Energy Advocates And Environmentalists Agree PA Needs More DEP Inspectors, But Not Why

Feb 2, 2018

Gov. Tom Wolf drew support from both environmentalists and energy insiders when he promised to ease the state's permit application backlog and better enforce regulations by hiring 35 more Department of Environmental Protection inspectors.

Beaver County activists want the DEP to extend the comment period on permits to build a pipeline to Shell’s new ethane cracker plant.

And Jefferson Hills officials want the state Supreme Court to side with them to strictly regulate EQT’s attempts to drill for gas in that community.

Discussing these and other energy stories are Reid Frazier, who reports for The Allegheny Front and State Impact Pennsylvania; reporter Anya Litvak with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Kirk Jalbert, manager of community-based research for Pittsburgh nonprofit, FracTracker Alliance.

Later in the program...

Health officials say they don’t know when Pennsylvania's deadly flu season will peak, or why Allegheny County has so many more flu cases than Philadelphia. Statewide, more than 35,000 cases have been confirmed, resulting in 65 deaths

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Ben Schmitt and WESA's Sarah Boden explain what government and health care officials are doing to combat the deadly H3N2 strain.

Coming up next...

Wolf will give his annual budget address on Tuesday. What do we know about his priorities and how they might affect elections this fall? WITF's Katie Meyer weighs in.

And finally...

The Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in Minneapolis on Sunday for Super Bowl 52. Can there be any joy in the day for diehard Steelers fans? The Post-Gazette's Sean Gentille reports there's more than Pennsylvania pride on the line.

 The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.