Marie Cusick

Marie Cusick covers New Yorkâââ

Gerry Dincher / Flickr

Nearly two years ago, the Wolf administration made national headlines by saying it would limit climate-damaging methane emissions produced by Pennsylvania’s drilling industry. But plans the state unveiled Thursday don’t mean much for curbing pollution in the near future. 

Methane is the main component of natural gas. Compared to carbon dioxide, it’s much more potent as a climate-warming greenhouse gas, although it stays in the planet’s atmosphere for a shorter time period.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

A recent change to Pennsylvania law is expected to give a boost to the state’s solar industry.

On Oct. 30, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that will provide more protection for home-grown projects and prevent out-of-state solar power from affecting Pennsylvania’s marketplace for alternative energy.

StateImpact Pennsylvania discussed the significance of the change with Christina Simeone, Director of Policy and External Affairs for the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Joe Ulrich / WITF

Advocates for Pennsylvania landowners are challenging a statement made recently by one of Governor Tom Wolf’s top aides, after he said complaints over unfair gas royalty payments have subsided.

In some cases, Pennsylvania mineral owners have received royalty checks showing negative balances, saying they owe money to drillers. At an energy conference in Hershey last week, Wolf’s deputy policy director Sam Robinson said the administration hasn’t heard as much about it lately.

Scott Lamar, WITF

Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states to recognize clean air and pure water as a basic civil right. However, the powerful language in the state constitution was dismissed for decades.

That’s all changing, says John Dernbach, director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Nearly 30 people were arrested and charged with defiant trespassing Monday after they blocked construction equipment for the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline in Lancaster County. 

The showdown between the pipeline company and the protesters has been in the making since the project was first announced three years ago.

Lindsey Lazarski / Keystone Crossroads

A bill under consideration in the state House changes the way Pennsylvania enacts new regulations on everything from education, to health, and the environment. 

HB 1237 would add new requirements to Pennsylvania’s Regulatory Review Act, an already byzantine process by which regulations are scrutinized by the general public, state legislators, and an independent commission. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the House Commerce committee Monday.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

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. 

Williams

Williams Partners has announced construction is officially underway on its multi-billion dollar Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, which is being built to connect Marcellus Shale gas in northeastern Pennsylvania to markets along the eastern seaboard. 

AP Photo/Scott Applewhite

In what’s being billed as one of his first public appearances since leaving the Trump administration, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will deliver the closing keynote address at the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh later this month. 

Williams

Pennsylvania environmental regulators approved key water permits for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Thursday, allowing construction to move forward on the natural gas transmission line. The line is an expansion of the existing Transco system, which has over 10,000 miles of pipeline moving natural gas to other businesses, such as utility companies and power plants. 

JeepersMedia / Flickr

The devastation from Tropical Storm Harvey along the Gulf Coast is starting to have a ripple effect on gasoline prices across the country.

RTMUP / Flickr

A recent federal court ruling could delay major pipeline projects planned to move Marcellus Shale natural gas to new markets.

On Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of a climate-related challenge brought by the Sierra Club against federal regulators. 

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

A federal judge has granted the builder of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline immediate possession of five holdout properties resisting the project, including land owned by a group of Catholic nuns in Lancaster County.

Gerry Dincher / Flickr

Former Pennsylvania environmental secretaries say changes aimed at streamlining the Department of Environmental Protection’s permitting process would likely have the opposite effect and lead to lawsuits.

project_manager / Flickr

The growing network of pipelines from the Marcellus and Utica Shales means natural gas producers in the region are starting to earn more money for their product, according to an analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Daily natural gas spot prices at three regional hubs in the Northeast are still below the Henry Hub national benchmark price in Louisiana.  

Mike Groll / AP Photo

A federal appeals court ruled against the Constitution Pipeline on Friday, in a challenge it brought against New York State’s denial of a water quality permit.

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. 

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