In this update:
Tremont Company Fined $50,000 for Obnoxious Odors
Photo by Lindsey Shuey/ Staff Photographer for the Republican Herald
I’ve heard from many of you who live throughout western Schuylkill County about all-too-frequent, terrible odors. Rep. Joanne Stehr and I have told the Department of Environmental Protection that this is simply unacceptable.
After a thorough investigation, DEP determined that a composting facility, Natural Soil Products, will be fined $50,000 and forced to change their operations to prevent similar smells in the future. DEP insists that these changes, that have started to take effect on May 26th, will greatly reduce the odors emanating from this facility.
For those of you who contacted me or the DEP hotline at 570-826-2511 after hours: DEP predicts that the issue should be resolved within the month.
Should Able-Bodied People on Government Assistance be Required to Work?
Here’s a key issue, now under debate at the state capitol in Harrisburg AND the national capitol in Washington: Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is currently at its lowest point on record. Now is the time to get more able-bodied people off government assistance and into the workforce!!
There is a massive demand for employees in Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counites and across Pennsylvania. Yet we are still spending millions in taxpayer dollars a year on benefits for people who could be participating in the workforce.
We’re NOT talking about making grandma go to work in the coal mines—we’re focused on able-bodied people of traditional working ages. By pushing for this reform, the recipients and their families will make MORE money, while ensuring taxpayer dollars go to those who truly need it.
Next week, we remember the brave young men who confronted a danger few can imagine, when more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the French coastline to fight Nazi Germany.
Over 9,000 were killed or wounded. We will never forget that day in history as we honor and say thank you to those that showed courage and strength on June 6, 1944.
A few years ago, my son AJ and I visited those historic beaches on an alumni trip organized by Lycoming College.
When touring the German gun emplacements which still tower over the beaches, I asked one of my all-time favorite professors, Dr. Bob Larson, given the terrible price our soldiers paid that awful day, why did we invade at that time and location? His answer will remain with me for the rest of my life: “Because all of the other alternatives were worse.”
Meeting With Constituents in Luzerne County
Thank you to everyone who attended my two town hall meetings this week. We had some VERY interesting discussions about important issues facing our state government, including welfare reform, pushing PennDOT to do a much better job of repairing our roads and bridges–and school property taxes, which is usually the #1 topic at these sessions.
On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Cabell and I met with constituents at Eckley Miners’ Village. On Thursday, Rep. Dane Watro and I met with constituents in Hazle Township.
We’ll do it again next week with Rep. Tim Twardzik and Rep. Doyle Heffley:
Restoring the Catawissa and Tomhicken Creeks
One of the most dramatic examples of the damage caused by acid mine drainage – the Jeddo Tunnel.
A project to improve the treatment of 4,000 gallons per minute of acid mine drainage that runs into the Catawissa and Tomhicken Creeks was awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
We’ve made significant progress in cleaning up the environmental scars left by decades of coal mining in the past few decades, but much work remains to be done. While the days of the Schuylkill River running orange and black are gone, there are still many local streams that remain dead because of pollution from abandoned mines.
Thanks to this new injection of federal funding, projects that have remained on hold for many years can now move ahead. This grant is just the beginning of new momentum to restore our abandoned mine lands.
Another Busy Week in Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counties
Skirmish Paintball is celebrating 40 years of operation in Carbon County. With over 750 acres of fields and 50 different map locations for players, it’s one of the largest paintball fields in the world, employing dozens of people every summer. My brother Doug worked there many years ago to help pay his college tuition – one of his favorite jobs ever!
PA State Rep. Doyle Heffley and I presented Sky Fogal, the owner, and his father Paul, the founder, with citations marking the milestone.
Little Leaf Farms celebrated the grand opening of their new lettuce greenhouse in Banks Township, near McAdoo. Their two 10-acre facilities will support almost 170 family-sustaining jobs in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill Counties— the largest of its kind in the WORLD!
I was joined by Governor Shapiro – in his third visit to the area in the last few weeks —along with Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, Rep. Doyle Heffley, and Rep. Dane Watro.
Thank you to the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress for inviting me to meet with them as their new State Senator for their Leadership on the Rise program! I was impressed that so many were willing to give up one of their weekend holiday evenings for this program…. that’s commitment!
June Argall Report: Community Colleges
The June edition of my local tv program features a bipartisan roundtable discussion on community colleges in Pennsylvania. Community colleges play a key role by offering students of all ages an affordable education.
As the chair of the Senate Education Committee, I discussed the importance of partnerships – some of the biggest issues facing our higher education system cannot be fixed without working together. Thank you to Lehigh Carbon Community College President Ann Bieber for moderating the discussion.
Helping Communities Fight Illegal Dumps
To limit public health hazards that negatively impact property values, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have launched the Illegal Dump Free PA Program. It will help communities curb illegal dumping by exposing those who commit this crime.
To avoid costly cleanups that average $3,000 per site, grant recipients will receive, as a temporary loan, three cameras to capture evidence of illegal dumping. Equipment includes wireless technology to capture photos of vehicle license plates and illegal dumpers, even at night. One camera uses wireless technology to email pictures when triggered, providing almost instant results.
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