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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

Badgers set for season in spotlight

first_imgIt’s a funny thing how national exposure works. Everyone who doesn’t have it wants it, and those who are in the spotlight are always wishing it were on someone else.At Wisconsin’s annual media day Oct. 20, senior Kammron Taylor was asked if it was a breath of fresh air to finally have his program get some national recognition.Taylor, who has openly campaigned for UW attention in the past, sat for a moment pondering the correct response before finally answering.”Man, we know you guys have a job to do,” Taylor said, eventually indicating that the media has never won any games for the Badgers and that he didn’t want to get caught up in what the media says.Whether they like it or not, the members of the 2006 Wisconsin men’s basketball team now find themselves in an unusual position: squarely in the preseason limelight. In the USA Today-ESPN Coaches Poll released last week, UW was ranked No. 9 nationally. In a Big Ten writers’ poll conducted by the Capital Times, Wisconsin was tabbed as the class of the conference, collecting 17 of 22 first-place votes.”With all the expectations and high rankings and stuff like that, it’s kind of hard to [embrace it] because with Bo Ryan, nothing changes,” sophomore forward Marcus Landry said. “His whole style isn’t going change, ever.”As UW opens its preseason this Friday, with an exhibition game against UW-Stout, the Badgers find themselves at the beginning of what could be a very special ride. Players and coaches, however, refuse to equate any more excitement to the beginning of this season as in comparison to seasons past.”Last year’s first day is the same as this year’s first day,” sophomore forward Joe Krabbenhoft said.It’s understandable why Wisconsin is being looked upon as such an NCAA power this year, as UW brings back 12 players from a year ago, losing only senior swingman Ray Nixon to graduation, which equates to the Badgers returning 90 percent of their scoring from a year ago. In contrast, the vaunted Buckeyes bring back only 35.5 percent of their points.Even on an individual level, Wisconsin is getting recognition with star forward Alando Tucker being picked as the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year and receiving serious talk about being a Wooden Award candidate.”It’s not just what he does on the floor, it’s what he does off the floor,” junior Brian Butch said. “He’s just such a great leader.””With all the players we have back this year, he’s going to be even [harder] to stop this year than he was last year,” Taylor said.The fifth-year senior, who is one of the most difficult matchups in the country, makes life easier for the Badgers by drawing significant attention from opposing defenses no matter where he is on the floor.”Whenever he has the ball, and sometimes even when he doesn’t, you can see defenses slumping off, trying to cheat towards him,” Krabbenhoft said.Tucker is just the centerpiece of a Badger offensive attack that has several scoring options. Taylor, an honorable mention all-conference performer from a year ago, returns as one of the top three-point shooters and clutch players in the Big Ten. Taylor averaged 14.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.35 assists last season.”I feel like I can help this team and that I can be better,” Taylor said. “We as a team can be one of the best.”With a challenging schedule that is sure to rank highly in the RPI, the Badgers are ready to get their season started and see where all their experience will take them.”We’re all ready to get going,” said senior forward Jason Chappell, who started all but one game a year ago. “Everyone is just thrilled to back on the court and start playing again.””It only matters where we are at the end of the season, not the beginning,” Tucker said. “That’s what we are shooting for, being ranked high at the end.”last_img read more