Riverlife recently announced the departure of President and CEO Lisa Schroeder. Before she leaves the Steel City we’ve invited her to Studio A for an exit interview about the recreation, economic and ecological aspects of Pittsburgh’s river fronts.
About a dozen St. Marys officials, outfitted with baggy blue jumpsuits, earplugs and white plastic hard hats, recently visited a Seneca Resources well pad on a wooded hilltop to see what fracking is all about.
This part of Pennsylvania, about 120 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Elk County, has been relatively untouched by shale drilling. But people see it coming in two test wells Seneca has there now, with more wells in the future.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has awarded a $150,000 non-competitive grant to an industry-backed nonprofit organization. The money was allocated in last year’s state budget specifically for “independent research regarding natural gas drilling.”
Every minute of the last six months has been captured by a series of four high-end panoramic cameras trained on some of the most scenic views to be found in southwestern Pennsylvania.
But the collection of pictures has not been created to help the sell the city to tourists and businesses, instead they have been put up to document the pollution that often gets in the way of seeing the landscape.
Fourteen very sick sea turtles are recovering at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium after being stranded on the beaches of New England in what is being described as a “mass cold stunning event.”
The endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are just a few of the more than 900 that washed up on northeastern shores after becoming hypothermic as ocean waters cooled. They arrived in Pittsburgh last Sunday, from the New England Aquarium in Boston.
The eastern hemlock has been dying in silence, being eaten alive by pests — but the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has developed a plan to intervene and save the state tree.
“The eastern hemlock is perhaps the most valuable tree in our state woodlands,” said DCNR Deputy Press Secretary Terry Brady. “[The Hemlock is] the oldest evergreen when you look at a forest, and perhaps the most valuable in terms of what it provides.”
Five townships and two boroughs in Berks County have been placed under quarantine by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in the fight against the Spotted Lanternfly, which was found for the first time in North America in the county earlier this fall.
The quarantine prohibits residents from moving any material or object that could help the spread of the insect, which attacks grapes, apples, stone fruits as well as pines.
A pair of studies released today by the U.S Geological Survey found low-to-moderate concentrations of naturally occurring methane in private water wells in Wayne and Pike Counties– a region of the state without Marcellus Shale drilling.
Those two counties fall under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Basin Commission, which currently has a moratorium on fracking.
Why is the sound and image of water so soothing to us? Why does being near water improve our wellbeing? And how can this understanding help us make better decisions about water conservation and urban design?
and neuroscientist, Wallace J. Nichols explores these questions and many more in his book “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.”
He’s coming to Pittsburgh to take part in the Inspire Speakers Series, in conjunction with Riverlife, a local organization that works on the development of Pittsburgh's riverfront park systems. Wallace J. Nichols joins us along with Stephan Bontrager, Director of Communications for Riverlife.
You may have noticed the street lights on Bigelow Boulevard have taken on a different hue over the last year.
That’s because they’re now LEDs, or light emitting diodes, which the city is expecting will save thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance costs.
But it’s not quite sure just how much energy and money is being saved by the LEDs installed near roadways and in business districts across the city, which is where a new $25,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments comes in.
The Allegheny Land Trust wants a 30-acre chunk of land in Sewickley, and a new grant might help obtain it.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has provided a $250,000 grant to acquire the green space along Waterworks Road.
“It’s primarily going to be used for wildlife habitat, water interception, absorption and the scenic character of the borough and surrounding boroughs around Sewickley,” said Chris Beichner, Land Trust CEO and president.
A Pennsylvania-based clean air activist group has launched a new on-line tool it says will encourage discussion about open wood burning and wood smoke pollution.
The online application launched by The Clean Air Council, called I See Smoke, allows users to pinpoint the area where they are noticing wood smoke pollution on a map. This information is given to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), which can use the data to resolve the issue.
The U.S. is ratcheting up efforts to combat climate change, with the final carbon rules for power plants expected from the Environmental Protection Agency next year.
When Pennsylvanians elect a governor in November, they will, in part, be making a choice over how the state should move toward complying with the new rules. One way is by joining with other states in a cap and trade program.
A new demonstration project in Sarver, about 30 miles outside Pittsburgh, is taking a decades-old problem and turning it into a possible solution for the natural gas industry. Winner Water Service has launched treatment facility that aims to clean up polluted water – and sell it to natural gas developers for use in fracking operations.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh think they have found a link between prenatal and early life exposure to air pollution and autism. The study focused on 217 families with children on the autism spectrum.
Autism now affects one in 68 children in America. That is up nearly 800 percent in the last 20 years. Principal investigator Evelyn Talbott said her research found exposure to increased levels of chromium and styrene increased the risk of autism by 1.4 to two times.
A recent survey of 37 energy companies in southwestern Pennsylvania found some 7,000 jobs will need to be filled between now and 2020, jobs that are critical to ongoing operations.
That’s according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which conducted the survey. CEO Dennis Yablonsky said with more than 1,000 energy companies in the greater region, the job needs are likely much higher. The problem is finding enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.
As the natural gas boom continues across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, producers are looking for new markets for their products.
A recent study commissioned by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, an industry trade group, identified opportunities for the use of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to power cargo vessels on the nation’s waterways and railroads.
As the colors of autumn entice us to do some foliage watching, many people in Pittsburgh need look no further than their nearby neighborhoods.
According to the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, 42 percent of Pittsburgh is covered by tree canopy. That’s more than green cities like Portland, Washington D.C., Austin and Philadelphia. Despite our reputation as an industrial town, Pittsburgh has one of the largest urban forests in the country. So how did these forests form? What is an urban forest and where can they be found?
In 2011 the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission recommended a registry to collect health data from people living nearing fracking operations. Three years later that registry has yet to be created, and a state Senate panel says such a database is an important step toward tracking and responding to public health complaints related to gas drilling.
State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) says individual health studies are fine, but the state needs to develop data that covers all parts of the commonwealth.
It’s October, and that means it’s time for cider, sweaters, pumpkins and colorful leaves, but for the Pittsburgh area it might be a couple more weeks before the yellows, oranges and reds really emerge.
Rachael Christie, Environmental Education Specialist at the 58,000 acre Forbes State Forest in Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties, predicts this year will be great for fall colors, “we’ve had the cooler nights, and we’ve had the nice sunny days as well. So [this is] very ideal fall weather patterns to have some really beautiful fall foliage.”
The Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island has consistently violated local clean air regulations leading some citizens to ask why the Allegheny County Health Department doesn't shut the plant down.
We pose that question and more to Jim Thompson, Air Quality Program Manager for the Allegheny County Health Department. Hear from Bellevue resident Ken Holmes and other local residents who are concerned about air quality in the area.
As natural gas production continues to spread across the country, some citizens are trying to fend off drilling rigs and waste sites in their backyards. While gas companies say they already face tough state regulations, that oversight doesn’t always ease residents’ fears.
As Ohio quickly becomes a go-to destination for the nation's fracking waste, some people worry about earthquakes and water contamination, and argue the state has taken away their authority to decide whether oil and gas waste should be allowed.
The borough of Etna recently debuted its green infrastructure plan. Like many other communities along the Allegheny river, Etna has had a history of problems with flooding, and the community of some 3,400 people was hit especially hard as a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Etna’s master plan was designed to handle large amounts of storm water without flooding the sewage systems. What can their experience in Etna tell us about how other communities in our region can institute green projects of this kind?
The United Nations Climate Summit took place in New York City this week. While more than 100 world leaders took part, and thousands demonstrated in the streets of NYC for the People's Climate March, it's not certain how much, if any, tangible action will be taken on a global scale, especially on the part of the United States.