<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Green News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/green http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:52:44 -0400 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:52:44 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Philly's 1st Natural Gas Station Opens]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:17:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/198*120/Natural+Gas+Station+Pump.JPG

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett celebrated the opening Tuesday of the first compressed natural gas fueling station in Philadelphia.

The CNG station, located at 2901W Abbottsford Ave. near the Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. Route 1) in the city's East Falls neighborhood features full service natural gas fueling as well as a convenience store and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Corbett joined officials from Ball Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based VNG Co. to tout the station as supplying clean-burning natural gas.

“Pennsylvania has the second-largest energy field in the world, and cities from Pittsburgh to Williamsport to Towanda to Philadelphia are benefiting from our game-changing energy resources,” Corbett said. “The convenience of a local CNG fueling station makes it possible for local governments, organizations, companies and residents to make the switch to this cleaner and affordable alternative fuel. By harnessing natural gas, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and putting Pennsylvania at the forefront of American energy independence.

A $253,000 Alternative Clean Energy Grant and a $169,000 loan from the commonwealth helped pay for the station. The Corbett Administration said that VNG matched more than $422,000 to make the station a reality.

Corbett's administration has put a big emphasis on fracking natural gas in the Keystone State. Corbett said that over his tenure the state has gone from importing 75 percent of its natural gas to exporting more than the state uses.

VNG plans to build similar stations around the country.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Long Stretch of Sunshine Good for Crops in New Jersey]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:42:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/nj+rain+bumper+crops.jpg The mix of cool nights and warm, sunny days is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables -- and this summer's weather has been good to the crops in New Jersey. Brian Thompson reports]]> <![CDATA[Local Oil Spill Bigger Problem Than Expected]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 07:20:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Cause-of-Mystery-Oil-Spill-.jpg The Washington Township oil spill is more than twice as large as first estimated.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Eco-Goats Are Hired to Chomp Cemetery Weeds]]> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 05:18:58 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/eco_goats_cemetery_02.JPG

Dozens of goats have been hired to help make West Laurel Hill Cemetery more eco-friendly this week.

The bill for 40 goats for about five days of grazing is $5,000. That's $25 per day per goat. Well, the money isn't what the goats love, it's the green. 

"They are a riot. We have to clear a lot of areas and did not want lawnmowers and machines that use gas to do that," said Priyank Setty of West Laurel Hill. 

The "eco-goats" are working to whip the green burial section known as Nature's Sancturary into shape in Bala Cynwyd. The forty mouths spend 18 hours per day grazing the weeds that have settled in. Their job at West Laurel Hill is to devour about an acre of growth mostly on a hill.

"Goats will come through and mop up the problem vegetation," said owner Bill Knox of Sustainable Resource Management. "They also improve the soil as they go by dropping fertilizer on the ground. We work on goat time, when they are done, they are done."

The goal is to remove invasive weeds and vegetation such as the Japanese knot weed. The goats consume a fourth of their body weight in grazing each day, according to Knox. The goats are a cross section of breeds and live on a 50-acre property in Davidonville, Md. They are on the road a majority of the growing season, which is May to October.

The West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a 187-acre arboretum and outdoor sculpture garden. Removing the invasive vegetation will help the landscape evolve naturally over time.

The animals have becoming an attraction for runners and passersbys, but they should not be pet. 

"The goats work whenever they feel like it. They form cliques and stick together, and move around together," said Setty who observed them making noise.

Not a bad weeklong job as the goats take breaks and call it quitting time when they want to.

<![CDATA["Find Your Path" to Parks & Rec]]> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 12:47:38 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Fairmount+Park+Trail+Generic+Trail+Generic+Park.JPG

“Find Your Path”

That’s the new slogan for Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Parks & Rec officials will join Mayor Michael Nutter Wednesday to announce the new brand campaign.

Before the official announcement, the department released a nearly 5-minute long video featuring people of all types of backgrounds and ages enjoying Philly’s green spaces, playgrounds and gyms.

The highly-stylized video features views of games, parks, ice rinks, pools and even beauty shots of Forbidden Drive in Fairmount Park and Fitler Square in Center City.

What do you think of the message? Does this new campaign help you “find your path” to your parks and rec centers?

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department/YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Cold Winter Helping Summer Crops]]> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 09:20:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/peppers+crops.JPG Our region's cold winter has some positive effects. NBC10's Christine Maddela reports from Cherry Hill, N.J. on how summer crops are benefitting from our snowy winter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Styrofoam Ban in Philly?]]> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 07:00:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/styrofoam+ban+proposal.jpg Philadelphia recycling leaders are all for banning styrofoam in the city due to its harmful environmental impact. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports in the Northeast with the details.]]> <![CDATA[Solar Urban Farm Stand]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 08:23:25 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/212*120/Greensgrow+Farms.JPG A solar farm stand will help power Greensgrow Farms on Cumberland Street in Kennsington.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Deep Freeze Leaves Plants in Danger]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:34:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/JYKcKYAMWpCtZQhfFJoa-2-1229516509000.jpg NBC10's Christine Maddela is in Glenside, Pa. with some tips on how to protect your plants when temperatures drop.

Photo Credit: David Perkins]]>
<![CDATA[More Natural Lawns in NJ?]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 06:58:22 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/front+lawn+bill.jpg

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it easier for homeowners to plant natural wildlife in their yards and avoid local nuisance laws, which could mean less cookie-cutter grass lawns throughout the state.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, a Republican, is planning to introduce a bill that would establish a statewide certification system to exempt naturally planted yards from local nuisance laws.
The idea would be to turn more suburban lawns into miniature nature preserves. The New Jersey Audubon says the process would require homeowners to meet certain standards.
Bramnick's wife, Patricia Brentano, has been encouraging her neighbors to dig up their grass and replace patches of it with more natural plantings.
"We don't wear all the same things, we don't look the same, why do we want our yards to be exactly the same as everybody else on the street?" she said.
But many towns have nuisance laws that are aimed at overgrown lawns, so Bramnick wants the state system to help environmentally-conscious homeowners get around them.
"It's actually a defense to the local officer who would give you a summons," he said.
For some homeowners with conventional lawns, the idea is a concern.
"What limits the amount of jungle you could create in front of your house?" said Peter Pitre.  

<![CDATA[Edible Garden to Open at SF Stadium]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:15:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/238*120/13-1121+OVERALL+RENDER.JPG

San Francisco Giants fans who feel their pizza toppings are missing something will soon have a new, creative and organic solution to dress up their snack: They can run to an edible garden at AT&T Park to pick fresh basil, chives and maybe even a mushroom or two to pile on top of their cheesy slice.

"The Garden," being built behind center field, is expected to open in mid-May.

"The whole garden is going to produce a very diverse edible bounty of foods," Giants Senior Vice President of Communications Staci Slaughter said in a statement. "We are also very excited about it because not only will this be another fan amenity on game days, it's really going to be a year-round destination for our fans, for special events, but most importantly, for many of our community programs that focus on childhood obesity."

The Garden will feature organic vegetables and herbs and will serve as a showcase for sustainability and wellness in the heart of AT&T Park, according to the Giants. Fans can even enjoy a picnic at The Garden or watch the game through knotholes in the center-field wall.

The Garden will not be open just on game days. It will also serve as an outdoor classroom where Bay Area students can take field trips to learn about sustainability, urban farming, and healthy eating.

"We are going to be able to do cooking classes, and other really fun field trips for kids in the Bay Area," Slaughter said.

The Giants will play their first regular season game at AT&T Park on April 8 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here are some renderings of The Garden:












And here is the construction site of The Garden as of March 26.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Giants]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Salmon Get Truck Convoy Assist]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:18:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/182*120/0325-salmon-tube.jpg

The tanker trucks arrive in a convoy of three at the banks of the Sacramento Delta, near the small river town of Rio Vista. The vehicles then back up to the river’s edge, ready to spew their contents into one of California’s most vital waterways.

A long white plastic tube is already tethered to the dock, waiting to link-up with the truck. The tube turns dark as the truck’s contents spill through it into the river. Suddenly the water churns as the delivery comes to life -- thousands of tiny, darting salmon smolt begin their journey to the ocean.

With California in the grip of a vicious drought, state and federal fishery managers have begun to truck infant salmon to the Delta, bypassing 275 miles of their normal migration from the Coleman federal fish hatchery in Redding.

“We’re trying to give them a jump start to get them past problem areas upstream,” said Stafford Lehr with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The drought has left water levels in the state’s tributaries low and warm, which stresses the tiny salmon. The lack of rain is also forcing state water managers to prematurely open some gates in the Delta, which would divert the migrating fish into other parts of the Delta. That left fishery managers with few alternatives.

“If these fish migrated normally down through the river system, there’s a strong likelihood a lot of them would be drawn into the interior and south Delta," Lehr said. “We know that their chances of survival out to the ocean and adulthood are highly limited.”

Fishery managers expect to haul 30 million hatchery fish to the river over the next 10 weeks, equaling another 240 truckloads.

“If we were to release them at Coleman and they were all to perish on the trip,” said Bob Clark of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “we could be forced with no commercial or recreational fish in 2016.”

The potential collapse of the state's salmon fishing is a major concern for an industry still reeling from the closure of the 2008 salmon season, following low fish returns. The closure cost hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to the state.

“This will affect 2016, 2017 which may have been a closed season,” said Victor Gonella, of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, who applaud the use of trucks to haul the fish down river. “There may not have been any fish.”

But scientists warn trucking the fish down river will make it nearly impossible for adult fish to find their way back to the place of their birth in a few years.

“The science bears out, when you truck fish you have higher straying rates,” said Howard Brown of N.O.A.A. “After the fish go out to the ocean and they return back to spawn, they’re a little lost. They don’t know exactly where to go back.”

But Brown said the drought has left state officials with no other alternative, other than to truck.

Clark said fishery managers are researching alternative methods of moving the salmon safely down river, including using nets on barges to haul them the entire length of their river migration, allowing them to mentally map their route – a process known as imprinting.

But with the drought bearing down, and alternatives years away, the tanker trucks continue to file into Rio Vista – offering a shortcut for thousands of needy travelers.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning Historic Photos of Air Pollution ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 12:36:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/air-pollution-AP7004221649_7.jpg Click to see some fascinating images of air pollution throughout the US from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Toad Detour is All About Survival]]> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 13:27:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/toad1_detour1.jpg

A real-life version of the video game Frogger is taking place on the roads surrounding the Upper Roxborough Reservoir in Philadelphia as thousands of toads make the annual migration to the water, to mate.

And the most dangerous predator they face along the way is on four wheels.

Cars driven down Port Royal Avenue and Hagys Mill Road in Roxborough threaten to kill the migrating toads every spring. That is why a team of volunteers with The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education comes to the rescue each year with The Toad Detour.

The Toad Detour sets up barricades around the reservoir to keep cars from running over the creatures. That means that the volunteers must stand by the barricades and explain to any drivers what the detour is all about. 

"We don’t want to prevent anyone from going to church," explained Claire Morgan, who coordinates the volunteers. The hope is that drivers are okay with the slight inconvenience for the sake of nature. If that's not enough incentive, maybe it helps to remember that toads do their part at reducing the fly and mosquitoes populations.

Morgan held a volunteer orientation on Saturday at The Schuylkill Center, which included a family-friendly presentation about the toads’ migration habits during the spring and early summer months.

The Schuylkill Center has a permit to put up the barricades from March 1st until June 30th, however, they wait to start The Toad Detour until they actually witness toads starting to make their way to the water.

Morgan said, "they move at their own pace," so while they are in the middle of crossing the street they now don't have to deal with being run over while the barricades are up.

The barricades are usually in place only between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. This time allows for thousands of toads to safely migrate each year. After 9 p.m., there is less danger because fewer cars are on the road. 

American toads, the most common in this area, migrate to a body of water to mate and breed. They have been making the trek to the Upper Roxborough Reservoir for years.

Morgan played the very high pitch mating call of the male toads for the volunteers to hear during her presentation. It sounded a lot different than the deep croaking and ribbit sounds people normally associate with toads and frogs.

After the adult toads have mated, they eventually go back across the street to their original habitats. Several weeks later, toadlets as big as a dime make their journey back across the street, joining their parents.

Part of the excitement each year is the challenge of counting the toads. Volunteers get a bucket and a tally sheet that they use to tally the number of toadlets they find, both alive and dead.

Toads can lay anywhere between 4,000 and 20,000 eggs.

"That’s a lot of tadpoles," said Morgan.

She explained to the prospective volunteers and Toad Detour veterans that some of the best counters are children and sometimes they are as young as four years old. They have an advantage because they're closer to the ground.

The toads will make their first commute at night when the temperature is above 50 degrees, and the ground is a little moist. When they do emerge, The Toad Detour volunteers will be ready. Volunteers sign up for shifts ahead of time. However, The Toad Detour’s facebook page alerts volunteers to any toad activity spotted around the Schuylkill Center’s grounds. 

All ages are encouraged to volunteer to protect the toads and even a few Girl Scout Troops have already signed up to help the cause. People and organizations interested in volunteering can find out more at The Schuylkill Center website and the Toad Detour facebook page.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Lacey-Mabe]]>
<![CDATA[Philly's Fight Against Blight Steps Forward]]> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:30:48 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/blight+land+bank+instagram.jpg

Years of hard work is finally paying for groups working towards transforming blight in Philadelphia.

A newly created land bank will make it easier to manage, sell and rehabilitate thousands of vacant properties that have become community eyesores, tax liabilities and magnets for crime, Philadelphia officials said Monday.

Mayor Michael Nutter signed an ordinance establishing a public authority responsible for overseeing about 40,000 empty parcels citywide. About 75 percent are privately owned, while the rest are spread among several city departments.

The current patchwork of ownership and hodgepodge of agency regulations has frustrated and discouraged builders seeking to redevelop the land. By consolidating property management in a land bank, officials hope to streamline acquisitions, speed reuse and reduce blight.

"I believe that this will be the game-changer we need in our neighborhoods," Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez said at the bill signing ceremony.

"I am  pleased to see Philadelphia take this historic step forward and grateful for our partners in the Land Bank Alliance for collaborating with City Council on this legislation," said City Council President Darrell Clarke. "...Getting vacant properties back online and contributing to the economy is so important to taxpayer fairness in Philadelphia as well as to our public schools."

The land bank still needs a budget appropriation for staffing and acquiring tax delinquent properties; officials also must appoint a board of directors and transfer properties into its control. Nutter said he expects the agency to be fully operating by the end of the year.

It can't come soon enough for Majeedah Rashid, who heads a community development organization in the city's Nicetown section. Her group once sought to acquire three parcels for rehabilitation under the old system, but she said "some kind of twisted rigamarole" left the deal in limbo so long that they lost one parcel to a sheriff's sale.

"It scared the heck out of us," Rashid said.

Philadelphia now joins more than 100 other communities nationwide with land banks, according to Washington-based Center for Community Progress.

The legislation, which took years to reach the mayor's desk, was backed by a coalition that includes neighborhood groups, private developers, real estate agents and small business owners.

The Philly Land Bank Alliance found that previous regulations were so cumbersome that city agencies only sold about 1 percent of their parcels annually. It also led to "gap-toothed" development because investors often couldn't buy contiguous properties, said Alliance spokesman Rick Sauer.

“You want to make it easier for responsible owners to put (land) back into use,” Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations Executive Director Rick Sauer said back in April as the bill was being discussed in City Council.

Sauer and other supporters acknowledge the final bill was a compromise. Kevin Gillen, an urban economist at the University of Pennsylvania's Fels School of Government, said Philadelphia's new system won't be as efficient as those in other cities.

But he agreed that it represents progress.

"I would have liked for the land bank to be a giant leap forward, but instead it's just a significant step forward," Gillen said.

A 2000 Brookings study found that the drain goes beyond just the vacant properties. A home within 150 feet of an abandoned home loses an estimated $7,600 in value.

“The benefit is that it allows the city to really articulate a redevelopment strategy,” Sanchez said.

Photo Credit: jen_es/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Recycle That Tree]]> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 07:25:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/generic+christmas+tree+lighting.jpg Your Christmas tree could be turned into mulch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Recycling Old Ships in Philly Saves Millions]]> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 08:14:40 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Battleship+Recycling.JPG Battleship recycling keeps workers busy at the Philadelphia Naval Yard and saves the Navy and taxpayers millions.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[How to Recycle Christmas Leftovers]]> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 07:28:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/christmas-tree-cu-generic.jpg

Christmas comes with lots of gifts and toys. But what do you do with the mounds of gift boxes, wrapping paper, old electronics and the tree that Christmas leaves behind?

You recycle it.

There are numerous holiday-specific recycling programs available to residents in the tri-state area.

The Philadelphia Streets Department offers a two-week Christmas Tree Recycling Program that gives residents a 'green-friendly' option to drop off trees for recycling at various Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers instead of throwing them out on the curb.

Beginning on Jan. 6, trees can be dropped off at any of the following centers, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.:

-    3033 South 63rd Street
-    Domino Lane and Umbria Street
-    State Road and Ashburner Street

All trees must be untied, unwrapped and free of all decorations. The Streets Department program will run through Jan. 18.

The Philadelphia Streets Department also provides residents with lists of other holiday-specific items that can be recycled. The list includes everything from tissue paper and gift tags to greeting cards and envelopes. Holiday party items that can be recycled include plastic soda and water bottles, yogurt containers and deli trays.

Ribbons and bows cannot be recycled and all cardboard boxes should be emptied and flattened before disposing.

Click here for the Streets Department's full list of acceptable holiday recycling items.

Last year, the Department collected 21 tons or nearly 44,000 pounds of Christmas trees for recycling.

A similar Christmas tree recycling program started in Delaware the day after Christmas.

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is encouraging Delaware residents to drop-off their Christmas trees to one of several yard waste recycling facilities located throughout the state.

In Delaware, trees will be accepted from Dec. 26 through Jan. 25.

“Many Delawareans have been recycling their Christmas trees for many years, and we encourage everyone to establish or continue this eco-friendly tradition,” DNREC’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Section program manager Bill Miller said in a press release.

“Recycling these trees that are a product of nature is a wonderful way of giving back to the environment.”

A complete list of facilities participating in Delaware’s Christmas tree recycling program can be found here.

Many old electronics are also recyclable.

Pennsylvania currently has two drop-off locations, where residents and small businesses can bring old computers, tablets, televisions and other electronic devices to be recycled.

In New Jersey residents have access to electronic drop-off locations in each of the state's 21 counties through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's E-Cycle program.

Also in New Jersey, the Camden County Pollution Control Financing Authority (PCFA) is offering its residents free disposal and recycling of old electronics or 'e-waste'. E-waste can be dropped  off Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m and some weekends at the Pennsauken Landfill located at 9600 River Road in Pennsauken.

Delaware also has an electronic goods recycling program with drop-off locations for businesses, schools and residents.

Photo Credit: Frank Heinz, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Post Christmas Electronics, Tree Recycling]]> Thu, 26 Dec 2013 08:44:20 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Electronics_Recycling.jpg Don't just throw out what's no longer needed after the holidays.]]> <![CDATA[Look Before You Pump]]> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 08:22:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/lawnmower-generic-722.jpg Soon the gas you put in your car might not work in smaller engines like mowers, generators and other equipment.]]> <![CDATA[City's Vehicle Fleet Going Green?]]> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 08:34:45 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/autoshow-cng-fuel-green-car.jpg

The City of Philadelphia’s fleet of more than 5,800 vehicles may soon be ‘going green.’

The City Council Committee on Global Opportunities & Creative/Innovative Economy,  which handles all matters related to developing and promoting Philadelphia’s creative economy, held a public hearing and reviewed a resolution to authorize further investigation of the proposed use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and other alternative fuels for the City’s fleet of vehicles.

Councilman David Oh led the hearing, during which field experts provided testimony in support of the City possibly purchasing or converting vehicles to run on propane auto gas or CNG.

“A lot of the vehicles we have are older and are essentially gas guzzlers,” Oh said. “Part of what this hearing will do, is to hear from some of the experts in this field on some of the updated technology and systems are, and on what some of the cost benefits are of converting to natural gas."

In order to implement the plan, the city would need to invest in both the purchase of new vehicles and the creation of more natural gas fueling stations.

There are currently 30 public natural gas stations and more than 70 public and private natural gas stations in Pennsylvania. A total of 632 natural gas stations are located in states throughout the country.

The city plans to work with a local energy provider to create new CNG fueling stations and would use grants to offset the cost of CNG-fueled vehicle purchases.

The committee heard testimony from the city’s fleet manager Chris Cocci, PECO Energy's director of energy and marketing services Kathy Lentini, and Andrew Graver, business development manager at York, Pa. based heating and cooling company Shipley Energy, among others.

Cocci said government agencies in New York City, as  well as several cities on the west coast have successfully converted portions of their vehicle fleets to natural gas.  He encouraged an increase in city vehicle funding and suggested an initial focus on the City’s public health and safety vehicles.

Representatives for both Shipley and PECO offered to support the city should it decide to convert its fleet to natural gas.

PECO, which currently serves more than 500,000 natural gas customers, owns and operates five of the 10 CNG fueling stations in southeast Pennsylvania. Lentini pledged to assist the city in assessing the pros and cons of CNG use.

“PECO will offer support to help the city look at the various options and the costs, and help them put together a business case,” Lentini said.

Experts providing testimony cited the benefits of using CNG including, cheaper costs and aids to the environment. According to experts on the panel, CNG currently costs roughly $2.11 per gasoline gallon equivalent, is produced domestically, and can reduce overall emissions by up to 30-percent.

Several members of the public in attendance offered comments during the hearing, expressing contempt for the comittee's plan.

Iris Marie Bloom is the executive director of Protecting Our Waters, a local grassroots organization that advocates against gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Bloom argued that the expert panel failed to present the potential dangers of using CNG.

"We are strongly opposed to the conversion of city vehicles to CNG and to propane as well, or any vehicle that would use fracked gas," Bloom said. "This is not a clean fuel. These are fossil fuels that are not safe and there’s nothing alternative about it.”

Another public commentor, Rita Varley was also against the proposal. She suggested that the city consider implementing hybrid vehicles instead.

"I have great concern about the consideration of CNG vehicles for Philadelphia. It’s not such a clean fuel as it’s described. It releases an enormous amount of methane into the air and it’s a serious population threat to our water," Varley said. "I think we should think very carefully about this and not do this. I have concern that this is not a wise idea."

No clear timeline for converting the city's fleet was identified during the hearing. The committee plans to host several additional hearings on the matter before making a final decision.

The city council committee on global opportunities & creative/innovative economy consists of five members:  Councilwoman Cindy Bass, councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr., councilman Brian J. O’Neill, and councilman Dennis O’Brien, as well as councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, who serves as the committee’s vice chair, and councilman-at-large, David Oh, who serves as the committee chair.

<![CDATA[Clean Up Leaves, Prevent Flooding]]> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 06:22:24 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/194*120/fall-leaf-pile.jpg

With a Thanksgiving storm barreling this way, there is something you can do right now to try and prevent a potential problem the heavy rains could bring.

Pick up your leaves.

After a gusty weekend, the ground is covered in leaves and those leaves could clog sewer drains even if you raked them into a nice neat pile.

Crews from Delaware to New Jersey are going about planned leaf cleanups today but there is no way to clear all the leaves ahead of the storm, which NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz  says could drop up to 2 inches of rain on parts of the region.

For the past two weeks the city of Philadelphia has been collecting brown bagged leaves along with regular trash pickup but with the program expected to go through mid-December, there are still plenty of bags of leaves not picked up.

On suburban streets around the Philadelphia region there are also those pesky piles of leaves where people raked leaves onto the edge of lawns and on the side of streets awaiting pickup.

Those leaves can gather around sewer grates and cause a clog that in turns can caused streets to flood.

Experts suggest that ahead of the rain you go outside and pull any leaves that could be impeding drains out of the way -- ideally into a brown paper landscaping bags. While this is no guarantee that other leaves won’t gather, it does ensure that the path is as clear as it can be.

Not only could it help prevent flooding but, as noted by the Philly Bagged Leaf Drive, "this recycling program helps to reduce the amount of materials that reach the waste stream and saves landfill space."