Energy and Environment

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The Appalachian region could support up to four more petrochemical processing plants, known as crackers, according to a forthcoming report from IHS Markit. Denise Brinley, a special assistant to the Secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, previewed the report Thursday during a presentation at the Hart Energy Marcellus Utica Midstream conference in Pittsburgh.  

Katie Meyer

(Harrisburg) -- With Washington now working to roll back environmental regulations, build pipelines, and potentially withdraw from global climate agreements, some lawmakers are moving to organize around climate change on the state level. 

Kyle Patterson / Public Herald

Donald Trump’s public support of big pipeline projects is giving the industry a shot in the arm. But it still faces hurdles from state and local opposition, according to industry leaders.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation / Flickr


President Donald Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline with a highly publicized executive order this week. In New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has quietly acted to further energy pipelines across the state. 

Judge Halts Coal Mining Underneath PA State Park

Jan 25, 2017
Allegheny Front

A judge has ordered a halt to mining underneath a state park in Greene County. Environmental Hearing Board judge Steven C. Beckman issued the order Tuesday, regarding a Consol Energy plan to expand its Bailey mine complex beneath Ryerson Station State Park. Environmental groups had argued the plan would have damaged a high-quality stream in the park. 

Senate Panel Approves Royalty Bills (Again)

Jan 25, 2017
Maguis & David / flickr

It felt a bit like déjà vu in Harrisburg Tuesday, as a state Senate committee unanimously approved a pair of bills aimed at providing more protections for people who receive royalty money from oil and gas drilling. The vote comes almost exactly two years after the same committee approved nearly identical bills, which were then passed by the full Senate. 

Trump Administration Orders Temporary Media Blackout At EPA, Freezes Grants

Jan 25, 2017
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Trump administration has implemented a temporary media “black out” at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report by the Associated Press that cited emails to EPA staffers. EPA press releases, blog post updates, and social media posts are banned for an indeterminate amount of time. All media requests are to be forwarded to the Agency’s office of administration.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Federal pipeline regulators are requiring operators to report accidents more quickly, and they are tightening rules on conducting drug and alcohol tests after an accident. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is also setting up a new procedure for recovering its costs for reviewing the design of some new pipelines, and is requiring operators to report any change of product or direction of flow in their pipelines. 


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says it needs more time to issue its final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the $1 billion PennEast pipeline project, shifting it’s planned release from February 17 to April 7, 2017. FERC says additional information provided by state agencies, as well as the PennEast Pipeline Company prompted the delay.


State lawmakers are back in Harrisburg this week, and not surprisingly, they’re looking at levying new taxes on Marcellus Shale natural gas drillers. As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported, this tax has been debated for years, as lawmakers of both political parties have looked to the gas industry to help alleviate the state’s fiscal woes.