Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Impact of PA Supreme Court ruling on environment/ Coroner Graham Hetrick talks his TV show

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 6, 2017 4:08 AM
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Photo by Scott LaMar/WITF

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, July 6, 2017:

A historic decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month is being viewed as a victory for environmental rights advocates.  The Court ruling underscored the state's Environmental Rights Amendment in Pennsylvania's Constitution, making the Commonwealth the official "trustee" of Pennsylvania's natural resources.

Justice Christine Donahue writing for the majority said: "The Commonwealth (including the Governor and General Assembly) may not approach our public natural resources as a proprietor, and instead must at all times fulfill its role as a trustee."

The ruling will necessitate the states legislators and agencies take more responsibility for clean air and water.

However, the the most immediate impact may be proceeds from oil and gas drilling on state lands will be directed to environmental conservation programs instead of being diverted to the state's general budget fund.

Former Pennsylvania State Senator Franklin Kury authored the Constitutional Environmental Rights Amendment and joins us on Thursday's Smart Talk to discuss the history of the amndment and the ruling.  Professor John Dernbach, Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director at Widener University Commonwealth Law School's  Environmental Law and Sustainability Center also is with us to talk about the possible implications of the decision.

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Also on the program is Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick. Season two of his TV show THE CORONER: I SPEAK FOR THE DEAD will air July 17, on the Investigation Discovery channel. In his show, Hetrick recounts the details of some of his most compelling cases.

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Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick


- Does this ruling essentially forbid the legislature from raiding DCNR's Oil and Gas Lease fund to balance the general fund?  - Tom, Carlisle

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