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World Water Day is a day to celebrate water, a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues and a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.


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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.

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:

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

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

Ready, Set, Color: Now Accepting Entries in Pennsylvania American Water’s “Protect Our Watersheds” Art Contest

Entries are now being accepted for Pennsylvania American Water’s 16th Annual “Protect Our Watersheds” Art Contest. All fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students in schools served by Pennsylvania American Water are eligible, as well as individual students who live in the company’s service area. The contest encourages students to tap into their artistic talents to express the importance of protecting Pennsylvania’s water resources.

Pennsylvania American Water recently sent contest information and applications to teachers in nearly 500 schools in its service territory. Winners will be selected based on creative vision, artistic talent, understanding of watershed protection and the ability to communicate that understanding. As part of their entry, students must write a brief narrative on the personal impact of watershed protection.

The deadline for artwork submissions is April 13, 2018. Contest guidelines and entry forms are available on the company’s website at www.pennsylvaniaamwater.com, under “News and Community.”

In 2017, the company received more than 500 entries from students across the state. The grand prize winner was Henry Rummel, a sixth-grade student from Indiana County.

In total, six students will be recognized with a first, second and third place winner selected from eastern and western Pennsylvania. First-place winners will be awarded a $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Second place winners will be awarded a $50 gift card and third place winners will be awarded $25 gift card.

In addition, the overall grand prize winner will have her/his artwork featured on “Bloomer” cards distributed by Pennsylvania American Water. Bloomer cards are seed-filled packets that, when planted and tended, produce a variety of wildflowers. All entrants will receive a Watershed Champion certificate. Awards will be presented in May as part of National Drinking Water Week activities.

National Groundwater Awareness Week

Life as we know it would be impossible without groundwater. It is the world’s most extracted natural resource, and it supports our ecosystems.
Don’t take groundwater for granted. Pay it forward during National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 11-17, 2018, by letting others know the importance of groundwater and asking them to pass it along.
Learn more about how you can get involved at GroundwaterAwarenessWeek.com.

Mariner 2 Restart Deal Called Breach of Contract

Environmental groups claim the agreement to restart the Mariner East 2 pipelines is illegal.

Pipeline construction permits were suspended in January for what the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection labeled “willful and egregious” violations. Five weeks later, Sunoco and the DEP reached a Consent Order and Agreement allowing construction to resume under what the DEP described as a “stringent compliance review.”

But Alex Bomstein, senior litigation attorney with the Clean Air Council, said that Consent Order weakened protocols already in place for preventing and responding to drilling-fluid spills. He said the protocols are part of a settlement agreement Sunoco and the DEP reached with environmental groups last August.

“That settlement agreement is a binding contract,” Bomstein said. “DEP didn’t give any notice to us that this had happened, and we discovered it on our own.”

The groups have filed a complaint in the Commonwealth Court and appealed to the state’s Environmental Hearing Board. Sunoco said it is in compliance with all agreements and permits, and that the lawsuit is without merit.

But Bomstein argued that stronger protocols are necessary to protect public health if drilling fluids used in pipeline construction are spilled.

“That can cause contamination of people’s water wells,” he said. “And indeed, dozens of people throughout the state have had their water wells contaminated.”

He added that drilling fluids also contaminate fish and wildlife habitat.

The groups are asking the court for a preliminary injunction to stop construction at sites where the protocols are not being applied. Bomstein said rolling them back was a breach of contract, and a breach of trust by environmental regulators.

“The environmental protections we secured are important, need to be in place,” he said. “And we need to be able to know that our regulators are looking out for us rather than looking out for industry.”

The Clean Air Council filed the lawsuits along with the Delaware Riverkeeper and the Mountain Watershed Association.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Hanson Petitioned To Cancel SeaWorld Performance

According to Pollstar, activists have created a change.org petition calling for Hanson to cancel a March 11 performance scheduled at the Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld in Orlando.

The petition states, “So many animals have died at SeaWorld– and the number grows and grows.”

 “At SeaWorld, intelligent, sensitive animals are confined to tiny tanks that to them are the size of bathtubs,” the petition, which has been signed by more than 19,000 people, read.
 “They are denied everything important and natural to them. And they don’t just suffer. They die. … SeaWorld is hell for animals.” “After hearing this and finding out how SeaWorld neglects and mistreats animals in its care, numerous bands have decided to cancel their appearances. Please do the same and move this show to a different venue. Your fanbase will support your decision and respect you for it.”
Read the full story from Pollstar here.


EPA Exhibit at 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show Highlights Healthy Headwaters

This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show showcases the Wonders of Water and the USEPA’s exhibit is no exception. By demonstrating the connection between headwater streams and wetlands, and the vital role they play in the overall health of downstream waters, the exhibit highlights the connection between healthy watersheds and healthy drinking water sources – and shows how the integrity of our drinking water supply begins far away from the kitchen faucet.

“The beauty of the native plants displayed in the exhibit’s headwater stream and bog wetland areas highlight the need to protect and enhance these aquatic resources,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.  “Conserving and enhancing these aquatic ecosystems in our gardens promotes clean and healthy water, while serving as a sustainable landscaping practice in our own backyards.”

The exhibit illustrates how clean drinking water begins at the very tops of watersheds in small streams and wetlands which capture and transport water through our environment to larger downstream resources; ultimately being withdrawn for drinking water.  Two-thirds of our drinking water comes from these downstream surface waters (rivers and streams) like the Delaware River, which supplies drinking water to the city of Philadelphia.

EPA’s exhibit begins with a small headwater stream shaded with beautiful native trees such as magnolia, fringe tree, flowering dogwood, and the sweet fragrance of azaleas.  The exhibit also includes a bog that is teaming with wild and unique botanical beauty such as the carnivorous pitcher plant, exquisite swamp pinks, and magical fairy wands.

The native plants displayed in the exhibit will show how they grow in the wild and how to incorporate them in home gardens.  The environmental benefits of these native plants include providing buffers for aquatic resources that help naturally manage stormwater, which can directly improve or maintain healthy water quality. 

Exhibit volunteers will engage with the public on the connection between healthy aquatic resources and drinking water, as well as provide visitors with information on the benefits of using native plants, sustainable landscaping, and stormwater management practices to instill positive ways of protecting our water.

The objective of EPA’s exhibit is to foster the continued appreciation of the multi-faceted benefits of these aquatic resources to help ensure the Wonders of Water for generations to come.

EPA websites also include information on promoting healthy water through sustainable landscaping, and how to get started.  Photographs of sustainable landscaping practices used in residential settings are featured here:

https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure or https://www.epa.gov/soakuptherain.

EPA’s flower show team, along with all the other exhibitors, are setting up the exhibit at the Philadelphia Convention Center this week.  The Philadelphia Flower Show opens to the public, on March 3, and will run through March 11.

EPA Removes C&D Recycling Site in Luzerne County, Pa. From Superfund List

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed the C&D Recycling Site in Foster Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania from the Superfund National Priorities List.

The National Priorities List is a roster of the nation’s most contaminated sites that threaten human health or the environment. The sites on the list are eligible for cleanup under EPA’s Superfund program. EPA removes sites from the list once all the remedies are successfully implemented and no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment.

“Superfund cleanup and safe reuse of the site continues to be a priority at EPA as we work to create a safer and healthier environment for all communities affected,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Removing this site from the list represents an important step toward achieving this goal.”

EPA did not receive any adverse comments during the 30-day public comment period on the proposal to delist.

EPA conducted oversight of the remediation work by Nassau Metals Corporation to clean up soil and sediment contamination, and has determined the site no longer poses a threat to human health or the environment.

The 110-acre site is located along Brickyard Road in Foster Township, about one mile south of Pond Creek. From 1963 until 1984, the site was used to reclaim metals, including copper and lead, from cable wires. Cable burning and processing of materials at the site caused contamination of the surrounding soil and sediment that posed a risk to human health and the environment.

The cleanup included the stabilization and off-site disposal of contaminated soil and sediment. Approximately 80,000 tons (4,000 truckloads) of stabilized soil and sediment were removed from the site during the remediation.

For more information about the site, visit: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0300881

Starbucks Testing Paper Cup Fee

Delish is reporting that Starbucks is testing a paper cup fee at select locations in an effort to become more eco-friendly:

This month, 35 London outposts began charging a five pence fee (equivalent to about seven cents, as of press time) to anyone who ordered their drink in the chain’s standard cardboard takeaway cups. The trial will last three months, and stats from the period will be used to determine if the practice encourages people to bring their own travel mugs. Baristas will offer those drinking their coffee in the store a ceramic cup, cutting down on paper while lending a more independent cafe vibe to the coffee giant’s shops.

Read the full story from Delish here.

Game Commission Now Accepting Orders For Seedlings For Schools Program

aaThe Game Commission is now accepting orders under its Seedlings For Schools Program which provides free tree seedlings to classrooms so students can plant them as part of projects to improve wildlife habitat. Orders will be accepted through March 30.

In years past, “Seedlings for Your Class” was intended primarily for pre-K and elementary students, but this year it’s been extended to middle and high school students.
There is no charge to schools that participate in this program. The seedlings are provided by the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery and shipping costs are offset by the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation.

Seedlings for Your Class provides a classroom, grade level or entire school with enough seedlings so each student can take one home to plant.

Traditional favorites white spruce and silky dogwood are available again this year. Four other species also are being offered: grey-stemmed dogwood, American sweet crabapple, American highbush cranberry and our beloved state tree, eastern hemlock.

Seedlings come in bundles of 25, and depending on spring weather, will be shipped directly to schools by UPS from April 2 to 4 and April 9 to 11. The nursery does not ship on Thursdays or Fridays so seedlings should not arrive on weekends when no one is at school to receive them.

Once seedlings do arrive, it is important to moisten the roots immediately and plant them as soon as possible, said Brian Stone, manager of the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery.
Seedlings should be handed out to students with their roots in plastic bags with moist shredded newspaper, or with the seedlings planted in juice or milk cartons for transplanting at home, Stone said.

Individuals and groups wishing to donate to the program can send checks to the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Fund, which maintains the account for donations. Be sure to indicate the donation is for the Game Commission’s “Seedlings for Schools” program. Donations can be mailed to the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation, 341 Science Park Road, State College, PA 16803.

Website Tracks Government Attacks on Climate Science

A pair of groups at Columbia Law School have created the Silencing Science Tracker, a website that tracks federal government attempts to discredit or censor climate scientists.

Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund recently launched an online resource tracking actions by the government to “silence science” since the November 2016 election. The launch of the Silencing Science Tracker coincided with the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.

The Silencing Science Tracker is intended to capture government attempts to restrict or prevent scientific research, education, discussion or the publication or use of scientific information. The tracker contains a table of entries, drawn from media reports, which will be updated on a regular basis. There is also a resources page, which contains links to other trackers and resources that complement the Silencing Science Tracker. The tracker currently has 96 entries of actions organized by the following categories: 41 government censorship, 11 self-censorship, 15 budget cuts, 20 personnel changes, 5 research hindrance and 8 bias and misrepresentation (please note that some entries fall within two categories). At this time, the tracker only records federal government attempts to silence science, but there are  plans to add state-level actions in the future.

Michael GerrardFaculty Director of the Sabin Center and a professor at Columbia Law School, said, Scientific knowledge is the very foundation of all environmental regulation. When the government ignores science, it’s like a truck driver who wears a blindfold and drives based on what is whispered into his ear — dangerous and intolerable. The vital work of scientists must be supported, made public, and listened to. When government officials block this, we plan to shine a harsh light.”

Lauren Kurtz, Executive Director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, said, “Political and ideological attacks on science have a long and shameful history, and such attacks are the most dangerous when carried out or condoned by government authorities. Our tracker is designed to provide a tally of government-sanctioned threats to the scientific endeavor. We must watch out for efforts to curtail research, and speak up when we see attempts to silence science.”

The core mission of the Sabin Center is to develop and promulgate legal techniques to address climate change and to train the next generation of lawyers who will be leaders in the field. The Sabin Center is both a partner to and resource for public interest legal institutions engaged in climate change work.

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) protects the scientific endeavor by providing support and resources to scientists who are threatened, harassed or attacked for doing their job. The CSLDF offers free legal aid to scientists, educates researchers about their rights and responsibilities, shares strategies and information about cases with attorneys and publicizes attacks on science.

Find more information at http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/resources/silencing-science-tracker/

PennDOT Seeks Public Feedback On Statewide Bicycle, Pedestrian Plan

The Department of Transportation recently announced it has begun the process of updating the Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and is inviting the public to weigh in through an online survey.

The plan, last updated in 2007, will outline a vision and framework for improving conditions for walking and bicycling across Pennsylvania, especially for those Pennsylvanians who walk and bicycle out of necessity rather than for leisure and recreation.

“Keeping our transportation network safe and accessible for all transportation modes is a crucial responsibility,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards, “We are accountable for supporting and improving quality of life for communities, and updating our bicycle and pedestrian master plan is a crucial step in that process.”

Over the next 18 months, PennDOT will use the project website to provide information on the department’s progress. The community survey also will be accessible on the site and will play a critical role in understanding the current issues and challenges facing people who walk and bike across Pennsylvania.

Once completed, the PA Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan will be a resource for Municipal Planning Organizations (MPOs), Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs), and municipalities throughout Pennsylvania, providing guidance to local governments on best practices for developing and implementing regional and local bicycle and pedestrian plans.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest here.


Glastonbury Festival To Ban Plastic Bottles On Site in 2019

Pollstar is reporting that when one of the most iconic festivals of the world returns in 2019, visitors won’t be allowed any plastic bottles on site:

Glastonbury has been encouraging its guests to leave plastic bottles at home and instead refill stainless steel bottles at the several hundred taps on the festival grounds. Festivalgoers could purchase such bottles or cups on site, too.

Now, festival organizer Emily Eavis told the UK Mirror, “our big mission for next year is banning plastic bottles. We’re in the middle of it at the moment.”

Vendors selling at the event are already using re-usable or compostable flatware and plates. The festival’s green policies can be viewed on its website. They encourage festivalgoers to take home what they bring, which includes tents.

Glastonbury published numbers that exemplify the vast amount of waste that is recycled after each edition. In 2014, the most current numbers available, 54 percent or 983 tons of the waste generated on site was recycled, which included 114 tons of composted organic waste, 400 tons of chipped wood, 23 tons of glass, 85 tons of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tons of cardboard, 162 tons of scrap metal, 11.2 tons of clothing, tents, sleeping bags, 0.264 tons of batteries, three tons of dense plastic, 0.25 tons plastic sheets.

Read the full story from Pollstar here.

Study: Methane Emissions Far Higher than Reported

Methane emissions from Pennsylvania oil and gas sites are much higher than the industry reports, according to a new study.

Conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund, the study shows that oil and gas operation in the state emit more than 520,000 tons of methane every year from leaky, outdated and malfunctioning equipment. Andrew Williams, director of regulatory and legislative affairs with EDF calls the disparity between what’s reported and what the research has found “staggering.”

“Oil and gas methane emissions could be as high as five times what industry reports through the state methane and greenhouse gas reporting inventories,” says Williams.

He says that’s as much near term climate pollution as 11 coal fired power plants.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is now finalizing methane reduction requirements for new, unconventional facilities, which are expected to reduce emissions by about three percent. According to Williams, if the state regulations included existing unconventional sources, emissions would be 25 percent lower.

He says even greater reductions could be achieved by following the lead of other states that also include conventional facilities.

“You could get essentially 60 percent of the methane emissions out of the atmosphere by comprehensively regulating oil and gas methane emissions in Pennsylvania,” he says.

The DEP has not made any proposal to address pollution from older, conventional wells.

Williams notes the study also found emissions of volatile organic compounds, which contribute to smog and respiratory diseases like asthma, are nine times higher than reported to the state.

Of the study he says, “It highlights the necessity to move forward as quickly as possible to deal with not only the methane emissions, but also the volatile organic compound emissions, which really affect communities and families across the state.”

The study concludes that, without additional regulatory action by the state, more than five million tons of methane pollution could be emitted by 2025.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Dunkin’ Donuts to Eliminate Foam Cups

As part of its commitment to serve both people and the planet responsibly, Dunkin’ Donuts, a leading retailer of hot, dreamstime_xs_8380261brewed coffee, recently announced plans to eliminate all polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018, with a targeted completion date of 2020. In U.S. restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts will replace the foam cup with a new, double-walled paper cup. The majority of Dunkin’ Donuts’ international markets are currently using paper cups, and the brand will work with its franchisees to eliminate foam cups from the remaining international markets by the 2020 goal.

Read the full press release here.

Keep PA Beautiful Earns National Recognition At Keep America Beautiful Awards Ceremony

Keep America Beautiful presented Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful with a Diamond State Affiliate Recognition Award at Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards Ceremony during its 2018 National Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful was honored for its outstanding promotion of Keep America Beautiful’s mission statewide and for its program support for local affiliates in Pennsylvania, distinguishing itself as an exemplary statewide affiliate organization.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful earned the Diamond Award, the highest recognition, for its implementation of multiple community improvement programs, including–

— The Great American Cleanup of PA is Pennsylvania’s premier community improvement initiative. Since the inception of this annual event in 2004, over 2.1 million volunteers have picked up 97 million pounds of litter and waste, 170,619 miles of roads, waterways, shorelines, and trails have been cleaned, and more than 181,000 trees, bulbs, and flowers have been planted.

— The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program provides an opportunity to educate consumers on the hazards of cigarette litter and provide tools to change their behavior. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has been implementing the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program throughout Pennsylvania since 2010.

Celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, Keep America Beautiful consists of a national network of more than 600 statewide and community-based affiliates whose programs and initiatives, supported by millions of volunteers, help transform public spaces into beautiful places.

Spending Time at Home Saves Energy

Americans’ increasing reliance on online shopping and entertainment is saving large amounts of energy.

Researchers have identified a positive trade-off for the rise in online shopping, our consumption of streaming video, and employees working from home. Despite increasing the amount of residential energy demand, the decrease in travel and use of non-residential spaces was responsible for a net 1,700 trillion bTU in energy savings for the United States in 2012, 1.8% of the national total. The analysis, published January 29 in the journal Joule, reflects how advances in information technology are changing the American lifestyle, particularly for those under the age of 65.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-americans-home-lot-energy.html#jCp

Harley-Davidson To Launch Electric Motorcycle

According to Business Insider, an electric motorcycle from Harley Davidson will be arriving in 18 months:

According to CEO Matthew Levatich, the electric hog will hit the streets in less than two years.

“The EV market is in its infancy today and we believe it will drive excitement into our sport globally in both traditional and nontraditional spaces,” he said on a conference call with analysts, following Harley’s reporting of weak fourth-quarter, alongside full-year 2017, earnings.

“You’ve heard us talk about Project LiveWire,” he added. “LiveWire is an exhilarating, no excuses, electric Harley-Davidson. Over 12,000 riders told us so through the demo rides we provided around the world and it’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.”

Read the full story from Business Insider here.

Pipeline Construction Resumes, as Groups Condemn DEP Decision

Clean air and water advocates are angry that the Department of Environmental Protection has lifted its suspension of permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The construction permits were suspended in early January for what the DEP labeled “willful and egregious” violations. But on Thursday, the DEP announced that construction can resume after Sunoco, the pipeline builder, agreed to a $12.6 million civil penalty, and a stringent compliance review.

Joseph Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, calls that too little, too late.

“If DEP had issued the permits properly in the first place, if DEP had done enforcement and monitoring all along, we would not have had the disaster that is the Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline,” says Minott.

Sunoco says it is committed to complying with the terms of the agreement and considers safety a top priority.

In a statement, DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said the Department will continue to monitor and enforce the conditions of the permits and take actions when violations occur. But Minott says past performance is hardly reassuring.

“DEP did not discover the numerous violations that Sunoco was guilty of. That was done by groups like the Clean Air Council, and by the residents living next to where the pipeline was being built.”

He says prior to the permit suspension, construction had caused more than 120 drilling fluid spills and contaminated dozens of drinking water supplies, streams and wetlands.

Minott feels that too much of the process for lifting the permit suspension happened behind closed doors.

“DEP really should have reached out to the community,” he says, “to see what the community felt DEP needed to do better, before they entered into an agreement with Sunoco.”

Work on the pipeline resumed Thursday morning.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

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.

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.  

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.