The Punchlist is back! Each week at the end of the week, we’ll share some of our favorite sustainability, climate, local, and whatever else – related stories.
This week’s edition features more exciting local and national news about the environment!
Environmental Job Training Opportunities: Landforce, a non-profit in Homewood, received $200,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This grant will support the training and development of 38 people in environmental related careers and general workforce skills. The program includes seven weeks of paid training as well as five or six months of work on projects in Allegheny County including invasive plant management, trail maintenance, and green infrastructure.
State Solar Addition: The Wolf Administration is agreeing to buy power from seven new solar projects in Pennsylvania, the largest government commitment to solar energy in the country. The project will stretch across six counties and add 191 megawatts of solar energy in the state. This fulfills part of Governor Wolf’s executive order on climate change which called for 40% of Pennsylvania’s electricity to be offset by renewable energy. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the power switch is equal to taking 34,000 cars off the road.
Fines for Air Pollution: The Allegheny County Health Department fined US Steel $383,450 for their pollution at Clairton Coke Works. Air pollution increases the risk of asthma, cardiovascular problems, and cancer. In Clairton, more than 22% of children have asthma and are getting sick at a rate higher than the national average. The settlement with the Allegheny County Health Department will include 90% of the $383,450 going into a Community Benefit Trust which will be allocated to the five most impacted municipalities near the Clairton facility. The other 10% will go to the Allegheny County Clean Air Fund.
From Mining Site to Botanic Garden: The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden will open its new Welcome Center and Auto Garden on April 1. The Welcome Center will include a café, boutique, education rooms, and an art gallery. It was constructed to take advantage of natural light. Since 2005, the Botanic Garden has reclaimed lands that were unusable due to coal mining and has since been working to remove mining industry hazards, plant saplings, and install passive filter systems to mitigate acid mine drainage. With emphasis on education, the Garden uses its restoration of former coal mining land as a living laboratory that both adults and children can learn from.
Reduce, Reuse, Resolution: As part of the Food Matters Regional Initiative, Pittsburgh has made a commitment to reduce food waste. The public announcement of their commitment was joined by Mayor Peduto declaring December “Food Matters Month” in the hopes that it’ll gain more recognition and support. Each week of December had a theme, some of which included “reuse” (using leftovers), “reduce” (meal planning), and “resolution” (resolve to waste less). As part of their 2018 Climate Action Plan, the city plans to achieve zero waste city-wide by 2030. This initiative could help the city achieve its goal.