Environment & Energy

We explore issues of energy and the environment, along with our partners from Allegheny Front and StateImpact Pennsylvania.

'Downstream' Documentary Looks At Pollution In Pennsylvania's Water

Oct 11, 2018
Downstream

A new documentary wades into the issues around the pollution and protection of Pennsylvania’s waterways. 

Ohio Residents Sick Of Dealing With PA's Fracking Wastewater

Oct 10, 2018
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

Much of the wastewater from Pennsylvania’s fracking industry is trucked across the border to Ohio. 

AP Images

More than half of North American bird species are threatened by climate change, according to the national Audubon Society, which links the welfare of birds to urbanization.

Paul Sancya / AP

University of Michigan researchers will use a $2 million energy department grant toward finding ways to use algae as a biofuel source for diesel engines.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A federal indictment filed this week alleges Russian hackers targeted a nuclear power company near Pittsburgh beginning in 2014, in addition to anti-doping agencies throughout the world.

Mariner East 2: What Are Natural Gas Liquids, And What Happens If They Leak?

Oct 5, 2018
Youtube / StateImpact Pennsylvania

As part of the “Mariner East 2: At what risk?” series, this StateImpact Pennsylvania video examines the natural gas liquids that flow through the pipeline and what happens if they leak — something that could be caused by:

  • Welding failures
  • Material defects
  • Corrosion
  • Shifting land exposing the pipe

 

 

Emma Lee / WHYY

After two years of legal setbacks, a federal court ruled this week that two families from Bucks and Montgomery counties can proceed with lawsuits asking the U.S. Navy to cover the costs of medical monitoring after years of drinking contaminated water.

Williams Partners / via StateImpact Pennsyvlania

A major new natural gas transmission pipeline will come online this weekend. Oklahoma-based Williams Partners said it has received approval from federal regulators to put its Atlantic Sunrise pipeline into full service on Oct. 6.

The Dangerous Work Of Building Pipelines

Oct 4, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Building oil and gas pipelines can be dangerous work. And the fatality rate on the job reflects that. 

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stopped in Pittsburgh on Friday to say that natural gas from places like Pennsylvania plays a key role in helping the United States deal with foreign adversaries.

If an energy-rich nation like Russia or Iran were to act aggressively toward the United States, he said having an abundance of natural gas would help counter that move.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

As states grapple with how to respond to protests over pipelines and other infrastructure projects, Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a bill that would establish tougher penalties against people who vandalize “critical infrastructure” facilities like pipelines and power plants.

We're Wired To Be Wary Of Certain Things. Here's Why Pipelines Are Among Them

Sep 28, 2018
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Dangerous incidents involving pipelines are rare, but September has been a bad month.

In Pennsylvania, No Oversight Of Where Some Pipelines Can Be Built

Sep 27, 2018
Reid R. Frazier / Sta

When the Revolution pipeline blew up down the street from his house, Chuck Belczyk thought a bomb had gone off.

Why The Trump Resistance Keeps Winning In Court

Sep 27, 2018
Allen Allen / flickr

Judges have pushed back on Trump’s deregulatory agenda in sometimes rapid fire succession. 

Sabrina Bodon / WESA

Local officials, environmentalists and health experts sounded off Wednesday in Pittsburgh on the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back a signature Obama-era climate policy, with many testifying that they want the stricter vehicle emission standards to stay in place.

Requirements for automakers to improve gas mileage and reduce tailpipe emissions through 2025 took effect under President Barack Obama.

Mariner East 2: Sunoco's Incidents, Fines And Shutdowns Fuel Residents' Safety Concerns

Sep 26, 2018
Scott Blanchard / StateImpact Pennsylvania

As Sunoco nears the planned opening of its Mariner East 2 pipeline across Pennsylvania, opponents say the company’s nationwide construction record over more than a decade heightens concerns about the safety of the natural gas liquids line.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Every time Bob Rosatti drives the highway near his hometown of Forbes Road, he can't help but think back to the explosion that happened here two years ago.

From the ramp tower 120 feet above the runway, it's clear Philadelphia International Airport is surrounded by water. There is wetland, a network of creeks and, just a couple hundred yards away, the tidal Delaware River leading out to the bay. As with many airports, the original idea was to build on a large tract of land convenient to a city but far enough away from homes and tall buildings. Often, that meant coastal wetlands and landfill.

Now, such airports are threatened.

Amy Sisk / WESA

Pittsburgh’s tallest skyscraper has cut way down on its water and electricity usage over the past decade as it undergoes energy efficiency upgrades.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The state Department of Environmental Protection is moving forward with plans to regulate harmful air pollution from Pennsylvania’s thousands of oil and gas sites.

Mel Evans / AP

A finance professor says Pennsylvania's two large public pension systems are paying significantly higher private equity fees than they report and are denying access to documents that would reveal a true figure.

Chimney Swifts Put On A Show Before Fall Migration

Sep 20, 2018
Steve Schroeder / Flickr

Recently a group of swift fans gathered outside of a Pittsburgh restaurant in anticipation.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The skies above Pittsburgh are getting darker, and it’s not because of stormy weather. Look up around dusk this fall and you may see flocks of black birds, preparing for their annual trip south through Pittsburgh.

National Pipeline Mapping System / U.S. Department of Transportation

Maps of the majority of natural gas pipelines in Pennsylvania are not readily available to the public. That includes the pipeline that exploded last week in Beaver County, demolishing one home and forcing dozens of people to evacuate.

More Than Half Of PA Gas Wells Used ‘Secret’ Chemicals For Fracking, Drilling: Report

Sep 14, 2018
Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Energy companies in Pennsylvania declined to identify potentially harmful chemicals used for drilling and fracking for natural gas in more than half the wells developed between 2013 and 2017, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report from the Partnership for Policy Integrity, a Massachusetts nonprofit that does research and advocacy on energy policy, says companies withheld information about at least one chemical in 55 percent of wells drilled between 2013 and 2017.

Why Is The Mariner East Pipeline So Controversial?

Sep 13, 2018
Jon Hurdle / StateImpact Pennsylvania

This week, a pipeline exploded in Beaver County destroying one home and forcing two dozen people to evacuate. 

Googlemaps

Federal officials say two small earthquakes have occurred in eastern Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 1.9 magnitude quake occurred around 3:50 a.m. Wednesday near Shillington. A 1.7 magnitude quake was then recorded around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday in Mohnton.

No damage or injuries were reported in either quake.

Officials say earthquakes with a magnitude between 1.0 and 3.0 aren't typically felt by residents.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania court is upholding a $1.1 million fine against natural gas exploration giant EQT Corp., saying there is substantial evidence that it recklessly violated environmental laws when a wastewater holding pond polluted streams and groundwater in 2012.

Monday's Commonwealth Court decision faulted EQT's construction of the pit at a Tioga County well site and its investigation into and response to the contamination, citing evidence the company "dragged its feet."

FirstEnergy

Energy Transfer Partners has shut down part of the Revolution Pipeline as officials investigate why a section of it exploded in a Beaver County residential neighborhood on Monday.

Bringing The Forest Back After Shale Gas

Sep 11, 2018
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

In a clearing deep in Tiadaghton State Forest, Kelly Sitch stops to look at a clump of wild bergamot, a native plant whose light purple flowers resemble pom-poms.

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