By Wil Cacciatore
“Pennsylvania Calls for More Water Tests” explains how Pennsylvania wanted to run tests involving treatment plants and drinking water facilities to monitor for any radioactive pollutants that are ending up in the satellite rivers in that area. Since this article was written in 2011, Barack Obama had established a policy for stabilizing the environment regarding the water systems, air pollution from harmful fumes from factories, and also dumping grounds for sludges and other disastrous actions. Pennsylvania also made new guidelines for the factories for how to detect these harmful substances, so the E.P.A wouldn’t have to intervene with the regulators for the state. Although these policies and guidelines were set, E.P.A officials heard that a Johnstown plant was receiving biosolids sending them to fields for spreading them. During Barack’s terms, Pennsylvania and even the whole nation has seen an improvement in environmental regulation, but the overall contributing factor is not keeping up with regulations and not being aware of the surroundings. Regulators have to realize that long term effects can be prevented with one simple change. An example of this would be waste treatment plant operators didn’t define radium as a harmful containment for the production of fertilizer. This one arrangement could have conveyed a long period of change for the environment as a whole.
by Othniel T. Degahson, Jr.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is proposing an increase in the price of a shale gas well permit from $5,000 per well to $12,500 per well. The Department of Environmental protection justifies this as a necessity to keep the state’s oil and gas oversight program from operating at a deficit, as permit fee revenue has seen a large decrease since 2014-2015. As the DEP gets a large amount of its funding from permit revenue, they have had to decrease the amount of employees in their oil and gas program.
Permit fees for shale gas wells are paid once at a well’s birth and inspection responsibilities continue until the well is plugged decades later.
The state government under Governor Tom Wolf has known that the DEP needed more money, yet they delayed on permit fee increases due to state budget negotiations that had the possibility of a severance tax on shale, which would have a portion of those funds allocated to the DEP’s oil and gas program.
Industry representatives are generally supportive of a fee increase “to provide DEP’s oil and gas program with the resources it needs” but were blind sighted by the size of the fee increase, especially given what they viewed as excessive amounts of time for the permits to become approved. Marcellus Shale Coalition data shows the average permit wait time increase from 57 days in 2016 to 111 days in 2017.
Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh spoke at Widener University’s 162nd Commencement on May 21, 1983. His address focused on how to successfully navigate the challenges of the economic changes of the early 1980s.
His advice was to “build a new generation of competence” to adapt to “an economy in transition.” He said
“Competence — just plain old-fashioned competence — is what is most required of the generation that would make our state and nation work again. Those who display it will be the real heroes of our time.”
Thornburgh urged the students to
“Tackle the challenge of an economy in transition by working harder, thinking deeper, managing better, producing more abundantly, and caring more intensively than you ever have done before.”
In Cold War parlance he stated that “the quiet and competent heroes of this particular struggle will claim their rightful places as keepers of freedom’s flame.”
Governor Thornburgh congratulated Widener University on helping with the transition to the new economy by adding a Computer Science major for the 1983-84 academic year.
Material from this post comes from a May 21, 1983 Press Release from The Dick Thornburgh Papers at the Pennsylvania State Archives.