Pennsylvania

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

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Study: CO2 emissions from coal mine drainage higher than expected

Carbon dioxide emissions from mine water could be greater than previous estimates, according to new research from West Virginia University. The study calculated that CO2 emissions from 140 coal mine drainage sites in Pennsylvania could equal those from a small power plant. “The numbers are higher than I expected to see,” said Dorothy Vesper, associate [...]

DEP launches investigation into Doylestown-area private water well contamination

Last month, the federal Environmental Protection Agency instituted more rigorous health advisory levels for chemicals called polyfluorinated compounds or PFCs. Suddenly, a well on Easton Road in Bucks County known to contain PFC’s was above the new, stricter cutoff. As of 2016, the new recommended lifetime exposure level in drinking water for two PFCs — known [...]

Lawsuit accuses Range Resources and lab of doctoring water test results

A water testing company that worked with Range Resources to evaluate whether or not residential water supplies were contaminated is defending itself against a lawsuit that claims the company allowed the gas driller to alter a print out of the test results, which Range then submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP used [...]

Federal regulators get earful from pipeline opponents

Federal regulators got an earful at an angry public meeting about a proposed natural gas pipeline in Lancaster County, which ended with the police showing up as protesters disrupted the proceeding. About 350 people attended the meeting Monday night to give comments on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). [...]

As fiscal year ends, lawmakers weigh controversial energy and environmental bills

Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania legislature are seeking approval of a clutch of bills that environmentalists say would dismantle protections against environmental damage by the state’s energy industry, make it harder for Pennsylvania to comply with the Obama plan to cut power-plant emissions, and hand more control over regulation to pro-industry lawmakers. Industry groups and [...]

In photos: the faces and places of the fracking boom

The story of the fracking boom in Pennsylvania and nearby states runs as an almost continuous narrative in the region’s press. But covering the blow-by-blow of new drilling sites, protests, lawsuits and regulations is just one way to look at how fracking has changed the region. Back when unconventional natural gas drilling started gaining momentum, a group [...]

Acting environmental secretary expected to avoid ruffling feathers

Any secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection needs to combine technical and political skills to ensure air and water quality are being defended while navigating the often-conflicting agendas of the environmental and industrial communities. Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell, a 19-year veteran of the department, took on what observers say is one of the state’s [...]

PennFuture urges township to scrap gas-drilling ordinance

An environmental group is challenging a zoning ordinance that allows gas drilling throughout a southwest Pennsylvania township, arguing that the measure is unconstitutional, and violates a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the state’s controversial Act 13 oil and gas law. PennFuture says the ordinance by Mount Pleasant Township in Washington County [...]

Judge strikes down suit against fracking opponents

A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed an attempt by a group of natural gas leaseholders seeking to block environmentalists’ objections to a township’s plans to open itself up to gas drilling. Judge Michael Yeager of the Butler County Court of Common Pleas struck down a lawsuit by a property developer and 12 co-plaintiffs who said that [...]

Federal public health report highlights contaminants in Dimock’s water

A federal public health report on Dimock’s much-publicized water woes found threatening levels of chemicals in 27 private water wells, and explosive levels of methane in 17 private water wells during a six-month period in 2012. The results were based on samples taken four years ago, while a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the area [...]

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