Commonwealth, urge you to ask your leadership to include a one-time injection of $80 – 100 million into a Healthy Outdoors for All Program for the 2024-2025 budget year.

Specifically, the Growing Greener Coalition seeks a focused boost in state investment in local capital projects to achieve the rehabilitation, upgrade, and strategic expansion of local park, trail, and other outdoor spaces. 

These projects will attract and leverage substantial local philanthropic dollars and volunteer energy. 

Such projects, which are well-proven to deliver substantial and long-term benefits to communities, for the most part have not had access to the robust federal funding available for so many other efforts.

Investment results will include--

-- Rehabilitation, restoration, and upgrading of infrastructure heavily impacted by increased public use of parks, preserves, trails, greenways, neighborhood gardens, and other public open spaces during both the pandemic and post-pandemic era.

-- Strategic expansions of facilities to relieve overuse of facilities strained by the increased demand and expand benefits delivered to the public.

-- Greater outdoor recreational opportunities for disadvantaged communities, whether urban or rural.

-- Closure of gaps in volunteer and local government owned and managed trails and trail networks.

-- More Pennsylvanians getting the health benefits of recreating in safe and friendly spaces.

-- Expansion and improvement of quality wildlife habitat.

-- Reductions in flood damage and improved water quality.

The investment will be made via state grants to local governments and nonprofits that are vetted through DCNR’s well-established, objective, accountable system.

Click Here for a copy of the letter and the partner organizations.

Contact Your Legislator

Your email or call to your state senator and representative can deliver millions more in state dollars for conservation and recreation.

Ask your legislators to ask their leadership (that is, their respective Democratic or Republican leaders of the PA House or Senate) to include a one-time injection of $80 – 100 million into a Healthy Outdoors for All Program (HOAP) for the 2024-2025 budget year, as advocated for by the Growing Greener Coalition.

Click Here to find out how to contact your legislator!

State Budget Resource Links:

-- State Budget: Growing Greener Coalition Urges Lawmakers To Support $80 - $100 Million Healthy Outdoors For All Program; Contact Your Legislator  [PaEN] 

-- State Budget: PA Environmental Council Sends Budget, Policy Recommendations To PA House, Senate Members  [PaEN] 

-- State Budget: PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Pennsylvania Residents Overwhelmingly Support Investments In Trails  [PaEN] 

-- Gov. Shapiro’s Proposed 2024-25 Budget Includes DEP Permit Modernization Initiative, Expands PFAS ‘Forever Chemical’ Testing; Expands DCNR Trails Program, PA Outdoor Corp   [PaEN] 

-- DCNR Budget Testimony Reviews Funding Requests, Need For Continued Investment In Recreation, Natural Resources, Workforce Development [PaEN]

-- DEP Testimony Provides Overview Of Budget Request, Progress On Permitting, Environmental Justice, Infrastructure Investments, PFAS, Watershed Cleanup, Climate, Clean Energy Initiatives  [PaEN]

-- DEP: Oil & Gas Regulatory Program Will Be In The Red By Fall; All Sectors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program No Go; Update On Permitting Reform  [PaEN]

-- DEP Reports ZERO Shale Gas Well Permits Under Review; DEP May Have Only 20% Of The Revenue Needed To Fund Its Oil & Gas Regulation Program  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 21, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

State Budget: PA Environmental Council Sends Budget, Policy Recommendations To PA House, Senate Members

On June 21, the
PA Environmental Council sent the following letter to Senate and House members ahead of deliberations over the 2024-25 state budget and legislative policies--

Dear Senators and Representatives:


As discussions coalesce around the 2024-2025 budget, we urge the General Assembly to address the following funding and policy priorities this month. 

Fulfilling these needs will help to maximize federal investment, drive economic development and energy investment, and provide long-term benefits for all Pennsylvanians.

Budget Funding Priorities

With a significant surplus projected for the forthcoming budget year, the General Assembly should prioritize the following funding opportunities in the budget.

Increase Funding for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

DEP has suffered from more than a decade of insufficient funding, leaving permitting and protection programs understaffed and preventing long overdue upgrades to the agency’s information technology capacity. 

These shortfalls have harmed the public, the regulated community, and the environment. 

If Pennsylvania truly wants to compete, and if it wants the DEP to best serve the citizens and regulated community, it needs to properly support the agency. 

Particularly at a time when unprecedented federal dollars are on the table for programs like orphaned well plugging, manufacturing and industrial decarbonization, and helping communities, we should be doing all we can to position our state to maximize intake of those dollars. 

Every year we shortchange DEP, we reduce our competitiveness as a state to attract next generation development and opportunities, not to mention remediate the legacies of the past.

Increase Funding for the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR)

As recently highlighted by the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation, our public lands and recreational resources are a tremendous driver of economic activity, supporting a $17 billion outdoor industry, and provide a direct benefit to all citizens of the Commonwealth. 

The Governor has called for increased funding for DCNR to further trail development and maintenance across the state, as well as expansion of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, which offers training and valuable work experience to youth and young adults who assist DCNR in maintaining and improving public lands. 

With the budget surplus, now would be an opportune time to make a stronger commitment to funding existing programs and local capital projects to achieve the rehabilitation, improvement, and strategic expansion of parks, trails, and other outdoor spaces. 

Renew Funding for the Whole Home Repairs Program

The Whole-Home Repairs Program, adopted with bipartisan support in 2022, is an inventive program that funds health and safety repairs, accessibility improvements, and energy and water efficiency measures in qualifying households. 

The demand for this program has been overwhelming, with applications outnumbering accepted and funded homes more than ten-to-one in parts of our state. 

Repairs and improvements funded by this program stabilize homes and home ownership, help unlock additional Weatherization Assistance Program and utility assistance funds, create lasting energy efficiency and savings, and support local jobs for the contractors and tradespeople. 

This program deserves renewed support from the legislature, particularly as we experience more extreme temperatures and weather events.

Policy Priorities

In addition to the funding needs identified above, the following legislative policies are readily positioned to be considered and approved by the General Assembly before it adjourns for the summer:

Modernize the PA Energy Development Authority

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) is an independent public financing authority that was created in 1982 by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and Emergency Powers Act to finance clean and advanced energy projects in the Commonwealth. 

House Bill 2338 would update PEDA’s authority to help ensure Pennsylvania is able to maximize federal investment opportunities in energy development and job growth via the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

As displayed in the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hearing on this legislation earlier this month, there is strong bipartisan, environmental, labor, and business support for this legislation.

Authorize Community Solar

Solar produces cost-competitive energy that reduces emissions, helps diversify and stabilize the electric grid, and delivers energy cost savings to residents. 

Community solar programs provide customers — including homeowners, renters, and businesses — access to the benefits of Pennsylvania solar energy generation, unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, including roof suitability or residence ownership status. 

House Bill 1842 would provide a mechanism for establishing community solar for those customers and communities that want to pursue these benefits, while also setting safeguards for consumers who do not participate. 

Community solar not only provides tremendous environmental and energy benefits, it also supports local, skilled jobs. 

Like H.B. 2338, this legislation has bipartisan support.

Set the Stage for Robust Carbon Capture and Storage Management

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) could play a meaningful role in decarbonization of Pennsylvania’s industry and electric generation, and even help reduce existing atmospheric carbon dioxide through direct air capture. 

However, Pennsylvania needs robust environmental and public health standards in place at the outset to prevent impacts to communities, landowners, vulnerable populations, public lands, and our environment. 

Senate Bill 831, now in the House, offers a starting point but should be amended to provide greater oversight authority to DEP, clarify the sufficiency and durability of financial assurance requirements, and prohibit any surface impacts or public land impacts associated with collective storage efforts.

Help Support Proper Management of Stormwater

House Bill 2147 clarifies that public entities that own property with impervious surfaces are equally responsible for payment of local stormwater management fees. 

This legislation, which clarifies legislative intent, is critical for municipalities and authorities struggling to deal with the rising incidences and costs of flooding and water quality degradation. 

Properly Manage Conventional Oil and Gas Waste

House Bill 2384 would explicitly prohibit road spreading and land application of production brine and wastewater from conventional oil and gas operations. 

Research from the state, academia, and industry itself has shown that this activity poses adverse health and environmental impacts, with no discernible public benefit for road maintenance. 

The conventional industry should not be given a pass with respect to the safe management and proper treatment and disposal of their waste.

Conclusion

While there are many proposals in the General Assembly worthy of consideration, we believe the items identified above — particularly given bipartisan support, clear economic and environmental benefits to citizens, and the potential to amplify federal investment — should be prioritized this month.

Thank you for your consideration.


Tom Gilbert, President

Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Click Here for a copy of the letter.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, PEC Bill/Regulation Tracker, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.

State Budget Resource Links:

-- State Budget: Growing Greener Coalition Urges Lawmakers To Support $80 - $100 Million Healthy Outdoors For All Program; Contact Your Legislator  [PaEN] 

-- State Budget: PA Environmental Council Sends Budget, Policy Recommendations To PA House, Senate Members  [PaEN] 

-- State Budget: PA Parks & Forests Foundation: Pennsylvania Residents Overwhelmingly Support Investments In Trails  [PaEN] 

-- Gov. Shapiro’s Proposed 2024-25 Budget Includes DEP Permit Modernization Initiative, Expands PFAS ‘Forever Chemical’ Testing; Expands DCNR Trails Program, PA Outdoor Corp   [PaEN] 

-- DCNR Budget Testimony Reviews Funding Requests, Need For Continued Investment In Recreation, Natural Resources, Workforce Development [PaEN]

-- DEP Testimony Provides Overview Of Budget Request, Progress On Permitting, Environmental Justice, Infrastructure Investments, PFAS, Watershed Cleanup, Climate, Clean Energy Initiatives  [PaEN]

-- DEP: Oil & Gas Regulatory Program Will Be In The Red By Fall; All Sectors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program No Go; Update On Permitting Reform  [PaEN]

-- DEP Reports ZERO Shale Gas Well Permits Under Review; DEP May Have Only 20% Of The Revenue Needed To Fund Its Oil & Gas Regulation Program  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 21, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner