Friday, April 27, 2012

April 30 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 30 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this entire Digest.

Study Suggests Shale Gas Development Causing Rapid Landscape Change

As the Marcellus natural-gas play unfolds in Pennsylvania, several trends are becoming increasingly clear, according to researchers at Penn State.
            First, most of the development is occurring on private land, and the greatest amount of development falls within the Susquehanna River basin. Second, a regional approach to siting drilling infrastructure is needed to help minimize development in core forest and productive agricultural lands and to decrease the potential risk to waterways.
            Patrick Drohan, assistant professor of pedology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, was lead investigator on a study that examined the early effects of Marcellus gas development on landcover change and forest fragmentation in the Keystone State.
            Drohan estimates that slightly more than half of the well pads in Pennsylvania occur on agricultural land; most of the rest are on forestland, but many of those are on core forest that is privately owned.
            The loss of agricultural land to shale-gas development presents some concern because, in some areas, drilling is now competing with food production for space on the landscape, the study states.
            "Our results suggest," said Drohan, "that shale-gas development could substantially alter Pennsylvania's landscape. The development of new roads to support drilling could affect forest ecosystem integrity via increased fragmentation."
            The fragmentation of forestland, especially northern core forest, places headwater streams and larger downstream waterways at risk of pollution, the study suggests. Based on the intensity of development in the Susquehanna River basin, future expansion of shale-gas production in this basin could become a significant land- and water-management challenge for Chesapeake Bay water quality and ecosystem services.
            The concentration of existing core forest in the northern part of the state -- and the focus of drilling in this area, largely on private land -- led the researchers to conclude that remaining areas of public land are key refuges for the protection of wildlife, ecosystems and associated ecosystem services.
            "These areas should receive further protection," Drohan said. "An organized effort across government and private entities may be a way to manage development."
            Coauthors of the study, which was published in the March 25 issue of the journal Environmental Management, were Margaret Brittingham, professor of wildlife resources; Joseph Bishop, research associate in geography; and Kevin Yoder, former field assistant in the School of Forest Resources.
            The research was sponsored by the Heinz Endowments, Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research and the USDA-NRCS Soil Survey program.
            A copy of the study is available online. Professor Drohan can be contacted by sending email to:

Friday NewsClips

Legislature Has $184 Million In Reserve Audit Shows
Court Agrees To Toss $6.5 Million Verdict Against DEP Staffers
SRBC Lifts Drilling Water Withdrawal Restrictions
DEP Secretary: Politics Should Not Overshadow The Real Issues
PUC Delays Final Act 13 Drilling Fee Action
Letter: Sen. Mary Jo White- Act 13 Is Good Law
Letter: DEP Secretary Criticizes Wilkes Drilling Report
State Official Disputes Plan Language Analysis Of Drilling Law
Health Department Receives Fewer Than 30 Drilling Health Complaints
Shell, DEP Begin Work On Ethane Cracker Permits
Chesapeake Bay Standards Prompts Waynesboro Sewer Plant Project
Grants To Help Lancaster Farmers Cleanup Chesapeake Bay
Op-Ed: Susquehanna River Clearly Needs Help
Ethanol, Environmental Mandates Blamed For Philly Refinery Woes
Lancaster Farmland Trust Targets State Budget Cuts
Lancaster City Set To Put Green Tech To Bid
Contest In Memory Of Young Environmentalist Marks 20 Years
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday
Editorial: Revelations On Nuclear Plants Sound Warning
Editorial: Momentum For Cleaner Air
Editorial: Illegal Dumping Drains Philadelphia
Federal Court Rejects Whistle-Blower Claim By Ex-DEP Employee
Presque Isle Staffers Rescue Kingfisher
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2012 Heritage Partnership Awards

The Heritage Conservancy in Bucks County is now accepting nominations for its 2012 Heritage Partnership Awards Program.  The deadline for nominations is April 27.
            The awards honors and recognizes individuals, organizations, government agencies, community groups and leaders who have made significant contributions in the areas of land conservation, historic preservation, watershed protection, sustainable agriculture, livable communities and the environment at large.
            The awards bestow a lasting legacy to those who have excelled in the preservation of our natural and historic heritage.
            Award categories include: land conservation, historic preservation and community leadership and grassroots partnership.
            For more information, visit the Heritage Awards Program webpage.  Questions and nominations should be sent to:

Applications Now Being Accepted For New USDA Wildlife Program

Pennsylvania farmers and forest landowners are urged to sign up now for assistance to protect and restore habitats for the northern bog turtle and golden-winged warbler through the Working Lands for Wildlife Partnership. 
            Applications received by April 30 will be considered in the first round of ranking.
            Working Lands for Wildlife is a new partnership between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to enhance natural resources by improving and protecting wildlife habitat.
            Working Lands for Wildlife is funded through USDA’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), which shares the cost of conservation practices with landowners in areas known to support one or both of these selected species.
            Examples of conservation practices that improve habitat for bog turtles include wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, brush management, and fencing; and for golden-winged warbler, early successional habitat management.
            Interested producers and landowners in targeted areas can enroll in the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program on a continuous basis at their local NRCS field office, but are encouraged to apply now while funds are available. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

(Reprinted from the April 25 issue of DCNR's Resource online newsletter.)

Wednesday NewsClips

Study: Shale Gas Development Causing Rapid Landscape Change
Covanta Energy Introduces Waste-To-SynGas Technology
Pittsburgh Region's Air Quality Ranked Subpar
Lackawanna/Luzerne Air Quality Continues To Improve
Air In Lancaster Getting Worse
PPL Nuclear Plant Turbine Blades Crack Again
Regulators Fear Invasive Alga Along Delaware River
Editorial: Casey Speaks Up For Locks And Dams
Chester County Bank Fills Green Vehicle Financing Gap
Click Here PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

EPA Legacy Sediments Workshop Set For May 9-10 In Lancaster

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Franklin & Marshall College and LandStudies, Inc. are hosting a Legacy Sediment Workshop in Adams Auditorium-Kaufman Hall on the F&M campus on Mary 9-10 in Lancaster starting at 8:30.
            Legacy sediments are those sediments that have accumulated behind dams built on streams in the late 17th through mid 19th centuries to provide water power to run various types of mills (e.g., grain, sawmill).  
            These defunct and mostly in-place dams have resulted in radical modifications to streams, including unnatural high stream bank walls and stream and wetland contours; an historic loss of wetlands; and excess sediment scouring during storm events with a resultant increase loading of nutrients and sediments downstream. 
            Legacy sediments provide opportunities to significantly improve stream water quality, increase riparian wetlands, and reduce nutrient and sediment loads downstream.  Approaches to stream restoration used today typically do not account for legacy sediments and may fail or, in fact, exacerbate sedimentation problems.
            This workshop will discuss legacy sediment impacts, opportunities for mitigation, restoration techniques, and implications to aquatic resource programs.
            For more information, visit the Legacy Sediment Workshop webpage or contact David Rider, U.S. EPA Region 3 by sending email to:

Tuesday NewsClips - Primary Election Day

Hikers Asked To Track Marcellus Activity
Landowners Say Natural Gas Companies Duped Them
Congressional Hearing On Wildlife, Wetlands In Delaware Basin
Sunoco Announces Bidder For Philadelphia Refinery
Sunoco Seeks To Sell Stake In Refinery
Carlyle Groups Discussing Sale Of Sunoco Refinery
Gasoline Prices Cheaper In Ohio
Former DEP Administrator Fired For Racial Slurs, Threats
Governor Declares Emergency Due To Snow In Western PA
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lyme Light Youth Fashion Show By Montgomery County Lyme Disease Committee May 5

On May 5 the Montgomery County Lyme Disease Committee-- MontCoLyme for short-- will host its third annual Lyme Light Fashion Show to raise awareness of Lyme Disease in Pennsylvania.
            (Photo: Lyme youth models Briana Carraher, Josie Gaffney, and Drew Riggle take a break from their runway rehearsal on Saturday for the Lyme Light Fashion Show.)
            Each year at the fashion show, some of the youth stories are shared as well as the fashions. 
            This year actress and producer Amy Tiehel has volunteered her time to work with students at Montgomery County Community College to film and produce snappy videos of some of the youth models’ stories told in their own words.
            These videos (about two minutes each) will debut at the fashion show between fashion lines.  MontCoLyme’s award-winning educational booth will also supply resources and information.
            Alexandria Hilfiger and Nary Manivong’s high fashion NAHM line will be showcased at this year's show.  Alexandra is Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter who has suffered with Lyme disease.  We are lucky to have up and coming Philadelphia designer Nicole Rae Styer present her styles; Nicole starts with vintage pieces and then redesigns them into something current for a very cool look. 
            The flavor of India will be evoked by designs from Rupalee.  Also represented on the runway will be fashions from Banana Republic, El Quetzal of Chestnut Hill, Old Navy, and Insect Shield’s line of protective outdoor clothes. 
            Sen. Stewart Greenleaf and Rep. Kate Harper will both speak and share their concerns regarding Lyme disease in Pennsylvania.  Julia Wagner, President of MontCoLyme, will impart important awareness and prevention information.
            Pennsylvania is already #1 in Lyme cases in the United States, and this year Dr. Richard Ostfeld, Cory Institute of Ecosystem Studies, predicts a major surge in Lyme disease, warning that the northeast in particular should prepare for this expected increase.  
            Early recognition and treatment are vital.  Lyme is not what you think – it is often misdiagnosed in youth as ADHD, behavioral disorders, learning disorders, or anxiety.  The event is an important educational event for the general public, and an inspiring uplifting event for those currently challenged by these diseases.  Come experience the hope-filled stories of youth and children affected by tick-borne diseases.  
            The fashion show will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Conference Space at College Hall, Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa.  There will be a silent auction and raffle from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
            For more information, visit the MontCoLyme website.

CBF, Partners Call On Court To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its partners have called on Pennsylvania federal court Judge Sylvia Rambo to dismiss a lawsuit filed by agricultural and home building lobbyists who are seeking to abolish scientifically developed limits on pollution that is destroying the Chesapeake Bay.
            “The Fertilizer Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers, the National Association of Homebuilders, and other national organizations are seeking to maximize the economic interests of a few at the expense of all whose health and economic survival depends on the water quality of local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “Their arguments, however, are sorely lacking in both legal and factual basis. We have asked the court to dismiss the suit and uphold the last and best chance to restore this national treasure.”
            As a result of pollution, the Chesapeake Bay is on the Clean Waters Act’s impaired waters list. Jobs have been lost, habitat destroyed, and human health is at risk. While some progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.
            After decades of failed efforts to reduce pollution sufficiently to restore the Chesapeake Bay, in 2010 EPA used its authority to establish pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay states and the District of Columbia then developed individual blueprints for reducing pollution to the hundreds of rivers and streams that feed it.
            The lawsuit contends that EPA did not have the authority to issue the pollution limits, that the public was not granted sufficient opportunity to review and comment, and that the limits are based upon flawed computer modeling and input data.
            EPA’s obligation to develop the pollution limits is established by statute, interstate compacts, judicial consent decrees, a binding settlement agreement, and an Executive Order. In fulfilling that obligation, EPA held hundreds public meetings throughout the watershed to discuss development of the pollution limits and to hear public concerns. Finally, in a letter that assessed the use of the Bay models to develop the limits, leading Bay scientists stated that, ‘In our judgment, the consensus of the scientific community is that they are both useful and adequate for these purposes.’
            “The Bay’s clean-up plan is critical to ensuring that future generations can enjoy a healthy Bay that is abundant with wildlife,” says Jim Murphy, Senior Counsel with the National Wildlife Federation. “The Clean Water Act mandates an end to pollution in the Bay, not that this plan be undone or weakened to accommodate polluters.”
            Reducing pollution in the Chesapeake and its rivers and streams will support the increasing number of crabs, and allow for abundant fish and oyster populations. Economic studies have shown repeatedly that sound environmental policies and a strong economy go hand in hand.
            “EPA’s pollution limits and the blueprints developed by the states are the best chance to restore the Bay,” Baker said. “Saving the Bay and restoring local rivers and streams will benefit our children and future generations. If we don’t succeed we will continue to have polluted water, human health hazards, and lost jobs – at a huge cost to society.”
            CBF’s partners in calling for the dismissal of the lawsuit include the National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, the Jefferson County Public Service District, and the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy.

Monday NewsClips

Activities Planned To Get Earth Week Going Green
Keeping Up With Shale Developments Can Be Difficult
DEP Secretary Speaks About Recent Fracking Legislation
Op-Ed: Marcellus Shale Will Aid State Manufacturing
Clean Water, Healthy Communities Campaign Kicks Off In NE
Water Company Uses Flow To Make Electricity
Soggy Week Could Lessen Fire Threat With No Flood Risk
Expansion Of Susquehanna Warrior Trail
Group Hopes To Plug Hole In Anthracite Mining History
Click Here for today's PA Capitol Digest NewsClps

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Renew Growing Greener: Celebrate Earth Day By Rescuing Keystone Fund

The Renew Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and historic preservation organizations in the Commonwealth, today [Earth Day] called on the Legislature to celebrate Earth Day by rescuing programs that benefit Pennsylvania’s parks, farms and open space from budget cuts.
            “There is no better way to celebrate Earth Day than by saving the programs that protect our land, air and water right here in Pennsylvania,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition. “The legislature should reject the Governor’s proposed cuts to these programs and make long-term, meaningful investments in our parks, farms and open space that ensure they will be around for many more Earth Days to come.”
            Under the current state budget proposal, the Corbett administration has recommended:
-- Transferring $30 million from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund to the general fund, and permanently eliminating this popular and important conservation and recreation program. This is the largest cut in conservation funding in state history.
-- Diverting the state’s cigarette sales tax from its historical purpose of funding farmland preservation to funding the general fund. This is a permanent diversion that will eventually kill this critical program.
-- Continuing the flawed practice of using the Environmental Stewardship Fund to pay the Growing Greener II bond debt service, leaving just $23 million available for Growing Greener programs and projects, the lowest amount of funding in recent decades.
            [Over the last 10 years over $1.8 billion have been cut or diverted from environmental programs to balance the state budget or fund programs which could not get funding on their own.]
            Together, the Keystone, Growing Greener and Farmland Preservation programs have supported thousands of park and trail projects throughout the Commonwealth, preserved thousands of acres of family farmland, conserved thousands of acres of threatened open space and protected hundreds of miles of streams and waterways.
            In addition, they have contributed and leveraged billions of dollars to the Pennsylvania economy by helping to boost tourism, create jobs and generate revenue.
            “Keystone Fund grants to communities protect our most important open spaces.  As land continues to be developed, the parks, greenways, trails and wildlife habitats protected by Keystone become all the more essential to our quality of life,” said Andy Loza, executive director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association. “Keystone creates lasting public assets.  We cannot afford to lose it.”
            Pennsylvania’s land, air and water is facing significant challenges that must be addressed, including:
-- A $400 million list of major maintenance projects at state parks and forests;
-- More than 2,000 family farms waiting to be preserved; and
-- More than 16,000 miles of polluted streams that are unfit for swimming or fishing.
            “Without funding to preserve our family farms, we risk losing locally produced food and the dollars it generates for our economy,” said Karen Martynick, executive director of Lancaster Farmland Trust. “These losses will have long-term consequences for communities across the Commonwealth.”
            Sign The Petition
            Earlier this month, the Renew Growing Greener Coalition announced the launch of a petition drive to urge the General Assembly to reject Governor Corbett’s proposed cuts to, and elimination of, essential conservation and recreation programs in the Commonwealth. The petition generated more than 5,000 signatures on the first day of its launch.
            “Our Legislature needs to rescue these programs from the chopping block,” said Kim Woodward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society. “As we celebrate Earth Day, we encourage Pennsylvanians to tell our lawmakers to save our parks so our children and grandchildren have places to play.”
            The “Stop the Cuts” petition is available online.
            The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and historic preservation organizations in the Commonwealth, representing more than 350 organizations and government entities from across the state. 
            More than 150 government entities, including 37 counties, representing more than eight million Pennsylvanians, have passed resolutions calling for a dedicated source of funding for the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund.

Sunday NewsClips - Earth Day Edition

Beaver Marcellus Group Launches Rapid Response Effort
Earth Day: Push For Local Farm Products Is Growing
Giant, Martin's Food Stores Collect Unwanted Medications
Rachel Carson's Homestead Will Open In June
Hundreds Volunteer For Annual Cleanup At Presque Isle
Park Cleanup Plan Draws Diverse Crowd
Op-Ed: Pittsburgh Parking Lots Should Plant Trees
Masses Of Gypsy Moths Increase  In Lebanon County
Western PA Conservancy Lands On Top 10 Charity List
Utilities Work To Save Power During Heat Wave
Building A Business On Anthracite Coal
Nuclear Evacuation Radius Questioned
Scientists' Concerns About Global Warming Mark Earth Day
How Climate Change Will Affect Pennsylvania
Editorial: Global Warming Is Real, Can't Be Ignored

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 23 PA Environment Digest Now Available

April 23 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this entire Digest.

On Earth Day, Explore Pennsylvania's Natural Resources
By Susan Corbett, First Lady of Pennsylvania

To honor Earth Day on Sunday, I am excited to take a moment to recognize some of the amazing educational facilities and outdoor attractions in Pennsylvania that showcase our continued conservation efforts and make the commonwealth a premier destination for eco-tourism and environmental education.
            Pennsylvania is home to 117 state parks and more than 2 million acres of forests, along with national parks and recreational areas. We have been a model for forestry and conservation throughout our nation's history, beginning with former Gov. Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot was Pennsylvania's 28th governor and first ever chief forester of the U. S. Division of Forestry. 
            Today, our state continues that tradition, offering access to top-notch educational facilities and programming, as well as developing new sites and conservation centers that highlight the efforts to protect and conserve our natural resources.
            For instance, visitors can experience nature firsthand at the Pocono Environmental Educational Center located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in the scenic Pocono Mountains. 
            That center is one of the most respected and recognized residential environmental education centers in the northeastern United States, promoting sustainable living, environmental education and appreciation for nature. The center offers educational programming for visitors ranging from outdoor enthusiasts to the novice traveler looking to learn more about the region's natural surroundings.
            Another premier destination for eco-tourism and environmental education is the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie. Known as the "gateway to Presque Isle," the center serves as a visitor center and research facility, offering interpretive exhibits, a theater, research laboratories and more, all with the goal of teaching visitors about the unique eco-systems of Presque Isle State Park. 
            A scenic, 3,200-acre peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Presque Isle is a National Natural Landmark with sandy coastlines, picturesque views of Lake Erie and numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation including swimming, boating, fishing, birding, hiking and bicycling.
            In addition to the diverse outdoor activities, the state offers a variety of options to sleep under the stars in our parks. Visitors will find many different options from traditional camping and Mongolian-style yurts to a unique stay at the new, eco-friendly Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park near State College.
            The first of its kind in Pennsylvania's state park system, the Nature Inn invites visitors to enjoy an inside alternative to camping with the cozy feel of a bed and breakfast. The Nature Inn recently received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the project's reduced storm water runoff, habitat restoration, rainwater harvesting system, guest room energy monitoring and programs that focus on outdoor recreation and stewardship.
            Inside, the inn features work by local artisans and prints by John James Audubon, the world-renewed ornithologist, naturalist and artist, as well as themed rooms that correspond with the premier interpretive birding opportunities in the park. Outside, visitors can step into Bald Eagle State Park to hike, boat, fish, hunt, view wildlife and more.
            Pennsylvania is truly blessed with rich natural resources and successful conservation facilities. As we celebrate Earth Day, I hope you will take a moment to get outside and explore our great Commonwealth.

Friday NewsClips

Experts Fret Over Water Levels In Western PA
Drought Curbing Gas Drilling In PA
PA Health Official Clarifies Position On New Drilling Law
Gas Drilling Forum Much Less Dramatic This Time
Editorial: EPA Acts For Cleaner Air
York City Goes Green For Earth Day Celebration
Op-Ed: Dreaming Of A Green Christmas
Officials Say Dried-Up Lake A Source Of Pollution
Sunoco Refinery May Have Found At Buyer
Editorial: Keep Your Grub Out Of Garbage
Ex-Coke Plant Site Seeks Developers
Tree Planting To Begin At Flight 93 Memorial
150,000 Trees To Dot Flight 93 Memorial Site
Ex-DEP Claims He Was Fired For Uncovering Fraud
Group Hears About Presque Isle Bay Improvements
Ground Broken For Lake Erie Arboretum Building
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PA Medical Society Statement On Drilling Law Disclosure Requirements

The following is a statement issued Wednesday by Marilyn J. Heine, MD. Dr. Heine is president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and a practicing oncologist and emergency medicine specialist from suburban Philadelphia.
            "Pennsylvania's new law regulating unconventional wells that use hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas has understandably raised some very important questions among physicians, especially those whose medical practices are located in the heart of this burgeoning industry.
            "As physicians, our first priority is the health of our patients. We applaud the Corbett administration and the legislature for enacting a law that forces natural gas drillers to publicly disclose the chemicals they use as part of the hydraulic fracturing process. More importantly, language in Act 13 demonstrates their concern for public safety by empowering physicians, when they need to treat patients, with the ability to obtain from drilling companies "proprietary chemical compounds" not otherwise publicly disclosed.
            "We appreciate Speaker of the House Sam Smith's recent statement that the language in Act 13 will not interfere with a physician's ability to appropriately treat patients, and will in fact facilitate that process. While PAMED agrees that Act 13's disclosure language is as strong as any in the nation, we also reached out to the Corbett administration to clarify physicians' confidentiality obligations under the new law with respect to proprietary information disclosed to them for treatment purposes.
            "Corbett administration officials, along with the Department of Health responded quickly to our query. In a letter to PAMED President Marilyn Heine, Secretary of Health Eli Avila explained:
            "Inherent in [physicians'] right to receive this [proprietary] information is the ability to share the information with the patient, with other physicians, and providers including specialists assisting and involved with the care of the patient. Further, reporting and information sharing with public health and regulatory agencies such as the Department of Health is necessary and permitted. In short, the information can be utilized in whatever manner is necessary to respond to the 'medical needs asserted' by the health care professional."
            "We are gratified by the strong public assurances from the Department of Health, Speaker Smith and House Majority leader Mike Turzai that their intent in drafting the law was for physicians to be able to speak freely with their patients, other health care providers involved in the care of their patients, and appropriate public health officials. Those statements clearly demonstrate their commitment to the health and welfare of all Pennsylvanians.
            "As the unconventional gas drilling industry matures in Pennsylvania, and our understanding of this technology evolves, we're confident that the administration and legislature will continue to be responsive to physicians' concerns for protecting patient health and preserving the patient-physician relationship."

Gov. Corbett Announces 2012 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Gov. Tom Corbett Wednesday announced that 17 environmental projects from across the state will receive the 2012 Environmental Excellence Award.
            “These businesses, schools and organizations have demonstrated a commitment to reducing our impact on the environment, and I commend them for their efforts,” Corbett said. “The winning projects raise the bar for all of us to be more environmentally conscious.”
            Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Krancer will be the keynote speaker at tonight’s Pennsylvania Environmental Council award event at the Hilton in downtown Harrisburg.
“Innovation is paramount to our ability to craft sensible environmental policy,” Krancer said. “We applaud all the award winners for their spirit of innovation and their passion for improving the environment.”
            Gov. Corbett and DEP urged any Pennsylvania business, school, government agency, trade organization, non-profit organization or agribusiness involved in efforts to promote environmental stewardship and economic development to apply for the award. DEP and the non-profit Pennsylvania Environmental Council then reviewed the applications and made selections.
            The winning projects include those focused on abandoned mine reclamation, alternative energy, energy management and the creation of a public compressed natural gas refueling station.  The winners are:
Allegheny County
-- Giant Eagle – Giant Eagle Delivering a Clean Future, CNG Project
-- Propel Schools – Sunflower Fields Forever
-- Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission – Regional Traffic Signal Program
Berks County
-- Anthony Rymar – UGI-PNG former Water Street Manufactured Gas Plant
Butler County
-- Connoquenessing Watershed Alliance Inc. – Thorn Creek Habitat Improvement Project
Centre County
-- Bald Eagle Area School District – Wingate Complex Renovation with Solar, Geothermal and Environmental Center
Clinton County
-- Trout Unlimited – West Branch Recovery Benchmark Project
Franklin County
-- Chambersburg Area School District – CASD Energy Management, Conservation and Energy Star Partnership
Lancaster County
-- ElectroCell Technologies Inc. – ElectroCell Technologies/Snavely Farms Green Cycle Nutrient Trading and Odor Reduction Project
-- Mount Joy Borough Authority – Nutrient Credit Trade and Class A Implementation Program
Luzerne County
-- Earth Conservancy – Espy Run Wetlands Enhancement Project
Montgomery County
-- Greener Partners – Longview Center for Agriculture
Philadelphia County
-- ARCA Advanced Processing LLC – First URT Refrigerator Recycling Plant in the United States
-- PECO, in partnership with the Franklin Institute and the National Energy Education Development Project – PECO Energizing Education Program
-- Zoological Society of Philadelphia – Bird Lake Wetland
York County
-- PA Apiculture Inc. – PennApic Learning Center and Public Outreach Program
-- Sunnyside Farm – Farming without Petroleum

SRBC Suspends 17 Water Withdrawals Due To Low Stream Flows

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission Wednesday announced 17 separate water withdrawals approved by SRBC are temporarily suspended due to localized stream flow levels dropping throughout the Susquehanna basin.     
            The withdrawals are in Bradford (4), Luzerne (1), Lycoming (4), Susquehanna (1) and Tioga (2) counties.
            “Hydrologic conditions have been on a steady decline for some time following a winter with very little snow and below normal rainfall this spring,” said SRBC executive director Paul Swartz.  “As a result of low streamflows in many portions of the basin, 17 individual water withdrawals affecting 10 companies in 5 Pennsylvania counties have been temporarily suspended by virtue of the Commission’s passby flow restrictions.  The majority of those suspended withdrawals are related to water for natural gas development.”
            Under SRBC’s passby flow restrictions, when streams drop to pre-determined protected low flow levels, project sponsors who are required to meet the agency’s passby requirement must stop taking water.  They cannot resume taking water until streams have recovered above the protected level for at least 48 hours.
            SRBC and its regulated project sponsors monitor real-time streamflow data generated by stream gages maintained and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Based on unseasonably low streamflow conditions, SRBC’s passby requirements actually began kicking in as early as February 2012 for certain water withdrawals in northern Pennsylvania.
            Regulated project sponsors are required to install tamper-proof water meters that automatically record their water withdrawals on a daily basis.  SRBC also monitors the USGS gages daily to determine which ones have triggered, and SRBC’s field staff conducts frequent spot-inspections to verify compliance with passby requirements. 
            Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Water Management Deputy Secretary Kelly Heffner said, “The department has been closely monitoring the key hydrologic parameters, including streamflows, groundwater levels, and precipitation deficits as well as soil moisture indexes.  Among the protocols that DEP follows is the 90-day trigger of much below normal precipitation.”
           Swartz said, “If rainfall shortages persist, the Commission anticipates more water withdrawals being suspended, as was the case in 2010 and 2011.  The Commission does not wait for drought declarations to temporarily halt water withdrawals.  Our science-based stream protection system kicks in well before streams drop to critical low levels.” 
            Not all SRBC approvals contain passby restrictions.  Those are the withdrawals where the approved withdrawal amounts are so small that they will not affect the protective levels of streams.  In those cases, companies can continue to take water during low flow periods.
            The suspended water withdrawals include:
Bradford County
-- Chesapeake Energy: Sugar Creek
-- Healthy Properties: Sugar Creek
-- Talisman Energy: Fall Brook at Bense, Seeley Creek at Jones, Sugar Creek at Hoffman, Wappasening Creek at Adriance, unnamed tributary to North Branch Sugar Creek
-- Tennessee Gas Pipeline: Towanda Creek
Luzerne County
-- Eagle Rock Community Association: Abandoned Quarry associated with unnamed tributary to Tomhicken Creek
Lycoming County
-- EXCO Resources: Muncy Creek at McClintock
-- Hughesville-Wolf Township Joint Municipal Authority: wastewater from treatment plant
-- Keystone Clearwater Solutions: Lycoming Creek
-- XTO Energy: Lick Run, Little Muncy Creek
Susquehanna County
-- Carrizo: unnamed tributary to Middle Branch Wyalusing Creek
Tioga County
-- Keystone Clearwater Solutions: Babb Creek
-- Tennessee Gas Pipeline: unnamed tributary of North Elk Run
            The full announcement will be posted on SRBC's website.

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