PA Fines Natural Gas Company $1.7M For Drilling Violations

State environmental officials have fined a natural gas company $1.7 million for problems at well sites in Greene and Clearfield counties. Energy Corporation of America was cited for, among other things, operating storage pits without proper permits and for pits that leaked. The violations took place at 17 well sites, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The wells were recently acquired by Greylock Energy. Read full story here.

Judge Fines Environmental Attorneys $52,000 For ‘Frivolous’ Injection Well Suit

A federal judge has ordered a pair of attorneys for an environmental group to pay $52,000 in legal fees to an energy company because, the judge said, they filed a “frivolous” legal challenge to a fracking waste injection well in Indiana County. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled the attorneys, Thomas Linzey and Elizabeth Dunne, should pay part of Pennsylvania General Energy’s (PGE) legal fees for advancing a “discredited” legal argument that had already been defeated in prior decisions. In addition to the fine, the judge referred Linzey to the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Board for additional discipline. Read full story here. 

MLK’s Environmental Justice Legacy Threatened By Trump Administration Cuts

It was a stormy night in Memphis, Tennessee, and Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t feeling very well. He had a slight fever and a sore throat, and felt exhausted after the trip to the city that would see him die. But he got up from his bed at the Lorraine Motel and joined hundreds of striking sanitation workers gathered at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple. Public garbage collectors were demanding equal rights and accusing the city of neglect and abuse. It was April 3rd 1968, the night before his assassination, and the third time he had traveled to Memphis to support the strike.

After New Setback, Constitution Pipeline Says It Will Fight FERC Order

The builder of the proposed Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York said it will ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take another look at its recent ruling that upholds New York State’s denial of a water-quality permit for the troubled project. Constitution Pipeline said it will seek a rehearing or appeal FERC’s decision on Jan. 11, in which the commission declined to overturn the permit decision by New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). That decision has stopped the company from beginning to build the 124-mile natural gas line. Read full story here. 

Proposed Waste-To-Energy Trash Incinerator Causing Stir In Finger Lakes

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - A proposed incinerator in Seneca County that could turn trash into electricity is drawing some criticism from the community. The Rochester-based Circular enerG wants to build the 48-acre facility on part of the now empty Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, a Finger Lakes town between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. It would burn solid municipal waste, brought in by truck and or rail, to power a turbine. The company hopes to start construction on the project in 2019 and be ready to start burning by 2021. At that point, Circular enerG estimates it could accept 1,300 tons of trash per day, resulting in less than 25 megawatts.

Despite DEP Order To Halt Mariner East 2 Construction, Some Work Allowed

When Danielle Otten woke up Monday morning, she didn’t expect to see men working on the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site that sits about 40 feet from her backyard, along Devon Drive in Uwchlan Township, Chester County. For one thing, work in the area had stalled after drilling dried up and damaged nearby water wells this past summer. And just last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a court order halting construction along the 350-mile long pipeline after Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners continued to violate its permits, causing damage to private water wells, streams and wetlands. Read full story here. 

New York’s Green Party Offers Its Own ‘State Of The State’

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - The Green Party in New York offered up its own State of State address last week, with a series of ideas the party says will push the state forward. Howie Hawkins, a two-time gubernatorial candidate for the Green Party, says there are things his party liked in Gov. Cuomo’s list of 2018 legislative priorities, but there's not enough to pull them on board. “He’s socially progressive but economically, he’s pretty conservative,” said Hawkins. “And the system isn’t changing. And when you get to issues like poverty and the struggles of middle income people, he offers nothing.”

Hawkins says Cuomo’s 2018 legislative agenda doesn’t go far enough on several fronts, including promoting clean energy and  reforming public campaign financing.  And as far as a multi-billion dollar budget deficit the state faces,  Hawkins says the answer is easy.