Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition is a registered 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, incorporated in January 2018. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mission is to protect our constitutionally-guaranteed environmental rights as Pennsylvania citizens.
Our Rights and Duties
Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states:
“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
In support of these rights, the citizens of State College Borough and Ferguson Township have amended their home rule charters to include more extensive rights: a Community Bill of Rights adopted in 2011 by State College voters, and an Environmental Bill of Rights adopted in 2012 by Ferguson Township voters.
Our goals in Centre County are to:
- Maintain public water purity and abundance
- Prevent urban sprawl to preserve our region’s small town and rural agricultural character, farmland, open space and the beauty of our natural environment
- Build public understanding of our constitutionally-guaranteed environmental rights, and threats to those rights.
- Prevent or mitigate air pollution in the face of global warming
- Prevent or mitigate agricultural soil destruction.
Our tools include public information campaigns, dialog with decision-makers, direct action campaigns against polluters and sprawl developers, and if necessary, litigation against local violations of our environmental rights as Pennsylvania citizens.
The Nittany Valley Water Coalition (NVWC) is a committee of the NVEC. For three years, the NVWC fought Penn State, Ferguson Township and Toll Brothers over the sale of 45 acres of priceless agricultural land perched above the wellfields that provide two-thirds of the drinking water for State College Borough Water Authority’s customers. This sinkhole and karst-filled farmland was sold by Penn State to Toll Brothers in December 2017.*
Toll Brothers plan is to develop “luxury student housing” on our watershed.
After three years of activism and lawsuits, Toll Brothers is moving forward with this development, but our actions have raised broad public understanding of water rights, the costs of sprawl to the community, and corporate Penn State’s lack of stewardship of public natural resources and farmland.
The NVEC is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization. Donations are welcome, but not tax-deductible. Please send checks to
- Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition
- c/o Treasurer David Stone
- 539 E. Foster Ave.
- State College PA 16801
- President – Kelli Hoover
- Vice President – Katherine Watt
- Treasurer – David Stone
- Secretary – Terry Melton
*Background: Sale of PSU land to Toll Brothers
In 1999, Penn State purchased 26 acres of Rural Agricultural land on West Whitehall Road at Blue Course Drive; the price was $99,307.
At Penn State’s request, the land was rezoned in 2004 – by the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors – from Rural Agricultural to high-density residential. The Centre Region Planning Commission and Centre Region Planning Agency staff recommended against the rezoning, due to the site’s location over a 16.3 square mile water recharge area that provides two-thirds of the daily high quality drinking water piped to the people of six municipalities (State College, Ferguson, Patton, College, Harris and Benner).
In December 2017, Penn State sold the property to Toll Brothers to create, in combination with additional acreage, a 45-acre student housing development of 268 cottages, 1,093 beds, and 1,200 parking spaces, directly over the Zone 2 wellhead protection area of the Harter and Thomas water wells and within a half-mile radius of the wellheads.
The geology of the Harter and Thomas system is karst limestone, prone to sinkhole formation; sinkholes are already present on the property.
Now that the $13.5 million sale is completed, Penn State has made a $13.4 million profit from the sale.
Anticipated student lease revenues for Toll Brothers exceed $9 million per year. The project investor list is not public information.