What's new for sustainability in the Upper Delaware region, January 20 to 26
HONESDALE, PA — The environmental education group SEEDS has received a $10,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Fund. The fund is part of the Scranton Area Community Foundation.
The grant will be used to expand a SEEDS initiative, The Energy Awareness Action Movement (TEAAM) into Lackawanna County.
The program encourages local homeowners to save energy through energy assessments performed by SEEDS volunteers and students who will be trained by SEEDS and a certified instructor.
The intergenerational program, according to a statement, particularly assists low-income families in saving money on energy bills, and provides students with interactive, hands-on experience that they can use in the future.
Funding will be used for assessment equipment, training and program management. Public forums will be held to explain the program and hopefully spearhead a region-wide conservation effort.
SEEDS expects that to result in thousands of kilowatt hours saved.
Additionally, the group will receive a $4,750 grant from the Overlook Estate Foundation.
The funding will support SEEDS’ educational programming and outreach efforts, including the “Today’s Main Ingredient” podcast, farm tour videos, SEEDS Reads and other digital content.
The Overlook Estate Foundation encourages, promotes and supports cultural activities and events in the community. Conservation and preservation of the area is a particular focus.
For more information about the foundation, visit https://www.overlook.org.
To learn more about SEEDS, visit https://seedsgroup.net/.
PENNSYLVANIA — Voluntary carbon markets might be the new darlings of the financial industry.
According to S&P Global Platts, which provides information, benchmark prices and analytics for the energy and commodities markets, the idea allows “carbon emitters to offset their unavoidable emissions by purchasing carbon credits emitted by projects targeted at removing or reducing GHG from the atmosphere.”
Oil and gas companies, banks and hedge funds are getting involved, S&P Global Pratts noted.
But the industry is eyeing farmers too. Farms are on the “reducing GHG” end of the spectrum.
Can a farmer make money by joining a voluntary carbon market?
A recent Penn State webinar discusses the topic.
The recording is available here: https://bit.ly/34lFxR1.
The handouts are available here: https://bit.ly/3t9sqg3.
MID-HUDSON REGION — Sullivan County may be a couple hours from New York City, but it’s still home to part of the city’s water supply.
So poetic or artistic county kids might want to pay attention. The Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest is back, giving young people a chance to express their appreciation for that water.
They can write poems or create paintings, collages, three-dimensional models. They can use photography, animation or videos of dance performances, public service announcements or songs.
The themes include:
Water, a Precious Resource, covers the importance of clean, plentiful water.
The NYC Water Supply System looks at the history of the system and its present-day source, operation, delivery, protection and maintenance.
The NYC Wastewater Treatment System focuses on sewer infrastructure in the city and east and west of the Hudson watersheds.
Harbor Water Quality and Healthy Marine Ecosystems asks kids to explore marine life and the recreation and business opportunities on local bodies of water. What is being done to keep the water clean?
Water Stewardship and Climate Change looks at human influence on the environment and how we can take action on issues that affect our neighborhoods and beyond.
Students in grades two through 12 who attend public, independent, charter and parochial schools or are homeschooled may enter.
They must live east or west of Hudson watersheds, or in New York City.
Entries will be accepted online until March 4.
NATIONWIDE — Carbon dioxide emissions from the aviation sector constitute 2.5 percent of global emissions, according to a blog post by Puneet Dwivedi at the, University of Georgia, on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. But the humble and peppery mustard plant might hold an answer to the problem.
One way to reduce this carbon footprint is to replace conventional aviation fuel, which is obtained by refining crude oil, with aviation fuel derived from sustainably produced biomass feedstocks.
Carinata (Brassica carinata), also known as Ethiopian mustard, is an oilseed crop that can be grown across the southern U.S. during the winter months. The oil obtained from crushed carinata seeds can be refined to produce sustainable aviation fuel, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
This could reduce up to 68 percent of carbon emissions compared to a unit of conventional aviation fuel, Dwivedi wrote.
Learn about the study on the USDA site at https://bit.ly/31CoJnU.
HONESDALE, PA — So what if you’re out in the park or walking and your phone’s almost out of juice? You can still charge it, and you don’t even have to head home.
A solar-powered phone charging station was donated to SEEDS by its designer and builder, Tony Komar.
The charger is now installed at the Stourbridge Project and the spot honors Lisa Glover, who designed the solar kiosk inside the building.
The charging house is protected from the weather.
SEEDS installed it for the use of park attendees and river trail walkers. Having a well charged phone, the environmental education group said, is not only convenient, but it’s also a lifeline in the modern world.
To learn more about SEEDS, visit https://seedsgroup.net/.
ALBANY, NY — The changes for brownfields clean-up have moved to the public-comment stage.
The new regulations, said New York Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos, will improve efforts to “revitalize communities and protect public health and the environment.”
The proposals are available for public comment until April 21.
This would improve oversight of the emerging contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic sulfonate (PFOS), and would strengthen the state’s brownfield cleanup program, the state Superfund and other such programs, according to the DEC.
The proposed changes affect the six New York Part 375 codes, rules and regulations pertaining to the state’s environmental remediation programs,
Enhanced requirements for the Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Remedial Program (also known as the state’s Superfund program);
Updates to the soil cleanup objectives (SCOs) to reflect the latest scientific input of experts at the DEC and the New York State Department of Health. Revisions would include the creation of SCOs for PFOA, PFOS, aniline, and nitrobenzene, reflecting that those chemicals are considered hazardous substances. Existing guidance would be altered to give the state more enforcement ability against polluters.
New changes, clarifications, and modifications to the regulations based on DEC’s experience during the first decade of the brownfield-cleanup program.
Two virtual hearings will be held, one at 2 p.m. on April 5 and one at 5:30 p.m. on April 7.
All documents and related information pertaining to the revised proposed rulemaking are available on DEC’s website. Members of the public without internet access are advised to contact NYS at the address above or call 518/402-9764.
Written comments on the revisions can be submitted through April 21 at 8 p.m. The comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (note “Comments on proposed Part 375 in the subject line) or call the DEC at 518/402-9764 and leave a message for Jenn Dawson. Provide your first and last name, address and phone number, and reference the Part 375 public comment hearing.
Comments can also be mailed to the NYS DEC—Division of Environmental Remediation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7012, attention: Jenn Dawson.
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