Allegheny County environmental activists, elected officials demand air quality accountability from leadership

Allegheny County environmental activists, elected officials demand air quality accountability from leadership

Even as the smog clouds that have characterized the city for decades fade, Pittsburgh continues to have lackluster air quality.

The way to fix this, according to activists, is to start from the top, with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Since July, three environmentalist groups — the Clean Air Council, PennEnvironment and the Breathe Project — have gathered outside Allegheny County Courthouse each Friday with signs, grievances, and the occasional protest song. The events have followed clean air activism that's sporadically popped up since March.

Friday, September 14, 2018/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: Pittsburgh
Residents wary of PWSA rate increases even with promised investments

Residents wary of PWSA rate increases even with promised investments

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission held a public hearing to gauge residents' feelings on the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s proposed raise to residential rates Tuesday.

The suggested increase for 2019 is 17.1 percent, which the authority says will fund $74 million in infrastructure improvements and provide $163 million for maintenance and operations.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: Pittsburgh
Suggested natural gas permitting hike opens debate on how to fund industry oversight

Suggested natural gas permitting hike opens debate on how to fund industry oversight

Citing a drilling slowdown amid continued fixed costs, the state Department of Environmental Protection proposed increasing the cost of unconventional gas well permits by 150 percent, to the cries of the industry and legislative allies.

Set in 2014, the permit for the unconventional natural gas wells used in fracking currently costs $5,000. However, under the proposed increase, the permit’s cost would increase to $12,500 — which industry allies claim would be the highest in the country.

Friday, August 24, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Growing Greener program, pollutants market bill strike up feud between admin, House

Growing Greener program, pollutants market bill strike up feud between admin, House

A hearing on an amended, omnibus environmental bill, which includes a nitrogen procurement plan to ease waterway pollution, brought up questions of funding and interbranch cooperation Thursday.

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee heard testimony on the bill, SB 799 by Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin). Originally, the bill only set up a procurement program to use public dollars to purchase nitrogen credits from the agricultural industry to keep runoff from heading into the commonwealth’s streams and rivers and into the Chesapeake Bay.

Then, in late January, the Senate amended the bill to include a reauthorization of the Growing Greener program, first set up under former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge in 1999.

Thursday, August 16, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Environmentalists release state lawmaker rankings, turn eye to fall session, election

Environmentalists release state lawmaker rankings, turn eye to fall session, election

Ahead of the general election, state environmental groups released their rankings of Harrisburg lawmakers earlier this week based on their perception of green votes— and hinted at a bill they think might get pushed through ahead of November.

Ranked on a scale of zero to 100 — with 100 representing the most eco-conscious and 0 representing the least — the report card released by Conservation Voters of PA, PennEnvironment, the Sierra Club's Pennsylvania Chapter and Clean Water Action gave both session and lifetime ratings to all 253 members of the General Assembly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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