Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

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

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As budget negotiations heat up, so does rhetoric over gas tax

As the June 30th state budget deadline draws near, Republican legislative leaders are taking aim at the centerpiece of Governor Wolf’s spending plan—a new severance tax on natural gas drillers. Senate Republican leaders issued a statement Tuesday saying they have “severe concerns” about the tax, but House Speaker Mike Turzai (R- Allegheny) called a press [...]

Report cites lack of data on fracking health issues

More than a decade into the U.S. fracking boom, researchers still don’t have enough information to determine whether the controversial method of extracting oil and gas threatens public health, a leading health-policy journal said on Monday. Health Affairs, which analyzes public-health issues for readers including government officials, health-care advocates and scholars, said a lack of [...]

EPA: Fracking water problems not widespread

The Environmental Protection Agency says fracking can cause water contamination, but the problems are not widespread. The EPA released its long-awaited draft study today on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies. Speaking on a conference call with reporters, the EPA’s science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of the office of research and [...]

DEP fines Chevron $940K for fatal gas well fire

A Chevron subsidiary has agreed to pay the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection $940,000 for multiple violations involving a 2014 fatal explosion at a natural gas well site in southwest Pennsylvania. DEP spokesman John Poister said the penalty against Chevron Appalachia LLC was “among the largest fines” the agency has imposed. Fires at two wells in Dunkard [...]

Industry launches new TV ad opposing shale tax

The battle over Governor Wolf’s shale gas tax proposal took an acrimonious turn last week with dueling letters between the industry and the governor. Now the television ads have arrived. The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, which leads a coalition of groups opposing the shale gas tax, has begun running an ad against Governor [...]

Study: Lower than expected air pollutants detected at Marcellus drilling sites

An article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, published today, says measurements of air pollution from Marcellus drilling and transportation sites in Bradford and Sullivan counties were lower than the researchers expected. The study, “Atmosphere Emission Characterization of Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Development Sites,” also reports levels of methane emissions were higher than those indicated [...]

Case challenges township’s right to change zoning in favor of gas development

Local rights to zone for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania are being tested by a Butler County case in which plaintiffs claim a township has acted unconstitutionally by failing to protect residents from the effects of a sharp increase in industrial activity. Middlesex Township, about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, approved an ordinance in August [...]

Fracktivist faces 6 felony charges for recording lawyer

Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins has been charged with six felonies for violating Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws by recording a Montrose lawyer and his secretary without their permission. The charges stem from a 2013 incident in which Scroggins was denied an application to have her anti-fracking group participate in the town’s Fourth of July parade. According to [...]

What’s in those tank cars near the Amtrak derailment?

News footage of the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia Tuesday night shows nearby tank cars that look similar to the rail cars carrying crude oil or other hazardous material across the country each day. In aerial photos, it looks as if the Amtrak train, traveling at 100 miles an hour, nearly missed creating an even greater [...]

Energy industry invests in Philly mayor’s race

Since Marcellus Shale development boomed, Philadelphia has been a thorn in the side of the gas industry. The city has not seen many of the economic benefits that places like Williamsport, or Pittsburgh have. And it tends to be home to well-organized, experienced environmental groups used to taking on powerful adversaries. When the industry invited [...]

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