September 28, 2012

Oct. 1 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The October 1 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Sen. Scarnati Working On Marcellus Shale Health Advisory Panel Bill

Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) circulated a memo to members of the Senate this week announcing his intent to develop legislation to create a Marcellus Shale Health Advisory Panel.
The panel, he said, would “be tasked with thoroughly investigating and studying advancements in science, technology and public health data in order to provide Pennsylvania elected officials, regulators and the general public with information, analysis and recommendations regarding the safe, efficient and environmentally responsible extraction and use of unconventional natural gas reserves in the Commonwealth.”
Sen. Scarnati noted, “There has been much discussion regarding the potential effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on public health and safety.  The creation of an advisory panel composed of experts from a wide range of fields including doctors, scientists, academics and industry leaders will provide Pennsylvania with a critical asset in addressing any current or future impacts arising from the development of Marcellus Shale.”
The creation of a permanent health advisory panel was a suggestion of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission he explained.
In fact, the language used by Sen. Scarnati to describe his proposal advisory panel was very close to the recommendation in the Commission report--
“In recognition of the tremendous breadth and scope of issues affected by Marcellus Shale natural gas, as well as the significant pace of technology and best management practice advancements occurring within the industry, the Commission strongly encourages Governor Corbett to consider creating a permanent advisory panel or committee to monitor the impacts of this industry, thoroughly investigate advancements in science, public health data and technology, and provide the Commonwealth’s elected officials, policymakers, regulators and members of the public with real-time information, analysis and recommendations regarding the safe, efficient and environmentally responsible extraction and use of unconventional natural gas reserves in Pennsylvania.”
The Commission also recommended the Commonwealth establish a health registry to track the any impacts drilling was having around well sites-- “The Department of Health should create, or oversee the creation of, a population-based health registry with the purpose of characterizing and following over time individuals who live in close proximity (i.e. one mile radius) to gas drilling and production sites.”
Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, proposed supporting the creation of a health registry as part of his drilling fee proposal in Senate Bill 1519.
He said he would propose a panel consisting of nine members including the Secretary of Health and individuals appointed by the Governor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the House and House and Senate Minority Leaders.
Sen. Scarnati led the effort to establish a responsible drilling fee and additional environmental protection standards during both the Rendell and Corbett Administrations.
A copy of Sen. Scarnati’s memo is available online.

Friday NewsClips

Judge Must Rule By Tuesday On Voter ID Law
Judge Says No Voter ID Ruling Today
Judge Suggests Striking Part Of Voter ID Law
Witnesses Detail Long Waits, Many Visits For Voter ID
Judge Wraps Up Voter ID Hearing
Judge Set To Rule On Legitimacy Of Voter ID Law
Some College Students Unsure About Voter IDs
Editorial: Voter ID Idiocy, A Bad Idea Spreads
Editorial: Beginning Of The End For Voter ID?
As Debate Looms, Romney Looks To PA
Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate Race
Editorial: Re-elect Doyle, Challenger No Match
Editorial: Bad Political Ad Ignored Truth
Mellow Pension Case Officer Looks For Hearing Date
Updated Small Games Act Brings New Requirements
Advocates Question PA Cut In General Assistance
Judge’s Ruling On PA Condemned Man Due Friday
Unpredictable Few Days Ahead In Execution Case
Pardons Board Takes Execution Case Under Advisement
Op-Ed: To Kill Or Not To Kill Terrance Williams
Op-Ed: Public Must Comprehend Urgency of Pension Mess
Ed Secretary Overstated Impact Of School Test Cheating
Column: Corbett Bombing Public Education Into Stone Age
Editorial: Keep Ban On Payday Loans
Click Here for today's Environmental News

September 27, 2012

Thursday NewsClips

Two new polls show Gov. Corbett’s approval rating remains on the low side.  In a Quinnipiac University poll, 36 percent said they approve of the way Corbett is governing with 47 percent disapproving.  In a Franklin & Marshall poll 31 percent say they somewhat or strongly approve of the job Corbett is doing, with 42 percent saying they are somewhat or strongly unfavorable.
In the same Quinnipiac poll, U.S. Senator Bob Casey was leading challenger Tom Smith 49 to 43 percent and in the presidential race Republican Mitt Romney is far behind President Obama 58 to 37 percent.
In the Franklin & Marshall poll, Sen. Casey was leading Tom Smith by 46 to 34 percent and President Obama was leading Mitt Romney 50 to 39 percent.
The Franklin & Marshall poll also tried to judge the level of support for the state’s voter ID law.  Most Pennsylvanians-- 59 percent-- said they support voter IDs and 87 percent were aware of the requirement.
Corbett Approval Ratings Stay In The Basement

Corbett’s Sagging Polls Fuel Dems’ 2014 Rumors
Rendell To Speak At Lancaster Democratic Party Banquet
Smith Closing Gap On Casey In Polls
Poll Shows Smith Within 6 Points Of Casey
AG Candidate Kane Wasn’t Endorsed By State Troopers
Editorial: Slimy Political Ad Still Legal
Kane Says Corbett Probably Played Politics With Sandusky Case
Voter ID Hardship Stories Keep Emerging
Witnesses To Detail Barriers To Voter ID Law
State Says 12,000 Voter ID Cards Issued So Far
Long Lines, Long Waits To Get Voter IDs
Voter ID Mastermind Says Law Too Relaxed
Democrats Use Fitzpatrick’s Words Against Him
Justices Step Back From County Court Funding Dispute
Executions Rarely Reason For Leaving PA Death Row
Newspapers Sue Over Access To PA Execution
Bill Would Cut Sentences Of Juvenile Murderers
Op-Ed: More Support For Home, Community Care For Elderly
Officials Tout Public-Private Transportation Projects
State Apologizes To Bethlehem Schools Over Cheating Comment
PA Caps Property Tax Hikes At 1.7 Percent
Harrisburg Year-End Budget Deficit Grows To $14.8 Million
Click Here for today's Environmental News

September 26, 2012

Wednesday NewsClips

Voters Remain Sour On Corbett
Voters Displeased, But Favor Obama, Casey
Poll Shows PA Remains Firmly In Obama Camp
Obama’s Lead Shrinking In PA
Poll: Obama Expands Lead In PA
F&M Poll Says Obama Has A Hefty Lead In PA
Judge Asks For Ways To Halt Voter ID Law
Court Hearing On Voter ID Resumes Thursday
State Loosens Voter ID Rules As Judge Considers Law
State Makes More Changes To Save Voter ID Law
Voter ID Process Altered Again
Poll Shows Majority Support Voter ID
Op-Ed: Why Voter ID Isn’t Needed
Overcoming Spread In PA Not Out Of Reach For Romney
Smith Ad Touts Reform Plans
PA U.S. Senate Race AdWatch
Editorial: Outside Group Have No Business In PA Elections
Kane Holds Fundraising Edge In AG’s Race
Editorial: Maher’s Experience An Asset In Auditor General Race
Ex-Rep. Stetler Sentenced To 18 Months To 5 Years
Judge Praises Stetler’s Work, Sentences Him To 18 Months
Police Probe Threats Left At House Candidate’s Home
Editorial: Put Limits On Campaign Cash
Op-Ed: Corbett Right To Go Slow On Medicaid Expansion
Lawmakers Examine Turnpike’s Financial Future
Turnpike Accused Of Flim-Flam Finances
Protesters Urge Elimination Of Property Taxes
Op-Ed: Pennsylvania’s Pension Crisis Is Here
Judge To Consider New Evidence In Death Row Case
Judge To Rule On Williams Execution By Friday
Anti-Gang Bills Advance On Two Tracks
Corbett Taps Philadelphia Lawyer For LCB
Editorial: School Test Cheating Comes In Many Forms
Editorial: School Cheating Only Part Of Problem
Editorial: Harrisburg Mayor’s Fantasyland
Click Here for today's Environmental News

September 21, 2012

Sept. 24 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The September 24 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Presentation To DEP Citizens Advisory Council Highlights Asian Carp Threat

DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday heard presentations on several environmental issues facing Pennsylvania, including the threat posed by the invasive species Asian Carp, the lack of drinking water well standards, a study highlighting the impact of longwall mining on streams and an update on investigating lower Susquehanna River water quality problems.
Dr. Tim Schaeffer, Director of Policy and Planning at the Fish and Boat Commission, told the Council it was not a question of if, but probably when, Asian Carp are found in Pennsylvania waters if strong steps are not taken to prevent their entry into the Commonwealth.  Click Here for a copy of his presentation.
He said Asian carp have had a devastating impact in the Mississippi River system and now pose this threat to the Great Lakes basin. As AIS species, these fish do not naturally occur in Pennsylvania waters and would only occur if transported and released.
These carp species are a threat due to there large size (some can grow to more than 100 pounds and five feet in length), reproductive success, habitat damage and large, year-round food consumption. In additon, silver carp, when startled, can jump up to 10 feet out of the water striking boaters, causing severe injury.
Schaeffer said in rivers where Asian Carp have taken hold up to 80 percent of the biomass of the aquatic environment is made up of these invasive species which would destroy much of the progress the state and watershed groups have made in restoring Pennsylvania streams.
In addition to the presentations, the Council took action to support DEP’s proposed draft final regulation setting sulfur limits for heating oil.
Walliser Re-elected As Chair
The Council also re-elected John Walliser, PA Environmental Council, as Chair and Burt Waite, Moody & Associates, Inc., as Vice Chair.
Annual Report
The 2011 Annual Report on Council activities was also made available recapping its accomplishments last year.
The next meeting of the Council is scheduled for October 16 at 11:00 in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building, Harrisburg.
For more information, visit the DEP Citizens Advisory Council webpage.

Friday NewsClips

Court Sets New Hearing On Voter ID For Sept. 25
Voter ID Law Gets New Hearing Next Week
Voter ID Opponents Request Injunction
Tea Party Groups Warns Justices On Voter ID
Allegheny County To Issue Voter IDs At CCAC
Fitzgerald’s Voter ID Proposal Panned
Editorial: Vital Distinction On Voter ID
GOP Poll Has Romney 1 Point Behind In PA
New GOP Ad Hits AG Candidate Kane As Soft On Crime
New GOP Group Hits Critz
Stilp Defends Medicare In Campaign Stop
Editorial: Molchany For The House
Lawmakers Wants State Employees Emails/Phones Released
Editorial: Lawmakers Should Press For Openness
Editorial: Payday Lending Bill Should Not Be Passed
Jobless Rate Creeps Up To 8.1 Percent
Erie Table Games Revenue Down 27.6 Percent
Op-Ed: Road Work Desperately Needed In PA
Court Officials Warn Of Jury Duty Hoax
Click Here for today's Environmental News

September 20, 2012

Thursday NewsClips

Poll Positions: As Allentown Morning Call reporter John Micek summarized Wednesday, “There’s a spot of good news for Gov. Corbett in the latest Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Poll.  Pennsylvania voters don’t like the Republican any more than they did a month ago-- but on the upside, they don’t like him any less.”
The poll found 30 percent of likely voters surveyed said they approved of Corbett’s job performance and 46 percent said they didn’t.
In the same poll, President Obama’s popularity went up from 43 percent last month to 47 percent this month.  But then again so did Mitt Romney’s-- 40 percent this month versus 37 percent last month.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s popularity remained at 37 percent.  His Republican opponent’s favorable rating was 20 percent versus 18 percent last month.
State: 9,500 Voter IDs Issued

College Students Could Be Disenfranchised By Voter ID
Colleges Push To Get Students Proper Voter ID
Panel Picks Apart Voter ID Law
Voter ID Law’s Fate Unclear
Editorial: Supreme Court Made Bold Punt In Voter ID Case
Editorial: Voter ID Ruling A Poison Pill
Editorial: Court Added To ID Confusion
Editorial: Justices Ignore Threat To Voter Rights
Surrogates Campaign For Obama, Romney In PA
Corbett, Christie Defend Romney
Corbett Heads To New Hampshire To Campaign For Governor
New Poll Not All Bad News For Corbett
Op-Ed: Corbett Has Stood Tall, Made Tough Decisions
Attacks Heat Up In Race For U.S. Senate Seat
Attorney Files Appealable Issues List In Orie Case
Sen. Orie’s Attorney Lists Errors In Trial, Sentencing
School Pension Fund Income Down
Court: College Can Be Told Of Juvenile Record
Senate Panel Hears Payday Lending Bill Testimony
Lawmakers Tackle Property Tax Reform, Again
Op-Ed: For-Profit Corporations Ruining Education System
Editorial: Consolidate Archaic Local Governments
Former Sunoco Refinery Gets New Life
Editorial: PA’s Obesity Problem Demands Attention
Click Here for today's Environmental News