Pipeline corruption probe and the ‘ethics governor’

  • Ed Mahon/PA Post
I hear Erie can get a lot snow during the winter, which is something members of the state Board of Education will need to keep in mind. On Thursday, its members delayed an up-or-down vote on Erie’s community college proposal, choosing instead to hold a hearing on the proposal in Erie within the next six months. Kathy Dahlkemper, the county’s elected executive and a community college booster, called the delay “a travesty.” –Ed Mahon, PA Post reporter

Wolf selling out to gas industry? That’s ‘nuts on steroids’

Gov. Wolf

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address for the 2019-20 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

  • PennLive’s Charlie Thompson takes a deep look at Tom Wolf’s record as a “different kind of leader,” an “ethics governor” so clean he turns down free bottles of water.

  • Wolf donates his salary to charity. His first actions as governor included a gift ban.

  • “So to many it was a little jarring, to say the least, for Wolf’s administration to be linked in an Associated Press story Tuesday to a federal investigation into the state’s approval of permits for a $5 billion pipeline project that’s potentially one of the biggest economic multipliers to date of Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom,” Thompson writes.

  • “The idea that Governor Wolf personally is corrupt is nuts. He’s among the most honest individuals I’ve met in any walk of life,” said John Hanger, Wolf’s former policy secretary and a former state environmental protection secretary under then-Gov. Ed Rendell. “The idea that Governor Wolf is corrupt to the gas industry? Nuts on steroids.”

  • Meanwhile, Wolf says he’s unaware of any wrongdoing in the pipeline permitting process, WITF’s Katie Meyer reports. “I welcome anybody to look at what’s going on in the administration, and if something’s not right then people shall be held to account,” Wolf said of the reported investigation. “Openness and transparency and integrity are absolutely important to me.”

  • Thompson also covered comments Wolf made to reporters and included details on the governor’s continued support for the Mariner East project. Wolf says the state needs “a way of moving gas from where it’s taken out of the ground to where it’s used. And this is the best way to do that.”

  • For more on problems with the Mariner East pipeline project and investigations into it, check out this useful timeline crafted by StateImpact PA editor Scott Blanchard.

Best of the rest

HACC Campus

Aneri Pattani / Spotlight PA

The Cooper Student Center at the Harrisburg campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, on Oct. 23, 2019. (Aneri Pattani / Spotlight PA)

  • HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, says it entered a one-year agreement with a Harrisburg-area firm to provide students counseling in-person, by phone or by video, Spotlight PA’s Aneri Pattani reports. The announcement follows a series of stories by Spotlight PA after the college stopped group and individual mental health counseling.

  • Julian Routh of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette traveled to Detroit to cover the trial of Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner. She is charged with assaulting, resisting and obstructing a police officer, and a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. A jury acquitted her husband, Khari Mosley, in July on charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

  • An investigation by Keystone Crossroads/Plan Philly uncovered toxic water and lead contamination at a Philly school. “Across 13 years and three school operators, no one seemed to grasp that the school had a systemic water issue — and that parents should have been made unmistakably aware of it,” write Avi Wolfman-Arent and Ryan Briggs.

  • A second Lancaster County resident is running to succeed Eugene DePasquale as state Auditor General. LNP’s Gillian McGoldrick reports that Republican Dennis Stuckey has announced his campaign for the office. Stuckey, a former county commissioner, joins Democrat Christina Hartman, who announced her run back in October.

  • Back to Erie and its quest for a community college. GoErie reporter Matthew Rink was also in Harrisburg for the Board of Education meeting. Read his story here.


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