Environment & Energy

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

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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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Environment
5:15 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

State Looking at Air Quality in Washington County Long-Term


Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is starting a long-term air quality study to collect accurate data, monitor, and analyze potential health risks associated with "wet" Marcellus Shale gas.

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Environment
4:54 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

City Debuts New “Green” Stormwater Management System in Greenfield

With the goal of decreasing street and basement flooding in an often-affected area, the City of Pittsburgh and Penn State partnered to build a Bioswale on the corner of Saline and Alexis Streets along Four Mile Run in Greenfield. A bioswale is green technology designed to hold and filter stormwater in flood-prone areas.

"We transformed a site that, and don't tell anybody this, wasn't even compliant with city code," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, "to see what it looks like today is really remarkable."

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Environment
5:26 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Artists Celebrate The Lives Of Aquatic Life That Perished In Dunkard Creek

Ann Payne and Wendy Henry exchange anxious glances as they walk. They are heading down a path to the bank of Dunkard Creek in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. The two haven't been to this spot since Henry asked her friend Payne, a Morgantown artist, to look at an unfolding disaster on the creek near her home.

"Remember we walked down this way toward the creek and off to the left there was a bunch of birds and I thought good grief- there's a bunch of green herons. We got closer and they were eating bodies of dead fish" says Payne.

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Environment
1:00 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Hot, Dry Conditions Halt Water Withdrawals from Susquehanna

Near-drought conditions persist throughout the Susquehanna River Basin, and businesses that usually take large amounts of water out of the system's streams and rivers are being told to stop.

It's mostly natural gas companies that have seen their water withdrawal permits suspended, but others got the kibosh as well: resorts, golf courses, a trout park and hatchery.

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Environment
6:30 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Local Organizations Say EPA Should Raise Quality By Reducing Soot

Representatives of several Pittsburgh organizations gathered today on the South Side's Riverwalk Trail in advance of a public hearing in Philadelphia Tuesday at which the federal Environmental Protection Agency will be urged to tighten air quality standards.

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Environment
8:30 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

City, Greenspace Alliance to Work Together on Continuing Greening Efforts

An alliance of seven Pittsburgh non-profits highlighted "greening" efforts throughout the city, and explained to members of the city council why the "greening" is important. As part of a post-agenda council meeting Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Greenspace Alliance said the nature areas are vital to the area's economy and health.

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Environment
12:49 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

New Research Poses More Questions on Marcellus Shale Pollution

New research on Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania may only add fuel to the debate over whether the industry poses long-term threats to drinking water.

A paper published on Monday by Duke University researchers found that gas drilling in northeastern Pennsylvania did not contaminate nearby drinking water wells with salty water, which is a byproduct of the drilling.

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Environment
6:00 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Activists Blockade Marcellus Shale EQT Site in Moshannon State Forest

The road has been cleared to a Marcellus Shale drilling site in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County. A Bureau of Forestry spokesman says a few protesters were still in the area today but debris has been removed from the roadway.

EQT suspended operations at the gas well Sunday morning when an estimated 50 activists from Marcellus Shale Earth First! blocked access to the site.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

High Heat And Low Rainfall Affecting Local Crops

The high temperatures are not only affecting the people of Pittsburgh, but the agriculture in the area as well. Several crops have been forced into early harvest and keeping them hydrated has been quite a chore for local farmers.

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Environment
8:25 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

4,700 Gallons Of Acid Spill At Bradford County Drilling Site

There's been another acci­dent at a north­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia drilling site: 4,700 gal­lons of hydrochlo­ric acid spilled at a Leroy Town­ship, Brad­ford County well pad oper­ated by Chief Oil and Gas on Wednesday.

The spill comes two weeks after a thirty-foot methane geyser erupted near a Shell nat­ural gas well in nearby Union Town­ship, Tioga County.

Leroy is the same town­ship where a Chesa­peake Energy well suf­fered a 10,000-gallon frack­ing fluid blowout in 2011.

Environment
5:20 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Phipps Production Greenhouse Attains LEED Platinum

Pittsburgh is home to what may be the world's greenest greenhouse. The production greenhouse facility at Phipps Conservatory has received a first-of-its-kind Platinum certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance program.

"We believe they're the first greenhouses ever to be certified under this program, which is pretty exciting," Executive Director Piacentini said, "and not only did we get them certified, but we got the absolute highest category that you can get."

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Environment
7:00 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

DEP Underground Storage Tank Cleaup Will Continue Through 2017

A 5-year law extension, signed during the budget debate last week by Governor Corbett, will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to continue to carry out its job of preventing and cleaning contamination caused by abandoned and/or leaking underground storage tanks. The program, which would have expired Saturday, has been extended through June 30, 2017.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Local Conservation Group Working For Sustainable Future

Members of the Student Conservation Association's (SCA) Green Cities Sustainability Corps program have fanned out throughout the region to work to implement climate action plans. It is all part of the service-learning projects taken on by the students and young adults in the program that aims to introduce initiatives to ensure a sustainable future.

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