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The future is murky for this climate change plan

Plus, authorities are looking for the people behind a mass shooting that left one dead.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Tuesday, October 10, 2023
In today's edition: RGGI's future, mass shooting, child care, downward trend, truck stoppage, bag ban, and Keanu Reeves visits Pennsylvania. 

A working group convened by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro agrees that a cap-and-trade policy would help Pennsylvania achieve its climate goals — but much like the governor himself, it isn't sure exactly what to do next. 

Shapiro asked the group to examine whether Pennsylvania should continue with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate effort to fight climate change that caused Shapiro quite a few headaches during his campaign. 

The group didn't come to a consensus on that subject, though it did make a few recommendations.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Shapiro isn’t sold on a key climate program, and his working group isn’t either. What’s next for RGGI?

THE CONTEXT: Cap-and-trade programs limit the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that companies can produce. If companies and other entities want to emit more than their cap, they can buy and sell allowances, and the revenue from those sales can be reinvested into the state. 

RGGI creates such a market for a dozen states in the northeast, including Maryland and New Jersey. Wolf signed an executive order in 2019 directing Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to join. 

But the state hasn't been able to move forward because of ongoing legal challenges. A spokesperson for Shapiro said the governor is awaiting court rulings while reviewing the group's recommendations. 


It’s not that I didn’t want to keep my word. I didn’t want to put myself and others in danger."

—An anonymous pilot on why he no longer flies for Southern Airways Express, whose routes include DuBois Regional Airport
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A late autumn afternoon in Lehigh County, via Bob E. Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

patches of large land with lines of green trees lining up in the middle
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.SHOOTING SUSPECTS: Authorities are looking for the people responsible for a mass shooting near the campus of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania that left one person dead and eight others injured. The Penn, IUP’s student newspaper, reports that the shooting took place at a private party in a community center during homecoming weekend.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.‘CHILD CARE CLIFF’: The federal government gave child care centers nationwide billions of dollars during the pandemic to prop up the industry, but that infusion ended last month, and providers in Pennsylvania warn core problems in the industry remain unaddressed. WPSU reports low pay and staff retention are among the leading causes of the strain.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.DOWNWARD TREND: Overall enrollment in Pennsylvania’s state university system declined again this fall, continuing a decade-long trend. The system has lost more than 30% of its students since 2010, The Inquirer (paywall) reports, but system Chancellor Daniel Greenstein predicted the downswing will bottom out this year or next.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.TRUCK STOPPAGE: Thousands of members of the United Auto Workers union, which represents Mack Truck workers in Macungie and Middletown, went on strike Monday after voting down a contract. The AP reports the total number of striking UAW members now exceeds 30,000 across 22 states; the strike, which began Sept. 15, is now in its fourth week.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.BAG BAN: Pittsburgh’s plastic bag ban goes into effect this Saturday, but business owners told TribLIVE there’s been little communication about the change from city government. While the city plans to eventually fine businesses if they don’t comply, a Council member said the first few months will focus on education and adoption. 
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🏆 SEVEN QUESTIONS: Did you stay on top of Pennsylvania news this week? Prove it with the latest Great PA News Quiz: State park shortfall, McCarthy votes, and a megadonor’s money trail.
REPORT RELEASE: Black-led charter schools alleged racial discrimination from the Philadelphia School District. An investigation released Friday found that wasn’t true with some important asterisks. The Inquirer (paywall) dives into the situation and what the report means moving forward. 

CELEBRITY SPOTTING: Keanu Reeves was in Pennsylvania last week with his band Dogstar. The Daily Voice reports the actor stopped for coffee in Pittsburgh and checked out records in Stroudsburg.

UNKNOWN FATE: Commonwealth Court is scheduled to hear arguments this week in an ongoing legal dispute over a statue of Christopher Columbus in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park, TribLIVE reports. The Pittsburgh Art Commission voted to remove it more than three years ago.

SCOOTER SAGA: Electric scooters might be making a comeback in Pittsburgh. WESA reports the state House approved language last week that would give the scooters a one-year extension from date of passage. 

KEY MILESTONES: To mark LGBTQ History Month, QBurgh highlighted important moments in the Keystone State. Philadelphia, for example, was the site of the nation’s first sit-in demanding equal access for people regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
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