Department of Environmental Protection

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.

Alex Brandon / AP

The Department of Environmental Protection has released its 2017 Oil and Gas Annual Report, which revealed 2,231 oil and gas well drilling permits were issued last year; it's the first increase in activity since 2014.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Protesters gathered outside the Department of Environmental Protection's Pittsburgh office Thursday to urge the agency to deny permits to Shell Pipeline Co. to build an ethane pipeline. The 97-mile Falcon Pipeline would bring ethane to a petrochemical plant in Potter Township, Beaver County.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he plans to investigate if the state's child abuse hotline followed through on his office's recommendations to hire more staff. It's part of a plan announced Thursday to revisit nine previously audited state agencies.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

It’s a hot July day and 86-year-old John Zavacky is chatting with friends in the South Side Market House’s Senior Center. In the background, an air conditioner hums while drawing the warm outside air into the cavernous main room.

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

State environmental officials have ordered three companies to plug more than 1,000 abandoned oil and gas wells.

Wells in Pennsylvania are considered abandoned when they have been inactive for more than a year. Left unattended, they can pose safety hazards or leak and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will use the $118 million it received in a settlement with Volkswagen to fund grants and rebates for cleaner vehicles and engines.

The money comes to the state after the German automaker programmed diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests and reached a $14.7-billion settlement with the federal government. Most is going toward buying back vehicles and compensating owners, but some is going into a trust that divvies up the money to states.

In Pennsylvania, funds will go toward buying new engines or retrofitting old ones.

Kim Paynter / WHYY

As state lawmakers prepare for budget negotiations, Governor Tom Wolf is once again trotting out a natural gas severance tax proposal in hopes of slipping it into the final deal. 

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

More than 20 residents and environmental advocates called for tough limits on water pollution from a coal-fired power plant northeast of Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening.

Catalina Jaramillo / WHYY

An environmental group is criticizing Pennsylvania for its high numbers of Clean Water Act violations.

Amy Sisk / WESA

Millions of Pennsylvania drivers make an annual trip to their local auto shop to test their vehicle’s emissions. Two decades after this ritual began, some are questioning its necessity.

Climate State / Flickr

Solar energy advocates want to dramatically increase the amount of electricity generated from solar panels in the state.

At Greene County Coal Mine, Dwindling Production Means 370 Lost Jobs

Mar 8, 2018
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Austin Turner was headed back home to West Virginia on a recent afternoon from his job at the 4 West Mine in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. It was going to be one of his last shifts there, as the mine would be shutting down soon.

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s Interior Secretary, came to Western Pennsylvania to tout the federal government’s abandoned mine cleanup program. It was an appropriate setting.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulators are fining Sunoco more than $12 million for problems with a massive natural gas pipeline project, but letting work resume under a consent agreement.

The Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that Sunoco Pipeline has made changes since work on the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline was halted Jan. 3.

The 350-mile project has been plagued by spills and leaks of drilling fluid and improper construction methods.

Susan Walsh / AP

As the federal government nears a shutdown, frustration is mounting among federal employees tasked with overseeing the Mid-Atlantic region’s environment and energy-related programs.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it has enough money to stay open for a week in the event of a shutdown.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

State environmental officials have fined a natural gas company $1.7 million for problems at well sites in Greene and Clearfield counties.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is once again sounding the alarm on lead levels in Pittsburgh’s drinking water.

Settlement Requires Coal Plants To Get Permits With Tighter Pollution Controls

Jan 12, 2018
Carolyn Kaster / AP

In a settlement with environmental groups, the Pennsylvania Department of Environment agreed to require coal-fired power plants to obtain water pollution permits with tighter controls on toxic releases into rivers and streams that provide drinking water to millions of people.

Tim Lambert / WITF

CNX Gas Co. has agreed to pay two fines to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for drilling violations that took place in 2015 and 2016 in Greene County.

The penalties, totaling $433,500, stem from incidents at four well sites that affected waterways and vegetation, according to the DEP.

The company failed to properly control and dispose of flowback and drilling fluids, and it did not take adequate steps to prevent erosion and sedimentation, among other violations, the department said in a news release.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The company behind a new coal mine in Somerset County intends to open another in the area, and some residents worry the new operation could hurt their water quality.

The Keyser underground mine would produce metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. Wilson Creek Energy, a subsidiary of Corsa Coal Corp., is seeking permits from the Department of Environmental Protection to begin operations.

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have long focused on cleaning up the most hazardous old mines, but they plan to start addressing other abandoned mining sites that pose fewer public health dangers.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is setting aside $1.8 million to assist low-income customers by replacing the private portions of their lead service lines.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Officials from state and federal regulatory agencies are in town this week touring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s water treatment plant in Aspinwall.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is temporarily suspending its program to partially replace lead water service lines less than a month after it officially began.

PA Department of Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are set to release the findings of their investigation into a series of minor earthquakes that took place near fracking operations by an oil and gas company.

The quakes were recorded last April about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh and three-quarters of a mile from a natural gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. They were too weak to be felt by humans and no damage was reported.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

No agency is independently testing or verifying the quality of Pittsburgh’s drinking water, according to an audit released Monday by Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner.

UBC Learning Commons / Flickr

State government will soon offer groups promising environmental education up to $50,000 in grant money, a significant jump from the former maximum of $3,000.

Beginning in 2017, funding from the Department of Environmental Protection will be available to help generate groups more ambitious programming on watershed management, brownfield remediation and other topics at the state and regional levels, DEP spokeswoman Susan Rickens said.

To qualify for the max amount, organizations need to generate at least $10,000 in matching funds, she said.

Jonathan Lin / flickr

Among the recent environmental news coming out of Harrisburg, former Pennsylvania DEP secretary David Hess says the Commonwealth isn’t focused on the real issue: how to restore PA as a leader in environmental preservation. He’s laid out ten opportunities for leadership in a post on his blog and joins us from Harrisburg with his perspective.

Mark Goebel / flickr

Following the resignation of former DEP secretary John Quigley, many are trying to evaluate the environmental climate of Pennsylvania. While some claim Quigley was ousted for political reasons, others believe his actions were disrespectful and ill-mannered. We’ll hear thoughts from PennFuture President and CEO Larry Schweiger as well as Kevin Moody, General Counsel & Vice President Government Affairs of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association. We’ll also look at the motivation behind the emails that reportedly prompted Quigley’s resignation, including regulations on oil and gas industry drilling.

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