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[ PSU: Shale Gas Development Spurring Spread Of Invasive Plants In PA Forests ]

Vast swaths of Pennsylvania forests were clear-cut circa 1900 and regrowth has largely been from local native plant communities, but a team of researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has found that invasive, non-native plants are making significant inroads with unconventional natural gas development.

The spread of invasive non-native plants could have long-term negative consequences for the forest ecosystem in a region where the ubiquitous woods provide timbering revenue, wildlife habitat and ecotourism, warns team member Dr. David Mortensen, professor of weed and applied plant ecology.…

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[ Updates Along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail ]

The Lackawanna Heritage Valley recently made a few announcements on some new changes that have been happening along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.  Here’s what they say we can expect to see over the next several months:

The Carbondale Riverwalk is now under construction.  The 1.4 mile section of trail from Downtown Carbondale north to Morse Avenue in Simpson is expeted to open this fall.

The Lackawanna Heritage Valley and Heritage Valley Partners will soon install a 38’ x 60’ pavilion at the Olive Street Trailhead in Scranton.…

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[ DEP Commends Regionalized Approach to Reduce Stormwater Pollution in Luzerne County ]

Department Cites Creation of Local Entity in Luzerne County

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell commended more than 30 communities working together to reduce pollution through the creation of the Regional Storm Water Management Program at an event with state and local leaders in Luzerne County.

“I want to praise the initiative and leadership that these local governments have taken to improve the water in their local streams and rivers,” said Sec. McDonnell. “By working together, these municipalities are reducing pollution less expensively than they could if they were each making these efforts separately.…
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[ Analysis: Public Lands Bring Big Benefits to PA ]

Public lands, national parks and monuments add billions of dollars to the economy and create thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, according to a recent analysis.

Saying their size and number interfere with development, the Trump administration ordered a review of 27 national monuments to either shrink or eliminate protected areas.

In response, congressional Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee released a state-by-state fact sheet on the economic impact of public lands.

It shows that in Pennsylvania, 19 national parks attract 11 million visitors a year, increasing the state’s economic output by almost $750 million.…

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[ Why You Should Have a Water Garden ]

July is National Water Gardening Month.  It’s the perfect time to point out some of the environmental benefits of a water garden:

The negative ions that moving water releases into the atmosphere help to purify the air. If you’ve ever noticed dreamstime_xs_14402470that air smells and tastes fresher near a waterfall or just after a rain storm, you have had a firsthand experience of the impact that these ions can have. A water garden produces a continual stream of negatively charged ions that help to remove toxins and impurities from the atmosphere.…

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[ Chronic Wasting Disease Found In Wild Deer; Elk And Deer Herds At Risk ]

The Game Commission Thursday announced chronic wasting disease has spread to free-ranging deer in Bell Township, Clearfield County, where it previously had been detected only in captive deer.

The CWD-positive buck was shot by a wildlife conservation officer June 7 on State Game Lands 87 because it showed signs of being diseased. Preliminary tests indicated the buck was CWD-positive, and the final results confirm the buck was infected with CWD, which always is fatal to deer and elk.

The buck was within Disease Management Area 3 (DMA 3), which was established in 2014 after surveillance by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture detected CWD at two captive deer facilities in Jefferson County.…

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[ Ozone and Pollen: Double Threat in Pennsylvania ]

A new analysis ranks Pennsylvania high on the list of areas where smog and pollen combine to threaten respiratory health.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s mapping project puts the Keystone State at number five for the percentage of its population subject to the “double whammy” of smog and ragweed pollen.

According to Kim Knowlton, senior scientist at NRDC, the production of ozone, which irritates the lungs, is accelerated by the warmer temperatures caused by carbon pollution.

Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air also have a direct impact on allergy sufferers.…

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[ Volvo Phasing Out Cars Powered Solely By Gasoline Or Diesel ]

Volvo announced that all the new car models it introduces from 2019 onward will be either hybrids or powered solely by batteries. The company’s existing car models will still have combustion engines, but it plans to phase out cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel by 2024. While the strategy has risks, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson, told the New York Times, “a much bigger risk would be to stick with internal combustion engines.” A day later, France announced that the country intends to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040.…

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[ The Tesla Model 3 ]

Production on the first Tesla Model 3, Tesla’s first mid-priced electric car, began last week, and customers will start receiving their sedans at the end of July.  In December, Tesla should be able to produce 20,000 units per month completing another stage of Elon Musk’s Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan. The much-hyped Model 3 will be priced around $35,000, versus the $70,000+ cost of earlier models, and its success (or lack thereof) is expected to make or break the company.…

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[ Federal Facility In Wilkes-Barre Recognized For EPA Federal Green Challenge Achievements ]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday recognized the Department of Veterans Affairs Wilkes-Barre Medical Center in Luzerne County with a regional award for waste reduction, education and outreach.

The facility was one of six organizations nationwide recognized for their achievements in EPA’s Federal Green Challenge competition where participants take steps to improve efficiency, save resources, and reduce costs.

“Federal agencies across the country are doing their part to minimize their environmental impact, in doing so saving American taxpayers millions of dollars,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said.…

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[ EPA Holds Hearing on Methane Rule ]

Pennsylvania parents presented testimony at a public hearing in Washington D.C. on Monday on the EPA’s proposal to suspend a rule regulating methane leaks.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and leaks also include carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene and asthma-inducing volatile organic compounds.

In June EPA administrator Scott Pruitt suspended the rules to stop leaks from new oil and gas facilities for 90 days, then proposed staying them for two years.

Patrice Tomcik, a mother from Butler County and field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, was among those who testified.…

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[ July Is UV Safety Month ]

The UV Index predicts the strength of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Check your UV Index so you know how strong the sun’s rays will be, and avoid sun overexposure.  Don’t sunburn!

-Check your UV Index: https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/uv-index-1
-Action Steps for Sun Safety: https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/action-steps-sun-safety
-Get the mobile app: https://www.epa.gov/enviro/uv-index-mobile-app

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[ Penn State Researchers Working With Sports Venues To Make Them Greener ]

Ecosystem and bioproduct researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are working with professional sports franchises to make their venues “greener” and reduce the environmental impact of their events.

Attaining the goal of sending no materials to landfills after sporting events — instead composting some refuse left by crowds and recycling the rest — is as much a challenge of changing the culture and behavior of the fans as it is developing new, biodegradable packaging and eating utensils, according to Judd Michael, professor in the departments of Ecosystem Science and Management and Agricultural and Biological Engineering.…

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[ EPA Rule Suspension Called “Arbitrary and Capricious” ]

A federal appeals court in Washington has dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s plans to roll back environmental regulations.

Last month EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt imposed a 90-day moratorium on rules regulating emissions from new oil and gas wells, then proposed extending that for two years.

But on Monday, in a 2-to-1 decision, the federal court ruled that Pruitt’s action was arbitrary, capricious, and exceeded his authority.

Peter Zalzal, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, calls the ruling good news for the environment, and for those downwind of gas facilities.…

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[ PA Streams at Risk If Clean Water Rule Repealed ]

The Trump administration has proposed repealing the Clean Water Rule, which protects the drinking water of one in three Americans.

Enacted in 2015, the rule clarifies protections for headwaters, rain-fed and seasonal streams, and protects wetlands that are essential fish and wildlife habitat. Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive of the National Wildlife Federation, said the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday began the process of rescinding those protections.

“The administration’s taking the formal step of undoing those rules and frankly, leaving the drinking water supply of more than 100 million Americans in limbo,” he said.…

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[ Apply Now For DCNR TreeVitalize Tree Planting Grants ]

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and TreePennsylvania Wednesday announced it is now accepting applications for TreeVitalize Tree Planting Grants.  The deadline for applications is August 15.

“Launched on Arbor Day 2004 in Philadelphia, TreeVitalize efforts already have planted more than 350,000 shade trees in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other cities and communities,” Dunn said. “With today’s announcement of grant opportunities, those benefits will be extended across the state and residents hopefully will enjoy them in every county.”

This year applications will be considered in three funding categories: tree planting, urban riparian buffers or community forestry management.…

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[ Can You Unplug? ]

Can you get your child to “unplug” for 100 hours this summer? Can you unplug for that long? OARS, one of the largest rafting companies in the world, is asking you and your family to do just that with the #100HoursUnplugged Challenge. How to participate? Just leave your screen-based lives behind—no texts, television, Facebook, or Instagram—and spend time together outdoors for 100 hours. That can equal a long weekend camping trip, multiple summer hikes, or two hours having fun in your yard or neighborhood park every afternoon for seven weeks.…

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[ 40 Groups Urge Gov. Wolf, DEP To Deny Permits For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline ]

A coalition of 40 community organizations, farms, environmental organizations, and local businesses representing over 436,727 members and constituencies Monday delivered a coalition letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary McDonnell urging the DEP to deny permit applications for the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.

DEP is reviewing the application for this nearly 200-mile Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, which would transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to Maryland for export and to supply gas plants in North Carolina and Florida.

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[ How ‘Green’ is Pennsylvania? ]

Well, the answer would be…greener than some states and not as green as others.

WalletHub recently compared each of the 50 states in terms of 20 key metrics designed to illustrate each state’s environmental quality and the eco-friendliness of its policies. The data set ranges from LEED-certified buildings per capita to share of energy consumption from renewable resources. Read on for their findings, expert commentary and the full methodology.

2017’s Greenest States

 …

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[ Deadline Extended For Northeast Environmental Partners Awards ]

The Northeast Environmental Partners Thursday announced the deadline for nominations for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards, including the Thomas P. Shelburne Award and the Emerging Environmental Leader Award, has been extended to July 19.

The Awards are open to any group, individual, company, program, or organization whose work has had a positive impact on the environment in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s following counties; Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.

The Northeast Environmental Partners include the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, PA Environmental Council’s Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University.…

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[ CBF-PA: No Surprise, Pennsylvania Significantly Off Track In Meeting Chesapeake Bay Milestones ]

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Wednesday released its assessment of the progress made implementing Chesapeake Bay Watershed milestone commitments in 2016 and found Maryland and Virginia largely on track to meet commitments for reducing pollution and Pennsylvania falling significantly short in reducing nitrogen pollution.
“While there is significant room for improvement in all the states, it is important to note that reduced pollution is benefitting the Bay. Over time, the dead zone is getting smaller, Bay grasses are at record levels, and oysters are rebounding,” said CBF President William C.…
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[ State Supreme Court Rules Leasing Public Land for Fracking Betrayed Government’s Constitutional Duties ]

Harrisburg, PA — Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state government must act as trustees for public natural resources under the Environmental Rights Amendment. The decision overturns a lower court decision and rules that the state government did not comply with its constitutional duties to Pennsylvanians when it acted to lease public land to oil and gas interests without directing the profits toward conservation efforts, and that future leasing decisions must include an assessment of the public interest.

The ruling comes in response to a case originally filed by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation in March 2012 over a series of short-sighted government decisions to address state budget gaps through an unprecedented expansion of the state’s oil and gas leasing program.…

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[ Trump’s “America First” energy plan is a losing proposition for industry. Here’s why. ]

How will America’s natural gas industry operate 5-10-20 years down the line in an increasingly carbon-constrained world? The administration forgot to ask.

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[ U.S. House passes bill threatening wilderness across America ]

Tim Woody

By passing H.R. 218 today, the U.S. House of Representatives set a dangerous precedent, approving construction of a destructive, unnecessary road through protected wilderness in the vital Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in the Alaska Peninsula.  

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[ Deputy Interior nominee “unfit” says TWS ]

Alex Thompson

Today the U.S. Senate held a procedural vote for Interior’s deputy secretary nomination of David Bernhardt.

Keywords: 

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[ Secretary Zinke to attend anti-public lands meeting in Denver ]

Kate Mackay

As reported in the Denver Post, Department of the Interior Secretary Zinke will be speaking at the

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Why Reuse A Cup?

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