August 22, 2012

Federal Mine Reclamation Funding To PA Cut By $200 Million

In July when the new federal Surface Transportation Bill (HR 4348) was signed into law it included an amendment sponsored by U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) which will reduce federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funding to Pennsylvania by $200 million over the next 10 years.
           John Dawes, Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, is heading up a campaign to restore reclamation funding to the state.
           In this interview he shares background on the issue and the steps being taken to reverse the loss of funding.
           Click here for more details on the issue.

July 28, 2012

Quecreek Mine Rescue Celebrated As Triumph Of The American Spirit

The 10th Anniversary of the 2002 Quecreek Mine Rescue of nine trapped miners in Somerset County was celebrated Saturday with a special program featuring former Gov. Mark Schweiker, other state and federal mine rescue officials, private companies involved in the rescue and several of the rescued coal miners.
Gov. Mark Schweiker offers his comments in this video.
“The rescue was a miracle, there’s no other way to describe it,” said Bill Arnold, Executive Director of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation and the owner of the family farm where the rescue took place.   “People from all over the world have come to learn about the rescue, what coal mining is all about and how everyone worked together to save the lives of the miners.”
“The Quecreek Mine Rescue is a celebration of life, community and determination,” said Arnold. “A community of people-- coal miners, state and federal rescue workers, coal companies and Somerset community volunteers-- came together to achieve a single objective-- rescuing nine men trapped 190 below the ground and return them to their families.
“It is a tremendous example of determination and the Pennsylvania spirit to never give in to overwhelming odds, that is why we are calling this celebration ‘The Triumph of the American Spirit,’” said Arnold.
Watch these videos of other comments offered at the anniversary celebration on July 28--
-- Joe Sbaffoni, DEP Director of Deep Mine Safety;
-- Bill Arnold invites comments from Rescued Miners John Unger, Thomas Foy; Blaine Mayhugh;
-- Congressman Mark Critz;
-- Joseph Main, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety & Health;
-- Larry Neff, ISG, Inc. (formerly Bethlehem Mines); and
-- David Hughes, Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation Advisory Committee.

On July 24, 2002 miners broke through into an abandoned, water-filled mine flooding the Quecreek Mine with over 150 million gallons of water.  Nine miners scrambled to safety, but nine were trapped in a pocket of air in the dark, cold, water filled mine.  They were rescued four days later through the combined efforts of state and federal mine rescue agencies and hundreds of workers and volunteers.
Online Video: Quecreek Mine Rescue: Critical Decisions
Download: DEP Commemorative Booklet "Nine for Nine" (large file)
Miners, Rescuers Gather On 10th Anniversary Of Quecreek Rescue

July 22, 2012

Quecreek Mine Rescue: Critical Decisions

On July 24, 2002 coal miners broke through into an abandoned, water-filled mine flooding the Quecreek Mine with over 150 million gallons of water.  Nine miners scrambled to safety, but nine were trapped in a pocket of air in the dark, cold, water filled mine.  They were rescued four days later through the combined efforts of state and federal mine rescue agencies and hundreds of workers and volunteers.
This video was produced by the Commonwealth Media Services, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in 2003 to document the decisions made step-by-step during the rescue effort.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the successful Quecreek Mine Rescue.

July 18, 2012

Ralph W. Abele Historic Marker Dedicated

On Tuesday a Pennsylvania historic marker was unveiled honoring former Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Ralph W. Abele in a dedication ceremony at PFBC headquarters in Harrisburg.
In this video, John Arway, Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, provides an introduction to the historic marker event.
Watch the remarks of these speakers at this special event--
-- Franklin Kury, former Senator and Representative
-- Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation President & CEO
-- Dennis Guise, Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarship Fund
-- Frederick Powell, PA Historical & Museum Commission
-- Cindy Dunn, DCNR, reading a letter from Susan Q. Stranahan, former Philadelphia Inquirer environment reporter and author of Susquehanna River of Dreams
-- Ralph Abele Jr, on behalf of the family
-- Unveiling the Historic Marker and marker text

Throughout his life, Abele inspired and commanded the fight to save the natural environment. He believed strongly in the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution which says it is the right of everyone to "clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment."
As PFBC executive director from January 1972 through May 1987, Abele’s accomplishments garnered him the title of “Lord of the Fish” for his tireless and relentless efforts in protecting water quality against pollution and working to restore American shad to their native Susquehanna River.
Abele’s voice and action, as a leader during the beginnings of ecology awareness, called industry to task and empowered individuals with an understanding that they, too, had the power to affect change and protect our natural environment.
While the Commission’s direct constituents have been mostly anglers and boaters, it was clear that Abele’s commentary on the nation’s obligation to protect natural resources struck a chord with the greater, general public.
Following his death in 1990, two important legacies for conservation were established in his name: the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award and the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarship Fund.
The award has been presented to such notables in conservation as Dr. Maurice K. Goddard, and the scholarship fund has provided a seed of continued growth for many students with the same aspiration in the field of conservation.
The historic marker reads: Ralph W. Abele (1921-1990) Conservation leader and Pennsylvania Fish commission executive director, 1972-87. Abele's "Resource First" philosophy strengthened the agency's mission to protect, conserve and enhance water quality, improve fish passage and increase youth conservation education.  Notable achievements included modernizing the Fish and boat Code, emphasizing conservation enforcement and leading efforts to restore American shad to the Susquehanna River.

February 2, 2012

DCNR: How Well Do You Know Your Trees?

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources asks, "How well do you know your trees?" In the winter, it is especially challenging to identify tree species when they are stripped of their leaves. To help you ID trees around where you live, watch this video or visit DCNR’s Tree ID display at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show February 4-12 In Harrisburg, and start impressing your family and friends with your sylvan savviness.

January 18, 2012

Wildlife Leadership Academy Accepting Applications

The Wildlife Leadership Academy gives Pennsylvania youth the tools to become conservation leaders in their home community. 2012 field school applications are available for Pennsylvania youth ages 14-17 interested in conservation, leadership and the outdoors.  For more information Click Here.