Energy and Environment

Karen DeWitt

We walk up the trail to the summit of Hadley Mountain  in the southern Adirondacks, fallen leaves crunching underfoot.

The wind picks up a bit as we climb up the fire tower for the panoramic view.

“We’re looking at the most marvelous combination of balsam fir and northern hardwood trees on a ridge line that stretches north,” said David Gibson, with Adirondack Wild. “From here we can see the high peaks of the Adirondack Park.”

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.

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

Water impacts continue at numerous Pennsylvania sites where Sunoco is building the Mariner East 2 pipeline two months after a court-brokered agreement. The settlement between environmental groups and Sunoco Pipeline was designed to prevent horizontal directional drilling from damaging aquifers and spilling fluid into wetlands. 

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. 

Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday the EPA will formally propose to revoke the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s regulation for carbon dioxide from the electricity sector. The decision could impact what kind of sources Pennsylvania uses to make electricity for decades to come.  

Buffalo (WBFO) - Yet another discharge of cloudy black water was seen in the Niagara River Monday morning, just below Niagara Falls.

A chlorine smell could also be detected by observers at the Falls. According to the National Weather Service, more than 1.2 inches of rain fell at the Niagara Falls International Airport weather station as of about 8 a.m.

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

Blasting to remove rock for construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Lebanon County showered a home and its swimming pool with debris, and may have prompted the spread of existing underground contamination from a former gasoline depot, township officials said on Thursday.  

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says she’s not sad or depressed by the pronouncements now coming from the new administration on rolling back environmental protections. “I am filled with great hope for a number of reasons,” she said. “The core values that created EPA and led it to a really bipartisan support all of its 47 years of existence, still remains.” 

Chris Caya, WBFO

BUFFALO (WBFO) - The Niagara Falls Water Board is facing more criticism from state regulators following another unplanned discharge from its wastewater treatment plant late Wednesday afternoon. 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation responded to a report from the board anddiscovered badly discolored water in the Niagara River. The discharge occurred as the region encountered heavy rain.

Lindsey Lazarski

Opponents of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 and other pipelines have disavowed an anonymous blog post that linked them to a supposed attack on construction equipment used for the Pennsylvania pipeline. The post, with the headline “Action Against Mariner East 2 Pipeline” had originally claimed an act of sabotage was done in solidarity with groups opposing pipeline construction in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

The Trump administration intends to name former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Southeast Regional Director Cosmo Servidio as head of EPA’s Region 3 office, according to two people familiar with the move. Region 3 covers the Mid-Atlantic, encompassing Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

A Pennsylvania environmental group is launching an ad campaign against two large industrial facilities near Pittsburgh. PennFuture is kicking off its “Your Toxic Neighbor” campaign, which will include bus shelter posters throughout Allegheny County, targeting U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works and Shell’s yet-to-be-built ethane cracker in Beaver County. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Police are expected to have an almost constant presence in Lancaster County during construction later this month of the Atlantic Sunrise interstate natural gas pipeline. Brett Hambright, of the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office says he’s hoping planned protests against the project are peaceful but, “we’re not naive to the point we think this would go absolutely smoothly and no feathers will be ruffled.”  

Rob Powelson, a commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently appointed by President Donald Trump, defended FERC’s track record with interstate pipeline projects. Pipeline opponents say FERC is a captured agency that does not look critically at industry proposals.  

Spicer Says Rolling Back Regulations Helping Economy

Sep 30, 2017
Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a natural gas industry conference in Pittsburgh that oil and gas drillers had a “huge friend in the Oval Office”. That huge friend is President Donald Trump, whose administration has targeted dozens of regulations that effect oil and gas drilling, a push which Spicer said was helping grow the economy. 

MATT ROURKE / AP PHOTO

Two Pennsylvania families have settled a lawsuit against a major natural gas producer, ending an almost decade-long fight over alleged water contamination in the northeast Pennsylvania town of Dimock.  Read full story here. 

An energy developer with plans to build a big wind farm in rural St. Lawrence County recently got a surprise.

Avangrid Renewables is getting ready to submit an application to build the North Ridge Wind Farm, with up to 40 turbines in Hopkinton and Parishville. The towns are deeply divided, but the final decision was supposed to rest with a state siting board. This summer, the state announced that an anti-wind activist from Parishville will get to sit on that board — raising big questions about what this process is meant to accomplish.

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

Four opponents of the Mariner East 2 pipeline sued Sunoco Pipeline and its parent, Energy Transfer Partners, in federal court on Monday, alleging the company violated several constitutional rights when police arrested the plaintiffs on a private property in Huntingdon County. 

Lawmakers and an advocacy group representing Fort Drum are warning about several proposed wind farm projects that are under development in the north country. They say the wind turbines could threaten operations at the military base. That's welcome news to some residents in Jefferson County, who have been fighting one of the developments since it was proposed a decade ago.

USDAgov / Flickr

Renewable energy got a boost on Thursday when PECO donated $100,000 for a solar-job training program in Philadelphia, and a state lawmaker introduced a bill that would allow utility companies across the state to build their own solar farms. The PECO grant was presented to the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), a nonprofit that helps low-income people develop job skills. 

futureshape / flickr

It’s unclear whether federal regulators are properly prioritizing safety inspections on the nation’s massive network of natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines,according to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

A Delaware County homeowners association is asking an appeals court to halt local work on the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline until its builder, Sunoco Pipeline, finds a way to stop disturbance of contaminated soil at the site. 

Updated at 8:00 p.m. Thursday

Onondaga County health officials continue to say that the city of Syracuse's drinking water, along with the drinking water of other municipalities that draw water from Skaneateles Lake, is safe to drink. 

Samples tested Thursday at the state’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany found 0.25 parts per billion inside the City of Syracuse Gatehouse located in the Village of Skaneateles, but prior to the completion of the chlorination.

This level is consistent with prior reported sampling at the Gatehouse and below the health advisory levels for both adults and sensitive populations. All other locations in the water system – including the City of Syracuse, the Town of DeWitt, the Town of Skaneateles, the Village of Elbridge, and the Village of Jordan – showed non-detectable levels of algal toxins in finished water. These levels remain below the EPA’s 10-day health advisory level of 0.3 parts per billion for sensitive populations and well below the EPA advisory level for adults of 1.6 parts per billion.

Residents in the Village of Skaneateles and the other municipalities which use this drinking water source can continue to drink the water.

Original Post

Elevated levels of toxic blue-green algae have been discovered in the water of Skaneateles Lake. The lake is the primary water supply of the city of Syracuse’s water system. While tests show the public water is still safe to drink, residents who live along the lake’s shoreline and drink water directly from the lake could be at risk.

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. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

In March 2016, workers for one of the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline companies cut down a large swath of maple trees in Susquehanna County–a rural patch of northeastern Pennsylvania. A video shot by an activist shows the trees crashing down as chainsaws buzz.

KIM PAYNTER / WHYY

Cheers erupted at the Delaware River Basin Commission meeting Wednesday on the campus of Bucks County Community College in Newtown after commissioners from three states including Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, approved a resolution that could lead to a fracking ban in the Delaware River watershed. New Jersey abstained and the federal representative from the Army Corps of Engineers voted no, which elicited a round of boos.

Betty Sutliff

Two years ago, Governor Tom Wolf reportedly told a group of pro-drilling landowners and elected officials he would try to help them end a moratorium on natural gas development in the Delaware River Basin, if they helped him pass a severance tax on drillers, according to several people who attended the meeting. 

Kumar Appaiah / via flickr

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently, when it comes to Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. A state House committee voted along party lines Monday, to rebrand the impact fee levied on the state’s Marcellus Shale drillers, calling it a severance tax instead. 

Commission Confirms It Will Consider Fracking Ban In Delaware Basin

Sep 12, 2017
Trout Unlimited

The Delaware River Basin Commission confirmed on Monday that it will consider adopting new rules that would ban natural gas drilling in the basin, a policy that would formalize a de facto moratorium that has been in place since 2010. 

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

A group of Delaware County homeowners ramped up a war of words with Sunoco Pipeline on Thursday, accusing it of violating a court order that forbids company representatives from contacting residents during construction work for the Mariner East 2 pipeline. 

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