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Chester, Delaware lawmakers urge Wolf to halt Mariner operations until safety protocols are in place

(Mar 11, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 11 – Pennsylvania lawmakers representing 11 House districts and three Senatorial districts across Chester and Delaware counties have signed a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf asking him to impose a moratorium on the transmission of natural gas liquids products through the Mariner East pipeline system until the mandated protocols are in place for local responders to properly manage a pipeline emergency. Chester County Emergency Services and local school districts along the pipeline, including Downingtown Area School District, Rose Tree Media School District and West Chester Area School District have requested Energy Transfer Partners' subsidiary SPLP to provide its Emergency Response Plan for the Mariner East project, which the responders and school districts need to complete their comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Response Plans and fulfill their statutory requirements under Title 35 of state law . The letter urges Wolf to preserve the health, welfare and safety of constituents who live, work and raise their families in the high-consequence areas of Chester and Delaware counties within the impact radius of Mariner East. “We have pipelines currently transporting highly volatile products through our communities, and our local first responders are not able to adequately plan their emergency response or mitigate our risk because the operator has failed to cooperate with repeated requests for their Emergency Response Plan,” said Read more


Legislators respond to DEP decision to suspend review of Energy Transfer permits

(Feb 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Reps. Carolyn Comitta, Danielle Friel Otten, Kristine Howard, Leanne Krueger, Christina Sappey and Melissa Shusterman met with Gov. Tom Wolf and his staff last week to address the growing problems with Energy Transfer’s Mariner East project. Today, those representatives have issued the following statement regarding news that the Department of Environmental Protection has suspended review of all permit applications and other pending approvals for Energy Transfer due to noncompliance: “We applaud the unwavering efforts of community members who continue to make their voices heard and draw attention to serious hazards and areas of oversight that need improvement. "The action taken by the Department of Environmental Protection today is a step in the right direction. "We are grateful for the opportunity to have a seat at the table for our communities and we look forward to continued collaboration with our state agencies and the governor’s staff to put the interests of the people of Pennsylvania first and foremost. There is still a lot of work to be done and we will use every tool available to us to make our community’s voice heard." The same six representatives sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission earlier this week, urging action related to a recent sinkhole along the Mariner East 1 pipeline. The letter can be found here. A statement sent last week by the legislators to the Read more


Howard calls on state officials to investigate pipeline players

(Jan 24, 2019)

MALVERN, Jan. 24 – Today, Rep. Kristine Howard called on Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to open a criminal investigation into Sunoco’s activities regarding the Mariner East 1 and 2 pipelines, and to audit the Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection. Howard’s actions were spurred by the opening of a large sinkhole in a residential area of West Whiteland Township on Sunday evening, which exposed the Mariner East 1 pipeline. This is the latest in a series of pipeline-related incidents in the high-density area, including numerous other sinkholes and complaints of tainted well water. Howard said the area’s limestone geology is a large factor in the appearance of sinkholes, and many critics have noted the unsuitability of the area for pipeline development. “Both Sunoco and the PUC were quick to claim there was no danger to the neighborhood,” Howard said, “but the stark fact remains – this is not the first time this issue has occurred. Nor the second. Nor the third. Something needs to change, and that is why I have called on the attorney general and the auditor general to provide greater scrutiny and accountability for this major public safety concern.” About Rep. Kristine Howard – Kristine Howard was elected state representative for the 167th Legislative District in November 2018. The district includes parts of Charlestown, East Whiteland, Read more


Pa. House Democrats clean up Valley Forge National Park amid federal government shutdown

(Jan 11, 2019)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Jan. 11 – Four freshman Democratic state representatives spent Thursday morning picking up trash at Valley Forge National Park, helping to keep the historic site beautiful during the ongoing federal government shutdown. State Reps. Joe Ciresi, Kristine Howard, Melissa Shusterman and Joe Webster were joined by the staffs of U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Chester/Berks, and state Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, at the National Memorial Arch. The newly sworn-in lawmakers said President Trump’s partial government shutdown means more than 800,000 hardworking Americans, including those who usually keep Valley Forge National Park looking spectacular, are furloughed and entering a financial bind. Friday, which was supposed to be a payday for federal employees, instead marks the record-tying 21 st day of the shutdown. For national parks, that means nobody on site to collect trash or service restrooms. So the four first-time Pa. representatives came together at Valley Forge to take a stand and lend some helping hands. “This is really about true public service and stepping up when there is a need in the community,” said Ciresi, who’s asked members of his staff to volunteer at least once a month with a service organization of their choice. “I didn’t run for office to sit at a desk in Harrisburg. Valley Forge is near all of our districts, so it’s up to us and all of you to help keep it beautiful.” Added Read more


Freshmen Pa. House Democrats to help clean Valley Forge National Park on Thursday

(Jan 09, 2019)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Jan. 8 – Freshmen Democratic state Reps. Joe Ciresi, Kristine Howard, Melissa Shusterman and Joe Webster will do their parts to keep Valley Forge National Historic Park beautiful this Thursday morning. The quartet, representing Chester and Montgomery counties, will visit Valley Forge National Park at the National Memorial Arch from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday to participate in trash pickup. The trash piles have been growing during the federal government shutdown. Ciresi, Howard, Shusterman and Webster will be joined by staff members from the offices of U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Chester/Berks, and state Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery. Many national park services, including trash collection, are on hiatus during federal government shutdowns. And this collection of Pennsylvania representatives wants to help to keep the historic park clean. Members of the media seeking more information are advised to contact Mike Hays from Ciresi’s office via cell phone at 215-353-6142 or by email at mhays@pahouse.net . Read more


Howard sworn in for first term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Kristine Howard took the oath of office during a swearing-in ceremony today at the Capitol, officially kicking off her first term as state representative for the 167th Legislative District. “I live in Chester County, and I am in tune with the issues that our communities are facing on a daily basis,” Howard said. “I am ready to start working with my neighbors to improve state programs and funding to offer quality education, healthcare, and career opportunities for all.” As a child advocate, Howard ran a legal and social services organization, stood up for youth in foster care with the Philadelphia Lawyers for the Arts, and investigated child abuse with the Chester County Department of Children, Youth, and Family services. “I’m a mother of seven and have focused on the principle of putting children first, ensuring their safety, and laying the right groundwork that leads to a bright future,” Howard explained. Those interested in learning more about Howard can call her district office at 610-251-1070, visit her website at www.pahouse.com/Howard , or follow her on Facebook and Twitter @RepKHoward. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ swearing-in corresponds with the first Tuesday in January, every two years. This year is Pennsylvania’s 203rd legislative session. Read more


Avoid scammers and bogus charities this holiday season

(Dec 20, 2018)

The holiday season is officially upon us, and while I’m sure you’re gearing up for yet another eventful celebration, I want to remind you of the deception that accompanies the winter months. This time of year, possibly more than ever, is when the likes of scammers and bogus charities take your kindheartedness as a sign of weakness; digging into your pockets before you can even spot the scam. As you know, holding charities accountable for how they spend their donated money has and will continue to be a cornerstone of my time in office. You’d be surprised where your money actually goes and how it’s spent. Due to this, I want to provide you with the 2018 Annual Charities Report . Here you’ll find helpful information that will assist you in your charitable-giving decisions. You also can click here to view a searchable database of registered charities or file a complaint. In addition, I want to direct you to the state Attorney General’s website, where you’ll be able to view a list that will assist you in avoiding holiday shopping scams. It is unfortunate we have to remind everyone about the negative aspects associated with a typically happy time of the year, but I want to ensure I do my due diligence to protect those in my district. With that, I’d like to say happy holidays! It’s my hope that you all have safe and happy celebrations, surrounded by your family! Read more


Veterans services

(Dec 01, 2018)

Below are a number of programs and services available to help veterans and their families. Please share this list with any veterans in your life. Veterans Temporary Assistance Temporary help is available for veterans and their beneficiaries who need aid for essentials such as shelter, fuel, clothing and food. If eligible, a veteran or their beneficiary can qualify for up to $1,600 in a 12-month period. The Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program Any honorably discharged veteran who is 100 percent disabled, a resident of Pennsylvania and has financial need can apply for this program, which provides real estate tax exemption on principal dwellings. Educational Gratuity Program Children of honorably discharged veterans with service-connected disabilities or children of veterans who died in service during a period of war or armed conflict qualify for up to $500 per semester/term to help defray educational costs. Military Family Relief Assistance Program Eligible Pennsylvania service members and their family members who have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control can apply for up to $3,500 in grants. This program is available for active and past service members. Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Program Grants are available for veterans’ services organizations, non-profit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans, individual eligible counties and the State Read more


Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Dec 01, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more