Friday, June 23, 2017

U.S. Economic Development Administration Offers Coal Communities Assistance Grants

The U.S. Economic Development Administration Friday announced it is accepting applications for $30 million in Community Assistance Grants for communities in coal mining areas.
The funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development and re-employment opportunities.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.  Funds not obligated by October 1 may not be available for awarding.
June 27 Webinar
The EDA will hold a webinar on June 27 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on how to apply for  Community Assistance Grants.  Click Here to register.
Click Here for all the details.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Funding For Coal Mine Worker Training In PA Released From Appalachian Agency Targeted For Elimination By Trump

The Appalachian Regional Commission, slated for elimination by the Trump Administration, Wednesday released $15.7 million in funding for economic development projects, including a $1.4 million grant to the Washington Greene County Job Training Agency to train displaced workers from the coal sector.
The Pennsylvania grant is for the Appalachian Region Code (ARCODE) Initiative. The ARCODE Initiative will teach high-demand skills in software engineering and development to displaced workers from the coal sector in southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
It harnesses and combines the software training expertise of Mined Minds, a proven software development training organization, and CentralApp, an international software solutions developer.
The two will work together to provide courses and certifications needed to qualify for high-demand technology jobs, enabling participants to work locally for companies that can be located anywhere in the world.
Mined Minds will provide a supply of certified tech talent that program partners and others will be able to hire locally or contract for short-term, labor-intensive projects.
CentralApp trainees who obtain certifications will have access to CentralApp Talent Exchange and will obtain work from its customer base of thousands of active Salesforce customers, systems integrators, and consultancies.
The project will train and place 71 workers in computer tech jobs at seven or more companies.
Click Here for the complete announcement of grants.
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PA Attorney General, 10 Other AGs Sue U.S. DOE Over Stalled Energy Efficiency Rules

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Wednesday announced he and 10 other state Attorneys General are suing the U.S. Department of Energy over its failure to finalize energy-use standards designed to save consumers and businesses billions of dollars, conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The energy-use rules, approved by the Department of Energy in December but never finalized by the Trump Administration, would save consumers and businesses an estimated $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 159 million tons, and conserve 242 billion kilowatt hours of electricity over 30 years.
The rules cover portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and freezers, air compressors, commercial boilers and uninterruptible power supplies.
Attorney General Shapiro and 10 other Attorneys General filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in California.
“I’m suing to make the Trump Administration follow the law and protect our environment,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water, and I’m taking legal action to protect that right.”
The energy-efficiency standards were approved in December. As required by federal law, the rules then went through several steps – with the final step being publication in the Federal Register, which makes the rules legally enforceable.
The Trump Administration’s Energy Department never completed this final step, which is a clear violation of federal environmental and administrative law.
“This is about standing up for the rule of law,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “These energy-efficiency standards were approved to protect consumers, small businesses and our environment and the Trump Administration can’t simply refuse to put them in place.”
Attorney General Shapiro has made environmental protection a cornerstone of his leadership of the Office of Attorney General.
In his first 100 days, Attorney General Shapiro has hired Steve Santarsiero as Chief Deputy for Environmental Protection, settled a multi-state lawsuit against Volkswagen over emissions violations, and directed every division in the Office of Attorney General to prioritize environmental issues in the course of their work.
“Whether it’s suing an international company for emission violations or standing up to the President and his administration on energy rules and climate change, I’m committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s natural resources,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “It’s a constitutional right and we’ll fight every day to uphold that right for every Pennsylvanian.”
Click Here for a copy of the lawsuit.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EPA Proposing To Pause Oil & Gas Methane Emission Control Rule For 2 Years

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday provided more details on its proposal to pause the rule now in place controlling methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations saying its review would take 2 years while it reconsiders the regulation.
The Environmental Defense Fund and other groups filed a lawsuit last week over its decision to pause the rule.
In a fact sheet, EDF said over 800 new and modified wells would be affected by EPA’s decision to pause the rule in Pennsylvania causing an estimated 500 tons of methane pollution, 140 tons of volatile organic compound pollution and 5 tons of hazardous air pollutants.
Pennsylvania does have in place methane leak detection and repair requirements, including quarterly inspections for compressor stations issued permits after mid-2013.  A voluntary leak detection program for well sites is also in place.
The Department of Environmental Protection is now going through the process of updating its General Permit GP-5 and GP-5A with more stringent methane emission requirements, prompted by the EPA rule.  The comment period for these proposed changes closed on June 5.
Questions about the EDF information should be directed to Stacy MacDiarmid at 512-691-3439 or send email to: smacdiarmid@edf.org.
(Photo: EDF map of Pennsylvania gas wells affected by the proposed EPA pause.)
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