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DEP Fines Landfill Near Pittsburgh For Problems Tied To Fracking Waste

Feb 19, 2020
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined a Westmoreland County landfill that had been passing pollution from oil and gas drilling waste into a local sewage treatment plant. 

LM Otero / AP

Barraged with sex-abuse lawsuits, the 110-year-old Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in an effort to work out a potentially huge victim compensation plan, but local chapters may be insulated from the parent organization's financial troubles.

Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it's causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country.

Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn't spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar.

Summer Lee for PA

When Democratic Party leaders endorse a candidate running in the spring primary, they hope doing so will help unify the party. On Sunday, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee may have done so by accident: From the state level on down, just about every Democrat not on the committee is denouncing one of its choices. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Tim Pearce knows a lot about mollusks. But, he says, he knows very little about social media.

To his surprise, his pun-filled videos shared on a fairly new social media platform, TikTok, have gone viral in the last month, making him what he calls a “shell-ebrity.”

Mel Evans / AP

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee gathered for its annual endorsement meeting on the South Side Sunday – and for a handful of young, progressive, female candidates in closely-watched races, the outcome wasn’t pretty.

J. David Ake / AP

Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to have Pennsylvania join ten other states in a regional cap-and-trade agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions ​is moving slowly through the vetting process.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has reached a plea deal with Michigan prosecutors, resolving a nearly year-long court case stemming from an altercation with police at a Detroit hotel last year. Wagner pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor offense Thursday morning, while authorities dropped a felony offense of resisting police. But a dispute over the terms of Wagner’s sentence suggests that, despite the settlement, the dust has yet to settle.

Courtesy Evolve EA

Two massive stone arches tower over Washington Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s Homewood and Larimer neighborhoods. The intersecting structures over Silver Lake Drive appear out of place along this curving, concrete road.

Civic Mapper

When you flush the toilet in Allegheny County, chances are that the waste ends up at a facility just up the Ohio River from the McKees Rocks Bridge.

To track the waste's path from one's toilet to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, people can use Flush.It.  This interactive map directs users to type in an address that’s within the ALCOSAN service area. After several seconds, a bright turquoise line appears, tracing a flush's route.

Marinus Analytics

An international competition for tech companies making a humanitarian difference has two Pittsburgh-based semifinalists. Marinus Analytics and CleanRobotics are among ten companies still in the running for the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A challenger in what will likely be among the most closely-watched Democratic primaries in western Pennsylvania has amassed a considerable war chest in his bid to topple state Rep. Summer Lee. And building-trades unions are already playing a notable role in the Monongahela Valley-based terrain of state House District 34.   

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh has released a roadmap to make the city more friendly to bikes and other light modes of transportation. The proposed Pittsburgh Bike (+) Master Plan has been in the works for five years.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto got City Council’s approval to remove City Councilor Deb Gross from the board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, replacing her with fellow Councilor Erika Strassburger.

Caldwell Holden / 90.5 WESA

A group of Pittsburgh-area advocacy groups on Tuesday unveiled recommendations they say will make the Port Authority of Allegheny County more equitable. The #FairFares platform focuses on fare cost, payment process, enforcement and incentive programs.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades launched a national boycott against PPG products with a protest in Market Square Friday afternoon.

Photo by Charles "Teenie" Harris / Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art

Andy Warhol left Pittsburgh for New York City right after college. August Wilson departed shortly after he started writing plays. Rare among renowned artists from Pittsburgh, Charles “Teenie” Harris became famous not in spite of staying here, but because he did.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Moondog’s Pub in Blawnox and the 183-year-old Brown Chapel AME Church on the North Side are among the many locations that Doors Open Pittsburgh – a nonprofit organization that offers tours of Pittsburgh buildings – will include in its 2020 series of 13 themed tours. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb voted with most Republicans, including Western Pennsylvania Congressmen Guy Reschenthaler and Mike Kelly, Thursday against a pair of amendments to limit President Trump's military authority in Iran, following the killing of a top Iranian general earlier this month. One amendment would require President Trump to get Congressional approval before using military force against Iran: The other repealed a 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to fight terrorism in Iraq.

Courtesy of Nick Pisciottano for State Representative

The phrases “Monongahela Valley” and “new political blood” are not often found in the same sentence. But if Nick Pisciottano has his way, Democrats will see a generational shift in leadership after the surprise retirement announcement of state Rep. Bill Kortz earlier this month.

Keith Srakocic / AP

UPMC’s pledge to spend $1 billion on life science innovations over four years is expected to support early stage development of medical devices, software, drugs and more nationwide. On Wednesday, executive vice president Jeanne Cunicelli said that investment will also be the catalyst for a new venture at UPMC: a for-profit pharmaceutical company.

NASA / AP

Two retired satellites will cross paths this evening above Pittsburgh. At around 6:30 p.m., the IRAS telescope and GGSE-4 payload are expected to come within about 40 feet of each other during their orbits. But scientists say it’s unlikely the two will make contact.

Bill Marx

A Democrat has announced his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, a task many party leaders in the district were unsure who would take on until now. Democrat Bill Marx, of Delmont, announced his campaign in the 14th District Monday.

Courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

The Downtown branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is among the busiest in the system, averaging more than 1,000 visitors a day. That’s not surprising, considering that the Golden Triangle hosts tens of thousands of workers daily. Now, upward trends in Downtown housing have pushed the branch past the capacity of the space on Smithfield Street it’s occupied since 2004.

Michelle R. Smith / AP

The big push to count everyone in the United States starts on April 1, and in places like Pittsburgh, the U.S. Census Bureau needs to hire more people to do the work.

Ed Build / Submitted

Five of the country’s 50 most economically segregated neighboring school districts are located in Western Pennsylvania.

Rob Mercuri Campaign

Rob Mercuri is a relative newcomer to politics, but he can already claim a leg up on many more seasoned politicos: While insiders and journalists spent much of their week trying to figure out what state House Speaker Mike Turzai was planning to announce this Thursday, Mercuri already knew Turzai would not run for office again.

A day after Turzai said he was stepping down, in fact, Mercuri announced his campaign for Turzai’s House seat – with Turzai’s endorsement.

Closed hospital and empty parking lot.
Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

The door to the emergency room at the Ellwood City Medical Center is locked. 

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Twenty-four hours over three days - that's how long each side gets to make its case in the Senate impeachment trial.

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JAKE SAVITZ / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh-based PPG says it has made good on its 2016 pledge to eliminate lead from all products by 2020.

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