Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

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Energy extraction’s impact on air quality, water supply, and community infrastructure.

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Pa. must release Bakken crude oil train shipment information

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, or PEMA, must release details about rail shipments of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. That’s the word today from the state Office of Open Records. In May, federal transportation officials ordered railroads to report to state emergency planners the estimated number of Bakken crude shipments expected to [...]

DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo resigns amid lewd email scandal

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Chris Abruzzo has resigned his position, according to a statement issued by Governor Tom Corbett. The resignation is effective immediately. It comes amidst a scandal involving several top Corbett officials exchanging lewd emails. Abruzzo is one of eight Corbett appointees recently named by the Attorney General’s office as having sent or [...]

Enviros threaten to sue over sewage spills in Valley Forge trout stream

Two environmental groups are threatening to sue a Chester County township over multiple sewer line breaks near Valley Forge National Historical Park that polluted a prized trout stream. A major rupture in March shut down the park for nearly two days. Between four and five million gallons of raw sewage flowed into Valley Creek when [...]

Gas industry nervously awaits outcome of governor’s race

When members of Pennsylvania’s largest gas industry trade group got together for their annual conference last week they were a bit worried. Why? Anyone paying attention to voter polls or listening to the rhetoric coming out of Harrisburg knows there is the very real possibility of two major changes for the gas industry— a new Democrat [...]

At 74, the Pennsylvania Turnpike looks to the future of fueling

The Pennsylvania Turnpike turns 74 years old today. The vast majority of the roughly 190 million drivers who travel the toll road every year rely on gasoline for fuel just as they did when it first opened on October 1, 1940. This week, StateImpact Pennsylvania has been taking a journey across the turnpike, exploring the [...]

Pa. Auditor General: Don’t rely on DEP for good information

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is having a rough week. On Thursday, the Attorney General’s office showed reporters evidence of how DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo exchanged pornographic emails with his pals on taxpayer time. And now, another state agency, the Auditor General’s office, has released a “citizens guide” to shale gas water complaints warning Pennsylvanians [...]

Study: Treated fracking wastewater could still threaten drinking water

A new study shows how treated wastewater from oil and gas operations, when discharged into rivers and streams that travel toward drinking water intakes, can produce dangerous toxins. The research confirms what scientists have been warning about for some time. The high concentrations of salty brine, which flows up from deep underground once a well [...]

The curious case of the smallmouth bass

For the last 10 years, a mystery has been unfolding in the Susquehanna River watershed. Young smallmouth bass have been found with open sores and lesions. Many of the male fish that make it to adulthood have female sexual characteristics. The smallmouth bass population has dropped, threatening the state’s $3.4 billion recreational fishing industry. What’s causing these [...]

Study: residents closer to gas wells report more health issues

A new study has found that residents in western Pennsylvania living close to Marcellus Shale gas drilling sites were twice as likely to report health problems than those living farther away. Public health researchers from Yale and the University of Washington went door-to-door and surveyed the health of 492 adults and children living in 180 [...]

Study finds flawed well casings– not fracking– caused tainted water

A new study finds water contamination linked to shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania and Texas was caused in some cases by faulty well casings– not hydraulic fracturing. The study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined 133 water wells with high levels of methane. Researchers found the contamination was either naturally [...]

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