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[1THING] Blog: Archive for March, 2018

[ Fix That Leak This Week ]

Are you ready to chase down leaks? Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so each year you are encouraged to hunt down the drips during Fix a Leak Week. Mark your calendars for EPA’s tenth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 19 through 25, 2018—but remember that you can find and fix leaks inside and outside your home to save valuable water and money all year long.

From family fun runs to leak detection contests to WaterSense demonstrations, Fix a Leak Week events happen from coast to coast and are all geared to teach you how to find and fix household leaks. See the EPA Event Map to view past events and to find new events near you!

Learn how to find and fix leaks during Fix a Leak Week. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.  Click here.


[ Winter Sports Under Threat in a Changing Climate ]

Winter Sports Under Threat from Climate Change


Adapted from a report by Protect Our Winters

In mountain towns across the United States that rely on winter tourism, snow is currency. For snow lovers and the winter sports industry, predictions of a future with warmer winters, reduced snowfall, and shorter snow seasons is inspiring them to innovate, increase their own efforts to address emissions, and speak publicly on the urgent need for action.

A new report, The Economic Contributions of Winter Sports in a Changing Climate examines the economic contribution of winter snow sports tourism to US national and state-level economies. In a 2012 analysis, Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the winter sports tourism industry generates $12.2 billion and 23 million Americans participate in winter sports annually. That study found that changes in the winter season driven by climate change were costing the downhill ski resort industry approximately $1.07 billion in aggregated revenue over high and low snow years over the last decade.

This analysis updates the 2012 study and furthers our understanding of how warming temperatures have impacted the industry since 2001, what the economic value of the industry is today (2015-2016) and what changes we can expect in the future under high and low emissions scenarios.

Taking another look at the changing winter sports tourism sector in America, we find:

  • The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of US mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the US to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.

  • In the winter season of 2015–2016, more than 20 million people participated in downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, with a total of 52.8 million skiing and snowboarding days, and 11.6 million snowmobiling days.

  • These snowboarders, skiers and snowmobilers added an estimated $20.3 billion in economic value to the US economy, through spending at ski resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and gas stations.

  • We identify a strong positive relationship between skier visits and snow cover and/ or snow water equivalent. During high snow years, our analysis shows increased participation levels in snow sports result in more jobs and added economic value. In low snow years, participation drops, resulting in lost jobs and reduced revenue. The effects of low snow years impact the economy more dramatically than those of high snow years.

  • While skier visits averaged 55.4 million nationally between 2001 and 2016, skier visits during the five highest snow years were 3.8 million higher than the 2001-2016 average and skier visits were 5.5 million lower than average during the five lowest snow years.

  • Low snow years have negative impacts on the economy. We found that the increased skier participation levels in high snow years meant an extra $692.9 million in value added and 11,800 extra jobs compared to the 2001–2016 average. In low snow years, reduced participation decreased value added by over $1 billion and cost 17,400 jobs compared to an average season.

  • Climate change could impact consumer surplus associated with winter recreation, reducing ski visits and per day value perceived by skiers.

  • Ski resorts are improving their sustainability practices and their own emissions while also finding innovative ways to address low-snowfall and adapt their business models.

The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of US mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the US to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.


[ Bureau of Land Management strikes out in third attempt to manage off-road vehicles in California desert ]

Andrea Alday

Unfortunately, BLM’s latest draft closely mirrors prior attempts that a federal court found illegal. The draft plan once again inadequately protects areas with high conservation and cultural values and prioritizes off-road vehicles over other uses.


[ March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week ]

Protect children from accidental poisoning by household substances. Lock up household pesticides, cleaners, and chemicals in a high cabinet out of the reach of children:


[ Outlook for energy and public lands forum, National Press Club March 20 ]

Michael Reinemer

The Wilderness Society will host a discussion for journalists working on energy, environment and climate issues on March 20 at the National Press Club. Panelists will focus on developments and trends from the last year and what that may portend for the year ahead.  


[ Fracking Report Finds Unacceptable Risks ]

The fifth Fracking Health Compendium finds that the oil and gas drilling technique poses high risks to food, water and the climate, and cannot be done safely.

The report is a compilation of the rapidly growing body of scientific research into the process that injects heavily treated water into deep shale formations to free trapped natural gas and oil. According to Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, much of the research into the health and safety concerns of fracking comes from here in Pennsylvania.

“What it shows is that fracking is not safe and cannot be made safe through any regulatory framework,” she says. “And the risks that we had concerns about in the early days, now we have evidence for actual harm.”

Proponents of fracking say 250,000 fracked wells in operation around the country have proved that the process is environmentally safe.

But Steingraber – currently the distinguished scholar in residence in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College – points out that in areas close to fracked wells and infrastructure, there are increased rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments – and among infants, various impacts such as lower birth weight, birth defects, and lower scores on infant development.

“We know from previous research that early life and prenatal exposure to chemicals like we know are coming out of fracking operations are indeed related to these kinds of outcomes,” says Steingraber.

One study looked at a million infants in Pennsylvania and found that incidents of impaired development increased the closer a mother lived to a fracking site.

Steingraber says the research in the report not only documents the harmful effects of chemicals associated with fracking but also examines efforts to mitigate those effects.

“We looked all over the world at many sets of regulations and could find no evidence to suggest that fracking could be done in a way that isn’t a threat to public health,” she says.

She says the research shows that transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 is critical to protecting our air and water, and to avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection


[ PA American Water Now Accepting Applications For Stream Of Learning College Scholarship Program ]

Applications are now being accepted for PA American Water’s 2018 Stream of Learning Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to high school seniors who are planning to pursue careers in the water and wastewater industry. The deadline for applications is March 23.
The program is designed to support outstanding students living in Pennsylvania American Water’s service territories who are charting a course of study in specific fields, ranging from engineering to environmental science.
The company will award scholarships of $1,000 each to 10 students who are selected through the program’s application process. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
— Students must currently live in Pennsylvania American Water service area. (Students can attend a learning institution outside of the company’s service territory.)
— Students must plan to attend a two- or four-year college or technical school, and must plan to study environmental science, engineering, biology or chemistry.
— Students must be high school seniors. (Current college students are not eligible.)
Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and will receive their awards in May. Family members of Pennsylvania American Water employees are not eligible.
The ompany sent scholarship brochures and applications to high school guidance counselors throughout its service territory.
Click Here for more information and an application.


[ Bill Seeks to Reform Biofuels Mandate ]

Environmental groups say a bill now in Congress could reverse damage caused by the 10-year-old Renewable Fuel Standard. Critics of the biofuel mandate say that since its passage in 2007, it has resulted in massive loss of wildlife habitat, strains on water resources and increased climate pollution.

According to Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, the new bill would cap ethanol in gasoline at under 10 percent and invest more than $10 billion in the restoration of habitat lost to the conversion of land to corn and soybean production for ethanol and biodiesel.

“The Greener Fuels Act would move America towards a significantly cleaner and more sustainable biofuel system, he explains. “It’s a home run for wildlife, it’s a home run for water quality, it’s a home run for public health.”

Supporters of the Renewable Fuel Standard say the new bill would undermine some of its environmental benefits.

But former federal environmental protection specialist Lori Kolenda points out that the GREENER Fuels Act would enforce protections that are supposed to prevent converted land from qualifying as a source for biofuel material. She says it’s help Pennsylvania really needs.

“We have such a small percentage of land that can be used for wildlife now,” she laments. “And using it for a crop such as corn is not productive for ecoregions and habitats that we need to protect.”

The bill would also eliminate a loophole that allows older biofuel plants to skirt climate pollution standards.

O’Mara says the GREENER Fuels Act would not only reverse damage caused by the biofuel mandate, it would shift the focus to truly low-carbon, environmentally beneficial fuels.

“We shouldn’t have to choose between healthy wildlife populations and healthy water bodies and cleaner fuels,” he says. “We can do both.”

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection


[ 13 animals that depend on wildlife refuges to survive ]

When an animal is listed under the Endangered Species Act, scientists designate some stretches of land as “critical habitat,” meaning they can provide all the shelter, food and other essentials the species needs. Here is our gallery of a few at-risk species that rely on national wildlife refuges as part of that habitat.


[ Go Green-Scaping ]

March can still be cold but it’s when we begin to think of spring – pruning, lawns, and being outdoors. Get ideas and useful tips on environmentally friendly practices to improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden:

– Reducing waste: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-waste-what-you-can-do
– Pesticide safety: https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol
– Soak Up the Rain: https://www.epa.gov/soakuptherain