Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PA Chamber Annual Environmental Conference & Trade Show April 12 In Lancaster

To help environmental managers stay on top of the vast array of new rules and enforcement actions, the Pennsylvania Chamber presents the state's top environmental officials and field experts to provide the answers you need on the new rules and deadlines, best practices and proven advice, and to explain the details on the hottest—and the toughest to figure out.
The Conference will be held at the Best Western Premier Eden Resort & Suites, 222 Eden Road, Lancaster.
Click Here for all the details and to register.

Joint Conservation Committee: Study: Natural Gas Methane Leaks Impacting Local Air Quality

The following article is reprinted from the March Environmental Synopsis newsletter from the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee, Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), Chair.  The article was written by Coleen P. Engvall, Research Analyst with the Committee.

Hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling of natural gas have allowed producers to access vast reserves of the fuel, transforming the American energy sector, as well as the economy. Here in Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Shale region produced as much as 16 billion cubic feet of gas per day in 2016, and production shows no sign of slowing.
Natural gas is relatively cheap and clean-burning when compared to other fossil fuels, such as coal or diesel. However, leaks during the processing of natural gas, where methane can escape during compression, for example, have been speculated to impact local air quality.
Researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia have published a study on the potential air quality impacts of this growing industry. The study, Analysis of Local-Scale Background Concentrations of Methane and Other Gas-Phase Species in the Marcellus Shale, was published in February.
In order to test the relative concentrations of methane and other byproducts, researchers compared ground-based mobile measurements taken in 2012 and 2015, as well as several large scale studies conducted by organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
They measured local concentrations of methane, ethane, carbon monoxide and other chemicals, adding considerations for geography and other compounding variables. They also compared the data to the number of unconventional wells in the area, along with how much gas they were producing.
Their analysis appeared to show that new wells being drilled in the region were not the primary driver of spikes in local atmospheric methane, since the number of new wells declined by over 50 percent from 2012-2015.
From the various measurements researchers used, regions in southwestern and northeastern Pennsylvania did show higher levels of methane, despite this slow-down in new well drilling.
So where was the methane coming from?
By analyzing the composition of the air quality, urban influences and other polluters were ruled out as primary causes. Additionally, the levels of carbon monoxide, which is a byproduct of well drilling, had decreased.
Therefore, the natural gas industry appeared to be the cause of the elevated methane levels, however, the development of new wells was clearly not the cause. Instead, researchers noted that other forms of natural gas infrastructure, such as compressors and pipelines, have increased in the region.
Based on these findings, researchers suggest that the transport and processing of natural gas is responsible for the increased methane. The finding supports the idea of “super-emitters,” which are described as facilities disproportionately responsible for the majority of the natural gas industry’s emissions.
This phenomenon was described in a widely-circulated study published by researchers from Stanford University in 2016.
The researchers acknowledge efforts by natural gas producers to prevent methane leaks, but note that more progress could be made. In order to identify and understand the sources of methane, they also endorse increased air quality monitoring in areas that host unconventional drilling.
Pointing to the few studies that have been conducted that revealed potential dangers, especially to vulnerable groups like children and the elderly, the researchers stress the importance of filling this data gap.
From a policy perspective, regulations have primarily targeted the contamination of water sources. With greater understanding of air quality impacts, the researchers say that methane leaks could also be targeted.
Click Here to read the full report

March Environmental Synopsis Now Available From Joint Conservation Committee

-- American Bison
-- Trout Season Annual Rite Of Passage
-- Lead Standards Put California Workers, Families At Risk
-- Increasing Distance Between Forested Lands Impacts Human Access, Ecosystem Health
-- GAO Knocks Disjointed Federal Food Safety Program
-- Drexel: Natural Gas Methane Leaks Impacting Local Air Quality
-- Conservation History: 38 Years Ago: Three Mile Island Accident
-- Click Here to sign up for your own copy.
May 22 Environmental Issues Forum
The Joint Conservation Committee is scheduled to hold its next Environmental Issues Forum on May 22 to hear a presentation on Pennsylvania’s pollinator population and emerging threats to agriculture and the beekeeping industry. Pollinators play a significant role in the production of fruit and vegetables.
The Forum will be held in Room 8E-A East Wing Capitol Building starting at noon.
Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) serves as Chair of the Joint Conservation Committee.
For more information, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.

PEC: Get Your Hands Dirty With Tree Plantings In Luzerne, Columbia County State Forests

Join the PA Environmental Council, DCNR Bureau of Forestry and Keep PA Beautiful to celebrate Earth Day 2017 by helping with tree plantings in Pinchot State Forest in Luzerne County and Weiser State Forest in Columbia County on April 21-22.
To ensure are enough supplies food and drinks for all volunteers attending, please register online prior to the event
Pinchot State Forest
On April 21 and 22 volunteers will plant 7,480 seedlings — including White Birch, Quaking Aspen and Chestnut Oak — across 10 acres of reclaimed mine lands in Pinchot State Forest.
Volunteers will gather at 9:00 at the intersection of Strip Mine Road and Avondale Hill Road in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County. Planting will continue until 2:00 p.m. both days.
Click Here to register.
Weiser State Forest
Another 3,559 Aspen Shrub Oak, Pitch Pine and Table Mountain Pine seedlings have been designated for planting in the Weiser State Forest on April 22.
Registration for this one-day activity begins at 8:30am at the Weiser Forestry District Building (16 Weiser Ave. Aristes, Columbia County).  After registration volunteers will be bussed to the Weiser State Forest for planting.
Click Here to register.
DCNR has already done the hard work of ripping the soil using heavy equipment in preparation for planting. This will make volunteers’ work much easier — and will also increase water infiltration and tree root expansion.
Due to the rocky, hilly terrain, please note that boots or sturdy shoes are required. We’ll take care of the rest: food, supplies, and portable toilets will be provided, and seasoned Foresters will be onsite to instruct volunteers.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.
Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s new Electronics Waste website.
Sign up now for the 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA and set up your own cleanup and beautification event through May 31.

EPCAMR Looking For More Partners In Tioga, Dauphin On AMD, Education Projects

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation is looking to develop new partnerships with community groups working on abandoned mine drainage (AMD), abandoned mine reclamation, and outdoor environmental education efforts in Tioga and Dauphin counties.
The project is supported by a Watershed Mini Grant from the Western PA Conservancy and Dominion.
The grant will help EPCAMR to attain its primary goals and objectives by supporting efforts to: 1) reach out to additional partners and make them aware of our Coalition’s efforts and technical services offered in the region, in those two respective counties where we work, 2) update them on regional projects and technical assistance of importance to their watersheds, and 3) offer additional free technical and assistance and services to those community leaders and groups with similar goals and desires to clean up their mining impacted watersheds.
EPCAMR has some existing partnerships in those counties with the County Conservation Districts and a few community groups, however, they would like to dedicate some time and effort to creating more awareness and outreach efforts within these two vital counties in the region that have experienced their share of abandoned mine problems and water quality issues dealing with AMD.
Both the Tioga County Conservation District and Dauphin County Conservation District are active member organizations to EPCAMR and have been long-time Coalition partners.
EPCAMR works with the Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee, Tioga River Watershed Reclamation Projects Inc., DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, DEP Moshannon District Mining Office, Hillside Rod and Gun Club, and Blossburg Elementary School.
EPCAMR works with the Wiconisco Creek Watershed Association, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Game Commission, DEP Pottsville District Mining Office, Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Schuylkill County Conservation District, and the Rausch Creek Partners, in the Dauphin County area.
As a regional service provider, with a small professional staff, that are entirely grant funded, it is rare that EPCAMR secures all of the funding necessary that could support our outreach and organizational promotion throughout the year.
EPCAMR, in partnership with the Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, provides additional support for local groups during the annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference, that has been held yearly for the last 19 years.
Click Here for a brochure describing the technical assistance and services provided by EPCAMR.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation website.
(Photo: Bear Creek AMD Treatment Pond A designed and constructed by Skelly & Loy in partnership with EPCAMR and the Dauphin County Conservation District.)

PRC Sets 15 Household Chemical, Drug Hard-To-Recycle Collection Events In Western PA

Mark your 2017 calendar now for dates to drop off a wide variety of materials-- ranging from computers and household chemicals to usable building materials and unwanted medications – at upcoming collection events sponsored by the PA Resources Council and its partners.
“The Pennsylvania Resources Council provides residents of the commonwealth with numerous options to conveniently and cost-effectively dispose of a wide variety of materials,” according to PRC Regional Director Justin Stockdale.  “Since details vary for each of these opportunities, we encourage individuals to visit our website or call PRC at 412-488-7452 for complete details.”
Household Chemical Collection
Individuals can drop off automotive fluids, household cleaners, pesticides, paints and other household chemicals for a cost of $3/gallon (a few exceptions apply), cash only.  NEW IN 2017: collections will accept camp fuel and small propane bottles.  The collection dates are--
-- May 6: North Park, Allegheny County
-- May 20: Concurrent Technologies Corporation ETF Facility, Johnstown, Cambria County
-- July 22: Consol Energy Park, Washington County
-- August 19: Boyce Park, Allegheny County
-- September 16: South Park, Allegheny County
-- October 14: Bradys Run Park, Beaver County
Hard-To-Recycle Collection
Individuals can drop off e-waste such as computer towers and peripheral equipment, cell phones, printer/toner cartridges, CFLs and expandable polystyrene packaging material at no cost.
For a fee, individuals can drop off televisions and computer monitors, alkaline batteries, fluorescent tubes, printers, small Freon appliances and tires.  
The collection dates are--
-- May 13: Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, Frazer Township, Allegheny County
-- June 24: Quaker Valley High School, Leetsdale, Allegheny County
-- July 29: La Roche College, McCandless, Allegheny County
-- August 12: Century III Mall, West Mifflin, Allegheny County
-- October 7: Settlers Cabin Park, Allegheny County
Drug Take-Back Day
Individuals can drop off unwanted and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications at no cost during U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s nationwide Drug Take-Back Day on April 29.
PRC and PA American Water will sponsor three collection events in Western Pennsylvania on April 29 (Green Tree, Mt. Lebanon and Robinson Township).
Nationwide on Drug Take-Back Day, more than 5,000 collection sites will enable patients, caregivers and pet owners to properly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications at no cost.  
Visit the DEA website for a complete list of drop-off locations.
Reuse Fest April 22
This year’s Reuse Fest will be held on April 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in UPMC Passavant Green Lot off Babcock Boulevard, McCandless, Allegheny County
Individuals can drop off items for reuse including medical equipment, usable building materials, clothing, furniture and more. The 6th annual ReuseFest supports local nonprofits including Animal Rescue League, Brother’s Brother, Catholic Charities, Construction Junction, Free Ride, Global Links, Goodwill, MERP (Medical Equipment Recycling Program), Off the Floor and Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
For complete collection event information for Western Pennsylvania, visit PRC’s 2017 Collection Events webpage or call PRC at 412-488-7452.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Resources Council website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates, follow PRC on Twitter or Like them on Facebook.  Click Here for PRC’s Events Calendar.

Western PA Conservancy: Volunteers Needed For Spring Tree Planting Dates

The Western PA Conservancy is seeking volunteers for a series of tree planting events in the Pittsburgh region as part of its Treevitalize and Pittsburgh Redbud Project.
The planting dates run from March 25 to April 22.
Pre-registration is required. Please Click Here and select the event(s) where you would like to volunteer. You can register for multiple events at one time.
You can also register by calling 412-586-2386.
Volunteers are asked to wear long pants, closed-toed shoes and to dress for the weather. All plantings will be held rain or shine. Feel free to bring a reusable water bottle. All necessary tools will be provided by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and our partners.
If you have any questions, contact TreeVitalize at 412-586-2386 or send email to: trees@paconserve.org.
Click Here for all the details.
More information is available on programs, initiatives and special events at the Western PA Conservancy website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, add them to your Circle on Google+, join them on Instagram, visit the Conservancy’s YouTube Channel or add them to your network on Linkedin.

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