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Category Archives: Environment

July 4 Marks PA’s Second Fish-for-Free Day

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​HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 26) – Families and friends visiting Pennsylvania’s state parks, lakes and other popular outdoor spots over the Independence Day holiday can enjoy a day of free fishing, thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

Wednesday, July 4, marks the second of two free fishing days in the Commonwealth. The first was May 27.

First established in 1984 as part of the PFBC’s public outreach efforts, Fish-for-Free days allow anyone – residents and non-residents – to legally fish in Pennsylvania without a fishing license. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania’s waterways. All other fishing regulations apply.

“The dates around Memorial Day and Independence Day were chosen because they are popular picnic and camping days, with many families already spending the day at lakes and parks throughout the state,” said Steve Kralik, director of the PFBC Bureau of Outreach, Education and Marketing. “Fish-for-Free days offer an easy, convenient way to introduce friends and family to the sport of fishing, or to reconnect with the sport if someone hasn’t fished in some time. On these days, individuals can fish at no cost.”

To make the fishing experience more convenient, people can borrow equipment from dozens of fishing tackle loaner sites across the state. Many of the sites are at state parks, which are always a popular place for visitors on the Independence Day holiday. Loaner sites are also available at county parks and some public libraries.

Click here for the list of loaner sites.

More information is available on the PFBC website, which includes interactive maps, regional fishing reports, and tips on fishing fundamentals.

Smartphone users can view the information through the PFBC’s free FishBoatPA smartphone app, which is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app has been downloaded more than 105,000 times.

To continue your fishing experiences after this free fishing day, please visit GoneFishingPa.com to purchase your 2018 or multi-year fishing license.

Fish & Boat Commission Reminds Boaters – Don’t Let Boating Under the Influence Sink a Good Time

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​HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 26) – As the busy July 4th holiday approaches, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) waterways conservation officers (WCO) will be focusing on keeping boaters safe by cracking down on boating under the influence (BUI) as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign, which runs from June 29 – July 1.

In partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the PFBC is working to increase boater awareness of the hazards associated with boating under the influence, and to decrease the number of accidents and deaths attributed to impaired boating and other unsafe boating practices.

“As a part of the community ourselves, we want to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers, and anyone enjoying our waters have a safe place to spend their time on the water, ” says Col. Corey Britcher, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, and noise on a boat.

“Choosing to consume alcohol while boating puts everyone at risk, including passengers and people in the water,” he adds. “Our goal is to remove anyone choosing to operate a vessel impaired and to keep everyone else safe.”

Last year across the state, 15 individuals died in boating accidents. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 3 of the cases.

Throughout the weekend and through July 4, boaters will notice an increase in the numbers of officers on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. This effort will result in the removal of impaired operators, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters this boating season.

So far this year, PFBC waterways conservation officers have arrested 12 individuals for boating under the influence:

  • Allegheny County, Allegheny River – 2
  • Centre County, Sayers Lake – 1
  • Crawford County, Conneaut Lake – 1
  • Huntingdon County, Raystown Lake – 3
  • Dauphin County, Susquehanna River – 3
  • York County, Susquehanna River – 1
  • Union County, Penns Creek – 1

Waterways conservation officers arrested 68 individuals in 2017; 90 individuals in 2016; 48 individuals in 2015; 93 individuals in 2014; 90 individuals in 2013.
Filtered by region, WCOs in 2017 arrested the following number of individuals for BUI:

  • 7 in Northwest Region (Counties – Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren)
  • 16 in Southwest Region (Counties – Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland)
  • 14 in Northcentral Region (Counties – Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Union)
  • 19 in Southcentral Region (Counties – Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, York)
  • 6 in Northeast Region (Counties – Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming)
  • 6 in Southeast Region (Counties – Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill)

“Many boaters may not know that the threshold for BUI is the same as with motor vehicles – 0.08 percent,” added Britcher. “If you are found to be impaired and operating a boat you will be arrested.”

Tips to staying safe on the water this summer include:

Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths*. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.

Wear your life jacket. 85% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket*.

Take a boating safety education course. 71% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known*.

Visit operationdrywater.org for more information about boating under the influence.

EPA Plans to Award $213,000 to Erie County, Pennsylvania for Water Quality Monitoring at Beaches

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Water Quality Monitoring at Beaches

PHILADELPHIA (June 27, 2018) – As peak beach season arrives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award approximately $213,000 to Erie County Pennsylvania to develop and implement beach monitoring and notification programs along the shores of Lake Erie.

Enjoying the beach is a quintessential pastime for Americans every summer,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through EPA’s BEACH grants, we are ensuring communities across the country can keep their beaches safe and enjoyable for all.”

Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, EPA awards grants to eligible state, territorial and tribal applicants to help them and their local government partners monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches.

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic office expects to award the funds to Erie County contingent upon eligibility requirements and availability of funding.

“In addition to helping measure pollution in the water near beaches, EPA is pleased to help states, tribes, territories, and local governments inform people about the threats to beaches and opportunities to protect them,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Through this program, EPA is improving public access to information about the quality of water at our beaches.”

When bacteria levels are too high for safe swimming, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach.

Since 2002, state and local governments, territories, and tribes have used more than $157 million in EPA BEACH Act grants to monitor beaches for fecal indicator bacteria, maintain and operate public notification systems, identify local pollution sources, and report results of monitoring and notification activities to EPA. Grant funding under the BEACH ACT is part of a broader EPA effort to find and eliminate sources of water pollution that contribute to beach closures.

For more information about what EPA is doing to protect America’s beaches: https://www.epa.gov/beaches/learn-epas-role-protecting-beaches

As EPA Repeals and Delays, Environmentalists Turn to Courts

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Environmental advocates say the federal courts are serving an increasingly critical role in protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Since Scott Pruitt took over as Environmental Protection Agency administrator, he has repealed or delayed more than 30 environmental regulations, including bedrock provisions of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. According to Patrice Simms, vice president for litigation at the environmental law firm EarthJustice, that organization already has filed 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration to try to preserve regulations that protect public health.

“The agency is undertaking this effort largely without the benefit of clear justifications and detailed records and data that explain what the agency is doing, why it’s doing it and what the impacts will be,” Simms said.

The administration claims that environmental regulations slow economic growth. But critics contend that the EPA disregards the economic value of preserving public health and the environment.

For example, 17 Pennsylvania counties are out of compliance with minimum standards set by the Clean Air Act. Simms said when the EPA rolls back regulations, creates loopholes or delays enforcement of clean air rules, communities and individuals pay the price.

“It will be harder for those counties to come into compliance,” he said. “And that non-attainment, that dangerous level of air quality, will last longer and end up affecting more people.”

Smog increases the risk of heart disease, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments.

Several states, including Pennsylvania, have joined in lawsuits challenging the repeal or delay of environmental regulations. Simms pointed out that non-governmental groups have turned to the courts as well.

“Our clients are often community groups, farmworker communities, sometimes other nonprofit environmental and public-health organizations, scientists,” he said; “and we will continue to hold the government accountable to the law.”

Simms added that the EPA is increasingly challenging the legal standing of those who file lawsuits against it, and bills introduced in Congress could block some legal challenges.

Top 10 NASA iTech Energy Cycle Finalists Announced

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The NASA iTech Energy competition has selected the top 10 finalists to present their game-changing technologies at a forum next month in New York. The 2018 NASA iTech Cycle II Energy is a collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Department (DOE) of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to find and foster innovative solutions for critical energy challenges on Earth and in space.
The 10 finalists were selected by a multi-disciplinary team of experts from NASA and ARPA E. The finalists will present June 13 and 14 at the NASA iTech Energy Forum, hosted by Citi Global at its headquarters in New York City. Representatives from NASA, DOE, other government agencies, industry, potential investors and others from across the United States will listen in as the finalists for NASA iTech share their innovative ideas.
“I look forward to seeing these 10 finalists present their ideas at the upcoming iTech forum in New York”, said Kira Blackwell, NASA iTech program executive in the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This is a unique opportunity to present their technologies at an event convening two federal agencies and hosted by a global private sector bank seeking solutions to common energy challenges.”
The competition invited applicants to submit their concepts for: Fuel Cells and Regenerative Fuel Cells, High-energy-density Batteries and Supercapacitors, Solar Power Systems, Small Fission Power Systems, Innovative Power Management and Distribution and X-Factor Energy. The final category included entries that may not fit within a specific energy focus area but clearly demonstrate the potential to fill a critical need for NASA and humans on Earth.
The top three teams selected at the forum will be recognized during a nonmonetary awards ceremony on June 14 and will be available for interviews. Media interested in covering the forum should contact Gina Anderson at gina.n.anderson@nasa.gov by June 8 to register.
The top 10 NASA iTech Energy Cycle finalists are (in alphabetical order):
·AsterTech, LLC, Beavercreek, OH
3D Additive Manufacturing of High Efficiency and Light-Weight Solar Cells for In-Space Applications
·ATEIOS, San Diego, CA
Printed Batteries for Ubiquitous & Conformal Electronics
·Atomos, Denver, CO
Splitting the Atom to Connect the Planets: A Commercial Nuclear Power System for Space Operations
·Environment and Energy Benefit Co., West Sacramento, CA
BBB: X Factor Liquid Fuel
·iFeather, Boulder, CO
In-situ Fabrication of Extraterrestrial Aerogels for Transparency, Heat, and Energy Regulation (iFEATHER) for Habitat, Aeronautic and Space Vessel, and Space Suit Applications
·The Pennsylvania State University – Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University Park, PA
Lightweight Monolithic Microcell CPV for Space
·Stanford University – Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford, CA
Two C: Transportation Electrification through Ubiquitous Wireless Charging
·University of Michigan and Unified Solar Collaboration, Ann Arbor, MI
Photovoltaic Cell-Level Power Balancing Using Intrinsic Energy Storage for High-Efficiency, High-Reliability Solar Power
·V-Glass, Pewaukee, WI
Vacuum Glass for R-10 Windows
·WBGlobalSemi, Inc., Lakewood Ranch,
Commercializing High Power Silicon Carbide (SiC) Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs) and Power Modules for Power Management and Distributed Power Applications
NASA iTech is an initiative by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia.
To watch the teams present their ideas live on June 13 (9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT) and June 14 (9:10 a.m. – noon), visit:
For information about the NASA iTech initiative, visit:
For information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:

DEP to Hold Public Hearing for Rolling Hills Landfill Expansion Application

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​The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will host a public hearing to obtain comments regarding the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority’s Major Permit Modification Application to increase the capacity of the Rolling Hills Landfill, located in Earl Township, Berks County. The hearing will be held Thursday June 7, 2018, from 6:30 PM until 9:00 PM at the Earl Elementary School, 22 School House Road, Boyertown, PA 19512. Doors will open at 6:00 PM.

The application is for a lateral and vertical expansion of 14.9 million cubic yards. The expansion, if granted, would add an additional 17.3 years of capacity to the life of the landfill.

Individuals will have the opportunity to present up to five (5) minutes of verbal testimony. Comments must be limited to the conditions of the permit application. Groups are asked to designate one speaker. Relinquishing of time to other speakers will be prohibited. All presenters should bring at least one copy of their comments and exhibits tor submission to DEP.

Those who wish to present testimony are asked to register in advance by contacting John Repetz at jrepetz@pa.gov or 717-705-4904. Registration will be taken through Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Individuals will be called to testify in the order they registered. Time permitting, those who did not register in advance will be given the opportunity to testify. The hearing may conclude earlier if all testifiers in attendance have spoken prior to the designated end time.

Written comments may also be submitted until June 15, 2018. They may be mailed to John Oren, DEP Waste Management Program, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110, or emailed to joren@pa.gov. All comments, oral and written, will be considered by DEP during its review of the permit application.

The permit application is available for public review at the DEP South-Central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110, Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Please call 717-705-4732 to make an appointment., It can also be accessed on DEP’s South-Central webpage at http://www.dep.pa.gov/southcentral.

Individuals who need an accommodation for the hearing as provided for in the American with Disabilities Act should contact John Repetz at the number listed above, or make accommodations through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984.

Planting Ten Million Trees for Clean Water

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A statewide partnership launched a major effort Tuesday to help protect rivers and streams by planting 10 million trees in the state by the end of 2025.

Trees planted next to streets and waterways form natural buffers to keep sediment and pollutants from reaching the water. The Keystone State failed to meet its goal of having 60 percent of its practices to clean up rivers and streams in place by the end of last year.

Harry Campbell, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, said the project is critical to putting the state on track to meet its obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

“By putting our resources in this partnership,” he said, “we will substantially galvanize our efforts toward cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and our rivers and streams.”

He said the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership will put special emphasis on planting trees in Lancaster County and south-central Pennsylvania.

About 19,000 miles of rivers and streams in the state are impaired by sediment, agricultural runoff and the legacies of coal mining. Campbell said trees are the most cost-effective tools for cleaning and protecting the water.

“In fact,” he said, “streamside trees are the second leading best-management practice that Pennsylvania is relying upon to meet its Chesapeake Bay commitments.”

The state is required to have all its practices to restore rivers, streams and Chesapeake Bay in place by 2025. The partnership consists of national, state and local agencies, conservation groups, businesses and individuals.

Campbell acknowledged that planting millions of trees over the next seven years will be a challenge.

“Together, with our collective experience, ingenuity and enthusiasm, we can do this,” he said. “As a partnership, we will do this.”

When complete, he said, the project could achieve as much as two-thirds of the 95,000 acres of forested buffers called for in the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Blueprint.

More information is online at tenmilliontrees.org.

Wolf Administration Joins in Tree Planting Event to Kick Off “Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership” to Improve Water Quality

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 Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today joined in a streamside tree planting event at a farm in Lancaster County to kick off a local, state, and federal partnership to plant 10 million trees to improve water quality in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding participated in planting about 100 trees along Little Chiques Creek. They were joined by farm owner Rodney Garber, EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker, Lancaster County Conservation District Manager Chris Thompson, Future Farmers of America students, and a host of water conservation organizations.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation coordinates the “Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership,” supporting the effort with federal and private funding as well as some of more than $800,000 in state funding provided to the foundation from the DEP Growing Greener Plus and Environmental Education Environmental Justice Grant Programs and the DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program.

The goal is to plant 10 million trees by the end of 2025 to help Pennsylvania make significant progress in reducing nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment levels in streams and rivers.

“We’ve all seen fast-moving uniformly brown water in streams after a rainstorm, and many people have come to take it for normal,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It’s not. It’s sediment—literally the earth beneath our feet—eroding from banks to damage water quality and aquatic life.

“With 43 counties in the Bay watershed, Pennsylvania faces a great challenge to restore local water quality and help farms, towns, businesses, and residents make changes to prevent further pollution. The only way to meet the challenge is to combine innovative ideas with committed partnerships, as the Keystone 10 Million Trees initiative demonstrates today.”

“When we look at solutions for some of our conservation challenges, such as managing stormwater from very heavy rain events, having clean drinking water, and providing habitat for fish and wildlife, it turns out that trees are the answer,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We are excited to work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and many other partners on this movement to plant trees along streams and in communities across Pennsylvania.”

“A farm is the perfect place to kick off this initiative,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Prosperous farms and a safe, abundant food supply depend on clean water, and a clean water supply depends on strategic farm management practices like forested buffers. Pennsylvania’s farmers are key to clean water for our region and we are pleased to support them as stewards of our resources.”

While the partnership will plant trees throughout Pennsylvania’s part of the Bay watershed, special emphasis is placed on five southcentral counties, where land is under intensive agricultural use, which collectively put more than 30 million pounds per year of nitrogen pollution into local waters.

Trees will also be planted in parks, on municipal properties, and on private properties. Trees are cost-effective tools to filtering and absorbing polluted runoff, stabilizing streambanks, and improving soil quality.

By the end of April, the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership will plant more than 30,000 trees at over 50 locations.

Wolf Administration to Join in Streamside Tree Planting to Kick Off Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership for Cleaner Water

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Harrisburg, PA –  The secretaries of the Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and Agriculture will participate in a streamside tree planting at the Garber Farm in Lancaster on April 24 to kick off the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership to reduce pollution in local streams and rivers.

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn, and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will join about 100 participants in the planting, including farm owner Rodney Garber, EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker, Lancaster County Conservation District manager Chris Thompson, Future Farmers of America students and Trout Unlimited members.

Supported by more than $800,000 in state funding through Growing Greener Plus, Environmental Justice, and Riparian Forest Buffer Grants, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation coordinates the partnership, with the goal of planting 10 million trees in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by 2025.

WHAT:
 Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership Launch Event
WHEN: Tuesday, April 24, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
WHERE: Garber Farm, 706 Milton Grove Road, Manheim, PA 17545

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Data on Oil and Gas Well Structural Soundness

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Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released the first four years of data on well structural soundness submitted by thousands of Pennsylvania oil and gas well operators. A comprehensive analysis of the first year, 2014, shows that the majority of wells in the state are being operated in a manner that greatly reduces the risk for groundwater impacts.

“Our Mechanical Integrity Assessment Program is the most rigorous routine well integrity assessment program to protect groundwater in the United States,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We’re committed to protecting Pennsylvanians’ health, safety, and environment through continuous improvement of our regulatory oversight of the oil and gas industry.”

Unconventional and conventional operators are required to inspect wells on a quarterly basis for structural soundness to ensure that gas migration is prevented, leaks are managed, and groundwater is protected. They inspect wells for:
•    Leaks outside the surface casing, which is the outermost casing layer around the well, designed to protect groundwater;
•    Leaks outside the intermediate casing, which is the well casing intended to facilitate safe drilling of most shale gas wells to the depth where gas is found;
•    Gas flows or pressures inside and outside the production casing, which is the deepest casing layer in the well;
•    Escaping fluids (oil, gas, and saltwater); and
•    Severe corrosion.

DEP reviews operators’ submitted data for potential problems and violations.

comprehensive analysis (including file audits and independent site verification) of data submitted in 2014 showed that less than 1 percent of operator observations indicated the types of integrity problems, such as gas outside surface casing, that could allow gas to move beyond the well footprint. The movement of gas or other fluids beyond a well footprint has the greatest potential to result in environmental concerns.

About 30 percent of wells had gas present outside production casing. In some instances, this occurs due to an approved well design that allows for engineered vents. In a properly designed and operated well, gas is kept to the well footprint, and won’t flow into a water supply.

Operator compliance with mechanical integrity inspection requirements has been consistent since the program began, with reports submitted for approximately 99 percent of unconventional wells and about 50-60 percent of conventional wells. DEP district offices are actively working to improve the number of conventional operators who are in compliance. Those who remain out of compliance are individually responsible for a relatively small number of wells.

The Mechanical Integrity Assessment program has provided DEP district offices with useful information for identifying potential concerns at wells and more effectively assessing whether operator intervention is necessary to protect groundwater.

Some operators have introduced corrosion monitoring programs, become more proactive in plugging wells with depleted reserves, and improved the accuracy of their well inventories through coordination with DEP.