September 23, 2009

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. unveiled the largest green wall in North America as an innovative way to make its headquarters building more energy-efficient.
The 2,380 sq. ft., soil-based wall - similar in size to a doubles tennis court - features a variety of regional plants grown into living art on the south-facing wall of One PNC Plaza at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
It is estimated that each of the 602 panels, with 24 plants in each 2x2 sq. ft. space, will offset the carbon footprint of one person. The vertical garden, similar to a green roof, will help to cool the 30-story building. Preliminary studies show the south-facing living wall will be 25 percent cooler behind the wall than ambient temperatures. Click here for full story.

September 22, 2009

House Members, Groups Oppose Budget Deal. Members of the House and representatives of 30 environmental and sportsmens' groups held a press conference today opposing the budget deal agreed to by Senate and House leaders and Gov. Rendell which would lease up to 100,000 acres of State Forest land for natural gas drilling and significantly cut funding for environmental agencies.
"We cannot balance the budget on the back of the environment," Rep. Vitali said. "First, the current agreement would require that far too much state forest land be open for Marcellus Shale drilling."
Rep. Vitali said the group also opposed the elimination of the Oil and Gas Lease Fund into which revenues from all mineral leasing are deposited for land owned by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, supports the adoption of a severance tax on natural gas production and restoring $56 million in cuts to the Department of Environmental Protection. Click here to read article on event.
Other speakers at the event--
Jan Jarrett, President & CEO of PennFuture,
Rep. David Levdansky, Majority Chair of the House Finance Committee
Jeff Saunders, PA Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs
Kathy Davis, Quality Deer Management
Judy Swank, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania

September 15, 2009

State Park, Forest Groups Express Concern Over Budget Cuts, Natural Gas Leasing. Groups supporting State Parks, State Forests and recreation facilities around the state this week highlighted the damage proposed budget cuts would do to recreation resources and expressed concern about the accelerated leasing of State Forest land for Marcellus Shale drilling.
Marci Mowery, PA Parks and Forests Foundation, said the groups game to the Capitol to both celebrate the legacy of the State Park and Forest system and protest its proposed demise.
She said the budget cuts being proposed are equal to returning the size of the State Park system to what it was in 1965, before Maurice Goddard began his initiative to put parks within 25 miles of all Pennsylvanians.
"While closures have not yet happened, we are seeing a loss of services," said Mowery. "Almost 200 wage staff in the Bureau of Forestry are on leave without pay-- rangers, maintenance staff and forest fire suppression staff.
"The same thing is occurring in State Parks-- over 100 wage positions were not filled, parks are carrying 42 salaried staff vacancies, 100 wage staff were cut early and an anticipated 100 will be cut in the Spring. We are seeing campgrounds closing early, portions of parks closing and programs being reduced."
She noted since 1955 revenue from oil and gas leasing on State Forest lands has been dedicated to the maintenance and operation of State Parks and Forests. However, she said, this legacy from Maurice Goddard now stands threatened by taking revenue from Marcellus Shale leases in State Forest and using the funding to balance the budget.
Other speakers at the event include:
Professor Andy Mowen, Penn State University
Patricia Tomes, Rails-To-Trails Conservancy
Curt Ashenfelter, Keystone Trails Association
Judith Schwank, 10,000 Friends of PA
Cynthia Carrow, Western PA Conservancy
Donna Morelli, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Robert Griffith, PA Recreation and Parks Society
Click here for more information.

September 2, 2009

Tips For Elk View Season From Game Commission. With Commonwealth’s elk viewing season fast approaching, Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe is offering some guidance on where to go, as well as encouraging those planning to travel to “elk country” to be respectful of local residents.
An estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people visit the Elk viewing area on Winslow Hill in Benezette Township, Elk County during September and October.
The Game Commission is offering Top Ten Tips For Elk viewing to make your visit more enjoyable. You can also watch a video on Elk viewing from the Game Commission by clicking here.