RADIO CATSKILL LOCAL NEWS

The Weekend News Review

Produced in partnership with WJFF

Posted 2/27/21

Fracking ban passed, potential budget cuts

This past Thursday was a day of celebration for environmental advocates throughout the region. The Delaware River Basin Commission, the regulatory body …

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RADIO CATSKILL LOCAL NEWS

The Weekend News Review

Produced in partnership with WJFF

Posted

Fracking ban passed, potential budget cuts

This past Thursday was a day of celebration for environmental advocates throughout the region. The Delaware River Basin Commission, the regulatory body that oversees the protection of the Delaware River, voted to ban fracking in the watershed. For more than a decade, there had been a de facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activities, but Thursday’s vote was the first decisive action the commission took on the issue. All four state representatives voted yes on the resolution, agreeing that based on scientific data, fracking posed significant risks to the water quality of the Delaware River Basin. The commission’s federal representative abstained from the vote, citing more time needed to coordinate with the new Biden Administration. For years, the natural gas industry has been determined to find a way into the basin, and pro-fracking advocates are already promising more litigation to challenge this full ban.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest budget proposal could have a significant impact on Sullivan County and its municipalities. For years, Sullivan County, the Town of Thompson and the Village of Monticello have collectively received more than a million dollars in state funding known as video lottery terminal aid, or VLT aid. This funding is paid to local governments to offset the costs of allowing gambling operations in their communities, but now state officials are arguing that it’s an unnecessary funding stream. Sullivan County’s Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther is remaining optimistic, however, that following budget negotiations, Sullivan, Thompson and Monticello will continue to receive that $1.2 million.

American rescue plan, local relief program

Wayne and Pike counties’ federal representative in the House Matt Cartwright is pushing hard to raise support for the latest COVID-19 relief package called the American Rescue Plan. He held a press conference this past Thursday, joined by other House Democrats, to talk about the connection between economic recovery and vaccine distribution. The rescue plan, expected to pass the House soon, includes allocating more than $160 billion toward the purchase of 200 million vaccine doses. Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania’s Second District said that polling of citizens shows that the rescue plan is the most popular economic package from a newly elected president in his lifetime.

The hospitality and tourism industries have taken a huge economic hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has announced a new recovery program for the commonwealth’s restaurants and lodging businesses. Through this program, Wayne County has received an allocation of more than $580,000. The county will be working with its economic developer WEDCO, which will accept applications from local businesses through June 15, or until funding runs out. Priority relief will be given to applicants that have not yet received any aid, businesses that were shut down by Gov. Wolf’s mitigation measures, and businesses that can demonstrate a 50% decrease in revenue last year compared to 2019.

  • Fracking ban passed, potential budget cuts

  • American rescue plan, local relief program

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