Marie Cusick is a reporter with StateImpact Pennsylvania and WITF in Harrisburg. She joined WITF from Albany, New York where she worked as a multimedia reporter for WMHT. Her work was broadcast by public stations across New York as part of the Innovation Trail— a reporting collaborative between six stations. She appeared regularly on WMHT’s award-winning, statewide public affairs TV show, New York NOW. She also traveled throughout the state to cover some of New York’s biggest stories, including the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy in New York City in 2012, the flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in the Catskills in 2011 and the debate in Albany over New York’s moratorium on hydrofracking. Marie was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for television stations in Lancaster and Casper, Wyoming. Marie holds a degree in political science and French from Lebanon Valley College.
Patrick Henderson is Governor Corbett's Energy Executive.
Governor Corbett’s top adviser on energy issues calls climate change an “evolving science” saying, “reasonable, studious individuals may still be searching for a consensus.”
Patrick Henderson was appointed by Corbett to be Pennsylvania’s Energy Executive in 2011. The Philadelphia Inquirer has called him “one of the most powerful people in Harrisburg you don’t know about.”
In an October 2013 interview with StateImpact Pennsylvania, Henderson acknowledged man-made climate change exists but called it an “evolving science.”
“We’re getting more information. We’re getting more facts,” he said. “We need to be pragmatic and practical in what our solutions are.”
Henderson declined to comment for this story, but he frequently comments on the StateImpact Pennsylvania website.
He left a message under our story on Wednesday about Corbett’s nominee to head the Department of Environmental Protection, Chris Abruzzo, who said he was unaware climate change can cause harm and sees no need for Pennsylvania to adopt new policies to address it.
Here is Henderson’s comment:
U.S. carbon emissions at a 20-year low, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
A 29% increase in ice cover across the globe compared to a year ago.
An emerging consensus among climate change scientists that there has been a pause in global warming since 1997, with some predicting a global cooling trend.
2013 – the fewest number of hurricanes in…31 years. And 8 years since the last major hurricane made landfall in the United States…the longest stretch since before
the Civil War.
Don’t fear though…we have discredited climate changer Michael Mann on speed email to tell you that this is NOT a complex issue upon which reasonable, studious individuals may still be searching for a consensus.
Patrick Henderson, Energy Executive
We fact-checked his statements. Here is where the science stands:
A worker monitors pressurized testing at a fracking site in Susquehanna County.
America’s recent oil and gas boom, including the massive Marcellus production here in Pennsylvania, has dramatically shifted the nation’s trade deficit. But this has not translated into a large number of energy industry jobs.
Governor Corbett has nominated his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Chris Abruzzo, to head the DEP.
Governor Corbett’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection says he is unaware climate change can be harmful.
Chris Abruzzo, who has been Acting DEP secretary since April, was speaking before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this morning about his nomination and was asked about his views on the topic.
“I’ve not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude there are adverse impacts to human beings, animals, or plant life at this small level of climate change,” Abruzzo said.
Abruzzo told the committee he does believe climate change is occurring and that it seems to be at least partially attributable to human factors, but he does not view it as harmful and sees no reason for Pennsylvania to adopt new policies to address it.
Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R- Butler) is the prime sponsor of both bills. He did not respond to a request for comment.
In a co-sponsorship memo, Hutchinson writes the video surveillance legislation was prompted by “an alarming case” of the agency using an unmarked night vision camera to monitor activities at a DEP-permitted work site.
A new poll out today from the Nature Conservancy shows when given a choice, a majority (54 percent) of voters in the Appalachian shale region say they would prioritize conserving natural areas over gas development, even if it meant paying higher energy costs.
The survey included 1,250 telephone interviews assessing attitudes toward environmental issues, including forest health and natural gas development.
Deer are attracted to salty spots, which can include areas exposed to flowback fluid from gas development.
Hunters have long known deer love salt. In Pennsylvania it’s illegal to put out salt licks to try to attract deer. But there are still salty spots deer find on their own.
One of those places can be gas drilling sites.The brine water that comes back up after hydraulic fracturing (known as flowback) can be as much as 10 times saltier than seawater. It can also contain heavy metals and radioactive materials.
The state Department of Environmental Protection acknowledges that brine spills large and small do occur, and they have not studied its impacts to wildlife.
Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau says they haven’t studied gas drilling’s impact on deer either, but anecdotally, brine is not much of an issue.
“Not to say it’s not happening,” he says. “But our guys that work pretty closely with the gas industry haven’t really seen that.”
U.S. Forest Service soil scientist, Mary Beth Adams, has studied deer’s attraction to the salt left behind in the soil at reclaimed drilling sites in West Virginia, which has less stringent regulations related to flowback. She recently spoke with StateImpact Pennsylvania about her research.
A natural gas drilling site in Kingsley, Susquehanna County.
The federal government may be way off when it comes to estimating how much methane is released into the atmosphere, according to a new study. The potent greenhouse gas is second only to carbon dioxide in terms of its significance for global climate change.
Gov. Tom Corbett's former deputy chief of staff, Christopher Abruzzo has served as acting secretary of DEP since April.
The state Department of Environmental Protection’s acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo says regulating the radioactive materials associated with gas drilling could be the “next frontier” of the agency’s oversight of the industry.