Daily Local News
August 31, 2020
Local lawmakers recognized as environmental champions
WEST CHESTER — Five Chester County lawmakers recently joined dozens of residents virtually to discuss the state of the environment.
The lawmakers discussed their critical actions to protect Pennsylvania’s air and water and combat climate change — and how they stood up against polluters who would put their profits over environmental protection.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard, compiled by four environmental organizations across the state, scores Pennsylvania Senators and Representatives on their votes on environmental legislation.
Chester County has one of the state’s highest number of environmentally friendly legislators in office — with eight out of our thirteen legislators scoring 100 percent.
“We’re proud to recognize the numerous state legislators in Chester County with perfect scores, and we hope their unyielding commitment toward protecting our water, air, and lands become a trend across the state,” said Jess Cadorette, Conservation Voters of PA field director.
The scorecard helps Pennsylvanians discover whether their legislators are prioritizing our environment when voting in Harrisburg.
“Protecting our neighborhoods and environment is critical to maintaining the beauty and habitability of our County and our Commonwealth,” said Rep. Dan Williams (HD-74).”I am greatly appreciative that my beliefs have earned myself such a high recommendation from these organizations.”
Said Sen. Katie Muth (SD-44): “Elected officials and those in positions of power who take money from fossil fuel companies should not be drafting or voting on environmental legislation. Too many members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly remain loyal to special interests, resulting in a direct attack on our democracy, our environment and our public health.”
The 2019-2020 Environmental Scorecard reflects a denial of science among legislative leaders that risks the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s residents for generations to come. This session, 116 legislators scored zero percent, marking a 500 percent increase in bad voting records on environmental issues since the last environmental scorecard in 2017-2018. However, Chester County was one of the few regions which saw an increase in legislators scoring 100 percent.
“We all know the urgency of the climate crisis and the importance of preserving and protecting our environment for future generations,” said Rep. Carolyn Comitta (HD-156). “I am proud to stand with my colleagues to ensure that our communities have environmental champions that are dedicated to passing legislation that will safeguard our constitutional right to clean air and water.”
Enivironmental scores: State Sen. Andrew Dinniman (SD-19): 67 percent, State Sen. Tim Kearney (SD-26): 100 percent, State Sen. Thomas Killion (SD-9): 50 percent, and State Sen. Katie Muth (SD-44): 100 percent.
State Rep. Stephen Barrar (HD-160): 8 percent, State Rep. Carolyn Comitta (HD-156): 100 percent, State Rep. Tim Hennessey (HD-26): 8 percent, State Rep. Kristine Howard (HD-167): 100 percent, State Rep. John Lawrence (HD-13): 15 percent, State Rep. Danielle Otten (HD-155): 100 percent, State Rep. Christina Sappey (HD-158): 100 percent, State Rep. Melissa Shusterman (HD-157): 100 percent, and State Rep. Dan Williams (HD-74): 100 percent.
Said Sappey: “I remain committed to protecting our rights to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of our open space and environment. Thank you to Conservation Voters of PA for this opportunity to come together and discuss the environmental challenges still facing us.”
Cadorette said environmental issues are important.
“Pennsylvanians deserve to know where their lawmakers stand, and the 2019-2020 Environmental Scorecard is a critical tool to help people stay on top of what bills are passing through Harrisburg and when to hold their legislators accountable, ” said Cadorette. Source
June 24, 2020
Williams’ Police Reform Bill Passes House
HARRISBURG, PA — A police reform bill sponsored by State Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, that would bring about the most significant changes to Pennsylvania policing in at least 40 years unanimously passed the House today. The bill will now head to the state Senate for consideration.
Williams’ H.B. 1910 would update police training in several areas, including recognizing and reporting child abuse; de-escalation and harm reduction techniques; interacting with individuals of diverse racial, ethic, and economic backgrounds; and appropriate use of force. House Bill 1910 is one of 19 bills that members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus urged be considered by the House. The bill was unanimously approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, June 15.
“Recently, our society has been questioning how our police force can better serve everyone. I’m proud to see my bill that aims to address some of these concerns, especially when protecting children, move on to the Senate and contribute to this mission,” Williams said. “Protecting and looking out for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents is not a political issue, but one that deserves our attention across the aisle and across the commonwealth.”
This is Williams’ first bill to clear a committee and pass the House since he took office in 2019.
“As a first-term representative in the minority party, it can be particularly difficult to see action on bills. However, I’m glad to see that working on policing and combatting child abuse in Pennsylvania was able to gain bipartisan support. This is not the end of our struggle, but an excellent step forward.”
For more information on William’s H.B. 1910, contact his office at (484) 200-8256. Source
June 19, 2020
December 23, 2019
Working to secure resources for Chester County, standing up for workers’ rights, investing in our schools, putting the needs of you and your family first…this is what I fought for in 2019 and what I’ll keep fighting for in 2020.
November 11, 2019
It’s not the reporter who provided us the freedom of the press – it’s not the poet who gave us the freedom of speech – it’s the soldier. Today and every day, we celebrate our veterans for their countless sacrifices. Happy Veterans Day!
September 25, 2019
Ending PA’s General Assistance program has created hardships for our most vulnerable neighbors who relied on that help to afford basic necessities. I’m proud to join a new effort to invest in the total recovery of people by creating emergency relief to those who need it most.
August 12, 2019
Ensuring our schools are properly funded is critical for increasing our children’s success and lowering property taxes. I proudly welcomed the PA House Democratic Policy Committee and members of our community to discuss PA’s Fair Education Funding formula, hear the concerns of taxpayers, and develop ideas that best fit the needs of everyone.
July 13, 2018
Once it was steel, now jobs being offered in solar in Coatesville
COATESVILLE—Coatesville was once a local industry leader, but the steel industry only employs a fraction of the employees that it once did. Communities like Coatesville are now turning to solar to grow economies.
There will be a Time to Invest in Local Solar Jobs! rally on Tuesday, July 16, at 3:30 p.m. at the Exelon Power Labs location at 157 North Caln Road, Coatesville.
The rally will spotlight what PECO, and its parent company Exelon, could accomplish if it invested some of the $1 million dollars a day in profit they gain from the region, in long-term green jobs programs. Featured speakers include state Rep. Dan Williams, Stephen Reynolds from Solar City and Alvin Herring from Family Service of Chester County.
“Working-class communities like Coatesville are being whipsawed by economic forces that send manufacturing jobs elsewhere. We need something that sends the jobs of the future our way. Coatesville needs to be part of the coming transition to a renewables-based energy economy,” said Marc Brier, a volunteer with Earth Quaker Action Team and emcee for Tuesday’s rally.
Organizers of the rally are the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), a local climate justice, grassroots, nonviolent action group and the faith-based racial and economic justice organization POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild). These organizations have been bringing their “Power Local Green Jobs” (PLGJ) campaign to Philadelphia and communities throughout PECO’s 5-county service area since 2015, calling on PECO to commit to at least 20-percent local solar by 2025, prioritizing local green jobs: https://www.eqat.org/campaign.
More industry threatens to leave Coatesville, but there is a future in green jobs. While solar is growing rapidly among homeowners who can afford to install it, there are fewer opportunities for solar for low income residents. PECO can change that.
“We can’t cling to the past where our energy comes from oil, coal or natural gas, leaving our under-served communities to cope with pollution, chronic illness and poverty. And our electric utilities can’t cling to business as usual. It’s time for change,” said Nancy Sleator, a volunteer with EQAT and Delaware County resident.
Recent meetings between with both PECO and Exelon executives as well as PLGJ members have provided hope that these corporations are willing to listen. In the meantime, the terrible effects of climate change march on, impacting poorer communities much harder. PECO is at a fork in the road and communities like Coatesville need action now.
“This is about jobs and equity,” said Terri Burgin, the Climate Justice Fellow at POWER. “We’re talking about clean energy owned and built by the communities bearing the brunt of pollution and high unemployment. PECO has the resources and needs to come to the table to make that happen.”
“My heart breaks when I see a new industry emerging and once again redline and leave black and brown communities out of it. The opportunity is here for thousands of jobs, for improving health and equality. This is the time for PECO, and its parent company Exelon, to commit to better communities for all of us,” said Burgin. Source
June 20, 2019
With the state budget deadline quickly approaching, I’m stressing the importance of supporting Governor Tom Wolf’s initiative that dedicates ample funding to take care of our public schools. From pre-k to high school, our devoted students and teachers need our support. We must make this a priority because our children are counting on us.
May 30, 2019
As your representative, I’m proud to update you on everything we’ve accomplished in the first 150 days of this legislative session. I strive to continue to improve the lives of residents in the 74th district, so this is just the beginning!
May 13, 2019
Williams Hosting Cleanup Event for Old Evergreen Cemetery
COATESVILLE, PA — State Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, invites constituents to join him from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18 for his cleanup of the Old Evergreen Cemetery, located at 206 Cemetery Road, Coatesville, 19320.
Williams said the Old Evergreen Cemetery has historical significance to the local African American community. Many African American veterans were laid to rest at the cemetery dating back to the Civil War. Then, following Coatesville’s first wave of the Great Migration between the 1900s and 1920s, dozens of black families buried their loved ones there until the cemetery reached capacity in the 1960s.
“This cleanup event seeks to brighten the cemetery and honor those resting there, to show their legacies as veterans and Coatesville’s first African American migrants have not been forgotten,” Williams said. “The grounds of the Old Evergreen Cemetery hold many stories, and it is important for us to help preserve them.”
According to Williams, before it was a cemetery, a church of the Religious Society of Friends, otherwise known as a Quaker church, stood at the location. It later became the site of the Saint Paul Methodist Church, which is now on Merchant Street in Coatesville.
Williams added that the cemetery’s Quaker roots play a significant role in its meaning to the community.
“Historically, Quakers were conductors on the underground railroad, so the location of the Quaker church may have been what attracted African Americans to the area and encouraged them to settle down here,” Williams said.
More information about the cleanup is available by calling Williams’ office at 484-200-8256.
April 30, 2019
Rep Dan Williams
I am adamantly opposed to the House Republicans’ bill package that includes 12 separate attacks on life-saving, environmental, consumer and health & labor protections — the “Dirty Dozen” — and here’s why: Putting corporate blinders on our agencies only ignores public safety and serves the special interest. It’s an affront to the State Constitution, which makes our government the “trustee” to maintain and conserve the environment and protect the livelihood of the people. We demand better. https://www.penncapital-star.com/…/help-us-stop-pa-house-r…/
April 22, 2019
Rep Dan Williams
March 29, 2019
As a Pastor, I always taught people that faith reminds us “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Maybe my GOP colleagues just missed class that day… they’re certainly welcome to visit my office for a reminder!
I will always speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and fight for the rights of all who are needy.
March 27, 2019
Rep. Dan Williams
In case you hadn’t heard about state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, she is the first female Muslim elected to the Pa. House and a strong Pennsylvanian, American, Mother and now Stateswoman. I had the great honor of being on the House floor when she – alongside her beautiful family – took the oath of office this week in Harrisburg. The day was not without controversy, however, as the morning prayer that day heavily featured what many would consider Islamophobic messaging. I was there, and I, too, found it offensive and obscene. Prayer is supposed to unify and never divide. There are certainly those among us who could use the reminder. I look forward to hearing her perspective and learning from a fellow representative based in faith and service.
March 22, 2019
Rep. Dan Williams
If you work hard 40 hours a week, you should be able to provide for your family. However, too many of our men and women are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. We must come together and raise the minimum wage!
March 12, 2019
Chesco, Delco lawmakers urge Wolf to halt Mariner pipeline operations
WEST CHESTER — Pennsylvania lawmakers representing 11 House 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. The pipeline also runs through Berks County.
“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 state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester County. “Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco are risking a catastrophe, which is a criminal offense.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for their collaboration on this request. The bipartisan support for this moratorium underscores how important it is to take every possible step to ensure the safety of our communities and our first responders.”
The letter was signed by the following state representatives Rep. Steve Barrar, R-60 of Concord; Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156 of West Chester; Friel Otten, D-155 of West Whiteland; Rep. Kristine Howard, D-167; Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26; Rep. John Lawrence, R-13; Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168 of Middletown; Christina Sappey, D-158; Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-157; Rep. Dan Williams, D-74; and Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, as well as state Sens. Andy Dinniman, D-19; Katie Muth, D-44; and Tim Kearney, D-26 of Swarthmore.
Mariner East spokesmen did not return a call for comment as yet.
The company is building and operating the controversial Mariner East project, transporting volatile liquid gases across the full width of Pennsylvania, from the Marcellus Shale region to a facility in Marcus Hook.
Residents have opposed the project for years, saying the pipeline never should have been routed through densely populated neighborhoods, in close proximity to schools and senior centers.
Mariner East 1, which is a decades old smaller pipe that has been retrofitted to carry the new materials, has been shut down for weeks since a sinkhole formed in a Chester County neighborhood for the second time.
Mariner East 2 came online the last week of December, albeit not in the form Energy Transfer originally proposed. Mariner East 2 was proposed as a 20-inch pipe, but because of constant delays and other problems, Energy Transfer plugged in a hybrid version of several smaller pipes to fill in the gaps. Completion of the full Mariner East 2 pipeline now likely will not take place until 2020.
Mariner East 2x remains under construction.
In February the state Department of Environmental Protection halted all permits for the Mariner East 2 project, saying Energy Transfer had failed to take proper actions after an accident that caused an explosion in western Pennsylvania.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan last month announced he was launching a criminal investigation into the construction of Mariner East 2, noting his belief that state officials had not adequately protected citizens rights and safety. He now is impaneling an investigative grand jury to hear testimony from witnesses and review documents.
Rep. Dan Williams
I’m excited about Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget plan. It focuses on investing in our schools, preparing our students for the workforce, and strengthening our infrastructure. All of which would benefit Chester County.