ISSUE 233 | November 22, 2023

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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Environmental Justice Takes on New Meaning in PA


Pennsylvania has updated criteria for identifying an Environmental Justice Area, changing potential policy and aid for groups at risk of climate change and other environmental issues.

An Environmental Justice Area is home to inhabitants who are disproportionately at-risk of environmental hazards due to low income and/or minority status, and usually qualify for special state assistance.

According to state revisions, over two million people live in an Environmental Justice Area, and they will now be eligible for new programs.

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Self-Sufficiency Program Will Turn Rent Increases into Savings


Early next year, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency will launch a $2 million project to help individuals participate in rent-to-own and other accessible housing programs.

The subsidy will allow costs paid for rent increases to be deposited as savings.

In turn, the asset-building activities will help participants reach goals such as pursuing higher education or buying a family home.

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PA Township Weighs Solar Array Against Coal Mine Cleanup

Rush Township is weighing the installation of a Solar Array program against their efforts to address mine-related pollution.

If a solar program is enacted over the mine-effected area, township members worry that any water and landscape restoration may be indefinitely delayed or made impossible.

The risk-benefit analysis of commercial energy production remains a discussion topic in many rural and urban areas alike, where environmental protection also takes priority in policy discussion.

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

Homeownership Gaps Negatively Impact LGBTQ+


Homeownership rates among members of the LGBTQ+ community are almost 20 percent lower than rates for straight and/or cisgender individuals.

Gaps are more pronounced by sexual identity than sexual orientation.

According to a recent report by the Urban Institute, racial intersectionality, income gaps, and marriage policy all impact homeownership.

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New Program Allows Female Inmates to Live Outside of Prison with Their Babies

The Minnesota-born Healthy Start Act is testing a program that will allow female inmates to live outside prison with their babies, challenging the action of separating newborns from mothers when they are born during prison sentences.

Studies show that early bonding between parent and child is essential for early development.

The Department of Corrections is working on making the Healthy Start Act more inclusive and accessible, considering aspects such as sentence length and crime committed. 

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Forest Service Plans Carbon Dioxide Storage on Federal Lands


The Federal Government has recently backed a rule change in support of a carbon capture and storage program.

The program will capture carbon dioxide from large emitters such as plants and factories, and transport them to designated areas where they will be injected underground.

Communities nationwide are protesting this proposal, because it would require the installation of thousands of new pipelines and pose concerns regarding pollution and other complications. 


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