Category Archives: Pennsylania

>Halt gas drilling until water safety is assured

>There were a few very good editorials posted today on the Star-Ledger’s website NJ.com. This first one should be of interest to many environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Riverkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance and anyone else that thinks clean drinking water is more important than drilling for natural gas along the Delaware river as new Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett wishes to do, should be concerned about this.

The process of drilling for natural gas along the Delware river would entail using a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. This process injects chemical fluids and other materials into boreholes to fracture bedrock for the purpose off releasing oil or natural gas. Fracking could lead to ground water contamination and air quality issues :

The Delaware River Basin is downstream from planned drillings for natural gas. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has instructed his economic development officer to fast-track permits for drilling. About 10,000 wells are expected to be green-lighted, creating jobs, producing clean fuel and lessening our dependence on foreign oil for several decades.

But there’s a dark side: The process of drilling, known as hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — has the potential to contaminate the Delaware, which provides drinking water for 15 million people, including 3 million in New Jersey. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the threat, but won’t be done until next year. Pennsylvania should not be allowed to proceed until we know it’s safe.

New York already has a moratorium and New Jersey should follow suit. Two bills before the state Assembly tomorrow recognize the urgency of the situation: One would put the brakes on drilling until the feds complete their study, and the other asks Congress to no longer exempt fracking from safe water regulations, as it has since 2005, and to require drilling companies to reveal all chemicals used in fracking. “We’re asking for transparency,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), the bills’ sponsor. Both bills are key to protecting our water supply.

Fracking shatters rock formations to release the gas through high-powered drilling using sand, chemicals and billions of gallons of water. Along with the gas, the chemically contaminated water also is released. The earth’s naturally occurring radioactive radium also is disturbed by fracking. Wastewater treatment plants can’t scrub clean all the pollutants in Pennsylvania’s drilling waste water which, by one account, totaled more than a billion gallons in the past three years.

Preliminary reports by EPA consultants and regulators found it highly likely that toxic water unleashed in Pennsylvania would endanger the Delaware River, and evidence exists that the drilling wastewater also corrodes treatment plants, undermining their ability to break down regular sewage.

The Delaware River Basin Commission, which represents the watershed interests of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, is proposing its own regulations for fracking. But the commission should take the advice of 39 New Jersey state legislators, who have asked it to wait until the federal study is complete. Jeff Tittel, of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter, says the commission’s proposals are deficient because they don’t explore the vast clear-cutting of forests and construction of roads that accompany fracking….

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under clean water, Delaware river, Fracking, natural gas drilling, Pennsylania, Riverkeepers, Sierra club, the Star-Ledger, Waterkeeper Alliance

NJPP Monday Minute: 2/1/10 High tech investments yield solid returns

“I’m tired of New Jersey getting its lunch eaten by other states, particularly by Pennsylvania,” is a sentiment often expressed by some New Jerseyans when discussing the possibility that New Jersey businesses are moving to Pennsylvania. How true is the rhetoric? Are New Jersey companies and jobs really being lost to Pennsylvania because of the Keystone State’s low taxes and more lucrative job subsidies (a common misconception)?

The answer is no, according to a recent study by Good Jobs First, a national policy research center that promotes accountability in economic development and smart growth. The report, “Growing Pennsylvania’s High-Tech Economy: Choosing Effective Investments”, focused on the competition for high-tech jobs between Pennsylvania and its neighboring states and uncovered provocative findings. For example:

  • Pennsylvania’s tax rates when compared to those of neighboring states were not always lower. This challenges the oft-repeated mantra that Pennsylvania is always a lower tax state than New Jersey. In fact, Pennsylvania’s 9.99% corporate tax rate is higher than New Jersey’s top corporate rate of 9% – disputing the notion that Pennsylvania has rock-bottom tax rates as many in New Jersey argue.
  • High-tech job creation and loss is overwhelmingly driven by events inside Pennsylvania, not by interstate relocations. From 1990-2006, the study found that Pennsylvania’s interstate in-migration or out-migration of high-tech jobs was dwarfed by the impact of company startups, closings, expansions and contractions within Pennsylvania. In other words, a large part of Pennsylvania’s job growth is not fueled by jobs sucked out of New Jersey, as many contend.
Some say that the Keystone State’s flat 3.07 percent personal income tax rate is a boon to small businesses. In fact, the income of married couples who earn less than $70,000 a year is taxed at the top marginal rate of 2.45 percent in New Jersey-less than Pennsylvania’s flat 3.07 percent. In addition, the income of married wage earners making under $20,000 is not taxed at all in New Jersey, while in Pennsylvania it is still taxed at 3.07 percent. Furthermore, New Jersey does not have local income taxes as Pennsylvania does, which means more tax savings.

The Good Jobs First report recommends that Pennsylvania continue its Industry Partnerships program that integrates workforce and economic development needs. This program brings together businesses to identify common training priorities, thereby investing in technology industries’ human capital infrastructure. New Jersey has made similar investments using the Edison Innovation Technology Fellowship Fund, which provides salary money to life-science and tech companies to hire recent PhDs from New Jersey colleges.

Given New Jersey’s large number of science and technology PhDs (and the large number of patents granted annually), the state should continue to invest in its high-tech workforce. Technology changes quickly and the future will be increasingly reliant on the progress made today. Better policy choices will further New Jersey’s competitive edge much more than tax cuts and business subsidies.

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Filed under Edison Innovation Technology Fellowship Fund, high tech jobs, Job creation, Monday Minute, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Pennsylania, tax rate

Breaking: Specter Will Run as a Democrat in 2010

By Carl Hulse

New York Times
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.

In a statement issued about noon as the Capitol was digesting the stunning turn of events, Mr. Specter said he had concluded that his party had moved too far to the right, a fact demonstrated by the migration of 200,000 Pennsylvania Republicans to the Democratic Party.

Read More >>>Here

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama Administration, Pennsylania, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, The New York Times

Obama Soars Ahead in Pennsylvania

With tonight’s debate just a few a hours away and looming large for John McCain to turn the tide against surging poll numbers for Barack Obama come the latest poll from Pennsylvania.

The latest SurveyUSA poll in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by 15 points, 55% to 40%.

In less than two weeks, Obama is up 5 points; McCain is down 4.

Key findings: “Among white voters, who make-up 87% of PA’s electorate, Obama had trailed by 3, now leads by 4 — a 7-point swing to the Democrat, which, when combined with Obama’s now 24:1 advantage among black voters, puts Obama in prime position to capture the 21 Keystone Electoral Votes as the two candidates head for home.”

Does this mean that McCain will soon pull out of Pennsylvania, like he did Michigan if tonight’s debate goes badly? We will have to wait and see.

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama, John McCain, Pennsylania, SurveyUSA poll

>Obama Soars Ahead in Pennsylvania

>With tonight’s debate just a few a hours away and looming large for John McCain to turn the tide against surging poll numbers for Barack Obama come the latest poll from Pennsylvania.

The latest SurveyUSA poll in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by 15 points, 55% to 40%.

In less than two weeks, Obama is up 5 points; McCain is down 4.

Key findings: “Among white voters, who make-up 87% of PA’s electorate, Obama had trailed by 3, now leads by 4 — a 7-point swing to the Democrat, which, when combined with Obama’s now 24:1 advantage among black voters, puts Obama in prime position to capture the 21 Keystone Electoral Votes as the two candidates head for home.”

Does this mean that McCain will soon pull out of Pennsylvania, like he did Michigan if tonight’s debate goes badly? We will have to wait and see.

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama, John McCain, Pennsylania, SurveyUSA poll