Marie Cusick

Marie Cusick covers New Yorkâââ

KIM PAYNTER / NEWSWORKS/WHYY

Two Pennsylvania environmental groups scored a legal victory in an ongoing challenge to the expansion of the Bailey Mine Complex, the largest underground coal mine in the U.S. The state Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) sided with the Center for Coalfield Justice and the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club Tuesday, overturning a permit revision granted to coal company Consol by state environmental regulators in 2015. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Dozens of people walked out of a Department of Environmental Protection hearing Monday in Lancaster County, while wearing surgical masks and accusing state regulators of failing to protect public health and safety. 

Tim Lambert/WITF

A natural gas severance tax has been a hot-button issue in Harrisburg for nearly a decade, but the plan recently approved by the state Senate is unlikely to have a major impact–  either in terms of government revenue, or drilling company investment decisions, according to a researcher from the nonpartisan environmental economic think tank, Resources for the Future.

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

A coalition of Pennsylvania business groups is pushing back against legislation that would raise energy taxes. A bill approved last month by the Republican-controlled state Senate imposes a new severance tax on natural gas production, and a new gross receipts tax on natural gas consumers. 

Tom Downing/WITF

Governor Tom Wolf is addressing public concerns about pipeline safety, afterconstruction on a major natural gas liquids line was halted by a state judge. Speaking Thursday on WITF’s Smart Talk, Wolf noted pipelines are an integral part of modern life, while stressing the importance of safety.  

Language recently slipped into a state budget bill could harm thousands of people with oil and gas leases, say advocates for Pennsylvania mineral owners. The annual budget-related bill, known as the fiscal code, frequently contains questionable earmarks and controversial provisions lawmakers don’t pass through a more transparent, traditional process. This year’s fiscal code was approved by the state Senate last week.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

The company behind a multi-billion dollar natural gas transmission pipeline planned to run through parts of central Pennsylvania has bought a Lancaster County farm that was being used as headquarters for a protest movement against the project. 

STEVE JOHNSON VIA FLICKR / (CREATIVE COMMONS LICENCE

A new national database released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group shines a light on water quality across the U.S. The database allows users to search by zip code or their local water utility name– aggregating information from nearly 50,000 public water systems.

SCOTT DETROW, StateImpact Pennsylvania

A new study finds the treated wastewater from Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry may pollute rivers, lakes, streams and creeks for longer than previously thought. Penn State environmental engineering professor Bill Burgos and his colleagues analyzed sediment samples from the Conemaugh River, a dam-controlled reservoir in western Pennsylvania.  

Maguis & David / flickr

Pennsylvania's women legislators are more likely to work across party lines, get co-sponsors for bills, and get those measures signed into law, according to an analysis from the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. Center director Dana Brown says the findings are in line with other research about women legislators at the national level. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

More than 100 people turned out in Lancaster County Monday evening to weigh in on the Atlantic Sunrise, a large interstate natural gas line planned to run through 10 counties in Pennsylvania.  

Maguis & David / Flickr

The state senate has advanced a bill that could upend an ongoing legal challenge by two environmental groups seeking to restrict coal mining beneath a western Pennsylvania state park. With the backing of senate GOP leadership, SB 624 was approved by a committee Monday in an 8-4 party line vote

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

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 email he sent to some environmental groups. 

JOANNE CASARRO / WITF

State lawmakers have begun discussing ways to shore up Pennsylvania’s struggling nuclear power industry, while maintaining a reliable electric grid and low prices for consumers. 

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

Pennsylvania has launched a new online tool to make it easier for the public to review documents submitted by the unconventional oil and gas industry. The change is part of a broader push from the Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade its technological capabilities

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

One of Pennsylvania’s top utility regulators says people opposing pipeline projects are engaged in a “jihad” to keep natural gas from reaching new markets. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson was speaking to gas industry representatives Tuesday at the Upstream PA conference in State College. 

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. 

CENTER FOR COALFIELD JUSTICE

A judge has raised concerns over how the state Department of Environmental Protection handled a controversial mining permit under a western Pennsylvania state park. Court records show the agency’s approval of the Consol Energy permit partially relied on data collected by a DEP staffer who had previously done consulting work for Consol. 

Governor Tom Wolf is urging Pennsylvanians to stay off the roads today, as a major storm dumps snow across the midstate. With nearly a foot and a half of snow expected, Wolf is urging people to postpone unnecessary trips. He says it's a pretty good day to stay indoors.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

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

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

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. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Opponents of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline say they’re being threatened and harassed by a Lancaster County municipality for allegedly misusing a barn as part of a protest encampment. Condemnation notices placed on the Conestoga Township barn Monday cite zoning and building codes, which prohibit the farm from being used as an encampment and the use of the barn for non-agricultural purposes. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

As authorities clear out the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp, battles have flared up in other states, including Pennsylvania, which has become a major hub of natural gas development. Anti-pipeline activists recently launched an encampment in Lancaster County, and they’ve been coordinating with groups around the country.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Opponents of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline have raised tens of thousands of dollars for a new encampment in Lancaster County, but most of the money is from one source–  British cosmetics firm, Lush. Lancaster Against Pipelines recently received $22,000 through a Lush program called Charity Pot. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania has rapidly become a hub for the development of new natural gas pipelines. In recent weeks, billions of dollars worth of projects have been approved by state and federal regulators. Shortly after he took office, Governor Tom Wolf convened a major task force to recommend ways to coordinate planning and best practices for this building boom.

PA Legislature

A Republican state lawmaker is accusing Pennsylvania environmental regulators of overstepping their authority, as they attempt to limit climate-damaging methane leaks from shale gas sites. 

Jennifer Szweda Jordan / The Allegheny Front

Governor Tom Wolf is responding to a warning federal officials sent more a month ago, saying staffing shortages are seriously impairing the state’s abilities to enforce safe drinking water standards.  

Just as President Trump takes power promising to ramp up oil and gas production, a sudden resignation in a key agency threatens to put such projects on hold across the United States.

On Thursday, Norman Bay, one of just three current members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said he would resign effective Feb. 3, even though his term isn't up until next year. His announcement came shortly after Trump decided Bay's fellow commissioner, Cheryl LaFleur, would serve as the Commission's new chair.