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Feb. 20-26 Explained: Labor’s Mayoral Endorsements, Fracking Waste & An Affordable House Quagmire

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
The interior of the City County Building downtown.

On this week's Explainer:

Two different locals of the second-largest union in the U.S. are putting their weight behind two different Pittsburgh mayoral candidates. Government and accountability editor Chris Potter looks into why the Service Employees International Union 32BJ backed Mayor Bill Peduto, while SEIU Healthcare PA is supporting his primary challenger, state Rep. Ed Gainey.

Pennsylvania’s hydraulic fracturing industry creates billions of gallons of wastewater each year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the salty brine can be toxic and radioactive. The vast majority of that waste is reused, but about 10% of it is sent across state lines to Ohio, where it’s injected into the ground. The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports some Ohioans have had enough, but say their voices aren’t being heard.

What do a defunct steam plant and a sinking road have to do with affordable housing? They easily could have derailed a standout project from local nonprofit developer ACTION Housing. Development and transportation reporter Margaret J. Krauss says the issues illuminate just how hard it is to build affordable housing in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Listen on the NPR One app or subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, 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.