Saturday, October 31, 2009

Educators: PA Integrated Pest Management Program Wants Your Opinions

The PA Integrated Pest Management Program (PA IPM) is partnering with the Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center to assess teachers’ interest and need for curricula that apply science, math, and language arts to environmental and human health issues associated with pests and pesticides. The NE IPM Center is a non-profit organization funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As you may know, pest-vectored diseases such as Eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease present critical opportunities to educate students and families about the importance of pests and how to manage them. In addition, how we as individuals approach pest management in our homes, schools and yards affects our immediate environment and personal and environmental health. Similarly, food safety, world food supply, and pesticide impacts on our environment are relevant topics that fit well within science, math, social studies, and language arts curricula.
Take a few minutes to participate in this short on-line survey by clicking on this link:
The information gained in this survey will be used to develop new lessons, to tailor and expand teacher-training opportunities, and to make curricula available to teachers in all northeastern states. Your participation is critical to the success of this grant-funded project, which aims to bring useful teaching tools and teacher-training resources to educators in our state. Your responses will be kept confidential.
If you have any questions about the survey or would like more information about integrated pest management curricula please contact Kathy Murray (
From Amber Gray, Penn State University PA IPM Program

Saturday NewsClips

Growing Greener:Neshaminy Creek Stormwater BMPs
Celebrating Back To Nature
Hazleton Rails To Trails Seeking Help With Trees
Sustainable Neighborhood Workshop In Bethlehem
Solar Mirror Plant Opens Near Pittsburgh International
Recycling Employs 81,322, Celebrate America Recycles Day
Foundation For PA Watersheds Seeks Coalition Director

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nov. 2 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Nov. 2 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

The Department of Environmental Protection has revoked three erosion and sedimentation control general permits previously issued to Ultra Resources Inc. and Fortuna Energy Inc. due to technical deficiencies after the Chesapeake Bay Foundation appealed the permits which the agency initially issued after only a few days of review.
“DEP took this action because of numerous technical deficiencies discovered after our approval of the permits,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell. Click here to read entire story...

Friday NewsClips

DEP Revokes Natural Gas Drilling Permits
Montrour Run Mine Drainage Treatment Facility Completed
LIHEAP Narrows Eligibility
Philadelphia Scales Back Trash Fee Proposal
Bike Racks Make Pittsburgh Cycle-Friendly
Derry Park, 20 Miles Of Trails Closer to Reality
DEP Revokes Permits For 2 Gas Companies
Water, Bad Water Everywhere
Sunbury Saves $1 Million On Riverfront Development Project
Williamsport Breaks Ground On $110 Million Wastewater Obligation
Doylestown Hospital An Environmental Trailblazer
DEP Announces New Gas Well Fees
PECO Gets $200 Million In Stimulus Funds For Smart Meters
Petition To Continue Oil And Drilling In Allegheny National Forest

Thursday, October 29, 2009

As Gas Wells Proliferate, Water Worries Grow In Upper Susquehanna Watershed

By Carol Denny, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The just published Fall 2009 issue of Save the Bay magazine by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation includes a special article on the potential impact of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, a must read for everyone concerned about this issue.

In northern Pennsylvania, at the edge of the Chesapeake watershed, a race to extract natural gas from one of the largest deposits in the country is causing hearburn among anglers, sportsmen and water quality advocates.
The effects of the drilling could blight what one conservationist calls "some of the last, best places we have in Pennsylvania"- pristine streams and deep forests that once sustained American Indian tribes and still aggract passionate outdoorsmen.
The coldwater brooks in the state's norther tier are prime attractions for visitors, who spend nearly $2.5 billion in the region every year.
As big drilling companies from across the nation position themselves to tap into a major energy source, some residents are uneasy about the environmental impact of the process. Their concerns focus on the erosion and sediment created as wells are built and the disposal of millions of gallons of tainted water used to release the gas from the ground.
Questions on the effects of the drilling are surfacing in Bradford, Tioga and Susquehanna counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, which were among the state's leaders in the number of drilling permits issued in 2008. Waterways there are particularly vulnerable to the changes, and drain directly into the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, the Bay's largest tributary.
Click here to read the entire article.

EPA Environmental Education Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for its 2010 Environmental Education Grants. Applications are due December 15.
The 10 EPA Regional offices fund projects that request EPA funds for amounts from $5,000 to $50,000. EPA Headquarters funds projects that range from requests of $50,001 to $200,000.
Any local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, non-profit organization is eligible to apply. Click here for details.

Thursday NewsClips

Three Watersheds In Western PA Deemed Critical
Banker: Marcellus Shale To Boost Region
Letter: Natural Gas Industry Should Pay Severance Taxes
Eels, Mussels Conservancy Dinner Topic
State Tells Businesses To Shop For Electricity
Bright Ideas for Energy In Allentown

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TreeVitalize Coupons Available To Homeowners In Southcentral PA

Fall is a great time for planting, and homeowners buying trees in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster and Perry counties can take advantage of a discount TreeVitalize coupon at a participating garden center or nursery this season, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acting Secretary John Quigley said this week.
"Planting a tree is one of the greenest activities a homeowner can do," Acting Secretary Quigley said. "With the right care the tree will not only look great, but can increase your property value, help cool your home and reduce erosion."
The coupons are available at participating locations and can be printed from the TreeVitalize website. A coupon allows a customer to save $15 off the purchase of a tree worth $75 or more. The tree must be planted on a residential property.
"Once homeowners plant a tree, we encourage them to become one of the thousands of citizens who have joined TreeVitalize by registering their tree on the TreeVitalize website," Quigley said. "Every tree planted helps us get a little closer to the program's goal of planting one million trees in metropolitan areas by 2012."
The coupon program will end on December 1.
Nurseries and garden centers that are interested in participating in the coupon program should visit the TreeVitalize website and choose the coupon icon.
Launched in 2004 in southeastern Pennsylvania, TreeVitalize has planted almost 132,000 trees to date.
TreeVitalize is a partnership of DCNR, Penn State Forestry Extension, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and local governments.
For more information, visit the TreeVitalize website or call 717-346-9583.

CBF’s Victories In Drilling Permits Underscore Inadequacy of Permitting Process

The Department of Environmental Protection announced today it was revoking permits at three gas drilling sites as a result of legal challenges filed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in August and September. CBF challenged the permits contending violations of both Commonwealth and federal laws.
“We are glad DEP saw the merit of our challenges and agreed to revoke these permits,” said CBF Pennsylvania Attorney Matthew Royer. “But these victories alone are not enough to ensure protection of our wetlands and streams as further drilling activity proceeds across Pennsylvania. DEP must change its policy of rubber stamping applications without technical review. Until then, we will continue to challenge permits that put our natural resources at risk.”
In April, DEP stripped review authority from local County Conservation Districts and it instituted an expedited stormwater permitting process that does not allow for public participation or meaningful agency review of permit applications. In a press release announcing the permit revocation, DEP acknowledged “numerous technical deficiencies discovered after our approval of the permits.”
“The technical deficiency findings announced by DEP today are exactly the reason why a permit process without technical review is fundamentally flawed,” Royer said. “DEP should end its policy of issuing permits without technical review and restore authority to the Conservation Districts, which have the local knowledge and experience to conduct such reviews.”
The revoked permits were for Ultra Resources Inc. operations in Gaines and Elk Townships in Tioga County, and Pike and Abbott townships in Potter County, and Fortuna Energy Inc. permits in Ward and Jackson townships in Tioga County.

DEP Revokes Drilling Permits As Deficient After Chesapeake Bay Foundation Appeals

The Department of Environmental Protection has revoked three erosion and sedimentation control general permits previously issued to Ultra Resources Inc. and Fortuna Energy Inc. due to technical deficiencies after the Chesapeake Bay Foundation appealed the permit which the agency initially issued after only a few days of review.
“DEP took this action because of numerous technical deficiencies discovered after our approval of the permits,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.
The erosion and sedimentation control general permits are required whenever more than five acres of earth will be disturbed during construction of natural gas well drilling pads or natural gas pipelines.
As part of an expedited permit review process that DEP announced earlier this year, a licensed professional engineer, surveyor, geologist or landscape architect must submit a notice of intent and supporting documentation to DEP, including a certification that the information submitted meets the permit requirements.
DEP staff performs an administrative completeness review, but relies on the professional’s certification that the application is technically correct and meets all the permit requirements.
The technical deficiencies in both permits included inaccurate calculations, failure to provide best management practices where required, and lack of proper technical detail.
The permit revocations mean that Ultra Resources and Fortuna Energy must immediately halt all earth disturbance activities at the sites except those necessary to install or maintain erosion and sediment control or post-construction and site restoration best management practices.
The Ultra Resources permit was for sites in Gaines and Elk townships, Tioga County, and Pike and Abbott townships, Potter County. The Fortuna permit covered sites in Ward and Jackson townships, Tioga County.
Neither company is eligible to re-submit notices of intent requesting the expedited permit process for those locations.
In its letter to the three licensed professionals, DEP warns that additional enforcement action may be taken against them, including possible referral to the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs for disciplinary action.
The licensed professionals receiving the letters include James Gensel of Fagan Engineers in Elmira, N.Y.; Karl Matz of Larson Design Group Inc. in Williamsport; and K. Robert Cunningham of Cunningham Surveyors in Wellsboro.
CBF challenged permits issued to Fortuna Energy, Inc. authorizing earth disturbance for pipeline construction in Jackson Township, and to Ultra Resources, Inc. authorizing earth disturbance for substantial drilling operations in Gaines and Elk townships.
The Fortuna pipeline will cross tributaries of wild trout streams and impact exceptional value wetlands in violation of Pennsylvania wetlands law. The Ultra project will include pipeline crossings of high quality trout streams within the Pine Creek watershed, home to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon and one of the state’s premier outdoor recreation destinations.
For both projects, there was no analysis of the rate or volume of stormwater runoff from the construction, which can pollute streams.
In fact, the Ultra permit was issued within two days of receipt of the application. Phase II of the Fortuna permit, the one with the Exceptional Value wetlands issue, was issued within three business days.

County Watershed Coordinators Build Watershed Restoration Capacity, But It May Soon End

County Conservation District Watershed Specialists have been a vital force in Pennsylvania’s watershed movement for nearly 10 years, providing much needed environmental services in their counties and saving the state millions of dollars in project costs, in part by locating matching funding and in-kind contributions for environmental projects.
Whether it’s fighting Abandoned Mine Drainage, restoring streamside vegetation, or reducing water pollution caused by agricultural or urban runoff, our Watershed Specialists have been instrumental in many of Pennsylvania’s environmental successes.
As part of a campaign to increase awareness of our county Watershed Specialists, WPCAMR Video Diaries pays a visit to the Westmoreland Conservation District to talk to Watershed Specialist, Rob Cronauer about his work and the future of the Watershed Specialist positions.
The county watershed specialist program is funded by the Growing Greener Program that is due to end in 2010. Without a new source of funding, the good work done by these dedicated people could also end. Contact your House and Senate member to urge them to reauthorize the program.

Wednesday NewsClips

PA Heritage Areas Lose State Funding
State Budget Failure Leads To Record Disapproval Of Harrisburg Officials
Chesapeake Energy Won't Drill In New York Watershed
Letter: Taking Issue On Shale Gas
Potomac Watershed Partnership Goes Nuts For Seeds
Editorial: Dreading Delaware Dredging
Pittsburgh Council Member Peduto Pushes Green Legislation
Energy Leadership Center Sees No Energy Shortage
PPL Gets $19 Million Grant To Improve Electric Grid
Allegheny Power's Smart Meter Startup Delayed
NE Wind Projects Come To Standstill
Carlisle School District's Solar Project Moving Forward Without Grant
$350 Million TMI Makeover
Wild Pigs Spotted Near PA Border

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mercer, Venango Conservation Districts, DEP Host Stormwater Issues Workshop November 3

The Mercer and Venango County Conservation Districts and the Department of Environmental Protection will hold a session to discuss local, state and federal stormwater requirements for development at 9 a.m. on November 3, at the Mercer County Cooperative Extension Office, 747 Greenville Road, Mercer.
DEP, in partnership with the conservation districts of Mercer and Venango counties, will discuss countywide stormwater planning, municipal stormwater management, permitting and controlling discharges from regulated construction activities, erosion and sedimentation control, and regulatory updates.
Organizers encourage developers, municipal officials, architects, contractors and consultants to attend the session.
“Unmanaged stormwater runoff is the third leading cause of stream impairments in Pennsylvania,” said DEP Regional Director Kelly Burch. “This session will provide information about the regulations and practices of stormwater management with the goal of prevnting problems for both property development and the environment.”
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The cost to attend the five-hour session is $10.
To register or for more information about the session, call the Mercer County Conservation District at 724-662-2242 or send email to:

Neshaminy Creek Growing Greener Success Story

Susan Harris, Watershed Specialist with the Montgomery County Conservation District, submitted a story about how Growing Greener has funded installation of stormwater best management practices in the Neshaminy Creek watershed. The District now becomes eligible for a $250 Growing Greener Anniversary Grant. Click here to read more.

DeSales Student Wins Emmy Award For Wild Resource Conservation Series Cosmo's World

DeSales University Senior TV/Film major Brandon Pousley, of Perkasie, Pa, received a regional Emmy Award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work as editor for Cosmo's World, a program produced for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to teach biodiversity to 4th graders.
The program was created by classEmedia, an educational media partnership specializing in the creation of meaningful programs, production of original music, animation, and curriculum content for the classroom and a better world.
Pousley was one of two DeSales TV/Film majors to receive regional Emmy nominations from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. DeSales University Senior Steven Whitcombe, of Douglassville, Pa., was nominated in the same category as Pousley, the Children/Youth Teen Program or Special Category.
For more information, contact Roseann Damico Schatkowski, director of marketing/PR, DeSales University Performing and Fine Arts Department, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1547, or send email to:

Nominations For Goddard Chair At Penn State Now Being Accepted

The School of Forest Resources at Penn State is seeking nominations for individuals to serve as the Goddard Chair named for former state environmental protection agency Secretary Maurice K. Goddard.
The role of the Goddard Chair is to provide leadership in sustainable natural resource conservation and utilization through programs of public service, education and scholarship.
The holder of the Goddard Chair will initiate public dialog on environmental and natural resource issues of high contemporary priority, advise governmental agencies and lead policy formulation on natural resource issues with emphasis on the importance of sound science and avoidance of single-issue advocacy, cultivate the professional development of undergraduate and graduate students who are studying environmental issues, and conduct scholarship related to natural resources and environmental policy.
The Chair holder will spend approximately one-half time on public outreach, one-third on teaching, and the remainder on other scholarly activities. The operational guidelines for this position are posted online.
Candidates are welcomed from a broad range of professional disciplines relevant to the purpose and responsibilities of the Goddard Chair, and a doctorate is not specifically required. The holder of the Chair must have a distinguished record of accomplishments in natural resources policy, administration, management, or research, and he or she must possess a demonstrable ability to lead and inspire commitment on the broadest possible scale.
Professor in the School of Forest Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences, for three years, with possible extension for up to three additional years. The appointment is available with a negotiable starting date as soon as the successful candidate is identified.
Submit a letter of application, resume, transcripts, and the names and addresses of three professional references to Angela Clark, School of Forest Resources, 122 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA,16802, 814-863-7093. The search committee will begin reviewing applications on January 18, 2010.

Todd Wallace Named Acting Director Of Waste Management

Todd Wallace has been named Acting Director for the Bureau of Waste Management at the Department of Environmental Protection.
Todd has served DEP as a member of the executive management team since 1996. In his most recent position as assistant to the Executive Deputy Secretary, Todd has managed and coordinated a variety of key departmental programs and initiatives, including grants management, advisory committee appointments, and oversight of DEP's Environmental Education Center.
Previously, Todd served as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection, where he supported the office on a variety of program, policy and administrative matters. He initiated and participated in negotiation of the nation's first coordinated Multi-Site Agreement with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency and Pentagon officials to address over 1,000 contaminated military sites in Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining DEP, Todd worked eight years in the private sector at a leading environmental services company called Clean Harbors, Inc., in various roles. As a corporate environmental compliance specialist he ensured compliance with federal, state and local environmental laws and managed compliance matters for the company's waste oil recycling operations. As a senior scientist, he evaluated and approved disposal methods for hazardous materials managed by the company's waste management facilities located throughout the country.
Todd earned a BS in Biology from Messiah College and an MS from Tufts University in Civil Engineering, with a concentration in Environmental Policy - Hazardous Materials Management.

Tuesday NewsClips

Gas Driller To Provide Replacement Water
Allegheny County-Wide Sustainability Policy To Be Implemented
Allegheny Energy Air Pollution Case Shrouded In Secrecy
Specter, Casey Keep Coal In Mind
Editorial: Mountaintop Mines Need Individual Review
Delaware River Dredging Will Commence
PUC Approves Utilities' Energy Efficiency Plans
Ax To Fall On Locust Trees Bedeviling Point State Park
$4 Million Face-Lift Of City Parks Underway
Indian Creek Valley Trail Extension Opens
Great Allegheny Passage Trail Investment Pays Off
Marcellus Shale Gas Company Opens Office In Pittsburgh
Hundreds Line Up For Gas Drilling Jobs In PA
600+ Attend Chesapeake Energy's Job Fair
Go Green And Cut Costs
Editorial: Cleanup Of Chesapeake Bay Everyone's Job
Printery Going Solar To Save Some Green

Monday, October 26, 2009

EPA To Hold Public Meetings On Chesapeake Bay TMDL

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a series of public meetings to discuss the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load – a strict “pollution diet” to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its network of local rivers, streams and creeks.
EPA is scheduled to hold 14 public meetings throughout the watershed’s six states – Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York – and the District of Columbia from early November through mid-December 2009.
The meetings in Pennsylvania are scheduled for:
-- November 17 - Wilkes-Barre, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
-- November 18 - Williamsport, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
-- November 19 - State College, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
-- November 23 - Lancaster, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
The Bay TMDL will establish the pollution reductions necessary for meeting Bay clean water standards. EPA officials will outline the Bay TMDL and receive public input during the sessions. A draft TMDL will be issued in August 2010, followed by a public comment period. A final TMDL will be established by EPA in December 2010.
For the specific location of a meeting, visit the Chesapeake Bay TMDL webpage.

Proposed Greening Of City Code To Be Introduced To Pittsburgh City Council

In its next step towards creating a greener Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative will introduce green city code language changes to Pittsburgh's City Council Tuesday.
Working with Councilman Bill Peduto, the City's sustainability coordinator, and Duquesne University Law School, PCI has bundled proposed code changes that would make many recommendations of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan possible.
These modifications would simplify the implementation of various green activities, procedures, renovations, and techniques for Pittsburgh's residents, businesses, and government; they would also ensure the continuing commitment of the City of Pittsburgh to sustainability throughout many generations of elected officials.
The Pittsburgh Climate Initiative is an evolution of the Green Government Task Force, which was a coalition of local, state, and federal officials, as well as representatives from businesses, universities, foundations, and non-profit organizations.
PCI's goal is to reduce Pittsburgh's greenhouse gas emissions,which are human-generated emissions leading to climate change that result from the use of fossil fuels as an energy source.
In August 2008, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously endorsed the implementation of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, Version 1.0 as a guiding document for the City of Pittsburgh. This document seeks a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2003 levels by 2023.
It calls for specific actions from municipal government, community organizations, businesses, and institutions of higher education to achieve its goal. One of the specific Plan recommendations is to codify certain standards, policies, and processes to reflect the City's commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Legislation drafted by PCI would help accomplish this action.
Sample proposed green code changes include the formation of a Sustainability Commission that would ensure future implementation of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. The Commission would be a permanent, standing committeeconsisting of representatives of City Council, the Mayor's office, and several City departments.
Other modifications include a mechanism for the City to conduct regular energy audits of its properties and implement retrofits that improve building energy efficiency (e.g., additional insulation, replacement of single pane windows, and installation of occupancy light sensors).
Other proposed changes include the expansion and increased use of the City's recycling efforts by allowing for more direct enforcement of current recycling requirements and improving recycling opportunities for local residents,businesses, employees, and shoppers.
Additional issues addressed in the green code changes include the establishment of green purchasing for the City, the inclusion of the sustainability coordinator staff position into City code, and the establishment of green roof guidelines for residential applications.
With the introduction of these alterations, Pittsburgh would join the ranks of the following cities who have already holistically addressed climate impacts through code changes: Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco,California; and New York City, New York.
The Pittsburgh Climate Initiative is a collaborative effort designed to lead Pittsburgh's residents, businesses, government, and institutions of higher learning in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
It is facilitated by the Green Building Alliance, a 16-year-old nonprofit organization that advances economic prosperity and human well-being in Western Pennsylvania by driving market demand and facilitating green building practices and products that have minimal impact on the natural environment.
Other PCI partners include the City of Pittsburgh and ICLEI, which are creating more sustainable municipal operations for the City; Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), which addresses community climate activities with "The Black and Gold City Goes Green" campaign; Sustainable Pittsburgh, which leads the Business Climate Coalition; Allegheny County; and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, which is working with Allegheny County on its green initiatives.
GBA also convenes the Higher Education Climate Consortium, which actively engages all colleges and universities in the Pittsburgh region to collaborate regarding sustainability research, education,
operations, and outreach so that the organizations comprising HECC align with the City of Pittsburgh's overall greenhouse gas reduction goal.

Fish & Boat Commission Seeking New Executive Director

The Fish and Boat Commission has initiated a nationwide search for a new executive director.
The executive director serves as the chief executive officer of the PFBC, an independent administrative commission established in 1866. The executive director is selected by and reports to a 10-member commission appointed by the Governor.
The agency is empowered by law to protect and manage the fish and aquatic habitat of the Commonwealth, to regulate recreational boating on Commonwealth waters and to protect reptiles, amphibians, and certain endangered and threatened species.
In addition to directing the operations and activities of the agency, the executive director serves as the agency’s chief law enforcement officer and is a member of the Environmental Quality Board, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Mid-Atlantic States Fisheries Management Council, and an ex-officio member of the PFBC Boating Advisory Board.
Candidates must have extensive upper level management or policy-making experience in a fisheries, wildlife, conservation, or natural resources organization and minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. Starting salary is established depending upon factors such as the nature, scope, previous salary and quality of the applicant’s experience and education.
Interested individuals should provide a resume post marked no later than December 1 to: Executive Director - Search Committee, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, c/o Human Resource Office, 1601 Elmerton Avenue, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.

Monday NewsClips

Year After Explosion, Dimock Residents Want Gas Well Fix
Fines Too Low To Deter Drilling Violations
Drilling Wastewater Webinar Oct. 28
Become A Pine Creek Waterdog For Drilling Operations
Green Light For Dredging Of Delaware
Heat On To Spend $4 Million In Weatherization Funds
Editorial: A Fog Of Misinformation On Climate Change
Speaking Out For The Environment
Brokers Guide Buyers Through Electricity Buying Options
Incentive To Conserve Electricity
Electricity Options For Business
Pennsylvanians Struggle To Steer Clear Of Deer
Good Day Coming Up For Migration Across PA
Editorial: Report Shows PA Waterways Remain Too Dirty
$800K Secured For Green Jobs Academy
Gas Drilling With Catastrophic Results
PA Trapped, Drillers Not
Editorial: A Poor Time To Hamstring Control Of PA Water Pollution
Annual Greenovation Competition Salutes Eco-Friendly Consumer Goods
Solar Is Getting Cheap: Costs State By State

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oct. 26 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The October 26 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

The 26 percent budget cut for the Department of Environmental Protection and the 18 percent cut for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week continued to generate concerns, news articles and questions about whether the agencies can fulfill their basic missions. click for more...

Become A Pine Creek Waterdog, Help Enforce Marcellus Shale Drilling Regulations

The Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group is holding its second training workshop for Waterdogs to help document and record possible environmental violations at Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations in the Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga county area.
The training session will be held on December 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, North Campus on Route 6 east of Wellsboro.
While the Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for permitting and inspecting these Marcellus Shale drilling sites, DEP personnel cannot maintain a watch on the activity of all the people, rigs and trucks contracted and subcontracted to produce the gas.
Many contractors and companies brought in from outside the state are not yet familiar with our regulations regarding water usae, erosion and sedimentation, and waste disposal. The region is too large and the resources of the regulators too limited to effectively keep track of the exponential growth inactivity taking place.
This training will show participants how to document and record important observation information and who to call in the event of envirnmental harm or public safety issues. Those completing the training program will be provided with a bumper sticker, registration card and logbook for recording observations.
There is a $10 registration fee to cover cost of materials. There is a limited of 35 Waterdog trainees for this class. Call 724‐1801x118 to register.

PennEnvironment: PA Needs To Do More To Prevention Waterway Pollution, Not Cut Budget

On the heels of the biggest budget cut in history to the Department of Environmental Protection, PennEnvironment this week issued a report recommending the agency do more to prevent pollution going into Commonwealth waterways and adopt tougher permit and enforcement policies.
The report-- Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act-- noted industrial facilities dumped over 10 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Pennsylvania’s waterways every year.
The report also finds that toxic chemicals were discharged in 1,900 waterways across all 50 states.
“While nearly 16,000 miles of Pennsylvania’s waterways and half of the nation’s rivers and lakes in the U.S. are considered impaired, our report shows that polluters continue to use our waterways as dumping grounds for their toxic chemicals,” said Erika Staaf, Clean Water Advocate with PennEnvironment.
The PennEnvironment report documents and analyzes the dangerous levels of pollutants discharged in to America’s waters by compiling toxic chemical releases reported to the U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2007, the most recent data available.
Major findings of the report include:
-- The Monongahela River is ranked first in Pennsylvania for total toxic discharges, with 2.6 million pounds discharged in 2007.
-- The Susquehanna River ranked first in Pennsylvania for cancer-causing chemicals, with over 4,000 pounds discharged in 2007.
-- The Delaware River is ranked fifth in the nation for total toxic discharges, with over 7.4 million pounds discharged in 2007.
-- US Steel – Clairton Works, near Pittsburgh, released over 2.5 million pounds of toxic chemical waste into the Monongahela River and Peters Creek. The US Steel facility was the largest reported polluter of toxic chemicals in Pennsylvania in 2007.
“With only one in twenty companies violating their water pollution permits getting any kind of penalty, you would think the state would be stepping up its enforcement activities,” stated Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director for Clean Water Action.” “Unfortunately, just the opposite is true. The state legislature just approved a new budget that cuts DEP by over 27 percent, taking even more of our environmental cops off the beat.”
The Department of Environmental Protection lost 434 positions over the last six years and this year was hit with a 26 percent cut in its General Fund budget.
In 2007 then DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty said, in defending the Governor's proposed budget for DEP before the Senate Appropriations Committee, "We cut through the meat and into the bone." (3/9/07 Pa Environment Digest)
This year, DEP Secretary John Hanger acknowledged there were significant permit review backlogs at the agency and he directed his staff to take steps by January 2011 to eliminate that backlog by making changes to permit review processes, some of which are opposed by environmental groups. (2/27/09 Pa Environment Digest)
PennEnvironment’s report summarizes the discharge of cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that persist in the environment, and chemicals with the potential to cause reproductive problems ranging from birth defects to reduced fertility. Among the toxic chemicals discharged by facilities are lead, mercury, and dioxin. When dumped into waterways, these toxic chemicals contaminate drinking water and are absorbed by the fish that people eventually eat. Exposure to these chemicals is linked to cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive disorders. In 2007, manufacturing facilities discharged approximately 1.5 million pounds of cancer-causing chemicals into American waters.
“Clean Water is more than an environmental issue – this is also a health and justice issue,” stated Dr. James Plumb, a board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Many common chemicals and pollutants have already been linked to rising rates of asthma, cancer and heart conditions.”
In order to curb the toxic pollution threatening Pennsylvania’s waterways, PennEnvironment recommends the following:
-- Pollution Prevention: Industrial facilities should reduce their toxic discharges in to waterways by switching from hazardous chemicals to safer alternatives.
-- Tough permitting and enforcement: EPA and state agencies should issue permits with tough, numeric limits for each type of toxic pollution discharged, ratchet down those limits over time, and enforce those limits with credible penalties, not just warning letters.
-- Protect all waters: The federal government should adopt policies to clarify that the Clean Water Act applies to all of our waterways. This includes the thousands of headwaters and small streams for which jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act has been called into question, as a result of recent court decisions.
“There are common-sense steps that should be taken to turn the tide against toxic pollution of our waters. We need clean water now, and we need the state and federal government to act to protect our health and our environment,” concluded Staaf.
A copy of the report is available online.

Friday NewsClips

Feds Serious About Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
Cabot Fined For Drilling-Site Spills
Editorial: Cleaner Water Down Drain
Fayette County To Vote On Windmill Ordinance
Lower Paxton Solar Panels Could Cost $14 Million
Three Mile Island Gets Renewal License OK
License To Keep TMI Going Until 2034
Fewer Believe In Global Warming
Dredge Fill Proposal Concerns Eachus
Editorial: Water Pollution Remains A Problem
Mahanoy School Board OKs Energy Upgrade Study
Marcellus Shale Could Provide Natural Gas
Taylor Colliery Reclamation Moving Ahead

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PEC Report Identifies Ways To Fund Green Infrastructure In Philadelphia

Philadelphia can help ensure a more prosperous future by investing in green infrastructure, according to a report released by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council today.
Prepared by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, the report “Implementing Green Infrastructure” provides recommendations to city and regional leaders to achieve Philadelphia’s ambitious goals of becoming the greenest city in America by funding investments in sustainable transportation, water, and energy.
“Philadelphia and surrounding communities understand that green infrastructure is fiscally and environmentally beneficial. What’s crucial now is to incorporate it into every equation as matter of course, not as an ad hoc add-on,” said Steve Wray, Executive Director of the Economy League. “We found examples across the country of cities that have successfully made that shift. In the interests of the future of our region, certainly Philadelphia can do the same to incentivize ‘green’ over current outmoded and non-sustainable practices.”
As the report describes, “green infrastructure” uses trees, green buildings, renewable energy, porous pavement, and wetlands to serve the same functions as traditional “gray” infrastructure -- storm sewer pipes and parking lots. For example, a green street not only provides transportation, but also captures stormwater runoff thus reducing pollution, and the strain and maintenance of the city’s overburdened sewer system.
“Philadelphia has a strong vision and well-researched plans for becoming greener, but we struggle to fund and implement these projects,” said Patrick Starr, Senior Vice President of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. “We need to evaluate and use new approaches in order to transform our city.”
The report identified immediate and long term strategies to fund green infrastructure. Examples include:
-- Expand the “Street Tree Fund,” which offers incentives to developers to plant street trees at a particular project, or pay a fee that funds tree planting efforts elsewhere;
-- Assess user fees in Fairmount Park for concessions, parking, and other facilities to pay for maintenance and operations;
-- Consider development incentives as expanding the ten-year tax abatement for meeting green building standards; and
-- Implement fees based on the amount of impervious land on a property and encourage stormwater reductions.
The report also highlights the need for leadership, cross-department coordination facilitated by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, focused demonstration of public benefits, and regional collaboration from counties..
“We applaud the significant green infrastructure investment the Philadelphia Water Department is proposing” Starr said. “Similar investment in energy, open space, and transportation is needed.”
A copy of the report is available online.

Thursday NewsClips

Waterways Burdened By Pollution Report Says
Reports Finds Millions Of Pounds Of Chemicals Dumped Into PA Waterways
Tributary Pollution Addressed
Natural Gas Driller Pulls Request For Water Use
Letter: Local Government Big Loser In State Budget
Cools Nights, Warm Days Are Factors In Sewage Plant Odors
Group Creates BATitat At Moraine State Park
Penn State Decathlon Team's Rank Drops From 2007 Event
Birthday Part To Aid Water Sanitation Effort
Clarion University Helps Businesses Capitalize On Marcellus Shale
Waterways Burdened By Pollution Report Says
Residents Speak Out Against Proposed Frac Water Processing Plant
Environmental Compliant Filed On Oregon Township Drill Site
Water Offers Link To Gas Drilling Oversight
Susquehanna One Of 20 Most Polluted In U.S.
Editorial: Lawmakers Should Equitably share The Pain Of Budget Cuts

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 28 Webinar On Wastewater Challenges In Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Drilling

Penn State Cooperative Extension will host an online webinar on October 28 entitled, "Treatment/Disposal Options for Wastewaters from Shale Gas Drilling," starting at 1 p.m..
The webinar is free and open to the public. Instructions for pre-registration are available online.
One million gallons is a lot of water. When Marcellus shale gas drillers probe for natural gas using the hydrofracture technique, they inject about three million gallons of water underground. Typically, about 30 to 40 percent of the injected water -- or about 1 million gallons -- returns quickly to the surface at the wellhead. This wastewater, known as "flowback," carries large amounts of dissolved solids and high concentrations of salt and must be treated before it is returned to surface-water sources.
This program will explore the issues surrounding the handling of this wastewater.
For more information, contact Kowalski at 570-278-1158 or send email to:

Natural Diversity Launches New Online Newsletter, Seeking Writer/Ilustrator

Natural Diversity, a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the native diversity of plants and animals in Pennsylvania, has announced the publication of a new online newsletter-- theLeaflet.
Natural Diversity has pioneered the development of holistic habitat management techniques for the control of invasive and non-native plants, such as Japanese knotweed, and the restoration of native plants in the Kiski-Conemaugh and upper Juniata watersheds.
theLeaflet newsletter seeks to not only inform people about what the organization is doing, but also educate the public about invasive and non-native plants.
A copy of the first edition of theLeaflet is now available. To get on the email list for the newsletter, send email to:
Natural Diversity is also seeking proposals for a writer and illustrator for the PA Invasive Species Education Supplement being produced with funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Wild Resource Conservation Program. (click here for a full copy of the RFP)

2nd Round Of Sinnemahoning Watershed Grants Now Being Accepted

The Headwaters RC&D Sinnemahoning Stakeholders Committee is now accept applications for the second round of grants under the Sinnemahoning Watershed Grant Program.
Applications will be accepted until December 18.
There is $134,000 available for round two applications which offers funding to Commonwealth agencies, Watershed and Conservation Groups with incorporation status, Counties and Municipalities, County Conservation Districts, Council of Governments, or any other authorized organizations involved in research, restoration, rehabilitation, planning, acquisition, development, education or other activities, which further the protection, enhancement, conservation, preservation or enjoyment of Pennsylvania's environmental, conservation, recreation or similar resources.
All projects must be located within the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed.
The grant program is the result of fine monies collected due to the June 30, 2006 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train that released over 40,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) into Big Fill Run, Sinnemahoning Portage Creek, and the Driftwood Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek
Hard copy applications may be obtained at the Cameron and McKean County Conservation District Offices or electronically at the McKean County website.
For more information please contact Todd Deluccia at 814-486-9354 or send email to:

Wednesday NewsClips

$58 Million In DEP Cuts To Have Far-Reaching Effect
More Slots Money For Dam Repairs
Drilling Plan Includes Recycling
Safe Drilling Or Risky Business?
1,200 To Get Lower Levee Fees In Wilkes-Barre
PA Considers Switch In Energy Providers
Harrisburg Authority Takes On More Debt To Help Make Incinerator Payments
Towanda Business Fined For Illegal Storing Of Drilling Wastewater
Climate Change Talk Sparks Debate
Lock Haven Green Energy Fair Sunday
Clearfield Planners Hear Concerns About Turbine Project
More Drilling Water Worries In Wyoming County
Tunkhannock Residents Concerned About Drilling Water
Lutron Tour Bus Touts Energy Savers In Allentown

Monday, October 19, 2009

PA State Parks Win National Gold Medal Award

The Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks has won the prestigious National Gold Medal Award presented by the American Academy of Park and Recreation Management in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, and proudly sponsored by Musco Lighting.
The Gold Medal Award, presented every two years, is the highest honor a park system can receive within the industry. Winners are determined by a panel of parks and recreation professionals that evaluate application materials with an emphasis on excellence in long-range planning, resource management, citizen support systems, environmental stewardship, program and professional development and agency recognition. Emphasis is given to addressing the needs of those served through the collective energies of citizens, staff, and elected officials.
“The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation congratulates the Bureau of State Parks on their accomplishment,” says Marci Mowery, President of the Foundation. “Their 1,600 dedicated staff work tirelessly to not only manage more then 300,000 acres of land for wildlife, water quality and recreation; but to meet the recreational needs of the citizen’s through innovative programming, creative budgeting, and partnerships.”
Pennsylvania has 117 state parks and three conservation areas that host more than 35 million visitors each year.
Some of DCNR’s new and innovative state park programs include:
-- Get Outdoors PA, which offers hundreds of activities annually for people to learn about outdoor recreation opportunities such as kayaking, fishing and hiking, and learn about how the public can help protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources, their role and why they should care.
-- Adventure Camp--A joint effort of the Bureau of State Parks, city parks and recreation programs, and youth organizations that exposes urban area teens to experiences in nature. More than 150 kids attended camp in eight metropolitan areas last summer.
-- A “green” parks initiative to address climate change and energy consumption in Pennsylvania’s parks.
-- New construction work on the system’s first nature inn at Bald Eagle State Park to expand overnight accommodations and attract new visitors.
-- A dedicated volunteer and Friends Program to assist state parks meet the demands of visitors.
“The selection of the DCNR Bureau of State Parks for the prestigious 2009 National Gold Medal Award, the "Oscar" of recreation and park agency recognition, provides independent confirmation of the high quality of the state parks system available to the citizens of the Commonwealth,” says Robert Griffith, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society. “It recognizes quality professional management; significant financial investment such as from the Keystone Fund and Growing Greener; innovative outreach through efforts like "Get Outdoors PA" and urban initiatives; and contributions made by the state parks to tourism, health and wellness, and quality recreation opportunities. We certainly need to protect these state treasures for future generations to enjoy!”
“The Gold Medal Award confirms what the more than 35 million visitors to Pennsylvania State Parks already knew,” says Mowery, “which is that our system is number one. What a great treasure to hand to the next generation”
To see the eight-minute video about Pennsylvania State Parks that was part of the award application, click here.
Unfortunately, the award comes on the heels of the largest cut ever made in state funding for DCNR and the Bureau of State Parks.
For more information about the Gold Medal program, visit the awards webpage.
Click here to visit the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and click here to visit the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Association.

Monday NewsClips

Budget Cuts Expected To Lead To DEP Layoffs
Slashed Budget Will Affect State Parks
Editorial: Renew Effort On Natural Gas Production Tax
Environmental Council Seeks Trail Funding Support
Team To Study Human Effect On Watershed
Dickinson College Get's High Marks For Going Green
PECO's Plan To Reduce Consumption Gest A Green Light
Miners Live On Through His Art
Recycling In The Rain In Montgomery County
Editorial: Shun The Bottle, Drink From Tap
Renewable School Construction Shortly Underway
Electricity Rate Raise May Affect Prices Of Goods
Gifford Pinchot: His Leafy Legacy
Funds Set For Pre-Drilling Water Samples
Op-Ed: We Lose When Companies Badmouth Public Water

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oct. 19 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The October 19 PA Environment Digest is now available. Click here to print this Digest.

The full impact of the dramatic cuts and diversions of environmental funding made in the FY 2009-10 budget adopted last week were highlighted this week by a number of groups. The departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources are also now in the process of evaluating the staff and service reductions the cuts mandate.
Read this week's Digest for the full story.

Webinar On Deer Impacts On Forests October 21

The Cornell Cooperative Extension will be providing a webinar on October 21 at noon and again at 7:00 p.m. entitled Deer and Forests - Impacts, Assessment, Control and Recovery.
The webinar will be presented by Susan Stout and Alex Royo with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station located in Warren, Pa. The Forest Service Research Station has decades of research experience on deer impacts and recovery.
Click here to register or for more information.
Reprinted from the Central Pennsylvania Forestry Blog by David Jackson, Penn State Cooperative Extension-Centre County.

Friday NewsClips reports this morning the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources does not have a contract to use high-tech seismic imaging to analyze State Forest land for natural gas leasing as Gov. Rendell said during the debate on leasing lands for drilling. The idea was to maximize the value of the lands leased to reduce the acreage involved.
A spokesperson for DCNR now says they are using the same process they did in 2008 to lease 74,000 acres for drilling that avoided areas with significant environmental or recreational value and near existing pipelines and roads.
The decisions on which lands to lease must be made by Spring to have the leases in place in time to generate the $60 million from leasing the budget settlement anticipates by June 30.
Environmental Protection Suffers Deep Budget Cuts
State Parks, Environment Could Take Hits, Advocates Say
Editorial: Film Tax Credit, A Bad Program Survives
Gas Drilling A Boon To PA, But At What Cost?
Group Opposes Mon Drilling Water Treatment Facility
Letter: Rendell Made Bad Move In Delaying Drilling Tax
Coal Mining Backers Fight Federal Plan
DEP Asked to Look At Dredge Proposal
DCNR Meets With Pocono Reps About Landscape Project
Hazardous Material Trucks Taken Off Roads
PUC Approves PPL's Energy Conservation Plan
Ethanol Refinery Open For Business
Suit Settlement Could Further Cut Emissions
Wilkes-Barre River Common May Be Oldest U.S. Park
Dickinson College Stewardship
TMI Temps Boost Economy
Webinar: Deer Impacts On Forests

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pittsburgh Picked To Host U.N. World Environment Day 2010

The United Nations Environment Programme has named Pittsburgh the host city for World Environment Day 2010 in North America. The theme is “Biodiversity: Connecting with Nature.”
Local government officials, businesses, organizations and individuals will work with UNEP’s Regional Office for North America (RONA) to schedule a series of events during the six weeks that “bridge the gap” between the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 and World Environment Day on June 5.
The United Nations created World Environment Day in 1972 to stimulate environmental awareness and action. With thousands of events in UNEP’s six global regions including North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, and Europe, World Environment Day is considered one of the largest environmental events of its kind.
The selection of Pittsburgh by UNEP follows on the heels of Pittsburgh’s recent role as host of the September 2009 G-20 Summit and President Barack Obama’s efforts to showcase the region’s successful transformation from an industrial city to a present-day model of green economy industries, organizations and initiatives, which will all be on display during WED and at Bridging the Gap events.
Bayer Corporation, based in Pittsburgh and a longtime sponsor of UNEP programs, including World Environment Day in North America and around the world, was instrumental in Pittsburgh’s selection as 2010 North American WED host city.
“With the help of Bayer, one of UNEP’s most important global and regional World Environment Day partners, we are proud and pleased to spotlight Pittsburgh’s remarkable environmental and sustainability progress, particularly in the areas of biodiversity, green jobs and workforce development, and environmental education,” said Amy Fraenkel, Director, UNEP RONA.
“In terms of sustainability, Pittsburgh has come so far, whether it’s in innovation and research, environmental education or sustainable business practices,” said Greg Babe, President and CEO, Bayer Corporation. “As the North American host city for World Environment Day, the Pittsburgh region and the companies that call it home have a unique opportunity to showcase our progress and enhance the ongoing dialogue about this important topic.”
While UNEP thinks globally, with WED it asks communities to think and act locally and share their ideas and expertise about solutions to environmental issues.
“We are grateful to UNEP for singling out our region and giving us another opportunity to show the rest of the world that we have become a leader in green technology, environmental stewardship and sustainable development,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. “Through our Allegheny Green initiative, the County is leading by example, working to reduce our ecological footprint, and creating countywide policies and programs to further promote sustainable practices.”
“The City of Pittsburgh is honored to be chosen as World Environment Day host city for 2010,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “Through the Mayor's Office of Sustainable Development and Energy Efficiency, Pittsburgh demonstrates its ongoing commitment to our environment. In the next several months, I will be reaching out and urging local government agencies, businesses, organizations and individuals to get involved, create, support and/or sponsor WED activities.”
Click here for more information.

Thursday NewsClips

State Budget Helps, Hurts Erie Region
Levels Of Total Dissolved Solids Spike In Monongahela
Susqhehanna Monitors Provide Water Quality Info
Pittsburgh Hearing Focuses On Method Used To Dump Mine Waste
Athens Hires Engineers To Evaluate Wastewater Plan
Wilkes-Barre Levee Fee For Some Buildings Mulled
More Rain Needed, Even After Wet Summer
Proposed Solar Farm Would Power Dauphin County Buildings
PA Climate Panel Releases Plan
Report Details 52 Ways To Fight Climate Change
E-Waste Only Makes Business Sense If There's A Charge
Marcellus Shale Expected To Stimulate Economy
Couple Banks On Wind By Setting Up Backyard Turbine
Letter: Leaders Ducking Drilling Issues

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cherry Valley Watershed Story Featured In New WVIA Documentary

Friends of the Cherry Valley Watershed are proud to announce the premier of "Our Uncommon Valley," a new documentary produced by WVIA public television in Wilkes-Barre on October 25 at the Pocono Community Theater in East Stroudsburg, Pa.
Cherry Valley and Monroe County in general, are recognized for a superior level of biologic quality by the county itself, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nature Conservancy. In a preliminary evaluation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified Monroe County as an area of “high biodiversity within the Middle Atlantic Region of the United States.”
The documentary, produced locally in collaboration with WVIA Public Media and River Conservation Specialist and Cherry Valley landowner, Gary Bloss, highlights the watershed’s unique resources, associated issues, and critical preservation and conservation actions required to achieve sustainability within the Cherry Valley.
The Friends of Cherry Valley supported the creation of this project to advance stewardship efforts of the Cherry Valley and the local Cherry Valley Watershed. The film production also includes development of a companion “study guide” to assist in educational outreach efforts.
“Our Uncommon Valley” focuses on watershed-specific opportunities and issues outlined in four resource categories as identified in the Cherry Creek Watershed Conservation Action Plan; land, water, biological, and cultural.
The film focuses on four specific objectives spelled out in the action plan:
-- Preserve, protect and manage the watershed’s unique resources;
-- Maintain and/or improve water quantity/quality throughout the watershed;
-- Create a network of greenways/conservation corridors and greenways with trails that provide linkages for wildlife and recreational opportunities to enjoy nature and scenery; and
-- Promote and support stewardship efforts
“We consider this project to be an important and powerful opportunity to increase citizen awareness of what a watershed is, and provide a clear understanding of the threats that effect the health of our watershed," said Anne Fetherman, Board Member of FOCV. "We must be made aware of what our role is in maintaining the health and well-being of our pristine environment.”
Gary Bloss commented, “It is our hope that this project will demonstrate that through thoughtful citizen and municipal action the future legacy of the Cherry Valley will continue to be respected as a landscape rich in nature, scenery and history, and indicative of a community that cares about its pastoral qualities.”
Cherry Creek meanders through woodlands and pastures, carving a path through a rural landscape before emptying into the Delaware River. Along the way, the creek hugs the Kittatiny Ridge, which represents a globally important flyway for birds of prey, including bald eagles and broad-wing hawks.
During autumn, visitors hike the Appalachian Trail to Wolf Rocks or another scenic vista to witness the raptors and numerous neo-tropical migratory birds during their annual migration.
The screening will begin at 2:00 p.m.
For more information, contact Gary Bloss at 570-807-8915 or send email to:

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Cuts Mean Potential Collapse of Environmental Oversight In PA

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation expressed grave concern over environmental funding cuts in the recently adopted Pennsylvania budget that threaten to further reduce Pennsylvania’s commitment to clean up rivers and streams, and fails to provide much-needed environmental oversight and funding to limit impacts from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.
“The budget approved last Friday rolls back years of progress in cleaning up Pennsylvania rivers and streams.” said Matthew Ehrhart, Executive Director of CBF's Pennsylvania Office. “It contains the biggest cuts ever made to environmental programs in the history of the Commonwealth.”
The new state budget reduces DEP personnel by $21.1 million, representing over 300 people responsible for implementing the agency’s environmental protection duties. The inequity of these cuts is stark - the 26.7 percent reduction in the DEP budget was nearly triple the average 9 percent cut other state agencies took in this budget.
“Not only has state government cut the Department of Environmental Protection by over 26 percent, it has failed to find the over $600 million in funding DEP says is needed by farmers and others to meet the mandates of the federal Clean Water Act to cleanup the watersheds contributing pollution to the Chesapeake Bay, Ehrhart said.”
The cut to DEP staff raises significant concerns about whether the agency can conduct basic and mandatory environmental protection duties. Without adequate staff, permits necessary for new business activity will not get reviewed and issued.
“Without the boots on the ground, full enforcement of environmental laws will not occur,” Ehrhart said.
Drastic cuts were also made to the only new resource the state has contributed to clean water in the last six years, namely the Resources Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) farm conservation tax credit program, which was cut by 50% to $5 million this year.
In addition to cuts at DEP, the already understaffed conservation districts, a key player in water cleanup efforts, were cut by $600,000.
“Without the on-the-ground help provided by the conservation districts, not only can’t we spend the state dollars we have for farm conservation work, we will not be able to take full advantage of funding available through the federal Farm Bill to help our farmers install conservation practices.”
The new budget also eliminates completely the modest $2 million available for county stormwater management planning, another key element in reducing nutrient pollution from runoff, and reduces basic sewage planning and enforcement by 40 percent.
These cuts exacerbate a trend of cuts to critical clean water programs seen in the last several years which total almost half a billion dollars. They include:
-- $376 million reduction in grants to support wastewater treatment plant operations over the last six years;
-- $135 million diverted from the Growing Greener Program to pay for other programs and pay down the debt on bonds [updated]; and
-- $5 million cut from the highly successful REAP farm conservation tax credit this year.
Another environmental funding crisis looms as Growing Greener funding will run out in 2010, leaving a gaping multi-million dollar hole that must be filled.
“We believe many of these clean water funding gaps can be filled through the adoption of a severance tax on natural gas production being developed by out-of-state companies in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas fields,” said Ehrhart. “These companies stand to make billions of dollars over the next several decades exploiting a Pennsylvania natural resource just like coal, timber and oil companies did in the past. This time, we need to be smarter and require these companies to contribute so that impacts to our land and water resources caused by their exploitation can be offset.”
Instead of passing a severance tax, lawmakers and the Governor agreed to open up our state forest lands to more drilling. While a valiant effort championed in the House of Representatives successfully limited the scale of this drilling, the severance tax ultimately did not meet demands of the Senate, nor the Governor, who had originally called for a severance tax as part of his initial budget proposed back in February. Yet the Marcellus Shale gas boom continues at an unprecedented rate, and environmental impact is mounting. In September, DEP ordered Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation to cease drilling operations after three separate chemical spills polluted streams and wetlands and caused a fish kill in Susquehanna County.
“In order to ensure the protection of our rivers and streams and prevent a battle over our public lands every year, we call upon the General Assembly to pass a severance tax as soon as possible,” said Ehrhart.
“Balancing budgets in tough economic times means establishing priorities, holding the line on spending, being creative about new revenue sources, and cutting non-essential funding,” said Ehrhart. “But the cuts made in this budget fail to prioritize both federal and state mandates to clean up our most precious, fundamental resource – our water. Our state government is not doing the job it is required to do by law and we all will pay the price for years to come.”

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