Friday, March 7, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
A program introduced five years ago to fund solar programs in Pennsylvania is now out of money, but advocates say that hasn’t plunged the industry into darkness across the state.
The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program zeroed out at the end of 2013 after providing more than $100 million in rebates to help fund solar electric and solar hot water projects for homeowners and small businesses.
Ron Celentano, president of the Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association, says the state has plenty of what it takes to warrant solar energy investments.…
Thursday, March 6, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Now well into its second decade, Groundwater Awareness Week spotlights one of the world’s most important resources — groundwater
Who should be “aware” of groundwater? Quite simply, everyone
Visit the National Ground Water Association’s website here
to find out how to get involved.…
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | By Tracy | No Comments
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched its annual live, 24-hour-a-day webcast of a nesting pair of peregrine falcons who live on a ledge of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg. The falcons typically renew their pair-bond around Valentine’s Day.
Three high-definition (HD) cameras will chronicle the falcons’ activities while streaming the footage live on the internet to viewers around the world. Around the time the first egg is laid, an additional HD camera will be set up for an intimate view into the nest.…
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report today that found green infrastructure can be a cost effective solution to controlling stormwater while providing numerous economic benefits. Using the City of Lancaster as a case study, EPA sought to quantify the economic benefits associated with utilizing green infrastructure for controlling wet weather pollution.
“Cities like Lancaster are leading the way in creating cost-effective and innovative solutions to the stormwater challenges we face today,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.…
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Today New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras with fabulous parades, flamboyantly costumed partiers (as well as some not very costumed partiers), and, of course, those ubiquitous beads. The plastic strands are tossed into the crowd from passing floats, a tradition dating back to the 1920s. Each float rider throws about $1,000 worth of the stuff.
The traditional colors of purple, gold, and green symbolize justice, power, and faith. Lofty notions, but after the party’s over, the throwaway necklaces add to the enormous bulk of trash generated by the festival (the French Quarter alone produces enough to fill three Olympic-size swimming pools).…
Monday, March 3, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
The National Basketball Association is quickly becoming just as famous for getting bottles in bins as it is for balls in hoops. That’s because the NBA has partnered with the National Resource Defense Council to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the world’s preeminent basketball league.
From green building to grassroots activism, the NBA is showing initiative in making professional sports a more sustainable venture.
Read more from the Sierra Club.…
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Pedestrians passing by the Energy Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., on February 19 saw quite a
strange sight—an ultra-modern 18-wheeler, Class 8 tractor-trailer parked outside the headquarters building. This is no ordinary truck—it’s called a SuperTruck, a demonstration vehicle that is part of the Energy Department’s SuperTruck initiative. This program’s goal is to develop tractor-trailers that are 50% more efficient than baseline models by 2015.
Since 2010, the truck has demonstrated a 20% increase in engine efficiency and a 70% increase in freight efficiency, reaching over 10 miles per gallon under real world driving conditions on a Class 8 tractor-trailer.…
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a big victory on Sunday winning the 56th running of the Daytona 500. The environment had a major win that day, too. The Energy Department, NASCAR and Massachusetts-based Acumentrics teamed up to test a transformative clean energy technology behind the scenes of the Great American Race-four fuel cell units as replacements for power generators.
Remote power generators are essential to NASCAR races-from powering the broadcast cameras and spotlights to midway concessions and other race equipment. But power generators have inefficient engines and are quite noisy.…
Monday, February 24, 2014 | By Tracy | No Comments
The Department of Environmental Protection invites middle school teachers, administrators and building managers to a Wednesday, March 6 training workshop in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County on the Keystone Energy Education Program (KEEP) to teach and track energy efficiency in school buildings and homes.
The workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Lawrence and Sally Cohen Science Center’s GIS Lab on the 4th floor at Wilkes University, 84 West South St. Please register by Feb. 26, registration is free.…
Monday, February 24, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Big trucks making their way across Pennsylvania will be held to tighter fuel standards in the coming years. President Obama has directed federal agencies to develop higher fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March of 2016. Peter Shattuck, the director of market initiatives for Environment Northeast praised the environmental rationale for these standards.
“The less energy you use, the fewer carbon emissions are generated, the more savings are produced for businesses; but also, less money (is) flowing out of the region for fossil fuels.”
The standards will affect all vehicles weighing more than 8500 pounds, from large pick-up trucks to 18-wheelers.…
Friday, February 21, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
James Taylor still has Carolina in his mind these days.
The singer-songwriter is starring in a television ad for an environmental group urging North Carolinians to challenge efforts to allow natural gas exploration through hydraulic fracturing in the state where he grew up.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said the ad began running Thursday. A group spokesman would not give a price on the ad buy but said it would run for at least two weeks.
The General Assembly told a state regulatory panel to create rules the industry must follow to participate in the exploration, better known as fracking.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2014 is scheduled for February 23-28. And according to experts with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), it’s a topic that deserves our attention. Non-native plants, animals and pathogens can harm humans and the environment and impact our nation’s economy. The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year.
Invasive weeds can produce skin irritation, trigger allergies and poison pets and livestock. They can clog waterways, kill native trees, and shade out crops, ornamentals and prized native flora.…
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Thursday, February 27th, is International Polar Bear Day. This year, celebrate it as a day of action to reduce carbon emissions by taking Polar Bears International’s Thermostat Challenge.
- On International Polar Bear Day—or starting any day you choose—adjust your thermostat a few degrees (up or down, depending on where you live or the season) to show your commitment to greenhouse gas reductions.
- Pledge to make every day a Polar Bear Day by keeping your thermostat adjusted, insulating your home, or taking other steps to save energy.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
The Sierra Club recently compiled a list of the top five foods that are killing the planet. Making that list are bluefin tuna, conventional coffee, factory-farmed beef, genetically modified corn, and palm oil.
Here’s why they say bluefin tuna should be on the list:
We’ll let Pulitzer Prize–winning food critic Jonathan Gold get on his soapbox for this one: “People need to stop eating BLUEFIN TUNA. Period. It’ll be difficult because bluefin is uncommonly delicious and tends to be served at high-end sushi bars, where the fashion is to say ‘omakase‘ and submit to the chef’s will.…
Friday, February 14, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Despite the political backlash in Pennsylvania and other coal states, a new national survey says there’s strong public support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to limit carbon pollution from power plants.
The poll, commissioned by the Sierra Club, finds that 57 percent of those questioned support the idea, and that more than three out of five support investing in clean energy sources and energy efficiency instead of the traditional mix of coal, oil and gas.
“These results serve as a strong reminder that when we make choices about which path we’re going to take, the voices of American families are loud and clear,” says Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.…
Monday, February 10, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
A group of American celebrities and other activists want President Barack Obama to refuse to sign an international trade agreement until Japan bans the capture and slaughter of dolphins in the fishing town of Taiji.
Backing the effort are Oscar-winning performers Sean Penn, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron as well as TV stars Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner, and many others.
The Oscar-winning 2009 documentary “The Cove” chronicled the dolphin roundup in Taiji and helped spark protests over the annual hunt and ensuing slaughter.
Thursday, February 6, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
At the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C. today, officials from the Energy Department, NASCAR and Sprint Corp. announced the companies’ participation in the Department’s Workplace Charging Challenge — a collaborative effort to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold. The Challenge also supports the broader efforts of the Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.
“In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy that expands fuel choices for American drivers and protects our communities nationwide,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.…
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
The monarch butterfly is in grave danger.
A recent study found the number of monarchs hibernating in Mexico had reached an all-time low, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) news release reported.
Only 1.65 acres of Mexican forest was inhabited by hibernating monarchs in December of 2013, that’s a 44 percent drop since only the year before. The numbers are the lowest they have been since the beginning of the annual survey in 1993.
The number of hibernating monarchs in the forests of Mexico indicates how many of the insects have made the 2,500-mile migration from Canada and the U.S.…
Monday, February 3, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
A long-held belief about old trees has been uprooted. A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey finds that trees’ growth rates do not slow as they get older and larger. Instead, they keep putting on mass along with their years.
According to the study’s lead author, Nate Stephenson, a forest ecologist with the USGS, if people did the same, we’d weigh well over a ton by retirement. For trees, the finding changes what we know about how they store carbon, and has implications for forest management.…
Friday, January 31, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
The show is going on.
SeaWorld Orlando on Wednesday announced performers Alan Jackson and Kid Rock will headline a concert series in which nine other performers dropped out following the release of a documentary critical of the marine park.
Jackson will perform this Saturday at the Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series, followed by Kid Rock on Sunday. Other performers haven’t been announced.
Nine recording artists had backed out of performing at the SeaWorld Orlando concert series, including country singers Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, as well as rock performers Heart, 38 Special and Barenaked Ladies.…
Thursday, January 30, 2014 | By ShanB | No Comments
Today at the 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy announced grants to four research institutions, including Pennsylvania State University Center for Integrated Multi-scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions, for innovative and sustainable water research to manage harmful nutrient pollution. Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems,
and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways.
“These grants will go towards research to help us better manage nutrients and better protect our precious water resources from the dangers of nutrient pollution, especially in a changing climate,” said Administrator McCarthy.…
Monday, August 5, 2013 | By ShanB | No Comments
Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on the hit AMC series, says animal suffering in laboratories needs to stop ‘right here, right now.’
“Scores of countries around the world are beating the U.S. to become cruelty-free by banning cosmetics tests on animals,” he writes. “Nobody wants rabbits or guinea-pigs to suffer for our vanity, least of all the animals.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 | By Great Energy Challenge | No Comments
Istanbul, the only city in the world that spans two continents, is a perfect setting for a close look at the energy and sustainability challenges of our increasingly urban planet.
With 14 million people, Istanbul is the largest city in Europe. But energy demand here and across Turkey is growing at a rate more typical of much of Asia–about 45 percent per year, says Volkan Ediger, energy systems engineering department head at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University.
Ediger, who served as energy adviser to Turkey’s president under three successive administrations from 1998 to 2010, led the latest in a series of roundtable events convened by National Geographic as part of its Great Energy Challenge initiative, sponsored by Shell.…
Friday, March 7, 2014 | By The Wilderness Society | No Comments
Replete with hoodoos and spectacular rock shapes, visitors may feel they have somehow traveled to a new planet. Round boulders layered with sandstone look like strange eggs.
Friday, March 7, 2014 | By Great Energy Challenge | No Comments
Wind power last year continued its climb toward becoming a significant U.S. energy source, contributing 4.1 percent of the electricity generated in the country, up from 3.4 percent in 2012, according to figures released by the industry Wednesday.
That share still may sound puny, but consider that in 2000, wind was at a barely perceptible 0.1 percent, and it wasn’t until 2008 that it edged over the 1 percent mark. So it’s been on a steep growth trajectory lately, and in some states, wind is now a major producer: More than a quarter of South Dakota’s and Iowa’s electrical generation came from wind in 2013, and nine states – including Minnesota, Colorado and Oregon – were over 12 percent.…
Friday, March 7, 2014 | By Great Energy Challenge | No Comments
Late Monday night, the Parks Commission in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut voted to approve the placement of a solar-panel array atop an old, disused landfill.
The project, which will consist of approximately 9,000 solar panels and a small fuel-cell facility, is expected to bring the city $7 million over 20 years in lease payments from UIL Holdings — the parent company of United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas, and several other power companies.
According to UIL spokesman Michael West Jr., the project will have a capacity of 2.2 megawatts from solar and 2.8 megawatts from fuel cells, enough to power 3,000 households annually, under best-case conditions.…