Relocalizing Penn State

Newly Available Documents

Upcoming Events

October 28 – The planning meeting for the Oct. 30 DEP public hearing about PSU’s West Campus Steam Plant project will be Monday, Oct. 28, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Smita and Johan’s house. (Contact me for address.)

Background/prep documents prepared by David Stone and Mike Rybacki:

Dave references a post I did summarizing six of the main issues he raised in his three filings (two to DEP, one to EPA)

Those six issues are:

  1. BASELINE DATA
  2. COMMUNITY BILL OF RIGHTS & LEGAL STANDING TO PROTECT AIR QUALITY
  3. GENERAL OPERATING PERMIT v. SPECIFIC MODIFICATION PERMIT – One-Step or Two-Step?
  4. COMPLIANCE or AVOIDANCE – “Major Source” v. “Area Source”
  5. COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE MONITORING
  6. NEW SOURCE REVIEW & ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS

I’m particularly interested in using the DEP hearing to highlight and untangle an extremely fundamental issue that’s now been raised by several community-based engineers and analysts: the tangled relationship between Penn State and EPA regulations: Which regs are applicable under which scenarios and timelines, and which are not applicable at all?

October 30 – The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting and hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 30, to discuss a proposed Air Quality plan approval for Penn State University’s conversion of its West Campus Steam Plant from coal-fired boilers to natural gas. The 6:30 p.m. meeting will be held at the State College Area High School South auditorium at 650 Westerly Parkway in State College, Centre County.

Penn State University Park Enrollment - 1860 to 2010

Penn State University Park Enrollment – 1860 to 2010

Source: PSU University Budget Office

Oil Production and Consumption in the United States - 1860 to 2010

Oil Production and Consumption in the United States – 1860 to 2010

Source: Energy Transitions in the United States, by Cutter Cleveland

Some Recommendations to Relocalize PSU

  • Students and Faculty who are mildly concerned about resilience, energy and food issues should begin to understand how the current governance structure and administrative units constrain their range of action.
  • Students and Faculty who are very concerned about resilience, energy and food issues should organize independent of the Board of Trustees, Administration and Faculty Senate, and especially independent of the Office of Physical Plant and the Sustainability Institute/Student Sustainability Council, because those programs are bureaucratically gridlocked (as currently structured) and thus not capable of advancing energy, food and resiliency goals. Primary goals: make independent plans to audit and retrofit one campus building for conservation and renewable energy, and establish one consistent, daily local food source on campus. (aka “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” – Lao Tzu)
  • The PA State Legislature should revoke or amend Penn State’s charter to update the mission of the university for resilience, food and energy. That’s a natural evolution for the original vocational mission, updated for the environmental, energy and economic challenges faced by today’s young people.
  • The PA State Legislature should also dissolve the Board of Trustees and establish a democratic governance system for the university.
  • The new governing body should convert the Commonwealth campuses to locally-controlled community colleges independent of Penn State.
  • The new governing body should develop two parallel programs at the University Park campus – a private university offering high-tuition professional programs in law, engineering, medicine and business – and a public college offering low-cost or publicly subsidized vocational and academic programs to train farmers, builders, nurses, teachers, homesteaders and cooks.
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