Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #9: People’s Republic of Allegheny County

For people who might not read the news everyday, but would still like to know what's going on.

Photo by Brian Conway

Frack ban reactions. How did the natural gas industry react to Allegheny County’s ban on natural gas drilling in parks? Not too well. One publication, Marcellus Drilling, called Council “unhinged” for their “idiotic” ban, adding “welcome to the People’s Republic of Allegheny County.”

Meanwhile, Marcellus Shale Coalition president Dave Callahan released a statement saying council “put politics over good governance & the sound policymaking needed to attract jobs, drive economic growth and strengthen our environment.” The Independent followed up with the Coalition, via their DC-based PR firm, to clarify which environment-strengthening policy the ban contradicts or impedes, and whose environment Callahan, who lives in Central PA, is talking about when he says council is putting politics ahead of policymaking to strengthen “our environment.” The Marcellus Shale Coalition did not respond to our inquiry.

Abortion surge in Pennsylvania: The New Yorker profiles the human impact of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, and Republicans looking to upend abortion’s legality in PA: “In many of the states to which patients are flocking after Dobbs—Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota—abortion is an increasingly unreliable right.

Fight for free data. There’s a statewide database of abandoned oil and gas wells. It costs $5,000, plus a $500 annual subscription fee, to access digitally, or people can travel to one of two locations statewide to access it in person. Advocates argue the information should be free.

No confidence in CCAC Prez. City Paper reports that CCAC faculty is “preparing to call a vote of no-confidence in their president and board, citing ongoing leadership failures amid plummeting enrollment.”

What happened to the “war on coal?” Grist talks to environmental advocates in West Virginia, and reports that “the battle against coal expansion and mountaintop mining continues, but without the media attention or the funding that came with it.

Commuting costs rise. The cost to drive to work in Western PA rose 60%, reports An-Li Herring, but the main culprit isn’t a rise in gas prices.

Monkeypox cases hit 20. Meanwhile, the Allegheny County Health Department is working to make the vaccine more widely available, at 4 locations countywide.

Another Russian prisoner. Brittney Griner is not the only American incarcerated for cannabis in Russia. Oakmont teacher Marc Fogel was incarcerated in Russia last summer for 17 grams of medical marijuana, and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the offense. As of now, Fogel has not been included in discussions of a prisoner swap, reports Paula Reed Ward.

“stuff you can do this weekend”


  • Uptown: Rage Against the Machine w/ Run the Jewels. ($125+, 7pm)
  • Lawrenceville: Dethlehem at Cattivo w/ Game Genie, more. ($15, 8pm)
  • Oakland: Jurassic Park after Dark. ($24, 6-10pm)
  • Millvale: Emo Nite at Mr. Smalls. ($20, 8pm)
  • Downtown: Pittsburgh Black Pride concert feat. Mýa. ($25, 8pm)


  • South Side: Goat Fest Pittsburgh (Free, 12-4pm)
  • East Liberty: 1hood People, Politics & Power Pop Up. (Free, 12-4pm)
  • East End/Homewood: Open Streets Pittsburgh. (Free, 10-2pm)
  • Carrick: Carrick Community Day. (Free, 3-8pm)
  • Hill District: Hill District Arts Festival. (Free, 12-8pm, Sat+Sun)
  • Lawrenceville: Afro Yaqui Music Collective sendoff concert ($12, 7pm)
  • Millvale: Ghost Club at Mr. Smalls. ($18, 8pm)
  • South Side: Riverhounds host Tulsa FC ($18+, 7pm)


  • Hazelwood: Summer Sounds w/ Weather Permitting. (Free, 6pm)
  • Lawrenceville: Pittsburgh Mixed Culture Brewers’ Brunch. ($50, 10-2pm)
  • Vandergrift: Vandergrift Artfest. (Free, 11am-8pm)
  • Market Square: Yoga in the Square (Free, 10am)
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He is a 2x 2023 Western PA Press Club Golden Quill award winner, in feature and business reporting. And a 3x finalist in the investigative reporting category.

He is a 2018 first prize winner in environmental reporting from the Keystone Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting on lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water.

In 2022 and 2021, he was awarded a grant from The Gumshoe Group to support his investigative reporting.