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DEP eyes new land for abandoned mine cleanup

Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have long focused on cleaning up the most hazardous old mines, but they plan to start addressing other abandoned mining sites that pose fewer public health dangers. Patrick McDonnell, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, announced Tuesday that his agency is developing a program aimed at converting these spaces [...]

State senate confirms McDonnell as environmental secretary

The state senate unanimously approved Governor Tom Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection on Monday. DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell has been at the helm of the agency for nearly a year. He was appointed last May after the abrupt departure of his predecessor, John Quigley, who was ensnared in controversy over an angry email [...]

Gas production increased in 2016, as number of new shale gas wells decreased

Pennsylvania’s shale gas drillers continued to break records for production in 2016, tapping about 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Although the increase in production was not as high as in previous years, it still represents an upward trend, while the number of new well permits are declining, according to data published this week [...]

Senate panel approves Wolf’s pick for environmental secretary

A state Senate panel has unanimously approved Governor Tom Wolf’s choice to lead the state Department of Environmental Protection. Patrick McDonnell has already been on the job for nearly a year, as DEP’s Acting Secretary. He was appointed after the abrupt departure of his predecessor, John Quigley, who was ensnared in controversy over an angry [...]

EPA cuts would leave states with more work, less money

The Trump administration has proposed cutting 2.6 billion dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s about a third of its budget. It could mean state environmental agencies will have to do more work with less money. But in many places, those agencies are already strapped. Late last year the EPA sent Pennsylvania a letter warning its [...]

Trump’s EPA cuts would endanger Pennsylvanians, says environmental chief

The state’s top environmental regulator is warning his federal counterpart that proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency would have an “immediate and devastating effect” in Pennsylvania. On Thursday the Trump administration released a budget blueprint which seeks to cut roughly a third of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget – some $2.6 billion. In a sharply-worded letter [...]

Environmental chief warns of ‘significant’ staffing shortages

Pennsylvania’s top environmental regulator warns his agency is dealing with significant staffing shortages, following years of shrinking funding from the state. His comments come amid reported plans by the Trump administration to drastically cut the EPA’s budget. Such a move could devastate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which heavily relies on federal money. “We [...]

Pennsylvania launches program promoting solar energy

The state Department of Environmental Protection is moving ahead with a 30-month program to kick-start a major solar energy initiative called Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future. Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell appeared on WITF’s Smart Talk Wednesday to discuss the program, which is funded by $550,000 from the federal Department of Energy. Although less than one percent of [...]

DEP’s McDonnell meets with Mariner East pipeline opponents

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection held a hastily arranged meeting on Monday with several opponents of the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline in an apparent attempt to calm public concerns over the project which may soon get its final environmental approvals. Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell plus two other DEP officials and a legislative liaison [...]

Pa. environmental chief waiting to see what Trump administration will bring

Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell skipped  a meeting with lawmakers seeking answers on whether DEP had issued pipeline permits without all regulations having been met.

President-elect Donald Trump is solidifying his cabinet, and he appears poised to reverse of many of the Obama administration’s energy and environmental initiatives—including its signature climate change initiative, the Clean Power Plan. A lot of attention is now turning to how states and local governments will address climate change. Trump recently tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott [...]

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