HARRISBURG, PA, April 20, 2010 -- Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger today honored 16 Pennsylvania individuals, organizations and businesses for outstanding efforts to protect and restore watersheds, reduce pollution and conserve energy, educate the public on environmental issues and revitalize communities.
The annual Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence recognizes efforts and investments to turn environmental problems into opportunities and promote America's energy independence.
"Pennsylvania faces a host of formidable environmental issues, such as cleaning up the historic damage from our industrial past, protecting our water resources from new development and properly managing our rapidly-growing natural gas industry," Hanger said. "I urge business and ordinary citizens to view these challenges not as problems but as opportunities to build, invent and grow our way to better resource stewardship and sustainable development.
"This year's deserving winners were selected because of their long-term commitments to protect Pennsylvania's environment and improve our quality of life," Hanger said. "They have answered the call to take on our most pressing challenges and turn environmental protection into an engine of efficiency, productivity and enhanced competitiveness."
Award winners were selected from several environmental categories, including:
-- Advanced Energy Deployment;
-- Pollution Prevention;
-- Energy Conservation;
-- Water Conservation;
-- Watershed Protection;
-- Mine Reclamation;
-- Brownfields Redevelopment; and
-- Environmental Education and Community Outreach.
The winners of the 2010 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence are listed below:
Aqua PA Inc. -- Chester County
Aqua PA Inc.'s Ingram's Mill Solar Farm received $1 million in Recovery Act funding through the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority in August 2009 to install a minimum of 1.040 megawatts of net-metered photovoltaic solar modules on 4.5 acres of open field that will generate more than 32 million kWh of solar photovoltaic electricity over the project's lifetime. This project will create 20 permanent, full-time jobs and 120 temporary, full-time jobs. The company directed $4.8 million in matching funds to this effort.
Babb Creek Watershed Association -- Tioga County
Babb Creek had been polluted by acid mine drainage for more than 100 years and has negatively affected the Pine Creek below the town of Blackwell. Area residents formed the Babb Creek Watershed Association and through partnerships with DEP, DCNR, the Arnot Sportsmen, and many other supporting organizations, undertook 18 separate projects with a combined budget of nearly $8 million. The group managed operations of a large, one-of-a-kind water treatment facility which uses a byproduct from limemaking to treat a very large volume abandoned mine discharge. Through their efforts, five miles of Pine Creek and 14 miles of Babb Creek have been removed from EPA's list of impaired waters and the creek now supports a thriving trout fishery.
BigBelly Solar Trash Collection -- Philadelphia
BigBelly produces trash cans with solar-powered compactors for use in municipal/college situations. The City of Philadelphia installed 500 of the streetside trash compactors and intends to purchase 260 more with ARRA funds from the Department of Energy. The cans are completely enclosed, eliminating vermin and birds that feed on trash, and can hold up to five traditional cans full of trash before being emptied. This reduces fuel use and collection costs by 80 percent and will save the city $13 million over the next 10 years.
Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy -- Lancaster County
Brubaker Farms is a third-generation family-owned farm and has become a leader in agricultural preservation and education. Recently, this farm participated in a number of conservation activities to help maintain and promote a sustainable business including: joining Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Program, participation in American Farmland Trust's Best Management Practices Challenge, installation of an anaerobic methane digester to generate energy and reduce odors and becoming a party to one of the first nutrient trading program contracts. By partnering with Mount Joy Borough Authority this trading contract demonstrated how agriculture and municipalities can work together to benefit the environment and sustain productive agriculture. Brubaker Farms is viewed by many in the agricultural community as leaders for their continued participation in conservation programs, educational outreach and policy discussions.
Buckman's Inc. -- Montgomery County
Buckman's received $520,000 in Recovery Act funds through the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority funding to execute a three-phase plan to cut costs, reduce energy usage and environmental impact, and ensure the long-term success of the organization. This grant will fund the first phase involving the installation of a 620 kW solar energy system and targeted energy efficiency. The second phase will include the installation of a solar hot water system, with the final phase adding a wind energy system. The solar energy system is expected to generate more than 17 million kWh of electricity over its lifetime. This project will create 14 temporary, full-time jobs. The company directed more than $3.8 million in matching funds to the project.
Carlisle Area School District -- Cumberland County
The Carlisle Area School District is installing a 1000-kW photovoltaic array system which represents about 15 percent of the annual power used by the school district. This will save about $105,000 per year considering the sale of renewable energy credits of $0.25 kWh. The school district received a $1 million Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority award and a $950,000 Commonwealth Financing Authority Solar Energy Program award.
Crayola, LLC -- Northampton County
Crayola received $1.5 million in Recovery Act funding through the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to develop a 1.9 MW solar powered facility at its headquarters and manufacturing site, in partnership with UGI Development Co. and PPL Renewable Energy. The project represents 10 percent of the power consumed by the entire plant and one-third of the energy consumed for crayon production. The project will consist of 26,200 photovoltaic panels and produce nearly 62 million kWh of electricity over its lifetime helping to offset electricity costs and preserve 1,187 jobs at its manufacturing and research facilities. A solar power exhibit will be constructed educating more than 350,000 visitors per year. The company directed $10.5 million in matching funds to the project.
Earth Conservancy, Huber III Mine Reclamation Project -- Luzerne County
Earth Conservancy's reclamation of the Huber III abandoned mine site is an important component in the environmental restoration of the Solomon Creek Watershed and the economic revitalization of the Wyoming Valley. The project area is located in the Solomon Creek Watershed, which is currently the focus of a Growing Greener grant application sponsored by Luzerne County to specifically address mine drainage impacts further downstream in the watershed. Due to the significant amount of environmentally degraded land, total reclamation of the site will play a major role in improving the water quality in the watershed. Equally important, because Huber III is situated in close proximity to Route 29 and I-81 as well as its location at one of two main entrances to Hanover Industrial Estates, which is developed to capacity, reclamation of the project area has provided much-needed land for economic expansion.
Jerry Feldman - Jerry's Car Wash, Northway Car Wash -- Allegheny & Butler Counties
Jerry Feldman, owner of Jerry's Car Wash and Northway Car Wash, along with his business partner and son, Mark Feldman, has been in the car wash business in Allegheny and Butler counties for more than 25 years. Jerry has been an advocate and an industry model in the area of water conservation and water planning. He implemented water conservation measures at Jerry's Carwashes in 2004 resulting in an approximate 60 percent reduction of water consumption. He has also volunteered his time serving on the board of directors for the PA Car Wash Association, and also as a member of both the Pennsylvania Statewide Water Resources Committee and the Ohio River Basin Regional Water Resources Committees since their inception in 2002. In addition, he has enthusiastically led the committee formed to guide the development of the PA Water Resources Technical Assistance Center. He was instrumental in working to develop and award the contract for the statewide effort to develop the Water Conservation Technical Assistance Center, currently under development.
Giant Eagle Supermarkets - Western Pa. & Eastern Ohio
Giant Eagle Supermarkets has been awarded the ENERGY STAR® Award for Sustained Excellence in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In addition, the company was awarded the Partner of the Year award for 2004 and 2005. Giant Eagle is under contract to purchase 17 million kWh/year of wind energy through 2012.
Keystone Industrial Port Complex -- Bucks County
Keystone Industrial Port Complex, formerly the US Steel - Fairless Works, is one of the country's most successful brownfield sites. The site has been transformed into an eco-industrial park with tenants involved in renewable energy manufacturing, metals and coal recycling, soil reuse, and electrical power production from landfill gas. Three manufacturers, Gamesa (wind blades), AE Polysilicon (solar), and Osstem (dental implants) are currently tenants at the facility. The complex recently signed a Sustainability Partnership with EPA to enhance environmental opportunities for current and future tenants. There are also solar panels on an adjacent landfill owned by Waste Management. All of the electricity generated at the PECO/Exelon plant within the complex, which runs on landfill gas from the landfill, goes to the complex electrical system.
Lycoming County Community Gas Exploration Task Force
The Board of Commissioners for Lycoming County and the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce collaborated to form the Community Gas Exploration Task Force. Since early 2008, a number of gas companies began establishing a significant presence in Lycoming County to arrange leases with county landowners to drill the Marcellus Shale. The task force identifies key issues, researches facts and information, and reviews and proposes public policy regarding the positive, economic impact of gas exploration of the Marcellus Shale in Lycoming County.
Lancaster Co. Conservation District - Lancaster County
The Lancaster County Conservation District's innovative approaches to agricultural compliance with environmental requirements include Warwick Township's municipality-wide effort for on-farm conservation planning, staffing an outreach coordinator to assist the Plain-Sect community, and fostering a county-wide program of stream bank fencing. The Lancaster County Conservation District worked diligently with EPA and the farm landowners in Watson Run watershed to create an innovative partnership to assess the water quality impacts of agricultural operations on this small watershed. Efforts to bring farm land owners into EPA's new initiatives on the Chesapeake Bay included Lancaster farm tours for federal officials and congressional representatives and inviting, and then transporting, Lancaster County Plain-Sect leaders to out-of-state meetings so that the needs and opinions of Pennsylvania's diverse agricultural economy could be represented in EPA's public process for the development of new Chesapeake Bay regulations.
Tom Murphy, PSU Cooperative Extension - Lycoming County
Early in the development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas play, Tom Murphy and the extension recognized the potential issues and concerns, and began offering meetings with landowners and others to advise them about leasing issues, drilling procedures and how to test their wells before drilling. The extension also helped local governments get training on road bonding. Dozens of meetings were held throughout the counties in north-central Pennsylvania, at no cost, to present the facts on both sides of the drilling and environmental issues. Murphy has been with Penn State Extension for 25 years. He is an associate extension educator, and co-director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.
Penn National Racecourse & Hollywood Casino - Dauphin County
The Penn National Racecourse and Hollywood Casino in Grantville reclaims its wastewater and reuses it. The company operates an advanced wastewater treatment plant that also filters phosphorus and reduces nutrients prior to discharge. Reclaimed water is chlorinated and piped to the casino for toilet and urinal flushing. Water also is used on the turf and track during racing season. These capabilities may enable Penn National to reuse all of its wastewater during dry periods in the summer when track watering is at its peak. Penn National is one of the first facilities to install reuse technology and one of the first to be permitted under the EPA and draft DEP Reuse manuals.
Voith Hydro -- York County
Voith Hydro is an outstanding example of how developments and investments in green energy technology can be good for our economy and our energy needs in the future. Even during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Voith has continued to invest and create new jobs. With more than 550 employees, a 27-percent increase during the past two years, Voith Hydro is still growing and keeping up with the demand for hydropower. The company hired 194 people in the last 24 months and is investing more than $15.3 million in building renovations, new equipment and upgrades to its existing equipment.