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Little public insight on Mariner East water tests

Plus, PA's richest man vs. Summer Lee.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Thursday, April 4, 2024
Today: Pipeline program, property taxes, Yass vs. Lee, data disputes, marginal benefits, school wars, and Made in America canceled again.
As part of its 2022 plea deal with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, natural gas company Energy Transfer agreed to fund the testing and remediation of residential water supplies polluted by the construction of its Mariner East II pipeline.

But in the nearly two years since that agreement was announced, little information has been released to the public.

The deal was touted by then-Attorney General and current Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro as a way of holding the company accountable. However, some residents who asked for testing say the process to receive it has been long and arduous.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Little information made public about free water testing Pa. ordered pipeline company to fund.

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"It was double jeopardy and kind of forced my hand for years down the road."

—Delvin Reddick, 31, of Allegheny County on fines for a juvenile theft case that forced him to choose between paying them and paying for college; proposed state legislation would curb such fines for youthful offenses
  • Find key dates and answers to voter FAQs here
  • Guides to state attorney general, auditor generaltreasurer
  • Guias de fiscal general del estado, auditor general y tesorero
  • Races to watch: state Housestate Senate
  • Elections 101: poll watchers, pollbooks, voting machines

    ROW RACES: Join us Thursday, April 11 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a live guide to Pa.’s candidates for attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer and how their terms would impact you. Register here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
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    Rolling along in Northeast Philly, via David M. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
    A freight train moving on straight tracks.
    Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.REGULAR REVIEWS: Regular property tax reassessments aren't mandated under Pennsylvania law. But two of Allegheny County's most powerful politicians are urging state lawmakers to revisit that — a move that would "take the heat of a politically unpopular topic" off local officials like them, WESA reports. 

    Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.PAC-MAN: Pennsylvania's richest man, Jeff Yass, is funding a PAC that's working to oust progressive Pittsburgh-area U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, Politico reports. The exact amount of a recent donation won't be known until later this month. Lee voted against a TikTok ban that Yass also opposes, but Lee is too "far-left" for him, one source said.

    Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.VOTER DATA: A right-wing group suing in federal court to obtain Pennsylvania voter registration data and publish it online has secured a favorable ruling in a separate but similar case in New Mexico. The group, led by a 2020 Trump campaign organizer, has so far been stymied by Pennsylvania officials and a state court ruling here

    Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.APP UPDATE: A pilot program will see food delivery service DoorDash match 4% of drivers' pre-tax earnings in Pennsylvania, the goal being to help them pay for benefits they don't receive as "contract workers." Gov. Josh Shapiro is lauding the move, but advocates say it's a drop in the proverbial bucket, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.

    Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.GROUP THINK: The new Pennsylvania School Directors Coalition bills itself as a nonpartisan resource for school board members statewide, but WESA says that isn't the whole story. The outlet found a clear conservative bent and a founder, Christina Brussalis, who urged "fighting for conservative values in every school across the state."
    RAIN DAY: Heavy rains swept across Pennsylvania yesterday, but some of the most dramatic images belonged to the Pittsburgh area, where river levels surged, flotsam emerged, and even TVs were swept away.

    EMERGING THREAT: One of Pittsburgh's biggest flood control devices is the upstream Kinzua Dam. Allegheny Front says climate change "could threaten the protection" it offers on land stripped from the Seneca Nation.

    UNMADE IN AMERICA: Philly's Jay-Z-backed Made in America music festival has been scrapped for a second straight year. The cancelation comes a day after Axios reported on a lack of related permit applications.

    MONEY TRAIL: The Stolen Wealth of Slavery: A Case for Reparations, by journalist David Montero, traces the riches earned from American slavery to a prominent Pittsburgh family and others, WESA reports.

    ECLIPSE ON AISLE 3: Grocer Wegmans will briefly close two of its stores in Erie during next week's solar eclipse. The company says it doesn't want its employees to miss out on the action, per Fast Company.
    Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.
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