Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, May 15, 2023

May 15, 2023


President Biden Endorses Democratic Candidate in Special Election Race for House District 163

On Monday, President Joe Biden endorsed Democrat Heather Boyd in the race for state House District 163, which was held by Mike Zabel until his resignation in March due to allegations of sexual harassment. The special election will once again determine the majority of the state House. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

New EPA Power Plant Regulations Expected to Cut Pennsylvania Emissions

Pennsylvania’s emissions have recently been the subject of much public concern, especially given recent reports that the state is the fourth highest emitter in the nation of greenhouse gasses. New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) power plant regulations rolled out last week by the Biden administration are expected to significantly reduce these emissions, particularly among the commonwealth’s natural gas-burning plants. The EPA’s announcement of the new regulations coincides with the release of new findings by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and research nonprofit Resources for the Future that bolsters the case for Pennsylvania’s enrollment in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has been caught up in the courts since former Governor Tom Wolf first issued an executive order entering Pennsylvania in the multi-state agreement more than a year ago. WHYY has more.

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Shell Polymers Monaca Plant for Repeated Air Pollution Violations

Last Thursday, the Environmental Integrity Project and Clean Air Council filed a federal lawsuit against the Shell Polymers Monaca Plant in Beaver County alleging that the plant has repeatedly violated air pollution limits. The plant began operation in November 2022, and was accused of violating state air quality regulations by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in December. ABC4 has more.

Act 12 Has Resulted in Higher Water Rates for Customers of Privatized Water, Sewer Systems, Says Pottstown Mercury

The Pottstown Mercury reports that Act 12, a 2016 law that facilitated the privatization of municipal water and sewer authorities throughout Pennsylvania, has had the effect of burdening customers of privatized systems with higher water bills than those of public systems. The Pottstown Mercury has more.



Philadelphia Mayoral Primary Enters Final Hours

Philadelphia’s mayoral primary will at long last be held tomorrow, determining once and for all the Democratic nominee — and likely the city’s 100th mayor come November — among a historically crowded field of candidates. While many voters may have already cast their ballot or decided how they will be voting, an independent poll conducted by Emerson College and PHL 17 shows a tight race among the top contenders, with 15% of participants still undecided. For those who may still be deciding, the candidates recently weighed in on issues including business and economic development, public transit, and education.

Stoned Pizzeria in Queen Village Shut Down by City

Late last week, Philadelphia’s Licenses & Inspections and Health Departments shut down Stoned Pizzeria, a restaurant in Queen Village specializing in THC oil-infused pizzas, for its lack of a business license and health certificate. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

City Takes Aim at “Primary Care Desert” in Frankford

Philadelphia will be opening a new city health center across from the Frankford Transportation Center with the goal of increasing neighborhood residents’ access to primary care treatment. WHYY has more.



Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Primaries a Test of Progressive Policies, Candidates

Tomorrow’s highly anticipated primary elections in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are being viewed by many as a litmus test of the popularity and viability of progressive policies and candidates. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Prepares for Potential Arrival of Asylum Seekers This Week

Pittsburgh is preparing to possibly welcome asylum seekers sometime within the next few days, according to the city’s Public Safety department. ABC4 has more.



Railway Safety Act Backed by U.S. Senators Casey, Fetterman Sent to Full Senate

Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation sent the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023 to the full Senate for consideration. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, and happened to coincide with yet another Norfolk Southern train derailment, this time in Pennsylvania and with little to no environmental fallout. The Williamsport Sun Gazette has more.

Beltway Briefing: 2016 Redux?

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the debt-ceiling fight gripping Washington and the renewed questions about how the news media should handle the challenge of covering the Republican Party’s leading candidate going into the 2024 election. Listen to the latest episode here.


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