Senator Yudichak, Rep. Pashinski, & Rep. Carrroll Announce Growing Greener Grant for Earth Conservancy Project

Nanticoke, June 21, 2016 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-121st) and Representative Mike Carroll (D-118th) today announced a $50,000 Growing Greener grant for the Earth Conservancy to reclaim the Laurel Run Corporation surface mine in Plains and Wilkes-Barre Townships.

An important part of the project includes the elimination of unsafe highwalls that were left from previous mining activity. Approximately six acres of mine-scarred land that had been strip mined in the past will also be reclaimed with new vegetation and mitigate a potential source of acid mine drainage. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“This grant not only adds another parcel to the long list of sites that the Earth Conservancy has successfully reclaimed, it also improves public safety,” said Senator Yudichak.

“Highwalls are particularly dangerous. This project addresses a lengthy highwall, which at some points rise to about 30 feet, as the severe slope of the material makes them prone to collapse,” said Michael Dziak, President/CEO of the Earth Conservancy. “This is why they are a priority in the abandoned mine land reclamation program, and why we are pleased to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on this project.”

“The cooperative effort among the state lawmakers was vital in the effort to secure this grant. My thanks to Senator Yudichak for his leadership and Representative Carroll for his assistance,” said Representative Pashinski.

“The safety and environmental benefits of the cleanup are clear and very important to the residents of the area near the abandoned mine,” said Representative Carroll.

The Growing Greener Grant Program is an investment of state funds that address Pennsylvania’s environmental concerns. The program encourages partnerships between counties, municipalities, county conservation districts, watershed organizations and other organizations to restore and protect the environment.

Sen. Yudichak Credits Penn State for Wilkes-Barre Investment

Harrisburg, June 20, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak released the following statement after Penn State University announced that they will double the number of the entrepreneurship centers across the state under the University’s “Invent Penn State” grant program:

“The $50,000 ‘Invent Penn State’ grant awarded to our Wilkes-Barre T.H.I.N.K. Center has helped fuel Wilkes-Barre’s ongoing economic resurgence. I appreciate the University’s interest and willingness to invest its grant funds and other resources into unique regional collaborations that link classrooms to boardrooms.

By leveraging cutting edge academic planning with our region’s business and workforce strengths, I am confident Wilkes-Barre will emerge stronger, more diversified and poised for a brighter economic future.

I am excited by Penn State University’s strategic investment in our 21st century economy as it comes at a critical time in our economic future and it will pay dividends for years to come.”

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Sen. Yudichak Congratulates Cosgrove on Commonwealth Court Nomination

Harrisburg, June 13, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak today provided the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s nomination of Luzerne County attorney Joseph Cosgrove to the state Commonwealth Court:

“I applaud Governor Wolf, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Democrat Leader Jay Costa for forging a bipartisan compromise that will bring a talented jurist, like Joe Cosgrove, to the Commonwealth Court.

“Attorney Joe Cosgrove is at his core a man of social justice imbued with a judicial temperament and a scholarly knowledge of the law.

“Joe Cosgrove’s experience on the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County and his work as legal counsel for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts makes him uniquely qualified to be an exceptional judge on the Commonwealth Court.”

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Yudichak to Host Telephone Town Hall on June 7

Harrisburg – June 3, 2016 – State Sen. John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) will be hosting a live telephone town hall on Tuesday June 7 at 6:05 p.m.

“The telephone town hall is an excellent way for taxpayers to express their opinions and share thoughts,” Yudichak said. “The format is interactive and conducive to the discussion of a wide range of state and local issues.”

Yudichak said that citizens will be called and asked if they want to join in the discussion. If residents want to participate they simply need to stay on the line to listen or ask questions, Yudichak said.

“The telephone town halls are an excellent outreach tool that opens lines of communication,” Yudichak said. “Citizens are able to ask specific questions, call attention to local problems or issues and request constituent services.”

Yudichak said that residents also have the option to sign up for the call on his website in addition to submitting questions prior to Tuesday’s call.


State Sen. John T. Yudichak: I Want to Clear the Air on My Environmental Record

Op-ed by State Senator John Yudichak

Recently, a few groups have challenged my record on the environment.  They have raised concerns about two issues – the Clean Power Plan and the new Chapter 78 oil and gas well site regulations.

First, to be clear, I support the goals of the Clean Power Plan.  And, as the public record reflects, I have never voted to diminish the plan.  Currently, I am working with the Wolf administration to ensure this federal climate change initiative is responsibly carried out with little impact on Pennsylvania jobs.

The Clean Power Plan, advanced by the Environmental Protection Agency, was halted by the United States Supreme Court, and as a result, state action on the plan has stalled until the case is resolved.

Second, check the record, as a member of the Environmental Quality Board I supported Governor Wolf’s newly proposed Chapter 78 regulations that will provide the most comprehensive oversight of the oil and gas industry ever implemented in Pennsylvania history.

Some groups, however, believe you cannot be pro-environment and pro-job creation.  On that point, we will have to agree to disagree.

I have the great honor of representing Luzerne and Carbon Counties in the state Senate.  It is a region with a rich heritage of both energy production and a passion for the conservation of our pristine natural resources.  The citizens of northeastern Pennsylvania have proven you can do both.

It is my responsibility, as a public servant, to reflect my constituents who want legislators to work with one another to achieve that important balance between economic development and environmental protection.

My environmental record over the years has been one of consistent support for policies that promote environmental reclamation and conservation without losing sight of the number one priority for most Pennsylvanians – jobs.

Working with groups, like the Earth Conservancy, we have secured more than $40 million to reclaim thousands of acres of mine scarred lands and miles of polluted streams.  On many of those reclaimed sites new industries have grown and created jobs.  Companies, like CVS Caremark located in Hanover Township, have helped us transform our environmentally challenged sites by investing in our economic landscape with the creation of six hundred new jobs in the growing pharmaceutical industry.

Moreover, in the past two decades, I have supported new laws to promote a proper balance between environmental protection and economic development: Growing Greener, H2O PA, the Alternative Fuels Incentive Act, the Alternatives Energy Portfolio Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act, and the Alternative Energy Investment Act.

Collectively, my support of these landmark legislative achievements have made Pennsylvania a leader in renewable energy development, new energy jobs and the advancement of environmental protection.

In Carbon County, we have worked with Con Edison to develop PA Solar Park – Pennsylvania’s largest solar park.  PA Solar Park will ultimately produce enough electricity to fuel three thousand homes and effectively reduce the CO2 emissions of 22,971 barrels of oil.

In Greater Hazleton, we are working with an energy company, the Atlantic Carbon Group, that has invested over $16 million in our region and created nearly one hundred new jobs.  Atlantic Carbon Group is employing 21st century mining techniques to harvest our plentiful anthracite coal resources to support steel manufacturing, water purification and the manufacturing of silicon.

Investing in environmental protection and supporting the development of our energy infrastructure should not be mutually exclusive enterprises.  Building new natural gas plants, modernizing our natural gas infrastructure, while we continue to press for the development of alternative energy sources demonstrates that we can create jobs and protect the environment.

Building consensus, forging common sense solutions and working with Republicans and Democrats may not be popular in some political circles, but it is exactly how I try to best represent the good people of northeastern Pennsylvania.

We can fight climate change.  We can improve our air and water.  We can be responsible stewards of PENN’s woods, and still develop Pennsylvania’s diverse energy resources to create jobs and opportunities all across this great Commonwealth.