SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Joins EDF, Google and People’s to Launch Methane Mapping in Pittsburgh November 15, 2016 Environment, Press Release Pittsburgh, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today joined the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Google, People’s Natural Gas and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to unveil their partnership to map methane leaks in Pittsburgh and highlight his administration’s strategy to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and has been implicated in health risks.“This partnership that will use Google’s existing assets – their Street View cars – to identify hidden underground methane leaks from local natural gas systems is truly groundbreaking and so important,” Governor Wolf said. “The results of this effort will help the utility and its regulators to efficiently target the largest repair needs to prevent further leaks and help us reach our goal of establishing a robust energy and protecting our public health in Pennsylvania.”EDF and Google have been working together to explore the potential of new technologies to measure key environmental data and make that data more widely available. The Methane Mapping project uses sensors attached to Google Street View cars to create detailed maps of places where natural gas is leaking from utility pipes under city streets. To learn more about this important partnership, visit here.Pittsburgh will be the first location for this project in Pennsylvania and People’s Natural Gas was the first natural gas utility to initiate contact on their own with EDF.Earlier this year, Governor Wolf launched a groundbreaking strategy to reduce emissions of methane. The plan is designed to reduce emissions from natural gas well sites, compressor stations and along pipelines, and will protect the environment, reduce climate change, and help businesses reduce the waste of a valuable product.“Curbing methane leaks keeps more natural gas in the pipelines where it go to homes and businesses – not just wasting it by letting it drift into the atmosphere,” said Patrick McDonnell, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. “At DEP we’re working to write new rules to keep methane in the pipes with cutting edge leak-detection technology and cutting down on emissions from wells and compressor stations.”Methane, the primary component of natural gas, has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities. It has more than 28 to 36 times more warming power than carbon dioxide, according to data from the federal government.Included in Pennsylvania’s methane reduction plan are these four strategies:To reduce leaks at new unconventional natural gas well pads, DEP will develop a new general permit for oil and gas exploration, development, and production facilities, requiring Best Available Technology (BAT) for equipment and processes, better record-keeping, and quarterly monitoring inspections.To reduce leaks at new compressor stations and processing facilities, DEP will revise its current general permit, updating best-available technology requirements and applying more stringent LDAR, other requirements to minimize leaks. A new condition will require the use of Tier 4 diesel engines that reduce emissions of particulate matter and nitrous oxide by about 90%.To reduce leaks at existing oil and natural gas facilities, DEP will develop requirements for existing sources for consideration by the Environmental Quality Board.To reduce emissions along production, gathering, transmission and distribution lines, DEP will establish best management practices, including leak detection and repair programs.With federal estimates that the natural gas and oil industries account for a quarter of U.S. methane emissions, reducing methane leaks from the oil and gas sector is one of the essential steps needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf
The Ripley County Boys Basketball Tourney took place last night at Batesville. The Batesville Bulldogs defeated The Milan Indians 38-29 while The South Ripley Raiders were victorious against The Jac-Cen-Del Eagles 63-46.The Boys Finals are set for this Saturday Night at Batesville with Milan and Jac-Cen-Del in The Consolation Game starting at 6 followed by South Ripley and the host Bulldogs for The Championship. The 2016 Ripley County Basketball Hall of Famers will be introduced in between the games.The Girls Finals are set for this Friday Night at JCD with Milan and South Ripley in The Consolation Game starting at 6 followed by Batesville and the host Lady Eagles for The Championship.Listen to The Sports Voice in Southeastern Indiana-Country 103.9 WRBI for complete coverage of The Ripley County Basketball Tourney. WRBI’s Countdown To Tipoff will be at 5:30.
What you need to know about the new FDA-approved at-home breast cancer risk screening.In an age when most people in the United States can have almost anything delivered to their doorstep in only a few days — or even hours — it makes sense that this is spilling over into the medical and health care field. From apps and wearable devices that track everything from the number of steps you take each day to your days of peak fertility, health care — or at least health monitoring — is increasingly being done at home. Today, the Food and Drug Administration propelled this trend further by approving an at-home test for three breast cancer gene mutations.The direct-to-consumer testing kits are made by 23andMe — a company better known for their at-home testing kits to help a person determine their genetic ancestry. Though they already offer other health-risk reports on your genetic data — including testing for markers associated with conditions like celiac disease and Parkinson’s disease — this is the first time any DNA testing company has received FDA approval for cancer risk screening.Here’s what you need to know about these tests:The results are not comprehensiveThere are more than 1,000 known BRCA gene mutations; the 23andMe kit tests for three of them. The potential problem here is that people may take the test and not have these three gene mutations, but may have others, meaning they are still at risk for breast cancer.On top of that, the FDA stresses that “most cases of cancer are not caused by hereditary gene mutations but are thought to be caused by a wide variety of factors, including smoking, obesity, hormone use and other lifestyle issues.” In other words, these test results are only one small part of a larger picture.It tests for more than breast cancerThrough a self-collected saliva sample, the test report indicates whether a woman is at an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. It also can be useful for men, testing their risk of developing both breast and prostate cancer.It is most useful for one group in particularThe three gene mutations included in the 23andMe test are those that are most common among people of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent. They are not, however, the mutations most prevalent in the rest of the population.They come with a lot of caveatsAccording to Donald St. Pierre, acting director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, these tests are “a step forward in the availability of DTC genetic tests” — especially for those who may not otherwise have access to genetic screening — but also come with “a lot of caveats.”“While the detection of a BRCA mutation on this test does indicate an increased risk, only a small percentage of Americans carry one of these three mutations and most BRCA mutations that increase an individual’s risk are not detected by this test,” he explains in a statement. “The test should not be used as a substitute for seeing your doctor for cancer screenings or counseling on genetic and lifestyle factors that can increase or decrease cancer risk.”They do not replace working with a doctor &/or genetic counselorIdeally, even those who take at-home tests like the one by 23andMe consult with their doctor and/or a genetic counselor about which tests would be best for them and how to handle the results. Traditionally, the available screening for BRCA genes costs somewhere between $400 to $4,000, so this new $199 option from 23andMe does make it more accessible. While that, on the surface, is a good thing, it also may result in people receiving and processing test results on their own instead of with a medical professional.The FDA also stipulates that consumers and health care professionals “should not use the test results to determine any treatments, including anti-hormone therapies and prophylactic removal of the breasts or ovaries.” With celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate opting to have major surgery to mitigate their risk of developing various cancers, it has brought this course of action to the forefront — even if it’s not necessarily the best idea for everyone.The bottom line is that while this at-home test could be a helpful cancer-screening tool, anyone who uses it should be aware of its limitations and seek professional medical attention and advice as necessary.Source