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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

Kessler outduels Mannion in 35-10 USC win

first_imgIt was USC’s redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler, not highly touted Oregon State gunslinger Sean Mannion, who looked like the future NFL star during the Trojans’ 35-10 win over the visiting Beavers on Saturday night.No. 18 USC (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) overcame some early jitters to dominate large stretches of the game, while Oregon State (3-1, 0-1) never seemed to be able to get its vaunted passing attack off the ground. The Trojans’ much maligned secondary held Mannion to only 15 completions and 123 yards, while Kessler picked apart the Beavers’ defense for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Though the win was by no means perfect — the two teams combined for a ridiculous 232 yards of total penalties  — USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was pleased with the result.“I’m proud of our football team,” Sarkisian said. “We have room for improvement, we need to play better next week. But it’s great to be 2-0 in conference play.”Sophomore safety Su’a Cravens foreshadowed a monster performance midway through the first quarter, intercepting a Mannion screen pass and returning it 31 yards to open the scoring. The Los Angeles native would go on to add six total tackles, a sack and another tackle for loss. The pick six marked Cravens’ first career touchdown.“Credit to the coaches,” Cravens said. “We called a zone, we knew they wanted to get it out to the flats with their big tight ends. They ran them out and I just happened to make a play on the ball.”Just as quickly as it arrived, however, the Trojans’ early lead vanished when OSU’s Ryan Murphy took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. Murphy, who starts at safety for the Beavers, sidestepped USC sophomore defensive back Leon McQuay III while tiptoeing down the sideline for the score.Mannion began to show off his NFL-ready arm in the second quarter, leading the Beavers on an 11-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in a field goal. The senior quarterback’s favorite target on the drive was wideout Richard Mullaney, who caught passes of 29 and 27 yards. The drive marked Mannion’s only sustained success all game, a point of pride for Sarkisian and the USC defense.“Being disciplined was a point of emphasis for us,” Sarkisian said. “All in all I think for the entire game our discipline was very good. We were in the right places at the right times, I think we had bodies on their receivers and the windows were tight. We might have been a little over aggressive, but we did enough to make [Mannion] uncomfortable in the pocket.”USC would respond on its very next series, converting two crucial third downs in Beaver territory to set up a 16-yard touchdown strike from Kessler to sophomore tailback Justin Davis. Davis collected 112 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns on the night.The Beavers’ final drive of the first half looked destined for points, until freshman Adoree’ Jackson tipped a Mannion pass into McQuay’s waiting hands in the corner of the endzone. The Beavers had moved into USC territory with the help of multiple key penalties, including a 15-yard facemask call on senior linebacker Hayes Pullard.McQuay’s brilliance set up a wild ending to the first half. Facing 4th and 15 from Oregon State’s 48-yard line on the following drive, Kessler ran the game clock down to 0:01 before connecting with sophomore wideout Darreus Rogers for a Hail Mary-style touchdown. Senior kicker Andre Heidari’s extra point improbably made the halftime score 21-10 in favor of USC.Kessler explained his mindset going into the play.“I knew exactly what [Rogers] was thinking,” Kessler said. “We practice it two or three times a week, in case we get in those scenarios. Darreus made an amazing play. I really think that sparked us for the second half. It was a really big play that got the crowd pumped up too.”Oregon State blocked a Heidari field goal attempt late in a third quarter that featured no points and a combined 20 penalties. The fireworks returned just 30 seconds into the final quarter, however, in the form of 17-yard run from redshirt junior tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen. The scoring play was immediately preceded by a clutch third and long conversion from Kessler, who found Agholor for a 15-yard gain while in the grasp of an OSU defender.Davis added his second score of the day on a 21-yard run midway through the quarter, capping the 25-point win. Redshirt freshman quarterback Max Browne led the Trojans’ onto the field for the team’s final, clock-killing drive.The Trojans will be back at the Coliseum next Saturday, facing off against No. 15 Arizona State. The Sun Devils are currently without starting quarterback Taylor Kelly, and suffered a 62-17 beatdown at the hands of No. 11 UCLA on Thursday. Still, Sarkisian knows the team will have to improve in several key areas in the next seven days.“We’ll take it,” Sarkisian said. “We love the fact that we won. We love the fact that we’re 2-0 [in Pac-12 play]. But we can be better.”last_img read more