If we understand the impact, we can plan for the future.
Energy Resources For Individuals and Organizations
A significant threat to habitats along the Kittatinny Ridge corridor comes from the energy sector, especially habitat losses and fragmentation from new pipelines, wind turbines, and associated transmission lines. In some cases there may also be direct impacts to wildlife, such as in-flight collisions with structures. The environmental review processes for new infrastructure may consider these impacts and appropriate steps for avoiding and/or mitigating the adverse impacts caused by the new energy development. Because the environmental review processes used for each energy industry vary procedurally and are under the jurisdiction of different agencies, it can sometimes be challenging for environmentalists to express concerns effectively and in a timely fashion. To assist individuals and organizations interested in protecting natural resources from energy development threats, we have compiled a set of energy permitting resources with links to jurisdictional authorities, guidelines for landowners and intervenors, selected papers on impacts, and links to informational webinars.
The following list was prepared for the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition in August 2016 and provides citations, webinars, and other on-line information on the natural gas and wind energy industries and environmental regulations that relate to the protection of wildlife and natural landscapes. This bibliography is organized into five sections:
- Natural Gas
- Wind Energy
- Environmental Regulations
- Mapping and Analysis Resources
- Webinars and Tutorials
The Natural Gas and Wind Energy sections are further broken down in to subsections on: Regulations, Planning, Impacts to Natural Resources, Vegetation Management, and Landowner Guides.
NATURAL GAS: OVERVIEW
Pipeline Safety Trust, Local Government Guide to Pipelines. Provides introductory information about pipeline systems and their components. Written with an emphasis on safety issues, not natural resource protection.
NATURAL GAS: REGULATIONS
Clean Air Council, Natural Gas in Your Community, Participating in Decisionmaking and Tracking Infrastructure. A well organized and comprehensive overview of state and federal processes for those wishing to offer comments on proposed projects.
Carolyn Elefant, FERC Pipeline Process 101. A guide to the filing process and navigating information available from FERC on proposed pipelines.
Faulkenberry, M., 2012, DCNR Guidelines for Oil and Gas Activities on State Forest Lands. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems—Research and Management Challenges, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
FERC, Guide to On-line Information. A navigation tool for those interested in accessing FERC documents.
PA DEP Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, 2016, Governor’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report. Summarizes top policy recommendations.
PA DEP, Erosion and Sediment Control Requirements for Oil and Gas Activities.
PA DEP, Conservation Law Page. The DEP posts updates on legal dockets involving gas companies here under ‘Individual Dockets.’
PA DEP, e-Notice. A subscription service for requesting notifications about permit applications.
NATURAL GAS: PLANNING
Bearer, S., 2012, Marcellus Development BMPs. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems describing an assessment of the science to ‘best management practices.’
Chester County Pipeline Information Center. An initiative of the Chester County Planning Commission and worthy of replication in all affected counties of Pennsylvania. Maps information on pipeline projects as well as county open space and comprehensive land use plan priorities; posts schedules of public meetings; and provides contact information for the pipelines.
Delaware River Basin Commission. Proposed in 2011 and never finalized, the DRBC proposed regulations for all natural gas activities in the basin, these include protections for high value water resource landscapes and Commission-designated Special Protection Waters and includes provisions requiring a natural gas development plan from any company with large lease holdings. Fact sheet. Regulations.
PIPA Checklist, Recommended Practice Evaluation Worksheet for Local Governments. A list of recommendations around mapping, ordinances, and land use planning topics.
Quigley, John, for the State of Maryland, The Case for Maryland’s Proposed Comprehensive Gas Development Plan Program. A visionary take on policy and planning to better address cumulative impacts from the gas industry.
The Nature Conservancy and Carnegie Mellon University, Advancing the Next Generation of Environmental Practices for Shale Development: Workshop Deliberations and Recommendations. This report summarizes the content, conclusions, and recommendations from a cross-sector, collaborative
workshop organized by The Nature Conservancy and Carnegie Mellon University. Built on the robust and constructive dialogue of workshop participants, the recommendations put forth in this report merit
consideration for those seeking to effectively manage shale development in the Appalachian region.
NATURAL GAS: IMPACTS TO FORESTS, WILDLIFE AND OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES
Benner, M., 2012, Conservation of Species of Special Concern Amidst Marcellus Shale Gas Development: A Consultant’s View. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems—Research and Management Challenges, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
Brittingham, M.C., P.J. Drohan, and J. Bishop, 2012, Initial Landscape Change Associated with Marcellus Shale Development: Implications for Forests and Wildlife. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems—Research and Management Challenges, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
Drohan et al., 2012, Oil and Gas Impacts on Forest Ecosystems, Environmental Practice. A summary of presentations from the 2012 Goddard Forum at Penn State.
Drohan, P.J., 2012, Topographic and Soil Challenges Facing Shale-Gas Development: Implications for the North-Central Appalachians. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems—Research and Management Challenges, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
Drohan, P.J., M.C. Brittingham, J. Bishop, and K. Yoder, 2012, “Early Trends in Landcover Change and Forest Fragmentation due to Shale-Gas Development in Pennsylvania: A Potential Outcome for the Northcentral Appalachians.” Environmental Management, 49.5: 1061–1075.
Gagnolet, T., 2012, Marcellus Gas Well and Pipeline Projections. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems—Research and Management Challenges, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
Institute for Energy Economics, Risks Associated with Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion in Appalachia. An analysis showing that pipeline capacity is projected to exceed gas production by 2017.
Keefer, M., 2012, Landscape Planning – Public Lands Perspective. Paper presented at the 2012 Goddard Forum Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems—Research and Management Challenges, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
PennEnvironment, 2014, Frack Attack. This document looks at the harms which may occur selected Pennnsylvania state parks as a result of unconventional gas development.
Riverkeeper Network, White Paper: Pipelines, A Significant Source of Harm. This paper provides an overview of parts of the pipeline system, construction practices, and adverse impacts.
The Nature Conservancy, 2014, Assessing Future Energy Development Across the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative. An analysis that looks at possible energy development over the next twenty years within the greater Appalachian region.
The Nature Conservancy Pennsylvania Chapter, Natural Gas Pipelines, 2011.
An analysis of current and projected impacts of pipeline development in Pennsylvania.
USGS, 2012-2014, a series of detailed reports on a county-specific level, quantifying the loss of forest cover and interior forest due to gas development, including pipelines:
Allegheny and Susquehanna Counties
Armstrong, Indiana, Sullivan, and Wyoming Counties
Beaver, Butler Lackawanna and Wayne Counties
Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Huntington, and Luzerne Counties
Bradford and Washington Counties
Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Warren Counties
Fayette and Lycoming Counties
Greene and Tioga Counties
Somerset and Westmoreland Counties
NATURAL GAS: VEGETATION MANAGEMENT
NATURAL GAS: LANDOWNER GUIDES
FERC, An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know? Describes the project approval and installation processes for pipelines, compressor stations, and LNG facilities.
Elephant, Carolyn, Knowing and Protecting Your Rights When an Interstate Pipeline Comes to Your Community. One of the best guides to the FERC pipeline certification process.
Clean Air Council, Natural Gas in Your Community, Participating in Decisionmaking and Tracking Infrastructure. A well organized and comprehensive overview of state and federal processes for those wishing to offer comments on proposed projects.
PA DEP, Landowners and Oil and Gas Leases in Pennsylvania. this fact sheet differs from other landowner resources by having hotlinks and contact information at the state agencies for landowners to use. The fact sheet also covers rarely covered topic areas such as pooling.
PA DEP, Recommended Basic Oil and Gas Predrill Parameters. A guide for landowners who intend to do their own baseline water quality testing, listing parameters to include.
Penn State University, Negotiating Pipeline Rights of Way in Pennsylvania, 2010. An overview of pipelines and rights of way with a review of regulatory oversight in Pennsylvania. Lists numerous rights of way considerations.
Pipeline Informed Planning Alliance, Understand the Elements of a Transmission Pipeline Easement.
Pennsylvania League of Women Voters has many resources about shale gas and pipelines, touching on many topics including impacts and regulation, although some significant changes in state statutes have occurred since the regulations guide was written.
Pinchot Institute, The Marcellus Shale: Resources for Stakeholders in the Upper Delaware Watershed Region. Presents dozens of recommended management practices for drilling sites and operations.
Pipeline Safety Trust, Landowners Guide to Pipelines, 2011. A review of pipeline regulation, siting, easement ramifications and guidelines on negotiations and compensation.
Pipeline Safety Trust, Eminent Domain, A Landowner’s Guide. Defines eminent domain and provides information on eminent domain procedures and just compensation for land used for pipeline rights of way.
T. Allison, USFWS Wind Energy Guidelines, the Tiered Approach. An unofficial overview of the USFWS terrestrial wind guidelines.
Avian Powerline Interaction Committee (APLIC), 2014, Developing Power Pole Modification Agreements for Compensatory Eagle Mitigation for Wind Energy Projects. This document addresses compensatory mitigation actions meant to offset harms caused to eagles at wind farm sites.
Joint State Government Commission, 2015, Comprehensive Study on the Use of Wind Turbines in Pennsylvania: a Staff Study. The report examines several aspects related to wind turbines and other sources of electric power generation, including laws and regulations regarding construction and operation, environmental effects of energy sources, and government subsidies and tax policies.
Pennsylvania Game Commission(PGC), 2006, Wind Energy Guidelines for State Gamelands Development, A synopsis of the guidelines used for new wind farms on state game lands.
USFWS, Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance, Module 1 – Land-Based Wind Energy, Version 2. This document provides direction to USFWS field offices and wind project developers on recommended means of addressing the protection of eagles consistent with the requirements of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
USFWS, Indiana Bat, Section 7 and 10 Guidance for Wind Energy Projects, Another guidance document from USFWS, this one specific to the threatened species, Indiana Bat.
USFWS, Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines, This is the primary federal approach to managing risk from the siting and operation of wind energy facilities on land.
Many additional resources on the approach are available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Appalachian LCC and TNC, The AppLCC Energy Forecasting Tool, An interactive tool for examining impacts to conservation areas and resources.
Cellular Technology Tracking Publications. A citation list of published research papers examining bird migration patterns, some with a focus on wind power interactions, using the company’s cellular trackers.
Katzner lab, Wind Energy and Bird Migration. This research lab is the leader in monitoring golden eagle movements within the Appalachians, including the Kittatinny. The focus of much of their work is to develop tools for assessing and reducing wind turbine risk to wintering and migrating eagles.
Mohica, Elizabeth et al., Utilization Probability Map for Migrating Bald Eagles in Northeastern North America: A Tool for Siting Wind Energy Facilities and Other Flight Hazards. PLoS One 2016, 11(6): e0157807.
PJM Interconnection Queue. A spreadsheet of prospective new power facilities, including wind farms, with information on developer, size, and some information on timelines.
WIND: IMPACTS TO FOREST, WILDLIFE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
American Wind Wildlife Institute, Issue Brief, Bats and Wind Energy. Issue Brief, Bats and Wind Energy. A short overview of bat mortality issues and mitigation efforts.
Beston, Diffendorfer, Loss, Insufficient Sampling to Identify Species Affected by Turbine Collisions, Journal of Wildlife Management, 2015, A discussion of the limits of available scientific information.
Erickson et al., A Comprehensive Analysis of Small Passerine Fatalities from Collisions with Wind Turbines, PLoSONE 9 (9), 2014, A literature review of songbird fatalities in North America.
Hein et al., 2013, Avian and Post-Construction Monitoring at the Pinnacle Wind Farm, Mineral County, West Virginia, 2012. A report on impacts monitoring at a wind farm in the Appalachians to the south of the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2012, Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperation Agreement Third Summary Report. Presents findings from on-site monitoring at wind facilities in Pennsylvania.
The Nature Conservancy, 2014, Assessing Future Energy Development Across the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Projects future footprints of coal, gas, and wind industries in the Appalachian region.
USGS, 2015, Preliminary Methodology to Assess the National and Regional Impact of U.S. Wind Energy Development on Birds and Bats. A national level assessment methodology for looking at wind industry impacts.
WIND: VEGETATION MANAGEMENT OF ASSOCIATED TRANSMISSION LINES
Peterson , Christine Rose, Habitat Use by Early Successional Bird Species Along Powerline Rights of Way: Making Connections Across Private Lands, 2015. Assesses vegetation structure and composition within rights of way (ROWs), and factors characterizing the surrounding landscape, on presence and abundance of six species of concern; identified vegetation management focus for ROW management.
USFWS, Managing Utility Rights of Way for Wildlife, A Self-Study Guide, 2004, A tutorial from the US Fish and Wildlife Service on Recommended Approaches to ROW management,
Memorandum of understanding between Edison Electric Institute and US Dept of Agriculture Forest Service and US Dept of Interior Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Environmental Protection Agency, 2006.
FEDERAL POLICY – GENERAL
Energy Project Review page on the US Fish and Wildlife Service website is a good entry point to information on how this federal agency reviews energy project impacts under its authorities under the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA], Endangered Species Act [ESA], Migratory Bird Treaty Act [MBTA], and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act [BGEPA].
FEDERAL POLICY – NEPA
Addition of Climate Change Considerations to NEPA Reviews, August 2016 update.
FEDERAL MITIGATION POLICY
White House Memorandum, Nov. 2015. A directive to federal agencies to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to land, water, wildlife and other natural resources.
Implementing Mitigation at the Landscape Scale. Landscape-scale policy for management of Department of Interior lands using best available science and landscape scale approaches.
Proposed Revisions to US Forest Service mitigation policy. The USFS is developing a national mitigation policy. Multiple links to information are provided here:
Forest Service Mitigation Policy
Forest Service Mitigation Inquiry White Paper
Mitigation Webinar Slides
USFWS Mitigation Policy. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is updating its policies to include landscape-level approaches. Policy drivers and considerations are outlined here:
MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY ACT
BALD AND GOLDEN EAGLE PROTECTION ACT
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act [BGEPA] is a major environmental review tool for wind farms. Along the Kittatinny Ridge, it is likely that Golden Eagle impacts will be the principal concern, given the species’ use of the ridge corridors during spring and fall migratory movements. Information on the rule and the USFWS’ implementation of it, can be found here:
As of mid-2016, the USFWS was considering revisions to the regulation of take of eagle nests under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. A final decision has not yet been issued. Information on the proposed rule change is available here.
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
In some situations, the Endangered Species Act [ESA] may also have a substantive bearing on project siting parameters. The IPaC tool can be used to identify whether a project site is likely to impact a federally threatened or endangered species and from there the reader may wish to pursue additional information on ESA.
STATE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS
Environmental reviews on the state level are handled by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program under the auspices of the Conservation and Natural Resources Act (Act 18,) the Fish and Boat Code and the Game Commission Code. A single process, the PNDI review, encompasses all state conservation concerns. More information on the PNDI process and tools for early stage review can be found at these links:
PNDI Project Planning and Environmental Review Form
Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program
PNDI Data Collection, Species Ranking and Dissemination
On-line Mapping and Analysis Tools
These resources provide invaluable GIS data for those who want to analyze project siting considerations geospatially.
Appalachian LCC and TNC, The AppLCC Energy Forecasting Tool, These maps show projected future buildouts of three energy resources – gas, coal, and wind – across Appalachia. The tool allows analysis of impacts to core forests, priority bird areas, priority aquatic biota areas, and watersheds.
eMapPA, The DEP’s mapping tool for oil and gas and other facilities, stream permits, and more.
Energy Zones Mapping Tool
A planning tool developed for analyzing energy infrastructure, funded by the US Department of Energy. Originally developed for a 39 state area, the data resources are being expanded to a nationwide extent. Includes a feature for analyzing linear corridors for either power lines or pipelines along with features for assessing sites for power generation.
Provides a number of map resources, including the following Pennsylvania oil and gas activity.
Golden Eagle Movements in Eastern North America
A series of static maps delineating the migratory paths of golden eagles which show reliance upon the Pennsylvania ridge systems.
Landscape Assessment Tool Fact Sheet
Wind and Wildlife Landscape Assessment Tool
A planning tool built for assessing potential sites for wind power, created by the American Wind Wildlife Institute and The Nature Conservancy.
National Pipeline Mapping System Public Map Viewer
Allows viewing of transmission pipelines but not gathering lines at a county level. This is a view only tool. Be aware the national security considerations prevent public dissemination of fine-scale mapping of power line and pipeline locations.
Oil and Gas Threat Map For Pennsylvania. Tool focuses on active, not planned, oil and gas production facilities and areas within a ½ mi. radius. This product was a joint endeavor of Earthworks, Clean Air Task Force, and Fractracker Alliance.
PA DEP, e-Facts. A searchable tool of permits issued by DEP. Users can search by company name, municipality or county and pull up a list of the permits overseen by DEP.
Pennsylvania Open Data Portal
This url provides a one-stop access point to all of DCNR’s published geospatial data layers, which include such resources as state parks and forests, trails, and geology.
Pennsylvania Conservation Explorer
The PA Natural Heritage Program makes available additional natural resource data layers, including watershed boundaries, trout streams, abandoned mines, core habitat areas, and more. There may be fees required to use the data of this website.
PJM Renewables Projects
A viewer of locations of prospective renewable energy projects in the mid-Atlantic region served by the PJM power grid. These are queued for analysis for integration in to the regional grid and are not contractually obligated to go to completion.
USFWS IPaC – Information for Planning and Conservation Tool
A planning tool created by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that screens for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, refuges, fish hatcheries, and wetlands within a project area and identifies types of actions that may be required to mitigate impacts to those species and resources under federal jurisdiction.
National map of wind farm locations based upon USGS’ national wind turbine database. More than 40,000 individual turbines are recorded.
Webinars and Tutorials
American Wind Energy Association, Project Development and Environmental Siting. A webinar on planning wind energy projects and addressing potential adverse impacts.
Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture Energy Webinars. A webinar series on topics addressing energy development and impacts to birds and habitats in the Appalachians, including:
Effects of Marcellus Shale Gas Development on Forest Birds
Pipeline Expansion Throughout the Appalachians
Impacts of Energy Development on Birds in the Appalachians
Bats and Wind Energy, Synthesis Presentations. Current and past leaders of Bat Conservation International summarize information on risk prediction and operational mitigation.
Best Practices for Minimizing Light and Noise Impacts to National Park Resources from Oil and Gas Facilities, a presentation by a Night Skies parks program manager from NPS
Developing Technologies for Bat Detection and Deterrence at Wind Facilities
Recent deterrence and mitigation research findings on options to reduce adverse impacts to bat species from wind turbines.
EISPC Energy Zones Mapping Tool and Policy and Policy Inventory, An overview of the DOE-funding geospatial planning tool.
Evaluating the Scientific Support of Conservation Best Management Practices for Shale Gas Extraction in the Appalachian Basin. Discussion of TNC work examining the data on ‘BMPs’ so as to shift practices toward verified approaches.
Future Energy Development Across the Appalachian Region. An analysis of future wind, gas, and coal development in the Appalachian region.
Managing Marcellus webinar series. Posted webinars include: Governor’s Task Force Report and Land Use, Zoning, and Addressing Impacts of Shale Gas Drilling After the PA Supreme Court Act 13 Rulings. Additional webinars will be added in the fall of 2016.
New Tool For Shale Gas Development Pennsylvania Wilds Design Guide. Discusses the voluntary guidelines developed to address protection of viewsheds, dark skies, wildlife, trees, and community character.
Oil and Gas Threat Map. Tool overview. Tool focuses on active, not planned, oil and gas production facilities and areas within a ½ mi. radius.
Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report. Reviews the issues addressed and the recommendations of the governor’s appointed task force.
PNDI Environmental Review tool training videos. A suite of video trainings reviewing the tool features and use.
Powerlines, pipelines and critical data for decision making. Presentation with case studies focused on wetlands and streams impacts.
Webinar to Look at Impacts of Marcellus Gas Development on Forestland, Presentation by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Wind Farm Mapper and Database Tutorial. Quick introduction to the USGS map-based tool.