Elections Have Consequences: Tom Wolf Supports Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Keystone Politics

By Jon Geeting

August 4, 2015

Tom Wolf’s reaction to the Obama White House’s Clean Power Plan, which would regulate emissions from existing energy producers for the first time, is a perfect example of why it’s so important for Democrats to vote every single November, not just every four years.

Wolf doesn’t shy away from the fact that hitting these new emissions targets will be a big challenge for Pennsylvania, where coal still accounts for about a third of our energy production, and which will have to achieve more ambitious emission reduction targets than the average state.

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'Pa. we have a problem' - web ad presses Wolf to clean up shale pollution

PennLive - Blog

By John L. Micek

July 29, 2015

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Though a great many things attributed to him are, like much of politics, apocryphal, the great Yogi Berra, is once believed to have said that one can "observe an awful lot by watching."

Thus did we arrive at PennLive World HQ this morning to find the image you see below staring at us, unblinkingly, from the homepage of this very news organization. 

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As Wolf Gears Up For Environmental Regulatory Push, a Reminder to Focus on Methane

Keystone Politics

By Jon Geeting

July 27, 2015

With the release of Tom Wolf’s regulatory agenda for the year last Friday, it’s a great time to refocus on the need to take a hard line on methane leakage.

Why is this so important?

Attitudes toward fracking in Pennsylvania politics come in three basic shapes.

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Put kids first, not gas companies

Pennsylvania legislators get a one-sided picture at a hearing on shale-gas taxes

By Lee Branstetter, Nathaniel Horner, Granger Morgan, Ed Rubin and Parth Vaishnav of CMU

July 19, 2015

This article was written by Carnegie Mellon University's Lee Branstetter, a professor of economics and public policy; Nathaniel Horner, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy; Granger Morgan, the Hamerschlag University Professor of Engineering and founding director of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation; Ed Rubin, the Alumni Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science; and Parth Vaishnav, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy.

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Voluntary Environmental Standards Don’t Work

Keystone Politics

By Jon Geeting

July 17, 2015

Officially, natural gas drillers are already complying with the EPA’s plan banning frack water from being sent to municipal water treatment plants, which aren’t equipped to clean those kinds of toins. But they still don’t want those regulations to become official, and would rather keep going with the handshake agreement they struck with Tom Corbett, reports Jon Hurdle:

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GOP lawmakers would give gas drillers a gift by stopping new DEP rules

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Letter to the Editor

By Nancy Tashman, Mt. Lebanon

July 10, 2015

Don’t look now, but our state legislators are trying to give the Marcellus Shale industry another gift!

It’s bad enough that our legislators refuse to consider a severance tax on Marcellus Shale production, leaving Pennsylvania the only major gas-producing state without such a tax. Now, lawmakers from Pennsylvania’s drilling counties are trying to undermine the public will by attaching an amendment, without debate or discussion, to the budget companion Fiscal Code bill.

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Gas not so clean

The Times Tribune - Letter to the Editor

By Scott Cannon, Plymouth

July 9, 2015

Editor: The Times-Tribune editorial “Shift in power,” which was published July 1, mistakenly labels natural gas as clean energy source.

To be sure, natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal, but leaks of methane — a greenhouse gas and the primary component of natural gas — are so rampant throughout the natural gas supply chain that it is estimated that gas may actually be worse than coal for our climate. And, of course, whenever methane leaks it is accompanied by other harmful air pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds, which contributes to smog, and benzene.

Pennsylvania doesn’t have any regulations in place to stop these leaks, and although the industry consistently tries to argue that voluntary emissions limits will solve the problem, the evidence suggests otherwise. Earlier this year, the state Department of Environmental Protection released an inventory showing that most methane emissions reductions occurred from regulated sources, while most emissions increases came from unregulated sources. If Pennsylvania is serious about climate and the transition to clean energy, it should invest in zero-emitting sources while enforcing tough regulations on methane leaks from natural gas.

Read the full letter here

Airborne lab seeks fracking leaks

The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer

July 6, 2015

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. - The inside of the Twin Otter airplane was turned into a flying laboratory, crammed with racks of computer equipment and an array of suitcase-sized plastic containers.

Its mission: to fly over the busy natural-gas drilling operations of northeastern Pennsylvania so a pair of scientists could measure how much of the stuff was leaking into the atmosphere.

In particular, the researchers were interested in the prime component of natural gas, an odorless substance called methane that gets much of the blame for global warming.

Read the full article here.

Wolf displays leadership on climate change action

The Times-Tribune - Op-Ed

By Rabbi Daniel Swartz

June 14, 2015

Along with several other Jewish leaders, I recently returned from a trip to the Amazon. We saw many wonders: giant kapok trees soaring more than 200 feet and with cathedral-like buttresses at their roots; macaws resplendent in brilliant blues, yellows, reds and greens; monkeys leaping through the forest with acrobatic skill, and the waters of the Amazon itself, an unimaginably huge and complex waterway. But we also saw how climate change is affecting the forest, the river, and all the people and animals that live around and in it.

In subtle ways, climate is affecting caimans, relatives of alligators that can grow up to 20 feet in length. As temperatures rise, more and more eggs in caiman nests become males, a trend that bodes poorly for the survival of these ancient species. More dramatically, the yearly floods of the river have shifted into a new pattern. Normally — or, more accurately, what used to be normal — the Amazon in the region I visited rises about 30 feet annually. Once, in 1954, it rose about 36 feet, which swept away entire villages. In 2009, it crested even a bit higher than that, and again in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Such flooding takes place on a vast scale. Every day, for example, the Amazon discharges into the Atlantic Ocean as much drinking water as New York City uses in 10 years. Consequently, it might seem impossible for us here in Northeast Pennsylvania to affect it. But what we do in Pennsylvania, especially in the Marcellus Shale drilling region, can have global impacts.

Read the full article here

Group puts focus on well

The Butler Eagle

By Kate Malongowski

June 15, 2015

SUMMIT TWP — A gas well near Summit Elementary School has been an ongoing issue for some.

Groups representing Moms Clean Air Force, Women for a Healthy Environment and the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project joined a radiation oncologist outside of the school Monday afternoon.

The doctor was examining the health impacts of natural gas drilling to urge policymakers to implement stronger drilling regulations in areas in proximity to schools. The group spent an hour outside the school bringing awareness of the proximity of the well.

Read the full article here

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