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BLOG: Protecting Pennsylvania’s Air, Land, Water, and Public Health

first_imgBLOG: Protecting Pennsylvania’s Air, Land, Water, and Public Health Environment,  Government That Works,  The Blog,  Year in Review Under the Wolf Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has worked to use innovation to help restore the capacity and integrity of the agency that protects Pennsylvania’s air, land, water, and public health.We are committed to collaboration and transparency, driven by science, in meeting the agency’s mission. Over the past year, the Department of Environmental Protection has made major advances, even though it lost 14% of its staff complement over the last 10 years.With modernization in mind, the department achieved the following successes in 2015:Protecting Public Health and the EnvironmentThe Department of Environmental Protection updated the performance standards for surface activities at conventional and unconventional oil and gas well sites to ensure additional protections to the environment, public health, and safety. This rulemaking represents the first update to rules governing surface activities associated with the development of oil and gas wells since 2001 and implements provisions of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act. After an unprecedented 12 public hearings, almost 28,000 public comments, and the creation of the Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee (COGAC), the rules are on track for Spring 2016 adoption.We also implemented monthly online production reporting for unconventional natural gas wells, to improve transparency in gas production that will be particularly useful for royalty owners and production forecasters. Production data was previously reported on a semi-annual basis.The Department of Environmental Protection partnered with DCNR to create a statewide seismic monitoring network. The new, joint effort will maintain a network of 30 real-time monitoring stations, most of which will be located on state park lands. In addition to the 30 fixed stations, 5 additional temporary stations will be available for rapid deployment to investigate seismic events in detail.Addressing Climate ChangeGovernor Wolf and DEP announced a nation-leading strategy to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, and has been implicated in health risks. The plan is designed to protect the environment and public health, reduce climate change, and help businesses reduce the waste of a valuable product by reducing methane leaks and emissions from natural gas well sites, processing facilities, compressor stations and along pipelines.Pennsylvania released a scientific assessment of the impacts of climate disruption. The report, prepared for the Department of Environmental Protection at the direction of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, finds that Pennsylvania has warmed 1.8°F in the past 110 years, and the warming will increase at an accelerated rate. By 2050, Pennsylvania will be 5.4°F warmer than it was in the year 2000. By 2050, Philadelphia’s climate will be similar to current-day Richmond, Virginia. Pittsburgh will be similar to current-day Washington, DC or Baltimore, Maryland.The Department of Environmental Protection commenced work on Pennsylvania’s Clean Power Plan, with Secretary Quigley chairing 14 listening sessions as part of the effort to develop a made-for-Pennsylvania plan to achieve federal mandates. DEP was selected by the National Governors Association as one of four states to participate in a Policy Academy to help states examine cost-effective strategies for meeting the potential requirements of federal regulations to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants.Increasing Public ParticipationThe Department of Environmental Protection revived and renamed DEP Office of Environmental Justice, to serve all residents of Pennsylvania, and improve partnerships with Environmental Justice community members and advocates in policy, planning and permitting processes. New staff are establishing a dialogue with communities that do not always have a voice in environmental issues, ensuring that their concerns are heard, and where possible addressed, by the agency.I was honored to chair Governor Tom Wolf’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, a collaborative task force to explore the burgeoning construction of as many as 25,000 miles of natural gas gathering lines and 5,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipelines. In early 2016, the multi-agency, multi-stakeholder task force will recommend practices that will create predictability in permitting while simultaneously achieving environmental and community benefits.We also launched the online eComment tool to enhance public participation in and transparency of regulatory process. Nearly 4,000 comments have been submitted to the system on issues like climate change, pipeline infrastructure, water management, and the federal Clean Power Plan.These accomplishments are just some of our successes in protecting Pennsylvania’s air, land, water and public health, reflecting our commitment to collaboration, to science, and to transparency in meeting our mission. These achievements and so many more are a testament to the women and men of DEP. January 27, 2016 By: John Quigley, Secretary of Environmental Protection center_img Read more agency year in review blog posts.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

An Irie experience – Chef Irie

first_imgAfter working as an architect for several years, he was encouraged by his ‘ex’ to try his “cooking thing.” He applied to the only then accredited culinary school in Miami, Johnson and Whales, and got accepted.  He later graduated with an associate degree in the Culinary Arts. This was the second of its kind; the first took place at the home of Michele Henney, his partner. Exotic menu The evening’s menu consisted of:Course 1: Charred Octopus Salad, with Chilled Mango Soup.Course 2: Salad with Pickled June Plum, corn, tomato and Pepper Relish, Arugula Leaves, Jackfruit Dressing, Scotch Bonnet Oil Drizzle.Course 3: Sauted Snapper Bass w/DjonDjon Butter Bean Ragu, Hibiscus Chutney.Course 4:  Indian-spiced Roasted Goat, Pumpkin Polenta, Papaya Slaw, Cilantro Sauce.Course 5: Dukunoo Bites w/ Naseberry Sauce, Smoked Whipped Cream. Dr. Patricia Elliott said, “I usually don’t’ try new things. Usually I don’t eat stuff I don’t know, stuff I can’t identify. This his has been a surprise to myself; an amazing dining experience introducing me to a whole range of foods.” Popular photographer David Muir documented the evening. He hinted that Chef Irie will be coming out with a book soon. Can’t beat that! Growing up, cooking wasn’t seen as a “real” career.  So, he chose to go into something “career-worthy” and studied architecture at University of Florida from 1990-95. Valentina said, “I really enjoyed the food, the setting. I’m not used to it, but it was really pleasing.” He has no regrets about turning his back on architecture for life in the kitchen. “You don’t get tired of cooking:  I don’t cook as much for myself. The motivation to cook for others is greater than myself,” he said. Why the name Chef Irie? Chef Irie was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but raised in St. Catherine. He discovered cooking as an eight-year-old watching his mother cook. The popular Jamaican maestro offered a scrumptious dinner on July 30 at the North Miami home of Sonya, his long-time friend. Encouraged to try cooking Top class entertainment According to Chef Irie, intimate settings are “a chance for me to really explore food in ways I don’t often get the opportunity to do. This dinner was great.  It was different too because of the entertainment component.  The food was even better because I felt I was ‘ramping’ it up, the ideas, the component structure.  I was truly happy with the host.” Guests Impressed Sonya’s home has a huge yard, pool, two gazebos and a children’s play area. It was the perfect setting for an enchanting dinner. Guests were impressed by food and performers. “I was trying to have a link to my country.  I felt strongly about what I was doing. I wanted a name mentioned in the household not only nationally but globally,” he said. Entertainment was led by Dita, an Indian poet and painter who performed spoken word pieces about people of color and the current political climate in America. Sharon said, “Awesome was the experience for me, different really good.  It was a good experience.” Favor intimate settings Talented singer La Vavie, along with her pianist, performed a mixture of elevator music and sounds from the Caribbean. Have you ever wished a “real live” chef could cook for you?  Ever thought about having a five-course dinner professionally done in your own kitchen?   Well, now you can, with the innovative and down-to-earth Chef Irie.last_img read more

Fort Projects Adjust Timelines To Cope With Coronavirus-Related Delays

first_imgBut over the past month, several projects have sought extensions to completion dates as a result of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Two other substantial Oceanport parcels set for imminent release of RFOTPs will also experience delays – the 400 Area near the Little Silver train station, slated to become a transit-oriented village, and the McAfee Center, a 90,000-square- foot research and development building on 47 acres. Stead-man said it’s “hard to say how long” those delays will be. On April 15, FMERA held its second monthly meeting viateleconference. Members and staff participated from theirhomes instead of the authority’s offices in the fort’s formerlibrary, with officials taking actions to continue progress withnew timelines. “I have attended webinars and teleconferences in the last two weeks with business leaders and real estate investors/ owners,” Steadman said. “No one can predict what the next several months look like. Overall, these people have expressed hope and optimism about the end of this year and the beginning of next year. We want to wait to see what the demand looks like, which parcels may have more interest than others, and then respond accordingly with appropriate RFOTPs.” Prior to finalizing the purchase of a fort parcel, every developer undertakes a “due diligence” period during which the site is examined for structural and environmental concerns. Regional Development Group affiliate Barker Circle Partnership had been conducting its 90-day due diligence prior to completing the $4.85 million purchase of the 19.5-acre site off Oceanport Avenue. The firm intends to transform the parcel, located in the fort’s National Register Historic District, into the Barker Circle Complex, a mixed-use site with 75 residential units, a theater, office space and a restaurant. Based on the complexity and historic nature of the property, officials said, additional time is required to fully assess the site. Additionally, the effects of COVID-19 have delayed the process. FMERA members voted unanimously to extend the Barker Circle Complex due diligence period to June 4. FORT MONMOUTH – Almost a decade into the redevelopment of the 1,126-acre former U.S. Army base that spans portions of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls, 20 properties have been sold and another 16 are under contract or have contracts approved by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), the public-private agency overseeing the fort’s rebirth. COURTESY REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP, LLC Developers hope to open the Loft microbrewery and event space by late fall following approval-related delays. By Laura D.C. Kolnoski The expanded portions include the front entrance and lobby, offices and kitchen, which require additional approvals. According to FMERA documents, “the purchaser is still proceeding in good faith toward completion of the project,” but the approvals process has delayed the timeline. FMERA members voted unanimously to give the project a six-month completion extension to November 2020. When completed, The Loft will be a microbrewery, restaurant and entertainment complex with outdoor space. This article originally appeared in the April 23rd, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. “We need agility; our developers are under a lot of pressure,” said Robert Lucky, Ph.D., of Fair Haven, FMERA interim chairman. “If developers want extensions for any other matters they must come before the board.” The Loft Brewery and event space being created by Regional Development Group, LLC in the former 1940s fort Dance Hall was expected to open this summer. Work has been ongoing for about two years, longer than originally projected because the developer expanded the scope of the project, adding 5,900 additional square feet and increasing its capital investment from approximately $1.5 million to $4.6 million. Ongoing are the planning and design of a water main extension along Route 537, (known as the Avenue of Memories through the fort), coordinating the creation of a clean sanitary corridor through portions of the Oceanport section scheduled for redevelopment, relocation of overhead electric lines, and future build-out of the electrical power grid. “We are getting our work done to the best of our abilityunder these circumstances,” said Bruce Steadman, FMERAexecutive director, adding operations including land surveys,closings, subcommittee meetings, infrastructure work andmore are ongoing despite some members of developmentteams being personally affected by the virus. BARKER CIRCLE, OCEANPORT FMERA members unanimously voted to give Steadmanthe authority to grant time extensions to certain projects forpandemic-related reasons only. Other actions taken April 15 included: “We maintain a presence on the fort, our maintenance team is working, and abiding by safe social distancing and guidelines,” said Kristy Dantes, FMERA’s director of facilities and infrastructure. “All the infrastructure projects are critical to future development. We also assist developers and development teams.” COURTESY FMERA The start of the highly-anticipated process for Fort Monmouth’s McAfee Center has been delayed due to the coronavirus. DANCE HALL, OCEANPORT In March, FMERA released the Request for Offers to Purchase (RFOTP) for the 31-acre Tinton Falls Commercial Parcel, intended for redevelopment into office, research and development, or alternative commercial purposes. The site includes the fort’s former Pulse Power Building, Pistol Range and a large administrative structure with a high bay garage. The deadline for submission of proposals has been changed from April 27 to May 11. The RFOTP can be viewed on FMERA’s website at fortmonmouthnj.com. CHANGES TO REQUESTS FOR OFFERS TO PURCHASE “Working remotely, getting items scheduled, reviewed, and answered takes a bit longer, but our experience with the boroughs and county and state agencies is that they are working through the logistics and still moving forward, albeit a little slower than normal due to the remote protocols,” Steadman said. “The one thing we have seen with all of the review boards and agencies is that their attitudes are good and positive, working through the current difficulties but optimistic about the future, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.” last_img read more

Home cooking can’t power Wildcats past Immaculata at KVC

first_img“In particular Laura Soukeroff and Chelsie Van Brynen (both Grade 12s) who had limited roles last year but are now feeling more comfortable on the floor and are recognizing that as Grade 12s this is their time to take charge,” Moreira added.Immaculata finished on top of the table following round robin play and easily disposed of J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks of Trail 2-0 in one semi final.Meanwhile Mount Sentinel took second after pool play. The Cats defeated Kootenay rival Selkirk Storm of Kimberley during the round robin, then knocked off the Bavarian City squad in the other semi final, this time 15-13 in the third game of the match.“We had three important victories,” Moreira explained. “We beat Selkirk twice, both very close and in three sets, and also beat Fernie. Both teams are solid and athletic and we need to beat them both to advance to provincials.”Fernie finished fifth in the tournament followed by A.L. Fortune of Enderby and Osoyoos.Mount Sentinel has little time to relax as the team travels to Kelowna to compete in the UBC/O High School Volleyball tournament.“We sill have lots of work ahead of us to compete with the really good teams in the province,” Moreira explained. “At the moment “slow and steady” is a good pace for us (because) without Grade 11’s on the team we must rely on our Grade 10’s to play beyond their level of maturity.”RALLY POINT: Immaculata, currently second in the B.C. High School A Girl’s Volleyball rankings, may jump into the number one slot. Selkirk will most likely drop down the table from seventh to ninth while the Wildcats of Mount Sentinel could move into eighth spot.sports@thenelsondaily.com By Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson DailyThe weekend saw the Mount Sentinel Wildcats move up the competitive ladder, just not enough to capture the overall title at the Kootenay Volleyball Classic Saturday in South Slocan.Immaculata defeated the host Cats 2-1 (25-16, 23-25, 15-8) to claim the overall High School Girl’s Volleyball tournament at the Mount Sentinel gymnasium.“(This) was a good weekend for us,” said Sentinel coach Joe Moreira. “We had important contributions from a number of players who are beginning to play with more confidence.”last_img read more