Category Archives: Environment

New! Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board

Chester County has just set up a Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board to make recommendations to the County, municipalities, the public, and businesses. The official description is below. The County will soon be taking steps to secure the needed 22 members. Citizens are entitled to 4 of the 22 seats.

The other 18 members are: 7 officials ex officio; 4 representatives of businesses; 2 each of land conservancies and utility companies; and 1 each of 3 other associations. When application and selection guidelines are published, we will know whether the organizations in each category will basically select the members, or recommend candidates to the Commissioners, or neither. Let’s hope that the Board will rapidly stimulate actual badly-needed changes in policy and practice.

COUNTY OF CHESTER ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY ADVISORY BOARD

Purpose: The purpose of the Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board is to provide recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, applicable County departments, municipalities, citizens, and businesses by:

Recommending best environmental and energy practices in the areas of buildings, facilities and operations; fuels, vehicles, and transportation; food; responsible purchasing; housing; energy sources; air quality; stormwater management; natural resource protection; and climate change.

Identifying environmental and energy policies the County has adopted and recommending ways to promote and educate about Chester County’s environmental and energy initiatives.

Identifying and recommending voluntary actions, projects, and programs for municipalities, businesses, non-profits, and other partners to implement county environmental and energy policies.

Reviewing and providing input into a Climate Action Plan.

Recommending environmental and energy related actions, projects, and programs to the Board of Commissioners for implementation

Membership: The membership of the Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board shall be appointed by the Chester County Board of Commissioners and shall be selected so as to represent the citizens, businesses, and the County. The Membership of the Advisory Board shall include:

Four Chester County citizens

Four Chester County business representatives

One representative of Chester County Economic Development Council’s Smart Energy Initiative (SEI)

One representative of Chester County Association of Township Officials

One representative of Chester County Municipal Managers Consortium

Two representatives of Chester County’s land conservancies

Two representatives of Utility companies serving Chester County

Executive Director of Chester County Planning Commission

Executive Director of Chester County Water Resources Authority

Chester County Director of Open Space, Parks and Trails

Chester County Director of Emergency Services

Director of Chester County Conservation District

Director of Chester County Facilities Management

Director of Chester County Health Department

The Chairman of the Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board may appoint experts to the Board, as necessary, however those appointed experts shall not have a vote.

Vacancies shall be filled by the Chester County Board of Commissioners. County staff board seats will be ex-officio members.

Terms: The term of each of the members of the board shall be two years, except that, when the board is first created, half of the members shall be appointed for three years and half for two years.

Investing in the environment has paid off for Chester County

By Steven Hoffman, Chester County Press, 5/07/2019

Last week, Chester County officials and the region’s leading land conservation and economic development partners unveiled a new study on the economic benefits of the county’s efforts to preserve open space.

The study, “Return on Environment: The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Chester County,” coincides with the 30th anniversary of the county’s open-space preservation efforts. In November of 1989, Chester County voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot referendum that allocated resources for open space preservation. The funding has continued ever since. When Chester County launched its open space preservation program in 1989, it was the first county in the region to formally set aside funds for an open space preservation program based on the economic, environmental, and public health benefits that open space preservation provides.

Back in late 1980s, the county was experiencing strong commercial and residential growth, prompting fears of suburban sprawl, and all the societal issues that come with it. Since that time, county officials, as well as land conservation groups throughout the area, have consistently supported preservation efforts. The study outlined what the 30 years of commitment has produced, and the results are impressive…

read more at Chester County Press

Plan to build housing on contaminated Bishop Tube site in Chester County faces major setback

by Frank Kummer, philly.com, April 29, 2019

Plan to build housing on contaminated Bishop Tube site in Chester County faces major setback

A Pennsylvania environmental board has essentially scrapped two state actions that would have paved the way for developer Brian O’Neill to build housing on a contaminated Chester County site.

The ruling on Friday appears to be a major setback for Constitution Drive Partners, a limited partnership involving O’Neill. The company wants to build housing at the defunct Bishop Tube site, contaminated by a variety of hazardous compounds.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board concluded that amendments to an agreement with the developer stretching back to 2007 and 2010 not only are “arbitrary and capricious, ” but also “are void.”

“This is yet another environmental David and Goliath story,” said Maya van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network….

read more at philly.com

Earth Year

The patient bee
comes to the blueberry
bush in bloom.
They haven’t heard
the bad news,
climate and storms.
Nor have the ferns,
the squirrels, the spruces.
One species
among the endangered
knows all about it,
knows it and doesn’t.

Outdoors for All

By Richard Louv, Sierra magazine, Apr 25 2019 [Louv is the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder]

A nascent global movement proclaims that access to nature is a human right

A FEW YEARS AGO, pediatrician and clinical scientist Nooshin Razani treated a four-year-old girl whose family had recently fled Yemen and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. The family had received news the night before that members of the father’s family had been killed in a bombing back home. The child was suffering from anxiety. “I was thinking, ‘I have nothing to give to this little girl. What can I give her?'” Razani says. The typical medical response would be to offer the girl some counseling and, if necessary, medication. Razani decided the patient needed an additional, broader prescription. She asked the girl and her parents if they would like to go to the park with her. “The expression on that child’s face, the yearning for a piece of childhood, was deeply moving,” the doctor recalls.

Razani is the founder of the Center for Nature and Health, which conducts research on the connection between time in nature and health and is the nation’s first nature-based clinic associated with a major health provider, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California. The clinic collaborates with the East Bay Regional Park District to offer a program called Stay Healthy in Nature Everyday. Participating physicians share local park maps with their patients and offer family nature outings–70 of them so far. Often, the physicians will join the outings. Burned-out doctors need these experiences too, Razani says….

read more at Sierra