Environment & Energy http://wesa.fm en Report Details Effects of Gas Drilling http://wesa.fm/post/report-details-effects-gas-drilling <p>The effects of natural gas drilling under state forests aren’t being ignored, according to a report from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).</p><p>The department’s first Shale Gas Monitoring Report, released Wednesday, outlines its efforts through 2012 to monitor the impacts of gas development on water, air, energy, forest health, soils and wildlife.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:06:04 +0000 Julian Routh 27740 at http://wesa.fm Mars Parents Want Two-Mile Fracking Buffer http://wesa.fm/post/mars-parents-want-two-mile-fracking-buffer <p>The fight over placing a nonconventional gas well about a half-mile from five Mars Area School District schools has moved out of the district’s boardroom and into the boardrooms of a pair of local townships.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:57:52 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 27608 at http://wesa.fm DCNR Natural Gas Advisory Committee to Discuss Development on State Forest Land http://wesa.fm/post/dcnr-natural-gas-advisory-committee-discuss-development-state-forest-land <p>An advisory committee tasked with helping the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources manage natural gas drilling on state land will meet for the third time.</p><p>The Natural Gas Advisory Committee (NGAC) will cover two major issues in its April meeting.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:50:28 +0000 Deanna Garcia 27553 at http://wesa.fm Wildfire Prevention Season in Pennsylvania http://wesa.fm/post/wildfire-prevention-season-pennsylvania <p>April showers bring May flowers, yet April is one of the worst months for wildfires in Pennsylvania.&nbsp;</p><p>Mid-March through Mid-May is designated as fire prevention season in Pennsylvania. Terry Brady of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) said there were easily more than 100 wildfires in Pennsylvania .</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:02:22 +0000 Jess Lasky 27543 at http://wesa.fm DEP Urges EPA To Change Clean Air Act http://wesa.fm/post/dep-urges-epa-change-clean-air-act <p>The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed what it believes to be a “win-win” situation for the environment and existing power plants.</p><p>The DEP has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for more state flexibility when it comes to carbon dioxide emission standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in competitive energy markets and a change in how pollutants are measured.</p><p>The DEP wants to make some changes to the New Source Review (NSR) provisions under the Clean Air Act.</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Michael Lynch 27422 at http://wesa.fm 'Unclear' Circumstances on the Ground During Chevron Blaze http://wesa.fm/post/unclear-circumstances-ground-during-chevron-blaze <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It recently came to light that&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Department of Environmental Protection investigators were <a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/04/09/chevron-blocked-access-to-dep-after-fatal-well-fire-in-southwest-pa/">blocked by Chevron employees</a> in the days after a</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;natural gas well explosion in Greene County. The explosion, which killed one Chevron employee, set off&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">a fire which blazed for five days&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">in February.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p><p>StateImpact<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> reporter Katie </span>Colaneri&nbsp;recently broke the story and said<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;Chevron would not allow the DEP to park or drive onto access roads toward the well for nearly two days. </span>Colaneri<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> says the rules are pretty straightforward concerning incidents such as the well explosion. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The </span>DEP<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> has authority over companies like Chevron during environmentally dangerous conditions, but </span>Colaneri<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> says the overall situation is still very unclear.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 22:00:13 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 27432 at http://wesa.fm 'Unclear' Circumstances on the Ground During Chevron Blaze New Exhibit Centers Around Pittsburgh's Water http://wesa.fm/post/new-exhibit-centers-around-pittsburghs-water <p>Chatham University graduate students, Ann Payne and Kristen Reynolds, and their professor have created an entire exhibit about water -- and they hope it has a rippling effect.</p><p>“The Drop Project” is an interactive exhibit that shows the relationship among Pittsburgh, its residents and water.</p><p>Molly Mehling, sustainability professor and ecologist, said they want to create a networking event.</p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:35:19 +0000 Jessica Nath 27343 at http://wesa.fm PA Public Utility Commission Adopts Requirements For Clearer Disclosures From Suppliers http://wesa.fm/post/pa-public-utility-commission-adopts-requirements-clearer-disclosures-suppliers <p>This winter was a harsh one, with days of bitter cold temperatures that caused many households to turn up the thermostat.</p><p>Because of the high demand, many consumers who’d signed up for variable rate pricing plans had a nasty shock when their bills increased dramatically. Now the Public Utility Commission is stepping in to try and ensure customers understand what they are signing up for.</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Deanna Garcia 27040 at http://wesa.fm Climate Change Not So Sweet For Maple Syrup http://wesa.fm/post/climate-change-not-so-sweet-maple-syrup <p>Maple trees could be in trouble in the Northeast U.S. in the coming decades. Federal climate models have predicted the region will lose most of its maples by next century. But producers don't seem worried: maple syrup prices are high, and with technology, the sap is flowing just fine.<br /><br />Jason Blocher’s livelihood each year largely depends on the weather in February and March. He’s the third generation in his family to run Milroy Maple Farms in Somerset County, on Pennsylvania’s southern border, just a few miles from Maryland.<br /> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 20:59:30 +0000 Julie Grant | The Allegheny Front 27115 at http://wesa.fm Climate Change Not So Sweet For Maple Syrup Gas Drilling Impact Fee Revenue Up 11 Percent This Year http://wesa.fm/post/gas-drilling-impact-fee-revenue-11-percent-year <p>Pennsylvania expects to collect $224.5 million in impact fees levied on natural gas drilling companies this year– an 11 percent increase over the amount collected last year.<br /><br />The state’s 2012 oil and gas law, Act 13, charges drillers for each well. The fee can range from $40,000 to $60,000 per well, depending on the price of natural gas.<br /><br />This year, drillers paid $50,000 for new horizontal wells– up from $45,000 last year because the price of gas increased. Smaller, vertical wells paid $10,000.<br /> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:32:43 +0000 Marie Cusick | StateImpact PA 27043 at http://wesa.fm Gas Drilling Impact Fee Revenue Up 11 Percent This Year Results Mixed In 2012 Natural Gas Drilling Emissions Data http://wesa.fm/post/results-mixed-2012-natural-gas-drilling-emissions-data <p>The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has released <a href="http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/aq/default.htm">annual emissions data</a> for Marcellus Shale natural gas production for 2012. Emissions are tracked each year in an effort to assess air quality in the state. &nbsp;</p><p>“The data shows two decreases and four increases in pollutant categories from natural gas emissions,” said DEP spokeswoman Morgan Wagner. “However, overall, total air contaminate emissions across the state have continued to decline.”</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:19:21 +0000 Deanna Garcia 27033 at http://wesa.fm County Collects Woodstoves, Boilers to Reduce Pollution http://wesa.fm/post/county-collects-woodstoves-boilers-reduce-pollution <p>Woodstoves and boilers might have helped keep homes warm over the winter, but they also could have harmed the environment.</p><p>That’s why for the second year, the Allegheny County Health Department is collecting old woodstoves and outdoor wood-fired boilers that do not meet the current national emission standards.</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:41:48 +0000 Jessica Nath 26959 at http://wesa.fm Egg Hatches in Pittsburgh Bald Eagle Nest http://wesa.fm/post/egg-hatches-pittsburgh-bald-eagle-nest <p>An egg has hatched in a bald eagle nest in a Pittsburgh neighborhood.<br /><br />The nest in the city's Hays neighborhood along the Monongalia river has three eggs and a live video stream of the nest has become popular locally. The female bald eagle previously fought off a raccoon that tried to raid her eggs.<br /><br />Experts say it's too soon to say whether the new chick is a male or female.<br /><br />The live-stream camera of the nest is provided by Murrysville-based PixController, which is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.<br /> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 21:05:10 +0000 The Associated Press 26659 at http://wesa.fm Three Mile Island: Measuring The Impact 35 Years Later http://wesa.fm/post/three-mile-island-measuring-impact-35-years-later <p>Friday marks the 35th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. On March 28, 1979, one of the reactors at the The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Dauphin County partially melted down.<br /><br />Back then, no one knew exactly what was going to happen. The incident was unprecedented.<br /><br />Former Governor Dick Thornburgh was at the center of the crisis. He marked the anniversary at an event Thursday at Penn State’s Harrisburg campus in Middletown–not far from the plant.<br /> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 11:53:52 +0000 Marie Cusick | StateImpact PA 26635 at http://wesa.fm Three Mile Island: Measuring The Impact 35 Years Later Citing Safety Concerns, Officials Push For Improvements To Crude Oil 'Clunkers' http://wesa.fm/post/citing-safety-concerns-officials-push-improvements-crude-oil-clunkers <p></p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:40:27 +0000 Natasha Khan | PublicSource 26432 at http://wesa.fm Citing Safety Concerns, Officials Push For Improvements To Crude Oil 'Clunkers' Report Says PA Gas Drilling Taxes Are Low http://wesa.fm/post/report-says-pa-gas-drilling-taxes-are-low <p>A new report from a nonpartisan office of the state legislature says that Pennsylvania's taxes on the natural gas drilling boom are among the lowest in the nation.<br /><br />The figures released Thursday by the Independent Fiscal Office found that Pennsylvania is the only state with significant production that doesn't impose a severance tax based on the volume of gas produced.<br /> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 19:31:48 +0000 The Associated Press 26264 at http://wesa.fm Did Congress Kill Wind Energy Jobs in PA? http://wesa.fm/post/did-congress-kill-wind-energy-jobs-pa <p>Bradley Molinick started work at Gamesa’s wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Ebensburg, Pa. in 2006, before the plant was even finished.<br /><br />“I was offered a job right out of the interview. I started January 30, 2006.”<br /><br />Almost eight years to the day that he started, he was called into a conference room for a 7 a.m. meeting. It was supposed to be a teleconference with top managers from the company. But last minute came word. Those managers had come to town for the meeting.<br /> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 19:24:44 +0000 Reid Frazier | The Allegheny Front 26263 at http://wesa.fm Did Congress Kill Wind Energy Jobs in PA? Lawmaker Wants to Protect Customers' Electric Bills From Spikes http://wesa.fm/post/lawmaker-wants-protect-customers-electric-bills-spikes <p>When the temperatures dropped across North America this winter, many Pennsylvanian’s saw their electricity bill skyrocket because they had contracts with their electric supplier that allowed for variable rates. Now a state senator hopes her legislation will help to protect consumers from unexpected spikes in the future.</p><p>Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton County) introduced legislation Wednesday that would among other things shorten the time it takes to switch from one rate plan to another.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:06:31 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 26127 at http://wesa.fm Allegheny County Outlines Deal to Drill Under Deer Lakes Park http://wesa.fm/post/allegheny-county-outlines-deal-drill-under-deer-lakes-park <p>Allegheny County Council is set to consider a lucrative deal to allow Range Resources to drill for natural gas beneath a Pittsburgh-area park, from well sites on neighboring private properties.<br /><br />County Executive Rich Fitzgerald outlined the deal at a news conference Monday, saying it includes a $4.7 million bonus, a $3 million donation to a park improvement fund, and 18 percent royalties that are estimated to generate $3 million a year.<br /> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:29:59 +0000 The Associated Press 26055 at http://wesa.fm Allegheny County Air Quality Meets Federal Standards http://wesa.fm/post/allegheny-county-air-quality-meets-federal-standards <p>Officials say air quality in the county around Pittsburgh met federal standards for fine soot pollution for the first time in 2013.</p><p>Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Karen Hacker says in a Friday statement that the news marks "a huge leap forward" in efforts to improve air quality. All eight monitoring sites in the county met standards for fine particulate pollution, which can come from coal-fired power plants, autos and trucks, and plants that produce coke for steel mills.</p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 20:57:17 +0000 The Associated Press 25879 at http://wesa.fm After a History of Cuts, Army Corps Funding Up http://wesa.fm/post/after-history-cuts-army-corps-funding <p>After a sharp cut this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District has received $176.3 million in new federal funding for the 2015 fiscal year.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“It’s more than we received last year, it’s pretty much standard for what we received in the past few years,” spokesman Dan Jones said. “But last year was just an anomaly.” The Corps received approximately $110 million for fiscal year 2013-14.</span></p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 20:28:02 +0000 Jessica Nath 25677 at http://wesa.fm Policy Researchers Urge PA, OH and WV Governors to Adopt Common Tax for Oil and Natural Gas http://wesa.fm/post/policy-researchers-urge-pa-oh-and-wv-governors-adopt-common-tax-oil-and-natural-gas <p>Policy and research groups from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio have joined forces to urge their states’ governors to adopt a common severance tax rate for companies drilling for gas and oil in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:25:41 +0000 Liz Reid 25610 at http://wesa.fm PENNDot Calls for Spring Cleaning http://wesa.fm/post/penndot-calls-spring-cleaning <p>Spring cleaning isn’t only for homeowners. It’s for the state, too.</p><p>The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has teamed up with the Department of Environmental Protection for its annual Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania &nbsp;running now through May 31.</p><p>The cleanup calls on volunteers and groups to help clear litter from roadways, trails and shorelines across the commonwealth.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 02:16:51 +0000 Julian Routh 25392 at http://wesa.fm Final Phase of Deer Creek Mine Drainage Project Slated to Start http://wesa.fm/post/final-phase-deer-creek-mine-drainage-project-slated-start <p>The last phase of an effort to treat water discharge from the Indianola mine pool is slated to start March 17.</p><p>The project is expected to improve the water quality of Little Deer Creek. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation and the Clean Streams Foundation is designing a settling pond to handle the discharge that currently flows into Little Deer Creek.</p> Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:19:41 +0000 Deanna Garcia 25492 at http://wesa.fm PA Rep: Environmental Permitting 'Not RAPID Enough' http://wesa.fm/post/pa-rep-environmental-permitting-not-rapid-enough <p>Is it “a common sense solution” to problems resulting from an “outdated, burdensome and convoluted federal permitting system” or an attempt to “undercut responsible decision making?”</p><p>By a vote of 229-179, the House Thursday approved RAPID, the Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act, and sent it to the Senate.</p><p>Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA-10) said the review and permitting process for energy, infrastructure and other construction projects which can now take as long as 10 to 15 years.</p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:08:17 +0000 Kevin Gavin 25481 at http://wesa.fm