Paying up: Increases in the collection of restitution payments to Westmoreland County crime victims (up 37 percent in 2013) reflect an ongoing trend since Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline took office in 2009. Defendants who miss their payments are summoned to a hearing. That's as it should be. Court-ordered fines and restitution become meaningless if they go uncollected. It's good to see that the buck does indeed stop at Mr. Kline's office.
No news is good news: Three years of water testing at the Beaver Run Reservoir, which serves more than half of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County's 120,000 customers, has turned up no adverse effects linked to nearby Marcellus shale gas wells. Testing is scheduled for a fourth year in the area, where 37 wells have been drilled. All this is encouraging. With gas wells near a vital water supply, there is no substitute for consistent vigilance.
Power to the people: The good news is that the company planning a $500 million gas-fired power plant in South Huntingdon already has negotiated the obstacles that typically hamstring similar projects, according to a regional transmission organization. But the plant developer, Tenaska Inc., is delaying the start of construction until next year as it looks for long-term electricity contracts. With six Pennsylvania coal-fired plants expected to go offline by 2019, this power plant project has taken on added significance.
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