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World Rivers Day

World Rivers Day highlights the many values of rivers and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.

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Keep PA Beautiful Invites Schools To Participate In Litter Free School Zone Program

garbageKeep Pennsylvania Beautiful invites schools in Pennsylvania to participate in the Litter Free School Zone Program, a comprehensive program that encourages young people to play an active role in protecting and improving our environment through recycling, litter awareness, and community stewardship.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a sign recognizing the participating school as a Litter Free School Zone. The school, in turn, organizes two cleanup or beautification events per year.

There are currently over seventy schools that participate in the program. All schools are welcome – elementary through high school.

Find out more about the Litter Free School Zone Program here.

Stroud Water Research Center Seeking Activity Patch Designs For Boy, Girl Scouts And Youth Programs

StroudPatchThe Stroud Water Research Center’s Education Department is now accepting proposed designs for an activity patch to be given to Boy and Girl Scouts and to others participating in the Center’s youth education programs. The deadline for entries is September 30.

As a starting point in the creative process, contestants should review the mission and education programs offered by the Stroud Center.

Hand-drawn sketches, computer generated designs, and other types of artwork for the patch are accepted. Be creative and consider patch shape and multiple colors.

The Grand Prize Winner receives a daypack, a free hands-on program at Stroud Center in Chester County for their troop or group, and the artist will be credited with the design on our website and social media.

Top three designs will receive a daypack full of fun materials from the Stroud Center. Winners will be announced mid-October.

Click Here for all the details.

Submissions should be emailed to education specialist Jen Totora at: jtotora@stroudcenter.org. Include your name, age, address, and troop or other youth organization in your email submission.

Pollution Prevention Week 2017: September 18 – 24

Pollution Prevention Week is here!

Pollution prevention means reducing or eliminating sources of pollution to prevent damage to the environment while also eliminating the need for costly controls and cleanup.

Pollution Prevention is the key to saving our planet’s resources and moving toward sustainability.

Whatever type of waste you generate, it is costing you money! By consuming and throwing away less, you will reduce the need to handle, treat, and dispose of waste.

Find out what you can do to eliminate waste and more about Pollution Prevention Week here.

Tree Planting in Lackawanna County

For their 2017 Make A Difference Day project, Entercom Wilkes-Barre/Scranton(parent company of Northeastern Pennsylvania[1THING]) assisted several local organizations planting trees on Wednesday.

Entercom Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, The Lackawanna River Conservation Association, Trout Unlimited, the Lackawanna County Conservation District and others planted trees at Sweeney’s Beach in Scranton and at Leggetts Creek in South Abington Township.

Approximately 40 trees were planted in 2 different locations.

P-P-L Electric Utilities provided trees on Wednesday as part of it’s “Community Roots” initiative.

The “Community Roots Program” aims to provide free trees to counties and municipalities.  Some of fourth grade class rooms also received trees.

The program will be accepting orders for spring 2018 and fall 2018 planting at www.pplcommunityroots.com.

Check out the video from Pa Home Page here.

Which Football Team’s Stadium Uses the Least Amount of Energy

Many NFL stadiums are scoring big on energy savings and tackling waste at the same time—adding even more value to the game day experience:

“These iconic stadiums are using the most innovative technologies and strategies today to save energy and water,” said Jason Hartke of the Building Technologies Office, who spearheaded a recent U.S. Department of Energy report examining how sports teams and venues can save energy. “They’re not just demonstrating great leadership in efficiency, they’re spreading the word to millions of people across the country.”

NFL stadiums are some of the largest sport venues in America. Many of them are more than one million square feet and are in the top 0.1%, by size, of all U.S. commercial buildings. This means they require large amounts of operating energy—but also provide plenty of opportunities for savings.

Find out here how five teams, including Pennsylvania’s own Philadelphia Eagles, are tackling energy.

Fracking Resolution Called “Double Crossing the Delaware”

Conservationists say a resolution passed Wednesday by the Delaware River Basin Commission makes no sense.

The DRBC adopted a resolution calling for a ban of fracking for natural gas within the Delaware watershed, giving environmental groups a solid victory. But according to Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, the resolution also starts the process of formulating rules to allow clean water to be taken from the river basin for fracking elsewhere, and the return of fracking waste to the area.

“So it’s a loss of water for us, and it’s an encouragement and support of drilling and fracking in other communities,” van Rossum said; “which simply is not acceptable.”

The Commission said the resolution simply starts the process of developing rules for water extraction and waste disposal, and there will be ample opportunity for public comment.

But Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said allowing extraction and disposal would be giving the drilling companies the water they need, while potentially leaving those who depend on the Delaware with a superfund site.

“By bringing in fracking waste for processing, storage and discharge, there could be a spill or an accident,” Tittel said. “Or we could have a flood and stuff ends up in the river, killing fish and poisoning our water.”

In a statement to the DRBC meeting in Newtown, Tittel said, “this area is where Washington crossed the Delaware. Commissioners don’t double cross the Delaware.”

Draft rules for water extraction and waste disposal are to be released by November 30, followed by a six-month public comment period.

Van Rossum said the message they want the commission to hear is simple and clear.

“We expect every watershed governor and even the representative for the president to vote for a permanent, total ban on drilling and fracking operations in the watershed, and every aspect of what that means,” she said.

The Delaware River Basin serves as the source of drinking water for 17 million people.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

National Estuaries Week 2017: September 16-23

Since 1988, National Estuaries Week has celebrated the many ways we benefit from healthy, thriving coastal ecosystems. All throughout the country, local organizations including Restore America’s Estuaries member groupsNational Estuarine Research Reserves and National Estuary Programs organize special events, like beach clean-ups, hikes, canoe and kayak trips, workshops and more to recognize the special role these places play in our everyday lives. National Estuaries Week is a terrific opportunity to learn more about estuaries and the perfect excuse to spend time on your local bay!

Get more information about National Estuaries Week, including events in your area, here.

Canoeing to Teach Value of Water Quality

Two dozen students held class in canoes Monday to learn first-hand the importance of clean water. It was the opening day of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s fall 2017 Susquehanna Watershed Environmental Education Program, or SWEEP.

Students from the Steelton High School Science Club took to the waters of the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg to observe insects and aquatic life, test water quality and study the impact of human activity on the water.

Ryan McGrady, a co-manager of the program, says the experience gives the kids a real sense of the role they play in the environment.

“Students get that bright twinkle in their eye once they do come out with us, and you really see the light bulb go off on, ‘This is what’s in my backyard and this is how I can impact our ecosystem,'” he says.

Now in its 27th year, the SWEEP team will work with 19 regional groups in 11 counties, helping students build critical connections to the natural world.

McGrady points out that those connections extend beyond the lakeshores and river banks to adjacent land, the source of many of the pollutants that affect the river.

“We point out where farmers’ lands may be right up against the water and those nitrates and manure may be flowing directly into that water,” he explains. “We often look at just how the city roads are sitting right along the water, particularly in the winter and spring when a lot of that salt gets into the water.”

The Susquehanna watershed is a major contributor to nitrate and sediment pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

Beyond the science, McGrady hopes the students who participate in the program learn that, from the headwaters in New York to the Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna is a living ecosystem.

“The importance and health of the river is something we can all play a part in our daily lives because we all live around the bay and everything we do up here affects somebody else downstream,” he explains.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

EPA Review of Fuel Standards Called Waste of Time, Money

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed reopening its review of fuel efficiency requirements, a move critics say could only benefit automakers at taxpayer expense.

When the requirements were first set, major car manufactures publicly agreed to achieving an average of 54.5 miles-to-the-gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025.

That goal was an important part of national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Carol Lee Rawn, director of the transportation program at the nonprofit group Ceres, that goal was reaffirmed by an EPA midterm review less than a year ago, and nothing has changed since.

“EPA has conducted exhaustive analyses showing that costs actually have come down since the standards were initially conceived in 2012 and that they are indeed feasible,” she points out.

Carmakers argue that low gas prices and high demand for sport utility vehicles now make those goals difficult to achieve.

The EPA is accepting public comments through Oct. 5.

Environmentalists and public health advocates point out that the industry’s bottom line is not the only consideration.

Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel of the Clean Air Council, says the benefits of better fuel efficiency already are being seen.

“It reduces greenhouse gases, it reduces the precursors to ozone smog, it means that we’re using our cars more efficiently,” he explains. “It’s a win-win-win program.”

In Pennsylvania, areas such as Lancaster and Allegheny counties and the city of Philadelphia have chronic problems meeting federal clean air standards.

David Cooke, a vehicle specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, points out that the fuel efficiency standards not only reduce pollution, they keep American manufacturers competitive, save billions of barrels of oil and reduce fuel costs to consumers.

“We’re saving about $50 million a day thanks to the standards that are on the books, and as long as we stay the course, by 2030 that number will grow to over $300 million per day,” he states.

Cooke adds that climate change-fueled extreme weather such as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the nation’s refining capacity, could drive up fuel prices, making efficiency more important than ever.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

DCNR Launches New Redesigned Website

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently launched a redesigned website  as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to make government more accessible for citizens.

“The newly-refreshed website is designed to help our customers find the information they are looking for quickly, and in a format that works well on phones and other mobile devices,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We are providing a survey for visitors that will stay up for about a year to get some insights and feedback on the new format.”

Some new features on the site include:

New pages for outdoor recreation activities that combine information for state parks and forests all in one place, and offer connections to events for that activity and other tips, such as how to stay safe;

— A blog called Good Natured that will highlight the feature article from the resource newsletter and allow the homepage to continuously feature new content; and

— Photo galleries on the landing page for each state forest and park that give a taste of the places to visit and beautiful views on DCNR lands.

In addition to recreation, the four additional tabs that organize information are:

— Conservation – providing information on the steps DCNR is taking to conserve natural resources, and simple steps we can take collectively;

— Communities – information to assist communities and partners with maintaining and improving natural, recreational and cultural amenities;

— Business – partner information on topics including infrastructure, concessions, timber for forest products, and licenses for water well drillers; and

— Education – conservation and education programs and opportunities for people of all ages to improve understanding about the environment, conservation, and recreation in Pennsylvania.

Icons on the homepage help customers quickly get to information about: Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and 20 state forest districts; State park reservations; Trails; DCNR grants and events; Local parks; and Geologic resources.

Target Take Back

From September 10th through September 23rd, Target stores across the US* will be hosting Target Take Back, a recycling initiative for old baby and child car seats. If you’re interested in recycling a car seat, simply drop it off at any Target store. In return, you’ll earn a 20% discount on a new car seat!

*Excludes Target small-format stores

National Drive Electric Week 2017

The seventh-annual National Drive Electric Week, September 9-17 this year, is a nationwide event celebrating electric vehicles and highlighting the benefits—and widespread availability—of today’s all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, and motorcycles. At this writing there are more than 250 registered events across the globe featuring test drives, parades, and more. See for yourself how EVs are cleaner, cheaper, and more fun to drive than conventional vehicles.

Sign up to attend an event near you.

Wilkes-Barre’s Green Infrastructure Implementation and Planning Initiatives

This summer the City of Wilkes-Barre kicked off green infrastructure implementation and planning initiatives:

In early summer of 2017, new bio-infiltration trenches were installed, based on the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Master Plan that was developed for the City of Wilkes-Barre by LandStudies and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

The plan serves as a tool to target and implement water quality projects in a cost-effective manner in the City of Wilkes-Barre.

Elements that were implemented included–

— Developed a Green Stormwater Infrastructure Master Plan to evaluate and target several problem areas in the City of Wilkes-Barre, and identified pilot stormwater management Best Management Practices (BMPs) that could be used at targeted sites

— Developed concept Master Plans for three sites, demonstrating how stormwater BMPs, native landscaping, and stream restoration techniques can be applied in urban settings

— Designed and constructed two bio-infiltration trench at one of the target areas

— Removed existing curb and impervious sidewalk

— Excavated the subsurface material and installation of stone and backfill of amended topsoil to infiltrate stormwater

— Planted site with native vegetation

— Presented a do it yourself (DIY) downspout planter workshops

Project Outcomes–

— Improved stormwater management practices in the City of Wilkes-Barre

— Reduced non-point source pollution from urban runoff

— Increased public awareness and initiatives to mitigate urban stormwater issues and watershed conservation as a whole

Why This Celebrity Helped Start An Environmentally Conscious Business

Fashion and entertainment influencer Jaden Smith recently shared with InStyle why he helped start an environmentally conscious water bottle company, Just Water.  

When I was a kid, I kept seeing discarded water bottles on the ground everywhere, and the amount of waste blew me away. I told my parents that I was passionate about reducing our carbon footprint, so in 2008 we helped launch Just Water, a company that sells spring water in more-planet-friendly bottles.

In the beginning 52 percent of our bottles were made from renewable resources—now we’re up to 82 percent, which means we’ve further cut our greenhouse-gas emissions.

The tops of the bottles are made out of plant-based plastic derived from Brazilian sugar cane. I love using the sugar cane because you don’t need to water it—it’s humid and rainy enough in Brazil for the plant to naturally sustain itself every year.

Read the full story from InStyle here.

What Can You Do With Your Eclipse Glasses?

The eclipse has long since ended, but many are left wondering: What do I do with my glasses?

Check out what Earth911 has to say about recycling or reusing your glasses here.

The Tampa Bay Times says you can donate them.  Read more here.

Keep PA Beautiful Encourages PA Schools To Participate In Keep America Beautiful’s Recycle-Bowl

RecycleBowl

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is encouraging Pennsylvania schools to get their students involved in Keep America Beautiful’s Recycle-Bowl, the national competition designed to invigorate students in grades K-12 to participate in recycling.

The objectives of the competition include: new recycling programs established within schools, the increase of recycling rates in schools that currently recycle and the provision of teacher/student educational opportunities about recycling and waste reduction.

The Recycle-Bowl competition begins October 16 and runs through November 15– America Recycles Day.

More than 1,200 schools across the nation competed in the 2016 Recycle-Bowl.

Recyclables recovered during the competition totaled 2.2 million pounds, which prevented the release of 3,150 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or reducing the annual emissions from 655 passenger cars.

To register or for more information, visit the Recycle-Bowl website.

EDF: Impact Of Trump’s Proposed EPA Budget Cuts On Pennsylvania Communities, Health

State of Risk: Pennsylvania, a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund released Wednesday, catalogues far-reaching and grave threats to air, water and land, and to the people and economy of Pennsylvania if President Trump’s proposed 30 percent cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget is enacted this fall.

Such cuts would move the agency funding radically backward to its lowest level since the mid-1970s.

The report provides an extensive overview of the EPA’s footprint in Pennsylvania and examines how the proposed cutback plans threaten public health as well as commerce and tourism in the Keystone State.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest here.

Critics Fault DOE Study Recommendations

The U.S. Department of Energy has released its study of the electric grid’s reliability, but some environmental groups maintain it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

The study concludes that cheap natural gas is the main reason for the decline of coal and nuclear power.

But according to Kim Smaczniak, a clean energy attorney with the environmental law firm Earthjustice, the final version of the report waters down key conclusions about the role of environmental regulations seen in an earlier draft.

And she says it adds recommendations to ease permits for coal power plants and safety requirements for nuclear power, and change how customers pay for power from older, less-efficient plants.

“Those are the findings that we see in the study that really aren’t backed up, and they’re findings that we didn’t see in the original version,” she states.

The coal and nuclear energy industries say the report confirms that the power they generate is critical to maintaining a reliable and resilient electric grid.

But Smaczniak points out what she calls a glaring omission – the report mentions “extreme weather,” but leaves out any mention of climate change.

“You can’t really talk about the long term reliability and resiliency of the grid without taking into account that the climate is changing, and that we really need to have responses that are putting on more and more clean energy,” she stresses.

Smaczniak adds that ignoring climate change will make the electric grid more vulnerable to the next Super Storm Sandy that left millions without electricity.

When Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in April, environmental groups feared it would ignore science and recommend bailouts of the coal and nuclear industries. Smaczniak notes the final version falls well short of that.

“Instead, they’ve found a lot of ways to try to move toward a more subtle shift that would compensate some of this base load, in ways that are just not warranted,” she states.

Smaczniak adds that many states have taken their own lead in developing and implementing clean energy plans to provide power that is reliable and affordable.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

A breakthrough for mobile air quality data – and 3 deceptively tough challenges that paved the way

With these groundbreaking insights, we can scale up mobile sensing technology to track and map pollutants in cities everywhere.

     

How a tech startup and nimble non-profit exposed toxic releases during the Houston flood

As federal and state agencies failed to monitor air pollution after Hurricane Harvey, we measured and mapped a leaking carcinogen in real time.

     

Interior Department celebrates sage grouse anniversary with changes to plans

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the sage grouse conservation plans – the largest landscape-level conservation effort ever undertaken that involved years of collaboration and hard work by 11 western states and their governors, multiple federal agencies and stakeholders throughout t

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New report shines spotlight on important wild lands that must be protected

Sarah Graddy

A new report released today by The Wilderness Society raises the alarm about wild lands threatened by extractive industries eager to exploit the resources on or underneath them, including oil, gas and coal.

The list is out: Trump administration wants to gut protections for these public lands

We finally have a list of some of the places where the Trump administration will move to roll back protections under its “review” of wildlands and cultural sites protected by the Antiquities Act. 

Petition to Interior Department: Public lands deserve more than just drilling

The Wilderness Society joined with other stakeholders on September 14 to file a petition requesting the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management update how they manage oil and gas leasing on public lands.

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Secretary Zinke recommends gutting natural wonders

Kate Mackay

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, responded to reporting by the Wall Street Journal and