Archive: June, 2012
Mutant fish does not a pollution problem make.
So says DEP Secretary Michael Krancer in his dismissal of a request by 22 retired agency water quality experts to reconsider his decision not to list 90 miles of the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers as "impaired" waterways.
The employees, many of them aquatic biologists, said listing the rivers that course through central Pennsylvania, would be a "first step" toward bringing them back to health.
After days of silence, the Corbett administration today denied reports that the state would cover clean up costs at the contaminated industrial site in western Pennsylvania where Shell Oil Co. wants to build an ethane plant.
“The report in the Harrisburg news service Capitolwire saying that the state agreed it would pay the cost of site clean-up is false,” said C. Alan Walker, secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, in a press release issued jointly with Michael Krancer, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Also today the Patriot-News of Harrisburg published Walker's defense of hefty tax breaks to Shell to build the Beaver County "cracker" plant that would convert natural gas into ethane used for an array of plastic products.
The $1.65 billion tax deal the Corbett administration is negotiating with Shell Oil Co. to locate an ethane processing plant in western Pennsylvania is shaping up to be the biggest such state investment Pennsylvania history.
And now it appears, it's just getting bigger.
Under the deal, taxpayers would foot the bill for hazardous materials clean up at the western Pennsylvania site, a cost that could easily soar into the tens of millions, according to a report by CapitolWire news service.
UPDATE: The pro-voucher forces are taking their message into voters' homes and right to Corbett's back door. They partially ringed the Governor's mansion on Front St. with several dozen signs urging support for the voucher bill and have launched a robocall campaign aimed at getting voters to contact their representatives.
A conservative political action committee, which has launched negative ad campaigns against lawmakers who don't support school tuition vouchers - is now calling out their most powerful ally for not doing enough to advance their isssue.
The PAC FreedomWorks says it is launching a radio ad campaign aimed at putting the heat on Gov. Corbett to approve a voucher bill this month, according to PoliticsPA, a political news website.
Take that, liquor privatization.
In what some are calling a setback for privatizing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the union representing state wine and liquor stores has ratified a new, four-year contract that appears to require private business in the liquor business to hire displaced LCB workers – and give them the same salary and benefits.
The new contract between the state and members of two United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals representing 3,500 people in the state’s wine and spirits stores would, among other things, seemingly obligate any employer that sells wine and hard liquor - including a private business – to adopt all the terms and obligations of the contract. That could put a serious dent in interest from private employers as a number of high-ranking state Republicans seek to sell off the LCB.
Both Gov. Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley today defended the proposed $1.7 billion tax break for Shell Oil to build a petrochemical refinery in western Pennsylvania as way to bolster the state's manufacturing base.
“My whole goal is to grow good, sustaining jobs for the people of Pennsylvania, not just today but for decades to come,” Corbett said in his first public comments about the tax proposal during an appearance on a Harrisburg talk radio show today.
The 25-year tax credit was designed to seal the deal with Shell to build an ethane plant in Pennsylvania, rather than in neighboring states, Ohio and West Virginia, although talks are still ongoing.
Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille had some critical words for the governor's decision to nominate his onetime top aide to a judgeship.
It's not all that often that you see the state's top justice publicly taking a swipe at the state's top government official. But Castille was clearly unhappy with Corbett's decision last week to nominate former chief of staff Bill Ward to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.