Environment

ALEX BRANDON / AP

Health and environmental scientists who specialize in the potential impacts of oil and gas production will discuss their work on Tuesday at the annual Shale & Public Health conference, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. 

EarthJustice

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed relaxing two Obama-era regulations on waste products from coal-fired power plants, a move environmental groups say would prolong the risk of toxic spills or drinking water contamination.

Courtesy of David Bernabo

A picture postcard from the Grand Canyon. A topographical map of India. A T-shirt airbrushed with a gray wolf howling at the moon.

Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council

When people envision a sustainable future, they might think of such industrial-scale, tech-heavy approaches as solar arrays and electric vehicles. But creating a greener civilization also includes strategies as simple as finding new homes for stuff you don’t want any more.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

State lawmakers remain skeptical about a provision in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget plan to transfer money out of special environmental funds to fill financial gaps.

Like the rest of the proposal, it will ultimately need House and Senate authorization.

The multi-year series of transfers Wolf wants to make would cut general fund contributions to two environmental agencies by tens of millions of dollars.

The holes would be filled with cash from several off-budget funds that are supposed to be used for things like municipal recycling and community revitalization.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

World leaders are gathered in Poland this month to talk about how to fight climate change. The United States is not there in any formal sense. But among the attendees is Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

While the Trump administration isn't prioritizing environmental protection, some cities, including Pittsburgh, are trying to pick up the slack. 

Climate Petition Calls On Pennsylvania To Cut Emissions Through Cap-And-Trade System

Nov 28, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have the legal authority and constitutional duty to place limits on greenhouse gas emissions, according to a petition filed Tuesday by dozens of groups including environmental organizations, legal scholars, religious groups, local governments, and citizens.

Dozens Plead With Trump Administration To Keep Air Rules

Nov 16, 2018
David Zulabowski / Ap

Dozens of people who live near oil and gas wells pleaded with the Trump administration Wednesday not to roll back rules for methane pollution, while industry representatives said the changes should go further.

The Environmental Protection Agency held a hearing in Denver on the administration's plans to loosen regulations imposed by the Obama administration in 2016. The rules require energy companies to step up the detection and elimination of methane leaks at well sites and other oil and gas facilities.

Democratic Socialists Are Coming To Harrisburg. What Does It Mean For Environmental Policies?

Oct 23, 2018
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

At a former church-turned-Brewery on Pittsburgh’s North Side, a group of Democratic Socialist candidates recently mingled with donors at a fundraiser.

Courtesy of Idia'Dega

If you’re trying to save the planet from home, you’re more likely to look at your thermostat than your wardrobe. But Tereneh Idia says the latter counts, too.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Standing under gathering clouds in the middle of a grassy field just outside Pittsburgh, Anaïs Peterson recalled the years she spent playing soccer here.

“That’s the goal you always want,” she said, nodding to the east.

A mile beyond that goalpost in Indiana Township lies a natural gas well pad that didn’t exist during her soccer days.

House OKs Bill To Relax Rules For Shallow Gas, Oil Drilling

Jun 6, 2018
Joe Ulrich / WITF

A Republican bill to relax regulations on the shallow oil and gas drilling that has gone on in Pennsylvania for more than a century passed the state House Tuesday despite firm opposition from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The GOP-majority chamber voted 111-84 for a proposal that covers permits, rules for wells, spills and enforcement for drilling that does not include the much deeper wells tapping into the Marcellus Shale formation.

Study Finds Health Threats From Oil And Gas Wastewater Spread On Roads

Jun 1, 2018
Courtesy of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Spreading oil and gas wastewater has been a common and cheap way for municipalities to suppress dust on unpaved roads in parts of Pennsylvania for years.

Andrew Harnik / AP

In this week’s episode of the Trump on Earth podcast, we explore a new rule that would throw out vast amounts of scientific research in the name of transparency.

Burning The Forest To Protect One Of Its Most Threatened Visitors

May 15, 2018
Reid Frazier / 90.5 WESA

On a ridge at the top of the Allegheny Mountains, Gage Meyer, a supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, walked around a forest with a metal tank filled with a mix of diesel and gasoline.

“It’s not too potent but it does the job,” he said. “It’ll happen fast, especially on a day like today.”

It was sunny and dry on this spring morning. Meyer pulled out a lighter and lit a pile of leaves, damp with a mix of diesel and gasoline. Then he sprayed fuel in a straight line away from the fire from a metal can with a nozzle on it. The forest floor shot up in flames.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

A group of parents from the Fox Chapel School District is concerned about how their children’s health will be affected by hydraulic fracturing in the area. 

Pennsylvania Funds Clean Air With VW Settlement

May 10, 2018
Michael Sohn / AP

Pennsylvania's governor said Thursday the state will use a $118 million settlement with Volkswagen over the company's cheating on emissions tests to cut air pollution in the state.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf told The Associated Press that he is setting up Driving PA Forward , a program to distribute grants and rebates that aim to boost air quality.

The goal is to replace older diesel engines with new technologies, and cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 27,700 tons.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A new report reveals that industrial facilities in Pennsylvania are among the top polluters of United States rivers, including a chemical company just 16 miles outside of Pittsburgh.

Scott Heppell / AP

The Trump administration has been in office for a little over a year, and it’s done a lot to change the federal government’s stance on environmental issues from announcing the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, to opening up thousands of miles of U.S. coastline to offshore drilling. So what’s the impact of all these changes?

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Two local groups dedicated to cleaning up Pittsburgh are hosting a film festival that explores environmental issues around the country.

Environmental Group: Methane Pollution Higher Than PA Thinks

Feb 23, 2018
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

An environmental group says that Pennsylvania’s gas drilling industry is releasing much more methane into the atmosphere than the state is reporting.

Are Pipelines To Blame For Decline In Ancient Salamanders?

Feb 9, 2018
Dave Herasimtschuk / Freshwaters Illustrated

As the natural gas industry matures in our region, construction of big transmission pipelines like the Constitution and the Rover continue make headlines. But there are also thousands of miles of smaller pipelines being built in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to connect drilling well pads to the energy distribution system. These lines have far less oversight and could be having big impacts on smaller streams, and the wildlife that lives there.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Jayne Miller, the Former head of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is joining the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy this week.

Miller will become only the second President and CEO in the history of the Pittsburgh nonprofit. She will succeed conservancy founder Meg Cheever, who will retire in March. Miller headed The Minneapolis Park System for seven years. For five of those years, it was ranked the No. 1 park system in the nation.

Neville Green

On a winter day on Neville Island, Dorothy Antonelli sits at the dining room table of her home, flipping through printed pictures. 

FracTracker Alliance

Gov. Tom Wolf drew support from both environmentalists and energy insiders when he promised to ease the state's permit application backlog and better enforce regulations by hiring 35 more Department of Environmental Protection inspectors.

Industry Gets A Pass On Accidental Bird Deaths

Jan 25, 2018
Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Labratory

This year, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act turns 100. It protects more than 1,000 species of birds from a host of threats, including disruption of nesting sites and illegal trade. 

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A $1.1 billion pipeline designed to bring Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey has received federal approval, although the project lacks important permits in New Jersey.

PennEast Pipeline Company spokeswoman Patricia Kornick said Monday that she anticipates construction on the roughly 120-mile pipeline will begin this year and take about seven months. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave approval to the PennEast pipeline Friday over the protests of environmental groups, who say it would irreversibly damage the landscape.

Inside The EPA's Regulatory Rollback Machine

Jan 19, 2018
Evan Vucci / AP

The Trump administration has rolled back 60 environmental policies at last count. But what does this rollback mean and how it is affecting the work of the agency charged with protecting America’s environment and public health? ProPublica reporter Talia Buford dug into the story of one EPA rule that took the agency a decade to craft and the Trump administration just months to undo.

America's Freshwater Is Getting Saltier, And That's Not Good

Jan 11, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A new study finds that the freshwater we rely on for drinking water and industry is getting saltier. 

Pennsylvania Shuts Down Construction On Sunoco Gas Pipeline

Jan 3, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania environmental officials ordered Sunoco on Wednesday to halt construction of a natural gas pipeline across the southern part of the state, citing a series of spills and leaks of drilling fluid and other "egregious and willful violations" of state law that have plagued the $2.5 billion project.

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