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[1THING] Blog: Archive for May, 2017

[ Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Receives Highest Charity Navigator Rating For 3rd Year ]

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County recently earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity monitor. This is the third consecutive year that the organization holds the highest possible rating.
The Sanctuary received this top distinction due to its impressive financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency. Hawk Mountain received an overall score of 92.24, with a perfect score in Accountability and Transparency.
These metrics show that the organization is focused on ethical practices and a solid relationship with its donors and supporters.
“Hawk Mountain’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates it trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “Based on the 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support the Sanctuary.”
Thatcher goes on to explain, “Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that Hawk Mountain Sanctuary exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in the same area of work. Only 25 percent of the charities we evaluate have received at least 2 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Hawk Mountain Sanctuary outperforms most other charities in America.”
Read the full story on the PA Environment Daily blog here.
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[ PUC Alerts Consumers Of June 1 Price Changes For Electric, Urges Customers To Shop For Better Rates ]

Public Utility Commission Wednesday alerted consumers that on June 1 most electric utilities will adjust electric generation prices charged to non-shopping, or default service, customers.
“The upcoming price changes, combined with the increase use of electricity that we typically see during the long, hot days of summer, makes this a very good time for consumers to evaluate their energy options,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “We encourage consumers to carefully review their electric bills, understand the rates they will be paying and explore the PUC’s official electric shopping website, PAPowerSwitch.com, for details on competitive offers, along with tips for energy conservation and savings.”
Read the full story on the Pa Environment Daily Blog here.
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[ EPA Brownfields Cleanup Funding Announced for Earth Conservancy ]

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected 172 communities and organizations across the country including Earth Conservancy in Ashley, Pa., which will receive funding for brownfields site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies.

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”

Earth Conservancy, a non-profit organization in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton areas, will receive $600,000 to clean up mined-scarred properties in Hanover Township and Nanticoke in Luzerne County.

The Hanover Township parcels are located on a 200-acre tract of mine-scarred land that was used for anthracite mining and coal waste disposal until the mid-1970s.  The Nanticoke cleanup will focus on a segment Espy Run that runs through an area that has been used for anthracite mining.  The stream has been impacted by historic mining activity and acid mine drainage.

Earth Conservancy also received a $200,000 Brownfields job training grant earlier this month that will be used to train unemployed residents skills needed for green jobs in areas historically impacted by hazardous waste.

View the list of the FY 2017 applicants selected for funding here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-list-fy17-grants-selected-funding

Overview of the funds being announced today:

  • $25 million to communities who are receiving assessment and cleanup funding for the first time
  • $17.5 million of the assessment and cleanup funding will benefit small and rural communities with populations less than 10,000
  • Recipients will each receive approximately $200,000 – $600,000 in funding to work on individual sites or several sites within their community
  • These funds will provide communities with resources necessary to determine the extent of site contamination, remove environmental uncertainties and clean up contaminated properties where needed.

Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15.2 percent and can increase property values within a one-mile radius of that site. A study analyzing data near 48 brownfields sites shows that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to those brownfields.

As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged as a result of assessment grants and other EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements

About EPA’s brownfields program: https://epa.gov/brownfields

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[ Court decision requires BLM to protect cultural sites, wilderness from off-highway vehicles ]

Kate Mackay

An order issued today by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit clears the way for BLM-Utah to begin implementing a comprehensive settlement agreement that will result in the completion of 13 new off-highway vehicle travel management plans over the next 8 years across eastern a

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[ Trump pulls plug on U.S. climate change commitments ]

Tony Iallonardo

Today, President Trump announced he would pull out of the United States’ commitments to address global climate change. Jamie Williams, president and CEO of The Wilderness Society said: 

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[ As Zinke tours Alaska, TWS report decries proposal to drill Arctic Refuge ]

Tony Iallonardo

As U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke tours Alaska, a newly released TWS report says the Administration’s proposal to drill the Arctic is a mistake.

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[ 6 ways NOAA budget cuts will hurt weather reporting – and Americans ]

Trump’s proposal ignores how science protects American lives and property.

     
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[ What happens after Bears Ears National Monument’s deadline? ]

In the coming weeks, the Trump administration will review comments, and by June 10th, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will make a recommendation about Bears Ears’ monument status.

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[ Trump doesn’t care about climate or these 5 national parks ]

Our parks need climate action, but Trump chooses to go against global consensus and the majority of Americans in favor of controlling fossil fuel emissions.

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[ PA Township Takes On Climate Change ]

It takes a village to save the planet. That’s the message one Pennsylvania township is hoping to send with its resolution on climate change.

Through his work at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Peter Buckland became keenly aware of the impacts of climate change that already are being felt around the world, as well as here in Pennsylvania. In his role as a supervisor in Ferguson Township, he has introduced a resolution which, if adopted, would require the township to develop a strategy for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“I think that it is absolutely incumbent on elected officials who understand the risks, threats and opportunities of climate change to take action,” Buckland said. “It is our duty. It’s our responsibility to do it.”

The resolution is expected to come up for a vote of the Ferguson Township’s Board of Supervisors at a meeting on June 19.

The township itself could take steps to meet its own energy needs with clean sources – such as solar – almost immediately. Buckland said it also can encourage businesses within the township to join in the effort.

“There are things that we can do through zoning, for example, to encourage low-impact development and encourage the adoption of green building practices,” he said.

He noted that if the state were to pass Property Assessed Clean Energy legislation, then the township could give businesses municipally backed loans for clean energy development.

Buckland said the resolution he introduced already has inspired residents of neighboring townships to take similar action.

“Citizens from Harris, Patton, College and Halfmoon townships, and the State College Borough, they’re already talking about taking the resolution as it’s written right now to their own township,” Buckland said.

He added that moves by the Trump administration to abandon the fight against climate change have added a sense of urgency to local actions to reduce carbon emissions.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

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