Pennsylvania

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New environmental secretary hopes to resurrect drilling rules

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.

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Delaware River ports fight for market share as dredging project nears completion

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 arrested at pipeline task force meeting

Seven people were arrested after they disrupted Governor Wolf's pipeline task force meeting in Harrisburg Wednesday.

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

Seven protesters were arrested after they disrupted Governor Wolf's pipeline task force meeting in Harrisburg Wednesday.

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:

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A coal plant cleans up in Indiana County

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.

A Coal Plant Cleans Up In Indiana County from The Allegheny Front on Vimeo.

 

Changing Spaces: Williamsport housing stock strained by gas boom

Williamsport has a long history of using its natural resources. It was once the lumber capital of the world. But changing economics and deforestation led to the industry’s decline.

More recently the city saw an economic renaissance, thanks to the Marcellus Shale boom. But the ups and downs of drilling can make it difficult to make long term plans– particularly when it comes to housing. The influx of gas workers led to strains on the region’s housing supply, especially for low-income people and seniors.

StateImpact Pennsylvania partnered with Keystone Crossroads to examine the state’s changing spaces. See our segment below, and tune in for the full show on WITF-TV Sunday, November 15 at 6:00pm.

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Tune in to see Pennsylvania’s changing spaces

Pennsylvania’s rich natural resources and attractive river system have made it a hub of industry since its founding in the 1600′s. These industries’ boom-and-bust cycles spurred rapid growth in cities, then just as quickly left those spaces behind.

The Keystone Crossroads: Changing Spaces TV special explores communities reinventing themselves, using historic legacies or tapping new resources to stay relevant in the 21st century.

StateImpact Pennsylvania partnered with Keystone Crossroads to look at how the Marcellus Shale gas industry has affected housing in Williamsport. Tune in to see the full episode on WITF-TV Thursday, November 12 at 8:00pm.

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Pipeline opponent guilty of disorderly conduct for speech at public meeting

A Lancaster County woman has been found guilty of disorderly conduct for speaking out of turn at a public meeting. She was arrested in April for failing to follow special meeting rules, which permitted people to ask questions but barred them from making statements.

54-year-old Kim Kann is a Conestoga Township resident who has been a vocal opponent of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise interstate gas pipeline. During the meeting she got up to correct what she viewed as misstatements about a ballot initiative to study home rule. Opponents had been pushing for the measure in an effort to block the pipeline.

“I’m angry and kind of dismayed,” Kann says of her arrest and guilty verdict. “I felt like it was a politically-motivated overreaction.”

The entire meeting was posted on YouTube by Conestoga Township. Kann approaches the microphone approximately 1 hour, 19 minutes into the video. She speaks for less than two minutes before the police intervene:

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