EAST BRANDYWINE, Oct. 12 – With Tower Health’s announcement last month that it will sell Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia and close Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Pa., and with the fate of Tower’s Brandywine, Phoenixville, Pottstown, and Reading hospitals still very much up in the air, local healthcare workers, first responders, administrators, and advocates gathered today to address concerns about the potential impacts on quality and access to healthcare, including emergent and mental health care. The discussion was hosted at the East Brandywine Township Building by state Reps. Daniel Friel Otten and Dan Williams, both D-Chester, whose respective legislative districts flank Brandywine Hospital. “Hospital closures and consolidations impact every one of us,” Otten said. “Any one of us could be the family member in an ambulance with our child or loved one, praying to make it to the closest hospital in time. As Chester County’s older-adult population grows, our senior-living and long-term care facilities rely on nearby hospitals for emergency calls and patient care. Our law enforcement officers and county human services agencies rely on the availability of psychiatric beds, mental health services, and behavioral health programs to meet community need. The loss of ERs and reduction in critical care services put additional strain on our EMS departments and local municipalities. The ripple effects of Read more
On Tuesday, PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro came to Marsh Creek State Park to announce 48 criminal charges against Energy Transfer, the developer of the Mariner East II pipeline. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 8 — State Reps. Danielle Friel Otten and Sara Innamorato and several of their House and Senate colleagues rekindled the discussion on period poverty and menstrual equity in the Pennsylvania legislature by reintroducing legislation that would provide basic menstrual hygiene products to students. Otten’s H.B. 1954 would require public schools throughout the commonwealth to make period products freely available to students in grades six through 12. Similarly, Innamorato’s legislation aims to provide complimentary pads and tampons in all of Pennsylvania’s public college and university bathrooms. “Pads and tampons are not luxury items; they are necessities that every individual who menstruates needs and deserves access to,” Otten said. “Students in middle school or high school who don’t have access to period products may resort to making their own products out of old clothes or paper towels because they have no other option, and could miss school when these homemade alternatives are unavailable or inadequate. We can and must do better for the children of Pennsylvania and provide them with basic supplies while they’re at school. This is an equity issue. It is not acceptable for someone to miss out on their education because they lack access to these essential products.” “Periods happen, and not having access to basic, hygienic period products shouldn't be a barrier in navigating the Read more
Letter addressed to Gov. Wolf, Sec. McDonnell and Chairwoman Brown Dutrieuille urging them to halt the Mariner East pipeline project. Read more
EXTON, Oct. 5 -- State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, chair of the Pennsylvania House Legislative Climate Caucus and member of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has filed criminal charges against Sunoco Pipeline/Energy Transfer for environmental crimes related to the Mariner East pipeline project: “This morning, PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro came to Marsh Creek State Park to announce 48 criminal charges against Energy Transfer, the developer of the Mariner East II pipeline. The charges, most of which are for releasing industrial waste at 22 sites in 11 counties across the commonwealth, include 22 counts of prohibition of discharge of industrial waste under the Clean Streams Law; 22 counts of prohibition against other pollutions under the Clean Streams Law; two misdemeanor counts of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law; and one felony count of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law for willfully failing to report incidents to the Department of Environmental Protection. “Attorney General Shapiro is sending a clear message to Energy Transfer and other pipeline operators: You cannot operate in Pennsylvania and play by your own set of rules. If you break Pennsylvania law, you will be tried in a criminal courtroom in Pennsylvania. “Today’s announcement would not have been possible without Read more
We were back in Harrisburg for another session week this week. Read more
The House returned to session this week for the first time since June. Read more
As we continue the cleanup from Hurricane Ida, Chester County has compiled resources for residents and businesses affected by the storm. Read more
On Wednesday, Chester County and surrounding areas experienced severe storms from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which led to flash flooding, evacuations, water rescues, and damage to homes. Read more
On Monday, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. Read more
Last week, the US Census Bureau released its data from the 2020 Census. Read more
This Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Energy Transfer’s spill of more than 8,000 gallons of drilling mud of undisclosed composition into the wetland, two tributaries, and the lake at Marsh Creek State Park. Read more
CHESTER COUNTY, AUGUST 11 - Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Sunoco’s massive spill of drilling fluid at its Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site near Marsh Creek State Park. On August 10, 2020, Sunoco spilled approximately 8,000 gallons of industrial waste, impacting Marsh Creek Lake, two tributaries, and a wetland; moreover, approximately 20,000 gallons of drilling fluid remain unaccounted for at the site. One day after the spill, Sunoco experienced a significant subsidence (sinkhole) at this same location, referred to as HDD-290, one of many horizontal direction drilling (HDD) sites with a history of drilling mishaps and recklessness. One year after the spill, no remediation has been done on the lake. Bentonite from the drilling mud continues to sit in the lake, and 33 acres of the 535-acre lake remain off limits to boating, fishing, and other recreation. Bentonite is not naturally occurring in Pennsylvania, and no testing has been done to determine radioactivity of drill cuttings or rule out the presence of PFAS or PFOA chemicals, despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent acknowledgment of the presence of PFAS chemicals in drilling materials. Rather than hold Sunoco accountable, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has appeared to work at the behest of private extraction industry operators instead of prioritizing protection of the freshwater lake, which supplies drinking water Read more
Rep. Otten and Sen. Muth wrote a letter to Gov. Wolf and DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell urging them to hold Sunoco accountable for their spill into Marsh Creek in 2020. Read more
With the return to travel, indoor dining, and relative normalcy this summer, it may have seemed for a short time as though COVID-19 was in our rearview mirrors. Read more
With the beginning of the new school year just about one month away, both the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Health are advising K-12 schools in Pennsylvania to follow the latest CDC guidance around masks in schools. Read more
Although the state House and Senate are in recess, work continues in Harrisburg and around the state. One of the most important processes moving forward right now is the redistricting of our federal and state districts. Read more
During the summer months while the House is not in session, I spend most of my time in the district meeting with constituents and local organizations, as well as traveling the state attending various Policy Committee hearings. Read more
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and many of us begin planning trips and vacations for the first time in a long time, there is no better time than the present to make sure all your travel documents are up to date – whether you are traveling in-state or cross-country by car, flying domestically, or traveling internationally with a passport. Read more
In April 2021, Sunoco submitted major amendment applications for its environmental permits, requesting to change the route and installation method of their Mariner East 2 Pipeline at location HDD290, near Marsh Creek State Park. DEP invited the public to participate in this process through a public comment period. I have serious concerns about several aspects of Sunoco’s proposed reroute of the pipeline, and I submitted the attached public comment urging the DEP to deny these applications. Read more
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