News & Brews March 22, 2022

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Liquefied natural gas plant in PA on hold due to environmentalists

A planned liquefied natural gas facility in northeast PA is on hold after a settlement with environmental groups that sued to undo the company’s air emissions permit. The AP reports, “The $800 million plant was intended to liquify million of gallons of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale gas field per day, with the liquified gas to be transported by rail or truck more than 175 miles … to a proposed New Fortress export terminal in Gibbstown, New Jersey…. From there, the LNG would have been loaded onto ships for overseas delivery.” Now, the future of the plant is unclear. As environmentalists rejoice, Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan said, “Unnecessary regulatory hurdles and frivolous lawsuits hinder consumer access to clean, affordable natural gas. The worldwide need for U.S. natural gas exports has never been more critical.”

IRRC approves Wolf’s regulations targeting charter schools

Yesterday by a 3-2 vote, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission approved Gov. Wolf’s regulations targeting charter schools. Last week, the House and Senate education committees had disapproved of the regulations, with Senate Education Committee Chair Scott Martin (Lancaster County) stating, “These proposed regulations will jeopardize the educational future of thousands of low-income, minority and special education students through burdensome, unfunded mandates.” Wolf had been unable to convince the legislature to pass his mandates through the appropriate legislative process, so he chose to implement them by regulation.

Commission approves pay raise for tipped workers

Also yesterday, the IRRC voted unanimously in favor of a Department of Labor & Industry regulation that would raise base pay for tipped workers. PennLive reports, “Under the regulation, the amount in tips a worker must receive monthly would increase from $30 to $135 before the employer can reduce hourly pay from the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to the $2.83 per hour rate.” The regs now head to Attorney General Josh Shapiro for review.

A deeper look at PSERS’ investment return flub

In the wake of the PSERS mess in which an investigation found an outside consultant had made a significant error in reporting investment results, the Reason Foundation says the “ongoing story highlights how traditional public pension systems—in response to growing pressures to meet lofty investment return expectations—have evolved into complex global investment funds that often rely on expensive outside consultants to allocate billions of employee and taxpayer contributions.” Read the story here.

Shapiro thinks pro-abortion stance will get him elected

NBC News has an analysis of Democrat gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro’s choice to campaign early and vocally on his pro-abortion views, a choice some say could either backfire or help him win the General Election. Read the piece here.

PA food stamp enrollment inching toward record levels

WESA reports that enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has “been steadily increasing in recent months in Pennsylvania, with increases during the last seven straight months, according to newly released data from the state Department of Human Services. More than 1,891,000 Pennsylvanians are now enrolled in the program; approaching the record-setting enrollment levels of the early months of the pandemic.” Read more here.

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