Environment & Energy

Environment
8:33 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Vote Delayed on New Allegheny County Air Toxics Guidelines

The Allegheny County Board of Health has postponed a vote on guidelines that would be used by the county to decide whether or not to give a permit to companies that will emit pollution into the air.  The guidelines were drafted by a task force comprised of industry representatives, academia, healthcare officials, community members, and environmental groups.  Several supporters urged the board to pass them at their Wednesday meeting, but at the request of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, that vote did not happen.

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Environment
7:35 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Beaver Valley Nuclear Plant to Expand Storage Facilities

A regional energy company has announced plans to expand its storage capacity for nuclear waste produced from a Beaver County plant.

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company said it plans to start construction soon on a $30 million dry storage facility. At least six above-ground bunkers will be built of steel and concrete on the grounds of the company's Beaver Valley Power Station starting this fall, with completion slated for 2014.

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Environment
7:06 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Oak Wilt Fungus and Emerald Ash Borer Persist

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/Oak Wilt Emerald Ash Wrap_Charlee Song_SOC.mp3

Local parks organizations are trying to inform homeowners about the dangers of two of the greatest threats to the region's trees.  A series of informational meetings about controls for oak wilt fungus and the emerald ash borer have been held in Allegheny County.  

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Environment
5:48 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Household Chemical Collection At South Park

Not sure what to do with those half-empty cans of paint and stain or those dusty bottles of automobile fluids in your garage?  The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) will host a household chemicals collection event Saturday at South Park.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average home can easily accumulate 100 pounds of hazardous waste including paints, varnishes, cleaners, pesticides, pool chemicals and car batteries.

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Environment
6:07 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Elk Hunting Season Coming Up

Each year thousands of Pennsylvanians and out-of-staters apply for a Pennsylvania elk hunting license, but only a lucky group of 65 are awarded with one.

The state’s elk population currently resides in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton and Elk Counties in northwestern Pennsylvania.  In 1913  the Pennsylvania Game Commission reintroduced elk into the state by bringing them in from Yellowstone National Park.

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Environment
7:40 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Deer Disease Confirmed In Beaver County

Two deer have died from a disease not seen in southwestern Pennsylvania since 2007.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission on Monday confirmed epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) to be the cause of death for two deer in Beaver County. EHD is a disease contracted by deer through the bites of very small midges, and causes massive hemorrhaging.

Game Commission spokesperson Jerry Feaser says this disease usually results in death for the deer.

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Environment
9:21 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Shale Gas Potential Touted at Energy Conference

Representatives of businesses, labor unions, and all levels of government gathered at the 2012 Energy and Manufacturing Summit on Pittsburgh's South Side on Monday to praise the job-creating power of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

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Environment
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

September is Local Food Month in Southwestern Pennsylvania

In an effort to boost the profile of local farmers and ranchers, September is being celebrated as local food month in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Throughout the month, activities, contests, restaurant offerings, and more will highlight food that’s grown or raised in the region.

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Environment
5:32 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Gas Exploration Landscape Disturbance in Bradford and Washington Counties Mapped in Federal Report

The natural gas boom in Pennsylvania is unlocking energy, but it’s also changing the landscape. A study released by the U.S. Geological Survey documented changes in land usage between 2004 and 2010. Bradford and Washington Counties were chosen for the first report, because they were identified as “exceptionally productive” areas of Marcellus Shale Development. The USGS report finds 642 sites in Bradford County and 949 in Washington County.

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Environment & Energy
2:18 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Looking Forward For Poland

A field near where a gas well was drilled earlier this year.
Erika Beras/90.5 WESA

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Poland has seen many changes in the last 30 years – democracy has come to the country, Poles have embraced capitalism the nation has forged relationships with multi-national corporations and it has entered the European Union.

At the same time, there has been a growing focus on finding for cleaner forms of energy.

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Environment
9:35 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Looking Forward for Poland

Poland has seen many changes in the last 30 years – democracy has come to the country, Poles have embraced capitalism the nation has forged relationships with multi-national corporations and it has entered the European Union.

At the same time, there has been a growing focus on finding for cleaner forms of energy.

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Environment & Energy
2:22 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

A Trip To The Northern Province

A test drill in the Northern Province of Poland.
Erika Beras/90.5 WESA

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Poland has the same kind of shale gas deposits found throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Poland’s government hopes to tap into their deposits to fulfill the country’s future energy needs but, like in the United States, it comes with a great deal of controversy. 

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Environment
1:11 pm
Sat September 1, 2012

Drought Watch Lifted for Allegheny and 14 Other Counties

State environmental officials have lifted a drought watch for 15 counties in western Pennsylvania.

A statement released Friday by the Department of Environmental Protection says rainfall over the last six weeks has improved stream flows and soil moisture.

The counties involved are Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Warren and Washington.

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Environment & Energy
2:23 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Zurawlow and Chevron

Andrezj Bak and his wife Barbara, residents of Zurawlow, read a letter Chevron sent the residents of the community.
Erika Beras/90.5 WESA

Friday, August 31, 2012

You might miss Zurawlow as you drive the narrow roads that weave through the gentle rolling hills of Southeastern Poland.  A small sign is all that indicates a small town is just up ahead, along a dirt and gravel road.  

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Environment
8:36 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

NWF Study Finds Climate Change is Ruining Summer

A new National Wildlife Federation (NWF) report points to heat waves, wildfires, fish deaths, and drought as evidence of climate change in the United States and its devastating ripple effect seen this summer.

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Environment
9:12 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Pennsylvania Peregrine Falcon Continues to Make a Come-Back

It’s been another successful nesting season for the peregrine falcon in Pennsylvania. The pesticide DDT wiped out the falcon population east of the Rocky Mountains in the 1940s and 50s. But the species has been making a slow come-back ever since a repopulation effort began in the 80s. Dr. Arthur McMorris, the peregrine falcon coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission explained that a successful nesting season means the population is growing.

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Environment
5:27 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Pittsburgh Trail Recognized by National Geographic

A local gem is being recognized nationally as being a worldwide go-to for the fall.

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) was named as one of National Geographic's 10 "Best Fall Trips 2012."  When the trail is completed, the 150-mile path, which hooks up with the C & O Canal Tow Path in Cumberland, Maryland,  will connect bikers, hikers and all non-motorized traffic from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

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Environment
11:45 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Comments Taken on Susquehanna River Water Withdrawls

The panel that oversees water use in the Susquehanna River Basin is taking comments on the latest round of requests from natural gas drillers to pull water from the basin for fracking purposes.

Public hearings at the Susquehanna River Basin Commission aren’t two-way affairs.  So commissioners were silent as one man voiced his concern at the latest meeting that the natural gas industry’s water withdrawals would deplete streams and endanger wildlife.  They might have pointed out a common misperception underlying the man’s testimony.

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Environment
5:40 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

EPA Awards Grant to Local Communities

The Turtle Creek, Steel Valley, and Twin River Councils of Governments (COG) in southeastern Allegheny County have been awarded a $600,000 federal grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to assess brownfields and their potential for other uses.

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Environment
4:54 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Pittsburgh Building Owners Pledge To Cut Energy & Water Usage

The Green Building Alliance is challenging Pittsburgh property owners to reduce the use of water, energy, and transportation emissions by 50% by 2030.  Green Building Alliance C-E-O Mike Schiller, said the property owners who have committed to the initiative are called "2030 Districts," and others have already been established in Seattle and Cleveland.

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Environment
7:35 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Drillers Deal With Rattlers

Jobs on natural gas drilling sites can have funny names.  There are roustabouts, mud men, doodlebuggers and snake wranglers. That last one, snake wrangler, is exactly what it sounds like.

Drillers are finding more and more timber rattlesnakes as gas operations expand in northeast Pennsylvania. The snakes are what’s called a "candidate species." They aren’t protected, but state regulators think the species may be in danger, so Pennsylvania's Fish and Boat Commission is doing a lot of research aimed at tracking and monitoring them.

Environment
12:01 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Gas Fume Vapor Systems Have Net Negative

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/Vapor Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

The federal  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires gas stations surrounding areas historically recognized as having air quality issues to equip gasoline pump nozzles with vapor recovery systems intended to siphon off fumes while pumping gasoline. But now Pennsylvania will no longer require new gas stations to have the vapor capture technology.

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Environment
7:00 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

PA Third Worst State for Toxic Air Pollution from Power Plants, Down from Second

For the second year running Pennsylvania made the list—the Natural Resources Defense Council’s ranking of the “Toxic 20.” The report lists the states where the most toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants is released.

The report analyzed the emissions of common power plant pollutants, such as mercury, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and ammonia, that were released during 2010, the most recent year data is available. The report is based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency and was first produced last year based on 2009 emissions.

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Environment
5:45 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Commonwealth Court Strikes Down Part of Drilling Law

By a 4-3 ruling, a Commonwealth Court panel today tossed out a provision of Act 13 that would have allowed statewide zoning policies for drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation.

"We're very pleased that they upheld our suit that would basically eliminate that portion of Act 13," said Peters Township Manager Michael Silvestri.

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Environment
6:00 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

EPA, DEP, County Health Department Fine Coke Plant on Neville Island

Shenango, Inc. has to pay up for air and water quality violations since 2005 at the coke plant on Neville Island, particularly involving their combustion stacks and pushing devices.

A consent agreement reached by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) requires Shenango to pay a $1.75 million penalty for failure to abide by those departments' environmental standards.

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