Energy and Environment

WSKG is supported by...

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.

Emma Lee, WHYY

Opponents of the proposed PennEast Pipeline are accusing its builders of making false statements about what the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has said about the project. The PennEast website invites supporters to sign a form letter to FERC urging it to give final approval to the project on the basis that FERC has said the pipeline will deliver low-cost energy without doing significant environmental harm.

Chris Caya, WBFO

BUFFALO (WBFO) - The Niagara Falls Sewage Treatment plant is under a microscope once again. State regulators are investigating a second discharge from the plant into the lower Niagara River.  

President Trump has rolled back rules aimed at protecting federal infrastructure projects from rising sea levels and dangerous storms caused by climate change. Trump announced the move on Tuesday, at a press conference touting plans to fast track the building of roads and bridges.

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. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

PennEast Pipeline Company urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to quickly approve its controversial plan to build a natural gas pipeline through Pennsylvania and New Jersey now that FERC has a quorum of commissioners for the first time since February.

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.

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday approved an agreement between Sunoco Pipeline and three environmental groups, requiring the company to step up its protection of water supplies during construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. Judge Bernard Labuskes of the Environmental Hearing Board signed off on the deal,which was first published Tuesday in response to settlement talks by the two sides.  

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. 

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

Sunoco Pipeline agreed on Tuesday to meet new environmental safeguards for drilling on its Mariner East 2 pipeline project in return for withdrawal of a court challenge by three environmental groups. The two sides reached a draft settlement agreement that may avert a hearing before Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board if the judge in charge of the case approves the details. 

New York Now

The former EPA regional administrator under President Barack Obama said scientists who leaked the report about further evidence of climate change to The New York Times should be commended as“whistleblowers.” 

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is likely to issue its final approval to the controversial PennEast Pipeline project through Pennsylvania and New Jersey now that it has a quorum of commissioners for the first time since February, observers said on Friday. 

Emily Cohen, State Impact Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania judge has allowed Sunoco Pipeline to resume horizontal directional drilling at 16 sites along the Mariner East 2 pipeline route.  Previously he had banned drilling throughout the route in response to dozens of water contamination incidents during construction. 

BUFFALO (WBFO) - It is now an international incident - and soon to be a possible criminal investigation. Canada and the Niagara County Legislature are calling for further investigation into the sewage dumped into the Niagara River over the weekend.  

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.

Niagara Falls Blob Violated State Regulations

Aug 3, 2017
Twitter/@MaidOfTheMist

GREAT LAKES TODAY - The recent black, odorous wastewater discharge near the base of Niagara Falls violated New York regulations, a state official says. But it's unclear whether any fines will result. 

A hearing on Wednesday in Broome County Supreme Court may decide the fate of a proposed natural gas transfer station in the Town of Fenton.

Sunoco’s pipeline construction has resulted in 90 spills at 61 locations across the state, according to new information provided as part of ongoing litigation. The amount of drilling mud spilled into aquifers, streams and wetlands across the state is estimated at about 220,000 gallons. 

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. 

Associated Press

The Tompkins County Health Department says harmful blue-green algae has been found in Cayuga Lake. In a press release, the Department says the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been "visually identified" on each side of the Southern end of the lake, and that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed the HABs. 

Gabe Altieri / WSKG

Maureen Singer is not happy about a proposed natural gas transfer station in the Town of Fenton. “It’s tough to digest how a responsible governing body approved that,” she said.

 

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

Two ranking Democrats in Congress have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to further investigate the practices of pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners, which has merged with Sunoco Logistics, after spills and permit violations occurred on two of its major projects in three different states, including the Mariner East 2 pipeline here in Pennsylvania.

A project that could reduce the amount of toxins in Oswasco Lake, a primary source of drinking water for about a dozen communities in Cayuga County, is stalled.

The goal of the Owasco Flats Wetland Restoration Project is to build the floodplain around Oswasco Lake with plants and basins that can naturally filter out the toxins in the water from the surrounding tributaries. Phase one of the project was approved for $700,000 in state funding back in 2011. Its designer Bruce Natale says they've been securing permits and contractors ever since.

The New York State Public Service Commission continues to gather comments on National Grid’s proposed rate hike. In Syracuse this week, the biggest crowd turned out so far in a series of five hearings across the state. And most were opposed to the idea.

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.

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday ordered a two-week halt to all drilling for the construction of the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline after dozens of water contamination incidents and several environmental violations by the builder, Sunoco Pipeline. 

Invasive Plant Species Colonizing Gas Well Pads

Jul 25, 2017
MARK SCHMERLING VIA FRACTRACKER ALLIANCE

Natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania has spurred an increase in invasive species of plants colonizing lands near well pads, according to a new study by Penn State University, which was recently published in the Journal of Environmental Management. The research was funded by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 

Governor Tom Wolf is allowing a controversial coal mining bill to become law. The move is angering environmental groups who say the measure gives coal companies the green-light to damage streams. The new law gives coal companies an exemption from an 80-year-old law protecting Pennsylvania's waterways. 

Pages