DEP reaches penalty agreements with three natural gas exploration companies in the Northern Tier

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Aug. 25 announced it has finalized penalty agreements with three natural-gas exploration companies for methane gas migration violations that impacted private drinking water wells in Bradford, Lycoming, and Tioga counties. “These were complex and lengthy investigations that took a considerable amount of time to resolve, but the department was able to conclusively determine that methane gas from natural gas wells had migrated off-site and impacted private wells serving homes and hunting clubs,” said John Ryder, DEP director of district oil and gas operations. (read more)

Pennsylvania business sour on EPA clean power plan: It’s the competitive energy market that’s aided manufacturing’s come-back

By Phil Yacuboski The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan will kill jobs and drive up energy costs, according to many leaders in the business community who are sharply critical of the new federal energy policy. Announced last month, it will make Pennsylvania’s energy-producing power plants cut carbon dioxide emissions. The commonwealth has the third highest carbon dioxide output in the U.S. per year, according statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency. (read more)

‘Let’s not lose out again’ Stakeholders’ take on Institute’s analysis of natural gas industry

By Dave Gardner The economic benefits of Marcellus Shale natural gas seem like a bountiful harvest spread across the Thanksgiving dinner table, at least as documented by The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development. The Institute’s energy task force has identified business savings of up to 50 percent in natural-gas commodity prices over those in neighboring states. This is coupled with increased demand for skilled construction workers and the creation of 200,000-plus jobs associated with gas production. (read more)

PUC to study utility policy impact of new EPA Clean Power Plan

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) will thoroughly evaluate the impact on both Pennsylvania’s utilities and consumers of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which was unveiled in August. “These new EPA rules impact numerous stakeholders— including government agencies and regulators; power generators and utilities; and consumers and businesses,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “As part of the commission’s responsibility to ensure safe, reliable and affordable utility service, we will carefully examine the potential impact of these new EPA rules on the utility market in Pennsylvania. We are happy to see the revisions to the original proposal, including the ‘safety valve’ feature, which will help to prevent power disruptions.” (read more)

Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club first facility in Northeast to earn National Women’s Golf Alliance’s ‘Rolling Out the Green Carpet’ certification

The National Women’s Golf Alliance (NWGA) has recognized Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club in Mountaintop as the first facility in the Northeast to earn the organization’s Rolling Out the Green Carpet certification. The certification process evaluates golf facilities on standards and best practices that make the facility welcoming and attractive to women. A trained NWGA evaluator and three additional female golfers play an 18-hole round to evaluate the facility on five key areas of focus: golf course playability, customer service, golf course amenities, facility amenities and golf programs. Facilities that achieve a score of 80 percent or higher in at least three of these areas receive certification. Half stars are awarded for scores of 70 percent or higher. (read more)

New website offers resources for Pocono hikers

A new website featuring preserves and trails in the Poconos gives hikers a comprehensive resource for finding outdoor adventures. Get Outdoors Poconos, a grant-funded series by the Brodhead Watershed Association, features monthly hiking events relating to the new website. Go to www.brodheadwatershed.org/gopoconos for event information, trail maps, hiker’s hints, photos and feature stories. (read more)

DEP offers funding for projects to improve local water quality by reducing stormwater runoff

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has opened a grant program to control urban stormwater and improve local water quality. Municipalities, including cities, boroughs, or incorporated towns within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are eligible to apply. “Urban stormwater runoff has a big role in local water quality, it’s so important to manage that stormwater properly to prevent pollution from reaching our waterways,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “These grants will serve as a valuable tool to enable local governments to improve their urban stormwater management and ultimately, their water quality and that of their neighbors downstream.” (read more)

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