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Feb. 24-28 Explained: Pipeline Fines, Nutrition Program Challenges & PennDOT Needs More Money

90.5 WESA
The Women, Infant and Children program provides assistance to families with young children, but enrollment is declining at the same time the initiative is attempting to be more user-friendly.

A pipeline company is under federal investigation over a 2018 natural gas pipeline explosion in Beaver County. Enrollment continues to decline in Allegheny County for a state supplemental nutrition program. And, PennDOT faces a funding cliff and dwindling resources.

Helping explain the headlines this week from the WESA newsroom:

The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation of a pipeline company in connection with a 2018 natural gas explosion in Beaver County. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania has issued a federal grand jury subpoena to the pipeline’s owner, Energy Transfer, for documents. 

The Revolution pipeline had been in service less than a week when a landslide caused the pipeline to rupture and explode. The blast forced evacuations and burned one house to the ground. 

An important supplemental nutrition program for young families continues to lose enrollment in Allegheny County, despite recent changes to make the Women, Infants and Children program more user-friendly.

WIC provides financial assistance for groceries to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, and families with children up to age five. All U.S. states are required to transition their WIC programs from paper checks to electronic benefit transfer cards by the end of 2020.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation oversees everything from road and bridge maintenance to mass transit. 

During a budget appropriation hearing this week, state lawmakers pressed PennDOT’s acting secretary to explain how the agency sets its priorities and asked about funding concerns. One thing was clear: the commonwealth is going to have to find a lot more money.

"In other news"

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm
Liz Reid began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor.