Last year a story by the BBC dubbed Lancaster, Pennsylvania “America’s Refugee Capital.” The city welcomes the attention and is pitching itself as a place for people migrating amid a changing climate. The city also hopes to be a refuge for internally displaced Americans who are escaping rising seas and extreme weather.
Anti-pipeline activists in Lancaster County formed a vehicle blockade Monday that temporarily obstructed access to a work site for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.
Protesters parked 16 cars along Witmer Road in Manor Township to impede workers’ access to a horizontal directional drill site where the pipeline builder, Williams, intends to install the line under the Conestoga River.
About 20 people from the group Lancaster Against Pipelines participated in the protest, which began shortly before 7am.
“The objective is to slow down this process and make everyone watching aware that this is not something the county wants, ” says Lori Ann Neumann. “We have been failed by our legislators, the courts, regulatory commissions.”
The group dispersed around 10am at the request of law enforcement. No one was arrested. Brett Hambright, a spokesman for the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office called the protesters, “cooperative and respectful.” Continue Reading
As the year winds down, we’re looking back at some of StateImpact Pennsylvania’s best radio reporting.
From an unconventional election season, to continued controversies over pipelines, and a global climate conference, we covered a lot of ground on the airwaves in 2016.
Take another listen:
In 2016 Pennsylvania’s drilling industry went through a particularly rough patch, laying off thousands of workers and drastically cutting spending, amid low natural gas prices.
The idea behind the “Philadelphia energy hub” is to revive the region’s once-thriving manufacturing scene using Marcellus Shale natural gas. It’s proven to be easier said than done, and may be a plan that’s unlikely to materialize with the departure of its chief visionary.
If you watched the three presidential debates, you may have noticed there was very little discussion of energy and environmental issues. Notably, the debate moderators did not ask a single question about climate change.
But the Clinton and Trump campaigns did delve into these topics in a debate Tuesday evening between Clinton’s energy adviser Trevor Houser and Trump adviser Congressman Kevin Cramer (R- North Dakota) at the University of Richmond.
Cramer said Trump would roll back regulations and engage in a top-to-bottom review of the EPA, to get it back to its core mission of promoting clean air and clean water. He also does not subscribe to the mainstream scientific view of man-made climate change.
“We’d have to be a bit proud to think that somehow these last hot years are the fault of man and not some larger regular cycle of climate,” Cramer said.
Bradford County has released a video sharply criticizing gas driller Chesapeake Energy for allegedly cheating its residents out of royalty money.
Advocates are pushing for a bill to address what they’re calling the “PA royalty ripoff.” The county commissioners announced last month they would contract with a public relations firm to produce a video about the issue and send it out to Pennsylvania elected officials. They hired former Donald Trump adviser Michael Caputo to run the campaign.
“This is the shot across the bow,” says Caputo. “If this bill doesn’t pass next week, we have built and will deploy a statewide grassroots campaign to make sure it passes next time around.”
The new head of the Department of Environmental Protection says he hopes his staff can work quickly to resurrect regulations for the conventional oil and gas industry that got tossed out during the annual state budget negotiations in Harrisburg.
“Obviously, we have a good starting point with the existing reg,” says Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “But we’ll be engaged with industry and other stakeholders to put together the best version we can.”
Watch more from our conversation with McDonnell during his visit to the Pottsville District Mining Office Monday.
Four years ago StateImpact Pennsylvania visited Towanda to see how the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom was changing the pace of life.
We returned this year to see what happened after the rigs left town. Watch our latest video, After the Boom.
Bigger ships and more cargo flowing through the ports of Philadelphia and South Jersey should mean more jobs and greater economic activity when the Delaware River deepening project is completed next year, but the benefits may not be a slam-dunk for the region as expected.
Fierce competition from other East Coast ports for an expected trade bonanza resulting from the widening of the Panama Canal means that the $392 million project to dredge another five feet of mud and rock from the bottom of the river near Philadelphia does not automatically mean that more ships will call at the local ports, experts said.
What’s more, environmentalists warn that the dredging project will harm the health of the river and will likely bring saltwater closer to Philadelphia’s drinking water intakes.
Even to reap the expected benefits of the long-delayed project – now six years into the dredging project and 24 years since its first funding was appropriated by Congress – ports on both sides of the river will have to play to their strengths. Continue Reading
Seven people were arrested for disorderly conduct after they disrupted the final meeting of Governor Tom Wolf’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force in Harrisburg Wednesday.
The protesters shouted as they were escorted out of the meeting by Capitol Police:
The Homer City Generating Station looms like a cathedral in the landscape of Indiana County, Pennsylvania. The plant can be seen for miles near the western foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.
Four years ago, Homer City—in operation since 1969—was faced with a choice: either clean up to comply with new EPA air rules or close its doors.