Northern Pennsylvania

Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News

It's a warm summer afternoon. Just off the Gibson exit on I-81, Susquehanna County resident Frank Finan looked out over 114 acres of tall brown grass. It's an area Finan is trying to keep free of an industrial waste incinerator. He's even done his own air quality tests.

WSKG's Summer Playlist

Jun 23, 2015
Credit Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer / Flickr

Throughout the summer we highlighted regional bands in the series we call WSKG’s Summer Playlist.  

Gov. Tom Wolf Hosts Round Table On Medical Marijuana

May 19, 2015
Dominic Simpson / Flickr

Backers of the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are trying to build momentum during the legislature’s spring recess. Governor Tom Wolf hosted a round table on the issue less than a week after the measure cleared the state Senate.

Some representatives think the proposal has enough support to pass in the House, if it doesn't stall in committee. 

“What I want them to focus on his why we got elected. And that’s to be leaders of people, and provide the relief families need," said Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny County.

LNG Plant Planned For Northeast PA

May 18, 2015
Russell Neches / Flickr

UGI Energy Services is planning to build a $60 million natural gas plant in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Wyoming County plant would take gas from the Marcellus Shale  and cool it down into a liquid known as LNG.

Read more here.

Stock Exchange / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State officials are investigating a Texas-based energy company after a spike in complaints from customers over higher-than-expected bills.

Ambit Energy is an energy services company that supplies electricity and natural gas.

Consumers can choose to get their energy from their own utility or companies like Ambit.

Poet Michael Jennings | Out of Bounds

Apr 26, 2015

Michael Jennings was born in New Orleans and grew up in west Texas
and the deserts of southwestern Iran. He is a grad of both he University of Pennsylvania and Syracuse University. He has published nine collections of poetry, including Bone Songs and Sanctuaries.

His most recent is a very personal chapbook called River Time, published by Wells College Press after awarding Jennings first prize in their 2014 Chapbook Competition.

courtesy of Gov. Tom Wolf / via Facebook

According to a Franklin and Marshall College poll conducted the week of March 17, Wolf has a 38 percent job approval rating three months after taking office.
 

Niagara / via Wikimedia Commons

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a racist letter delivered to the home of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's nominee for state police commissioner.

project_manager / Flickr

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A federal judge says backers of a 124-mile pipeline designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York can build across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it.
 
U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion ruled Tuesday that the Constitution Pipeline had the necessary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it serves the public interest.
 

WabbyTwaxx / flickr

A new study commissioned by the consortium of companies behind the PennEast pipeline finds it would generate $1.62 billion for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies during the project’s construction phase.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Last month an anti-fracking group settled a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, after it was erroneously labeled a potential terrorist threat. The case dates back to 2010 and was an embarrassment for then-Gov. Ed Rendell.

But documents obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania show law enforcement here and in other parts of the country continue to conduct surveillance on anti-fracking activists, leading some to claim their Constitutional rights are being violated.

Nicholas_T / flickr

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A state court is upholding the leasing of public lands for gas and oil drilling.
 
The Commonwealth Court on Wednesday rejected a 2012 lawsuit by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation seeking to stop drilling in state parks and forests and diverting money away from a conservation fund.
 
The court says the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has exclusive authority over leasing decisions and that the Legislature has the authority to shift tens of millions of dollars in rent and royalties into other state programs.

SUNY Broome Community College/via Facebook

State funding for grade schools tends to garner a lot of attention. But colleges and universities also depend on state money. And states have vastly different track records when it comes to how they support higher education, according to a new set of “report cards.”

The advocacy organization Young Invincibles graded states in five categories, including “state aid to students” and “education as a state priority.” New York ranked number two, with an “A” grade overall.

A pair of new studies from the U-S Geological Survey show low-to-moderate concentrations of naturally occurring methane gas in private water wells in Wayne and Pike counties.

The two counties fall under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Basin Commission—an interstate compact which has imposed a moratorium on fracking. U-S-G-S researcher Ronald Sloto says that’s why it’s important to set a baseline before drilling occurs.

Court Permanently Bars Activist From Gas Sites

Nov 11, 2014
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A Susquehanna County judge has ruled a 63-year-old anti-fracking activist will be permanently barred from setting foot on or near gas drilling sites. Vera Scroggins describes herself as a “gas tour guide” and says she wants to expose the environmental violations of Cabot Oil & Gas.

Cabot says she’s repeatedly trespassed on its property and her actions pose a safety risk.

The feud made international news earlier this year when Cabot got a sweeping, yet temporary, court injunction against her – which effectively barred her from about half the county. That order was later revised to be less restrictive.

Now a judge has ruled she must adhere to a permanent injunction, which means she has to keep off Cabot sites and observe a 25 to 100 foot buffer zone.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Heading into Veterans Day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed legislation that would have authorized state pension credits for peacetime military service.

The legislation authored by Sen. William Larkin, a Hudson Valley Republican and combat veteran of World War II, would amend current law that provides up to three years credit toward state pensions for military service during hostilities.

They would have to pay 3 percent of their compensation during those military years to the retirement system.

Assembly sponsors say the U.S. now depends on a volunteer military, and to encourage citizens to join the state needs to recognize all veterans by giving them pension access.

In his veto message, Cuomo says it's an unfunded mandate on local governments that would incur $57 million in near term obligations.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

It all started nearly two years ago, with a celebrity bus tour. Fracking activist Sean Lennon. He was joined by his mother, Yoko Ono, and Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon on one of the many natural gas tours hosted by 63-year-old anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, a rural area that’s become the center of the state’s fracking universe.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A Susquehanna County judge has ruled that an anti-fracking activist will not be fined or jailed for allegedly violating a court order designed to keep her away from natural gas well sites.

63-year-old Vera Scroggins is a well-known anti-fracking activist who frequently irritates Susquehanna County’s biggest driller—Cabot Oil & Gas.

Their feud made international news earlier this year after Cabot got a court order, effectively barring her from nearly half the county.

Erin Carr / WSKGnews

At the All Nations Powwow at the Portal Institute in Susquehanna, Pa., tribes of Native Americans from across the United States gathered in a wooded clearing to celebrate their traditions and support a struggling tribe. We visited the pow wow, put on as a benefit for the Lakota people from South Dakota.

A string of male and female dancers in vivid color step and bounce in time to the drum.

On Public Land, A Gas Company Takes Private Control

Aug 13, 2014

A Pennsylvania court will soon decide if more natural gas leasing can occur in the state’s public forests.

So far, much of the debate has focused on impacts to plants and animals.

But some gas companies have been blocking people from accessing public roads and forests.

To read the rest of the story, visit the StateImpact Pennsylvania website.

Chevron Faulted in Fatal Well Fire

Aug 7, 2014

A new report from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection criticizes Chevron for withholding information after one of its natural gas wells near the West Virginia border exploded this year.

The DEP admits the it is also to blame for the poor communication while responding to the explosion that left one worker dead.

Pennsylvania-based PPL Electric Utilities is looking to build a new multi-billion dollar transmission line that would extend into New York and other neighboring states.

The proposed high-voltage power line still a decade away, but PPL has started planning.

The line would start in Western Pennsylvania and run 725 miles through the state’s Northern Tier into New Jersey and New York, as well as southward into Maryland.

The project would cost $4 billion to $6 billion, according to PPL spokesman Paul Wirth.

The Delaware River Water Basin Commission has received a lot of attention in recent years because of delays in coming up with regulations for natural gas drilling in the basin. Now, the commission has a new executive director taking over, in a year where it faces tightened budgets and increased scrutiny from both sides of the fracking debate.

 As part of a $3 billion expansion, Oklahoma-based pipeline company, Williams, is proposing nearly 200 miles of new pipeline through ten counties in northern and central Pennsylvania. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) oversees pipelines, and it’s hosting the meetings to get public input on the project. FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen says the agency is looking for comments on environmental impacts.“The more specific the information you have, the more it helps our staff," says Young-Allen.