How Philly is Trying to Fix Water Main-ia

Credit: Shutterstock.com

Credit: Shutterstock.com

Editor’s Note: Citified has retracted this story, which was based on a flawed assumption about water management infrastructure. Thanks to commenters William H Ross III and tsarstruck for pointing out the error.

Sign of the Apocalypse? Flies Invade Lancaster County

It’s like something out of a movie: twice in the past five days, swarms of mayflies have shut down the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. On Saturday night, the bridge closure came after the low visibility from thousands and thousands of flies caused three motorcycle accidents (the injuries were reportedly minor).

Ryan Robinson of Lancaster Online reports today of “a surreal scene” that sounds like an entomological version of the frog scene from Magnolia. Fire Chief Chad Livelsberger told Robinson, “It was like a blizzard in June, but instead of snow, it was mayflies.” There was an inch-think slick of dead flies on the bridge, making cars skid and wheels spin as though the roadway were covered with ice. But the flies weren’t all dead, apparently, since they swarmed again on Sunday night, prompting a second shutdown of the same bridge.

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Fish Cancer Confirmed for First Time in Pennsylvania River

Smallmouth bass with confirmed malignant tumor. Caught by angler in Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Dauphin County, on Nov. 3, 2014. Photo credit: John Arway.

Smallmouth bass with confirmed malignant tumor. Caught by angler in Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Dauphin County, on Nov. 3, 2014. Photo credit: John Arway.

The grotesque image seen here is not a movie still from some awful Sharknado spinoff. It is a photograph of a smallmouth bass caught by a fisherman in the Susquehanna River, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has confirmed that the growth on the fish is a cancerous tumor. It’s the first time a smallmouth bass has been documented with a cancerous tumor in the state. It’s also the first documented instance of fish cancer among all species in the Susquehanna River. Read more »

Wolf Reverses Corbett Order, Bans Fracking on State Parkland

Tom Wolf - Fracking

Photos | Jeff Fusco

New Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is continuing to undo moves former Gov. Tom Corbett made during his last year in office.

Wolf appeared at Benjamin Rush State Park in Far Northeast Philadelphia today to sign an order banning fracking in state parkland, reversing a move Corbett made last May. In his first week in office, Wolf voided two dozen “pending executive nominations” Corbett made late in his term. Today’s moratorium, effective immediately, forbids fracking leases on parks and forests owned or managed by the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

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Energy Hub? No Thanks.

No energy hub here please, (some) readers say. Image from Shutterstock.

No energy hub here please, (some) readers say. Image from Shutterstock.

Yesterday was energy hub day on Citified. We took a stab at answering the question: “So what the hell is an energy hub anyway?” We sat down with environmentalists who deeply oppose the hub. And we had a Q&A with Phil Rinaldi, the leading hub visionary and CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

We also invited Citified readers to weigh-in over social media and email with their own views on the prospect that Philadelphia could become a petrochemical capital, and maybe, just maybe, goose the overall manufacturing sector. The boosters were silent. Environmentalists, neighbors of the South Philly refinery, and health advocates, however, were not. Read more »

“You Can’t Do It Safely.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The prospect of a new Philadelphia Energy Hub is usually talked about in terms of the jobs it could create, a sort of giant economic defibrillator that, advocates argue, will resuscitate a moribund manufacturing sector. But there are serious side effects associated with large scale petrochemical development: environmental degradation, increased risk of catastrophe and harder-to-define but still-real impacts on a city’s image and quality of life. Read more »

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