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Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

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A soybean field lies in front of a natural gas drilling rig Sept. 8, 2012 in Fairfield Township, Pennsylvania. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

By Peter Hart

Pennsylvania is home to more than 10,000 fracking wells, which forces communities to live with air pollution, water contamination and an array of health problems linked to drilling.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Asian longhorned tick has been found in nine states. CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of a "multistate infestation" with the Asian longhorned tick—the first new tick species to enter the U.S. in 50 years.

New Jersey was the first state to report the Haemaphysalis longicornis on a sheep in August 2017. Since then, it has been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to Friday's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Smoke billows from one of many petrochemical plants in Louisiana's "Cancer Alley" on Oct. 12, 2013. Giles Clarke / Getty Images

By Sharon Kelly

The petrochemical industry anticipates spending a total of over $200 billion on factories, pipelines, and other infrastructure in the U.S. that will rely on shale gas, the American Chemistry Council announced in September. Construction is already underway at many sites.

This building spree would dramatically expand the Gulf Coast's petrochemical corridor (known locally as "Cancer Alley")—and establish a new plastics and petrochemical belt across states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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In Colorado, fracking often occurs right next to where people live. Tara O'Conner Shelley / CC BY-NC-SA

By Tara Opsal and Stephanie Malin

Coloradans will vote on a ballot initiative in November that requires new oil and gas projects to be set back at least 2,500 feet from occupied buildings. If approved, the measure—known as both Initiative 97 and Proposition 112—would mark a major change from their state's current limits: 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.

As sociologists who have researched oil and gas drilling in the communities that host it for the past seven years, we think this measure would provide local governments and Coloradans more say over where drilling occurs and enhance the rights of those who live near these sites.

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A map of transmission pipelines in Allegheny County. National Pipeline Mapping System / U.S. Department of Transportation

Only 11 percent of the natural gas pipelines in Pennsylvania are disclosed through publicly-available maps, Pittsburgh NPR station WESA reported this week.

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Scott Pruitt at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Sharon Kelly

Back in 2008, residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas received a notice in the mail advising them to drink bottled water instead of tap water—a move that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) internal memos at the time described as "one of the largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking water to the public."

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Tim Evanson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Itai Vardi

A Pennsylvania state senator, who is responsible for a slew of legislation favoring the oil and gas industry, leases his own land to fracking companies, recent disclosure documents show. Last year, veteran lawmaker Gene Yaw of Lycoming County profited from royalties he received from several different drillers.

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A controversial natural gas pipeline project with a proposed route through New Jersey can move forward, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Friday.

Owners of the proposed $1.2 billion PennEast Pipeline, which would carry shale gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey, said they are planning to begin construction this year following the certificate of public convenience granted by FERC on Friday.

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Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township operated by Rex Energy. WCN 24/7 / Flickr

By Simon Davis-Cohen

In early January, a federal judge ordered the nonprofit law firm Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to pay $52,000 to an oil and gas exploration company for defending a rural Pennsylvania township's ban on underground injections of fracking waste.

This sanction comes at the request of Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, but is part of a growing trend to prevent municipalities across the nation from pushing back against state and federal attempts to overrule them.

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By Steve Horn

A new study published in the journal Science Advances has concluded that babies born within two miles of sites of fracking for natural gas in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale basin are more likely to have low birth weights.

Researchers from Princeton, the University of Chicago and UCLA analyzed a decade of Pennsylvania birth data from 2004 to 2013—reviewing 1.1 million birth certificates—and concluded that those babies born to mothers living in close proximity to fracking sites are more likely to weigh under 5.5 pounds at birth. Specifically, the study concluded that babies born within a kilometer (just over half a mile) of fracking sites are 25 percent more at risk of low birth weights, which comes with other health effects.

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