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Target’s Car Seat Trade-In Event

Target is offering a car seat trade-in event.

From April 22 until May 5, bring in your old car seats and receive a coupon for 20 percent off a new seat, booster seat, car seat base, travel system or stroller. Coupons can be used in store and online. The used car seat can be placed at the drop-off box located near Guest Services, where you will be given a coupon.

Live Nation Teams To Reduce Waste At Sheds, Including Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Concert promotion and ticketing giant Live Nation has committed to remove all single-use plastic straws in favor of a marine-friendly paper alternative at all of its 45-plus U.S. owned and operated amphitheaters, teaming with environmental organization The Lonely Whale.

View full article from Pollstar

National Park Week 2018

Everyone can find a unique way to celebrate our incredible national parks this April during National Park Week! Kicking off April 21, the parks will be aglow with special programs and events across the country. From a fee-free day to National Park Rx Day and everything in between, there’s no shortage of ways to join in on the festivities. This year’s theme is “Park Stars” — so be sure to find an event near you and check out these suggestions for how to achieve “Park-loving Superstar” status.

Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Receives Governor’s Award For Stormwater Management Partnership

Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) recently announced the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority and its Executive Director Jim Tomaine has received one of the 2018 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence in the category of Building Community Partnerships.

The WVSA has been providing wastewater treatment services for Luzerne County since 1962 and is currently spearheading the WVSA Regional Stormwater Management Project.

The project is designed to create opportunities for streamlined regulations, economies of scale, strategic partnerships, and a more affordable cost for property owners who benefit from the WVSA stormwater services.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest here.

McDonald’s Phasing Out Plastic Straws In UK Locations

McDonald’s is jumping on the plastic ban train.

The chain recently announced it would phase out plastic straws from its 1,300 U.K. restaurants and begin a trial of paper straws in some of its locations starting in May. The fast food chain will also begin keeping straws behind the counter, requiring customers to ask for them.

Read the full story from Fortune here.

Electric-Vehicle Bill a Potential Win for PA

Pennsylvania is lagging behind some other states in creating the infrastructure to support electric vehicles, but a bill making its way through the General Assembly could change that.

Transportation is one of the main sources of carbon pollution. But without a reliable network of charging stations, consumers are reluctant to switch to clean electric vehicles.

Noah Garcia, transportation policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says passage of House Bill 1446 would be a major win for clean energy in the Commonwealth. It would establish a statewide goal for transportation electrification.

“That goal would be to achieve levels of transportation electrification at least 50 percent above what would be expected to be business as usual by 2030,” says Garcia.

HB 1446 passed the House Transportation Committee with strong support and is expected to reach the floor of the House for a vote in the coming weeks.

Garcia notes that the bill also would require the state’s electric utilities and electric-vehicle charging service providers to create and implement a plan to meet the electrification goals.

“Those plans will include the deployment of charging infrastructure necessary to support a greater number of electric vehicles in the state,” says Garcia.

There are currently fewer than 300 charging stations and about 12,000 electric vehicles in Pennsylvania. In contrast, New York now has 600 charging stations and 30,000 electric vehicles.

Garcia notes that H-B 1446 has broad support not only from environmentalists but from vehicle manufacturers and business.

“We’re really seeing electric utilities playing a key and complimentary role in breaking down barriers to EV adoption,” says Garcia, “that we think is necessary not only to fight climate change but to modernize our transportation systems, clean up our air and boost economic growth.”

He adds that as electric vehicles get more efficient and extend their range, expanding the charging infrastructure will become critical to support growing demand.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Register Now For Rails-To-Trails Conservancy June 10-14 Delaware & Lehigh Sojourn

The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy is now accepting registrations for the June 10-14 Delaware & Lehigh Trail Sojourn in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Spend five days exploring more than 160 miles of this scenic and historic Delaware & Lehigh Trail and the vibrant towns it touches, with the people who know trails best.
This fully supported bicycle tour will have hot showers, great food, fun evening activities, awesome optional trips—and the added benefit of supporting America’s trails!
Click Here for all the details and to register. Click Here for more details on the D&L Trail.

Gov. Wolf Announces Funding For Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Projects, Including Lackawanna And Luzerne Counties

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday announced the approval of $25 million in funding for environmental cleanup and revitalization projects at 12 abandoned mine land (AML) locations in fourteen municipalities across Pennsylvania.

“These projects demonstrate my administration’s strong commitment to assisting Pennsylvania communities in overcoming the challenges of abandoned mine land,” Gov. Wolf said. “While it protects public health and safety through environmental cleanup, the disbursement of this funding will also support the creation of thousands of jobs, create new residential and business opportunities, and revitalize communities and outdoor recreation spaces that attract people and improve quality of life. I’m thrilled that we could support these important projects.”

The approved abandoned mine cleanup projects will help eliminate public health and safety hazards and improve stream, groundwater, and land quality.

Some of the 2017 AML Pilot Projects includes:

 

— Carbon County

  — Quakake Tunnel acid mine drainage treatment/trout stream restoration/Black Creek Trail creation, Packer Township and Weatherly Borough: An active treatment system to remove acid will restore 8 miles of wild trout stream (Quakake Creek and Black Creek). The new Black Creek Trail will be constructed from Weatherly Borough to Lehigh Gorge State Park, and opportunities for outdoor recreation and related local commerce will increase.

 

— Lackawanna County

  — Lackawanna College subsidence abatement, Scranton: Filling underground mine voids under a six-story building that’s part of the new Cornerstone Commons will enable use of the building for classrooms and other uses, leading to about 90 full- or part-time jobs as well as construction and indirect employment.

— Luzerne County

  — CAN DO North Park Drive Business Park, Hazle Township: Almost 130 acres of mine land will be regraded to pre-mining conditions to be developed into seven developable parcels in the CAN DO Industrial Park.

  — Hollars Hill South AML site and Cranberry Creek Gateway Project, Hazle Township: About 150 acres of mine spoil, industrial/residential waste, and hazardous structures will be reclaimed for a community ballfield complex and to allow development of the planned residential, retail, and commercial development called Cranberry Creek Gateway.

  — Earth Conservancy Bliss Bank 3 Business Park, Hanover and Newport Townships: Remediation of 55 acres of mined land, including 1,200 feet of dangerous mine highwalls, will allow the completion of the 220-acre Bliss Bank business park. With active recruitment of nationwide companies underway, about 1,000 full-time jobs are anticipated.

  — Swoyersville refuse pile/community athletic complex, Swoyersville Borough: In the first phase of the Swoyersville culm bank reclamation, approximately 15 acres of the 55-acre coal refuse pile will be removed and remediated, with over 2 million cubic yards of refuse anticipated to be usable for electricity cogeneration facilities. Floodplain restoration will improve water quality in the Abrahams Creek Watershed and reduce flooding. Seven acres of the reclaimed property will be transferred to Swoyersville Borough for development of a new community athletic complex that will allow multiple teams to play, drawing more people to the borough.

You can see the full list of projects here.

Everyone Plays A Part In Keeping Pennsylvania Clean Earth Day Theme Proclaimed by Gov. Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday published a proclamation setting the 2018 Earth Day theme as “Everyone Plays A Part In Keeping Pennsylvania Clean” to encourage all citizens to become engaged in their local communities and join efforts to help maintain and improve Pennsylvania’s urban and rural environments.

See the text of the proclamation here.

PA Attorney General Joins Other States In Suing EPA Over Controlling Methane Pollution

PA Environment Digest reported last week Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined other states in filing a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for ignoring its legal duty to control emissions of methane from existing oil and gas operations:

The suit charges that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has violated the federal Clean Air Act by unreasonably delaying its mandatory obligation under the Act to control methane emissions from these operations.

The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of 15 Attorneys General and the City of Chicago.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest and see a copy of the lawsuit here.

 

New Bus Stop At Penn State Powered By Solar Panels

The culmination of plans for Penn State’s 2015 class gift came to fruition recently as Penn State President Eric Barron led the dedication of the Solar Panel Array, installed at a unique bus stop near Beaver Stadium in State College, Centre County.

The solar array is not only functional, providing power for real-time CATA route information and a phone charging station at the stop, but also educational, with information about the history of solar energy and easy access to the technology for academic instruction.

“To install the array at a bus stop was creative, cost-effective, and scalable, with the potential to be replicated across campus and throughout State College,” said Barron. “The location integrates the class gift into students’ everyday lives, to get students thinking and talking about renewable energy.

Read the full story from Pa Environment Digest here.

Volunteers Needed To Help Clean Plastic Pellets From Pocono Creek

The Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Monroe County is asking for volunteers to help clear Pocono Creek in Tannersville of plastic pellets spilled in the creek from a truck accident.

On March 31, a truck carrying 29,000 pounds of small plastic pellets, known as nurdles, crashed on Route 80 near Tannersville. A portion of the load was spilled into Pocono Creek.

Thanks to the herculean efforts of Schlier’s Towing, the bulk of the nurdles were removed at the source.

Now, the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited is spearheading an effort to try and capture as many of the escapees as possible.

The first cleanup is being organized on April 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the former Northampton Community College site at 205 Old Mill Road in Tannersville to clean sections of Pocono creek from the Learn Preserve upstream to the Route 715 bridge through lands owned by the Pocono Heritage Land Trust and Pocono Township.

Please bring aquarium nets, pool skimmers, dust pans, flat bladed shovels, rechargeable (Dustbuster) vacuums and buckets.

Dress to get wet and bring a reusable water bottle and bug spray.

Click Here for a map of the location. For more information, send email to: brodheadchapter@gmail.com.

Bluebird Boxes Available From Pa Game Commission

Bluebird nesting boxes built by staff at The Game Commission’s Howard Nursery are available for sale at the nursery office, as well as the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters, region offices, and the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. Nesting-box kits also are available.

Nursery staff build bluebird and other nesting boxes during the winter for annual sales to the public. A single box sells for $11.66, including sales tax. When purchasing two or more boxes, the cost is $10.60 each, including sales tax.

Customers can select pre-built boxes or choose kits that can be assembled as a wood-working project. The kits provide a great opportunity for Scout troops, summer camps and other conservation groups to get involved with helping wildlife.

Special pricing is available for organized educational activities. Call the Howard Nursery or region offices for details.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest here.

Sign Up For Tree Planting Events In PA.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA is urging Pennsylvanians to help plant trees at one of the many tree planting events groups are scheduling in the PA portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed April 13 to May 5.

Trees provide food and shelter for wildlife, cleaner air and cooler summer temperatures, increase property values, and reduce polluted runoff.

These plantings are critical to our clean water efforts, capturing and filtering out pollution before it enters our streams and tributaries, and helping alleviate flooding by stabilizing the soil.

Find a tree planting event near you!  These events are suitable for adults, families, and community groups. Please dress for the weather—the events are rain or shine.

Here are some towns where they are looking for volunteers:York, Spring Mills, Middletown, Mechanicsburg, Falls, Woodward, Dallas, Aaronsburg, Mehoopany, Coburn, Jonestown, Lebanon, Schaefferstown, Enola, Noxen, Waynesboro.

Click Here to find a map of events, contacts and registration information.

PA Joins 9 Other States, DC In Opposing EPA Rollback Of EPA Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standards

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell joined environmental agency leaders in 9 other states and the District of Columbia Monday in opposing the rollback of EPA’s vehicle emission standards.

The April 2 letter was signed by the states of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, and the District of Columbia.

You can read the rest of this story, including what Governor Tom Wolf had to say and the text of the April 2nd letter, at PA Environment Digest here.

First Mass Produced 3D-Printed Electric Car

According to CNBC, the first mass produced 3D -printed car will be from Italian-based electric car company XEV and 3D-printing material company Polymaker.  It will weigh just around 992 pounds, takes just three days to print, and will set you back about $7,500.  The company managed to shrink the number of plastic components that go into the vehicle from 2,000 to just 57. This makes it much faster and cheaper to print, but also lighter than any comparable vehicle. Apart from the chassis, seats, and glass panes, every visible part of the car was 3D-printed.

The two-seater looks a lot like a Smart car.  Its top speed is about 43 miles per hour and can travel about 93 miles on a single charge.

Hershey Announces Cocoa For Good, the Company’s Half-Billion Dollar Sustainable Cocoa Strategy

The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) has announced Cocoa For Good, its holistic  cocoa sustainability strategy. The comprehensive strategy addresses the most pressing issues facing cocoa-growing communities: poverty, poor nutrition, at-risk youth, and vulnerable ecosystems. Hershey seeks to bring positive change in these areas through collaborative programs, partnerships and significant investment, including a half-a-billion-dollar commitment by 2030.

“A sustainable cocoa supply depends on a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach to find solutions to the social, environmental and economic challenges facing cocoa-growing communities,” said Susanna Zhu, Chief Procurement Officer. “As a critical player in the cocoa value chain, we are committed to doing our part. The Hershey Company has been partnering with key stakeholders in the cocoa sector for more than 100 years. Under Cocoa For Good, we continue to work toward a future where there’s a long-term, sustainable cocoa supply, the natural environment is protected, and we are creating better lives for everyone. It’s good for the cocoa farmers, families, communities, chocolate consumers and the success of our business.”

Cocoa For Good focuses investments and work in four key areas: Nourishing Children, Elevating Youth, Prospering Communities and Preserving Ecosystems. Hershey’s comprehensive strategy prioritizes:

  • Increased family access to good nutrition. The Hershey legacy is based on the core ideal of providing opportunities for children to succeed. Healthy minds start with the right nutrition and improving access to food has a positive ripple effect – enabling children to reach their potential in school and adults to thrive in their jobs.
  • Elimination of child labor and increased youth access to education opportunities. Today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders, so The Hershey Company is working with partners to equip youth in cocoa-growing regions with the skills and resources they need to build successful futures, in their local communities and beyond. Elimination of child labor, a known symptom of poverty, is a fundamental component of this ambition.
  • Increased household incomes for women and men. Growing the opportunity and means for women and men to sustain healthy livelihoods in cocoa-growing communities is essential to safeguarding the future of these communities. The Hershey Company is investing in programs to economically empower women and help all farmers support prosperous businesses.
  • Zero deforestation and increased agroforestry. Thriving cocoa communities are built on healthy ecosystems, so we’re working to protect forests and climates. Investing in innovative agroforestry methods and growing cocoa in shaded areas that are more productive are ways Hershey is working to preserve the cocoa ecosystem and protect forests.

“Cocoa is a tremendous part of the livelihoods for the people of Côte D’Ivoire and public-private partnerships are critical to improving the lives of people living in cocoa communities and protecting our precious natural resources,” said H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of the Republic of Côte D’Ivoire. “We value our partnership with The Hershey Company and look forward to working together to bring about the meaningful change that this new investment will catalyze.”

Cocoa For Good is expected to impact the lives of thousands of farmers in cocoa-growing regions with a focus on West Africa where about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is grown. Owusu Prempeh, from Kwame Adu in the New Edubiase District of Ghana, has been farming cocoa for the last five years and through collaborative initiatives from The Hershey Company, she has received training and support to increase cocoa yields year over year.

“I have sold cocoa to many companies, but I have not benefitted from them like I have with Hershey. The trainings have increased productivity on my farm, especially with the extensive pruning of my cocoa trees,” said Prempeh. “I am grateful to Hershey for the premiums they paid to us. We used part of our premium to purchase school uniforms, school bags, books and other school accessories to support school children in the community.”

From numerous programs that support the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and communities worldwide, to aligning its work to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, The Hershey Company is helping to build a more sustainable world, and the launch of Cocoa For Good is another important step on that journey.

For more information on Cocoa For Good visit our website.

About The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery company known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has approximately 18,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.5 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’sReese’sHershey’s KissesJolly Rancher and Ice Breakers. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks.

At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For more than 120 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on giving underserved children the skills and support they need to be successful. Today, the company continues this social purpose through ‘Nourishing Minds,’ a global initiative that provides basic nutrition to help children learn and grow. From neighborhoods across the United States to the streets of Shanghai and Mumbai and villages of West Africa, our goal is to nourish one million minds by 2020.

To learn more – Visit: www.thehersheycompany.com

EPA Honors Four Pennsylvania ENERGY STAR® Partners of the Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will honor four Pennsylvania ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year including: Air King America LLC of West Chester, Pa.; Bimbo Bakeries of Hazleton, Pa.; PECO Energy of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Ricoh USA Inc. of Malvern, Pa.

The four were among 63 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year nationally – including Fortune 500 companies, schools, hospitals, retailers, manufacturers, home builders, and commercial building owners and operators –- who will be named ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year for their outstanding contributions to public health and the environment by demonstrating national leadership in cost-saving energy efficient solutions.

“The 2018 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year have demonstrated real leadership, showing how American families and businesses can save energy, save money, and reduce air emissions,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum.

The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hilton Hotel on April 20. EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum, together with CMS Energy CEO Patti Poppe, will deliver keynote presentations.

Air King America, LLC has been manufacturing ventilation products for almost 50 years and is dedicated to providing affordable and efficient ventilation solutions. Air King is receiving ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year recognition for designing ENERGY STAR certified exhaust fans and range hoods with real world applications in mind, and for promoting ENERGY STAR as a key marker of efficiency.

Bimbo Bakeries USA is a baking company whose brands include Thomas’, Sara Lee, Oroweat, Arnold, Nature’s Harvest, and more. The company has used ENERGY STAR® tools and guidance to build its energy management program. Bimbo Bakeries is receiving the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year recognition for the growth of its energy management program and leadership in the baking sector.

PECO is an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation serving 1.6 million electric and 518,000 natural gas customers. Since 2009, PECO has leveraged ENERGY STAR® in its Smart Ideas program, encouraging businesses and residents to look to ENERGY STAR to save energy, money and protect natural resources. PECO is receiving ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence recognition for notable support of the ENERGY STAR Certified Products and Certified Homes programs.

Ricoh USA, Inc. is a leading provider of document management solutions, information technology (IT) services, and digital cameras that is fully committed to sustainability. Ricoh is receiving ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence recognition for its outstanding efforts in training, education, and promotion of ENERGY STAR certified products.

Read more about each of the award winner’s achievements

For more than 25 years, EPA’s ENERGY STAR program has been America’s resource for saving energy and protecting the environment. In 2016 alone, ENERGY STAR certified products, homes, buildings, and plants helped Americans save over $30 billion in energy costs and approximately 400 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity while achieving broad emissions reductions.

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500®—rely on their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Together, since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped save American families and businesses over $450 billion and over 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity while also achieving broad emissions reductions – all through voluntary action.

Join the millions already making a difference at energystar.gov. More background information about ENERGY STAR can be found at energystar.gov/about and energystar.gov/numbers.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Save The Bay Photo Contest Entries Due April 6

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is accepting entries for the 2018 Save The Bay Photo Contest now through April 6.

There have been no winners from Pennsylvania for the last two years even though Pennsylvania is the biggest part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Let’s get out there and get snapping!

Open to both amateur and professional photographers, CBF’s annual Photo Contest highlights the beauty and character of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed’s rivers and streams through the eyes of those who enjoy them and illustrate the positive aspects of the Bay and the rivers and streams throughout the its watershed.

Images depicting people, wildlife, recreation, and farms within the watershed will all be considered, however all photos must include water from the Chesapeake Bay or a river, stream, creek, or other body of water inside the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Official judging will be conducted by a panel of CBF employees who will judge entries on subject matter, composition, focus, lighting, uniqueness, and impact. The public will also be able to vote online for their favorite photo in the Viewers’ Choice Gallery.

Prizes include: First Prize: $500; Second Prize: $250; Third Prize: $150; and Viewers’ Choice: $100.

In addition, the first-prize photograph will appear in CBF’s 2019 calendar. And that’s not all: All winners will also receive a one-year membership to CBF and will have their photos displayed on CBF’s website, in a CBF e-newsletter, and in CBF’s Save the Bay magazine.

All winners will be notified of the outcome, and their images will be posted on the CBF website by June 29, 2018.

Click Here for all the details.

EPA Recognizes Reading Company as a 2017 ENERGY STAR® Certified Manufacturing Plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Bimbo Bakeries USA, of Reading, Pa. (commercial bread & roll baking) was among 93 manufacturing plants nationally that earned the ENERGY STAR certification for their superior energy performance in 2017.

“Earning ENERGY STAR certification is a real mark of excellence, highlighting companies that are leaders in cutting energy costs and reducing waste,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum. “This program is in direct line with the administration’s priorities to support American manufacturing – greater efficiency fosters industrial development, greater competitiveness, a strong economy, and a healthy environment.”

Together, the 93 nationally recognized plants reduced their energy bills by almost $340 million, saved over 60 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) of energy, and achieved broad emissions reductions including 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The energy savings is enough to meet the annual energy needs of almost 360,000 American households.

The ENERGY STAR industrial program provides industry-specific energy benchmarking tools and other resources for 17 different types of manufacturing plants. These resources allow an industrial plant to compare its energy performance to others in the same industry and therefore establish meaningful energy performance goals. Plants from the automotive, baking, cement, corn refining, food processing, glass manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and petroleum refining sectors are among those that qualified in 2017.

About the ENERGY STAR Industrial Program

Since 2006, the ENERGY STAR Industrial Program has annually certified manufacturing plants for reaching the top 25 percent of energy performance in their industries nationwide. Over 190 plants have achieved this distinction since 2006. For more information, visit: www.energystar.gov/plants. For specific plant profiles, visit: www.energystar.gov/buildinglist. To learn more about how ENERGY STAR and industry work together, visit: www.energystar.gov/industry

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500®—rely on their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Together, since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped save American families and businesses $430 billion on their energy costs—while also achieving broad emissions reductions—all through voluntary action. More background information about ENERGY STAR can be found at: energystar.gov/about and energystar.gov/numbers.

Environmental Groups Sue to Close EPA Loophole

Clean-air advocates want the federal courts to stop a new rule that would allow major polluters to turn their pollution controls off.

Since 1990, the Clean Air Act has required major sources of pollution to reduce their emissions by the maximum amount possible.

But, according to Tomas Carbonell, director of regulatory policy and lead attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, a new rule issued in January, with no opportunity for public comment, allows those major polluters to reclassify themselves as smaller sources.

“In doing so, they avoid complying with the most protective emission standards that EPA has issued to reduce emissions of pollutants like Mercury, benzene, arsenic and other dangerous compounds,” he says.

The EPA claims the rule is required by its new interpretation of the Clean Air Act. But environmentalists say Congress intended tighter emission controls to be permanent.

Carbonell says under this new interpretation of the Clean Air Act, once polluters achieved required emission reductions, they may be subject to weaker standards or none at all.

“Simply by virtue of complying with these standards, under this new loophole these major sources can avoid those standards entirely and actually increase their emissions up to the point where they would become major sources again,” he explains.

The Environmental Integrity Project estimates the loophole will allow a dozen large industrial facilities they studied to more than quadruple their emissions of toxic pollutants.

Carbonell points out that eleven years ago the EPA proposed a similar interpretation of the Clean Air Act, and EPA’s own staff and regional offices submitted comments raising concerns about the change.

“They raised the same concerns that we’re raising now about the potential for this policy change to lead to significant emission increases at major industrial facilities across the country,” he adds.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Comment Period on Delaware Watershed Fracking Regulations Ending

The period for submitting written comments on the Delaware River Basin Commission’s draft natural-gas drilling regulations ends Friday.

Environmental groups are enthusiastically supporting the commission’s proposal to ban all high-volume hydraulic fracturing in shale within the boundaries of the Delaware River watershed. But according to Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, they are adamantly opposed to draft regulations that would let gas and oil companies withdraw millions of gallons of Delaware watershed water for fracking in other locations, and allow the treatment, storage and disposal of fracking wastewater within the watershed.

“Fracking wastewater is so toxic that even the industry barely knows what to do with it. For the most part, they either re-frack or they send it off to places where they try to inject it into the ground to try to hide it away,” she says.

The Commission says the new rule actually would tighten restrictions on bringing fracking waste into the watershed. Help in filing written comments is available through the Delaware Riverkeeper website.

Van Rossum points out that even the Commission’s material supporting the proposals clearly says all aspects of fracking are dangerous, so allowing any waste to come into the watershed, or water for fracking to be removed, makes no sense.

“It would allow our watershed to be used to induce and support drilling and fracking in other watersheds,” she says, “wreaking the horrible havoc on communities and on the environment that’s happening there.”

In 2010, the Delaware River Basin Commissioners voted to delay any decisions on gas drilling in the Basin until new regulations were adopted.

Van Rossum says that constituted a moratorium on all fracking activity in the watershed that has been in effect ever since.

“We want the moratorium that we have in place today to be turned into a complete ban, which means a complete ban on all aspects of the industry,” she says.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Native Gardens Are for the Birds – Literally

If you’re tired of mowing lawns in the summer, the National Audubon Society suggests you could plant bird-friendly gardens instead.

Spring is finally here, and that means Americans will soon be mowing about 40 million acres of lawns every week. With climate change and urbanization drastically reducing the range of North American bird species, replacing parts of lawns with gardens can help restore the environment that birds need.

And according to John Rowden, director of community conservation at the Audubon Society, selecting the right native plants will do the most for local bird populations.

“Native plants provide resources directly, like food, nuts, seeds and nectar, but also indirectly by hosting insects from ladybugs to beetles and caterpillars,” he says.

The Audubon Society has launched a national Plants for Birds campaign urging Americans to grow one million bird-friendly native plants this year.

To help get there, Rowden says, there’s a native-plant database on the Audubon Society webpage.

“All people need to do is put in their ZIP code and they can then get a list of plants that are native to their area,” says Rowden. “They can get the birds that will be supported by those plants.”

It also provides a list of retailers that carry native plants and links to the local Audubon Society.

Replacing some lawn area with native plants also cuts down on the use of fertilizer and weed killers as well as the noise and air pollution from mowers. And Rowden points out that even people with no lawns at all can help out.

“If they have an apartment or a balcony or a fire escape data show that, even small bits of native plants, insects will find them, birds will benefit from them and so we really do encourage anybody anywhere to dig into the program with us,” he says.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Ocean Plastic Expected To Triple Within Decade

CNN is reporting the amount of plastic littering the world’s oceans is expected to triple within a decade according to a new UK government report:

The “Foresight Future of the Sea” report from the UK Government Office for Science said our oceans have seen “unprecedented change as a result of direct human activity and climate change.”
It identified the rise of plastic in oceans, along with rising temperatures and sea levels and chemical pollution, as some of the biggest problems the marine environment faces.
The report found that 70% of marine litter is non-degradable plastic which is projected to increase threefold between 2015 and 2025.
Read the full story from CNN here.

Poll Finds Broad Support for Clean Energy in PA

A sizable majority of Pennsylvanians support moving the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, showed that more than 7-out-of-10 voters in the state would support a switch to clean, renewable sources of power such as wind and solar. According to Eva Resnick-Day, community organizer with the Sierra Club, that includes more than half of the state’s Republicans.

“Across different political parties, across sectors, there’s overwhelming support to move towards a resilient and clean energy future,” Resnick-Day said.

Three Pennsylvania municipalities already have committed to making the move to 100 percent renewable energy, and more are in the process of adopting that goal.

Support for a switch to renewable is gaining momentum. Resnick-Day said that’s because the growth of solar panel installations, wind farms and energy-efficiency programs has already produced results.

“As communities see these changes occur, they realize it’s not only a really amazing vision of 100 percent clean energy, but that it’s possible,” she said. “And they’re seeing the benefits of that on an economic level.”

In Allegheny County, 86 percent of voters polled want to reach 100 percent renewable energy – an 11 percent increase since just last summer.

Resnick-Day added that as the cost of renewable energy falls and a growing number of clean energy projects come on line, achieving the 2030 goal is possible. But to make it happen, they’ll need support from state lawmakers.

“The people of Pennsylvania want to see 100 percent clean energy,” Resnick-Day said. “They want good paying, safe jobs for our communities. But we need our state and our politicians to be behind us to help accelerate that change.”

Almost two-thirds of survey respondents said they would have a more favorable impression of an elected official who supports 100 percent renewable energy.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Columbia County Now Owns Over 130 Acres Along Susquehanna River

Columbia County Takes Ownership Of Rishel Grove Conservation Area Along The Susquehanna River

The Montour Township property was donated to the County by the Estate of Vera Grove Rishel:

Vera Grove Rishel passed away in 2009. Her wish to preserve her land in the way “the Indians would have inhabited the lands,” was a two-step process. The Estate first donated a conservation easement to the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, and then donated title to the property to the County.

Vera Grove Rishel studied in London and spent time in Europe, but her heart was always in central Pennsylvania. She and her husband lived most of their lives here and enjoyed living near the Susquehanna River and watching the landscape change with the seasons.

“Vera would be thrilled to know Columbia County owns the property and will be keeping it in its natural state. She enjoyed the property’s history especially knowing Native American Indians used to travel the banks of the Susquehanna,” said Executor Andrew Pruden.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest here.

Beyonce Celebrates World Water Day by Helping Others

On World Water Day (March 22), Beyonce is partnering with Gucci and Chime for Change in support of her BEYGOOD4BURUNDI initiative with UNICEF.

The global superstar is helping others by bringing safe drinking water to the children of the East African nation while preventing water-borne diseases.

The girls of Burundi have to walk far distances in order to receive water and Queen Bey is trying to bring them justice. According to People, “the project will help support UNICEF’s goal to build 80 more wells and give 120,000 more people access to clean water.”

World Water Day is an annual observance that highlights the importance of freshwater. It is also used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

VW Bus is Making a Comeback.. It’s Electric!

According to Volkswagen, the future is looking groovy.

The German automaker recently announced that they would be releasing an electric version of the iconic hippie microbus by 2022. The bus, which is being called The Buzz, is one of 30 electric models that the company hopes to release to the public.

Read more from Good News Network® here and see more in the video below:

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

BLM advances renewable energy development in Utah solar energy zone

Jennifer Dickson

The Bureau of Land Management is moving ahead with plans to lease public lands in the Milford Flats South Solar Energy Zone, a low-conflict zone for solar development w

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Interior Department takes shameful step towards Arctic Refuge drilling

Today it submitted a notice of intent to begin an environmental scoping on a proposed lease sale that could be held as early as next year.

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Legislation introduced by Senator Bennet focuses on lands in Southwestern Colorado

Jennifer Dickson

The legislation would secure protections for nearly 60,000 acres in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Half of the acreage would expand or create wilderness for the Mt. Sneffels Range, Lizard Head area and McKenna Peak.

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Memo: House farm bill forestry title potentially disastrous for national forests

Anastasia Greene

The bill was introduced by Republican members of the House Agriculture Committee on April 12 and was approved, without amendments, by the Committee in a party-line vote on April 18. 

Background

Zinke’s latest change to the Endangered Species Act is more trouble than you think

Removing the “blanket” rule would create more work for an overburdened federal agency and make it harder to protect threatened species.

     

Photos: Oil drilling on the National Mall, just in time for the cherry blossoms

The oil rig was a visual representation of the oil drilling that is happening now in wilderness-quality public lands all over America, and the threat that oil drilling represents to lands like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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