Enjoy, Explore, and Protect the Planet Sierra Club Allegheny Group, Pennsylvania Chapter

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“Protect Deer Lakes Park Day”, Saturday, May 30

May 30, 2015
11:00 amto2:00 pm
11:00 amto2:00 pm

Despite a strong citizens campaign to prevent this from happening, within a few weeks fracking will begin beneath Deer Lakes Park. The group that fought the County Executive and a majority of County Council to prevent this fracking operation is continuing to protect the Park.

‘Protect Our Parks’ encourages concerned citizens to “enjoy the park while it lasts” and learn how they can serve as “watch Dogs” during the fracking operations. Please join us at a picnic:

Saturday, May 30
Gather at 11 am, eat at noon, rally at 1 pm
Trout Shelter
Deer Lakes County Park
1090 Bailey Run Road, Tarentum, PA 15084

Pot-luck and BYO for food (no alcohol). At the picnic folk will learn what to keep track of once the drilling operations start, and how any suspicious incidents can be reported. Be a Fracking Watch Dog, with or without a leashed pet.

For further information send your request HERE.

Enviros Call for Ban on ‘Bomb Trains’ until Communities can be Properly Protected

ACTION. Tell President Obama to immediately ban unsafe tankers.

Bomb trains” is an expression for railroad tankers carrying the highly flammable Bakken oil. Every day numerous “bomb trains” pass through our region on their way from North Dakota to the East Coast, trains that are susceptible to derailment and spills. Nation-wide there were a record number of oil train spills in 2014. And the danger is more than a spill, as the conflagrations in Quebec and West Virginia demonstrate. In response, On May 1 the federal Dept. of Transportation issued a finalized set of rules to strengthen the oil tankers over the next ten years. On May 14 EarthJustice along with others including the Sierra Club challenged the DOT rules in court, arguing that they are inadequate, and that until communities are properly protected “the shipment of explosive crude oil in unsafe tankers” should be banned immediately.

Obama Takes Big Risk by Letting Shell Drill in the Arctic

On May 11 the Obama Administration allowed Royal Dutch Shell to go ahead with a multi-year Exploration Plan for the Chukchi Sea off the northerly coast of Alaska. Environmentalists have long opposed such a move, pointing out the risks of drilling in this dangerous part of the world, and being fearful of Shell’s record of past failures. The Sierra Club decried this “dirty energy project” and its effect of climate change. On May 14 a Shell drilling rig arrived in Seattle to the protests of local activist who take pride in the ‘green’ reputation of their city. If Shell’s drilling operation suffers any accidents, then it will be the President’s environmental legacy that suffers.

Is Barging Coal Ash up the Mon to a Modified Landfill the Best Solution?

May 21, 2015
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

The coal ash produced at a power station is bad stuff. Until last year FirstEnergy dumped ash from its Bruce Mansfield plant in Beaver County into the Little Blue Run lagoon, but local activists put an end to that. Now FirstEnergy wants to barge its coal ash up the Mon to a modified landfill at its Hatfield’s Ferry plant in Monongahela Twp, Greene County Citizens are urged to attend the DEP hearing:

6:00 to 8:00 pm, Thursday, May 21
Carmichaels High School
300 West Carmichaels, PA 15320

This will be an open question and answer format with representatives from DEP and FirstEnergy taking questions on the proposal and the process for permit modification being requested by the company. Written comments may be submitted to the Southwest Region Waste Management Program by June 2nd addressed to Waste Management Program Manager, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Local Peregrine Falcon Playing Major Role in Species Restoration

At the age of 16 Dorothy is not a youngster, but on May 9 the peregrine falcon laid her first egg of the season on April 2 in her nest on Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning and the fourth egg on April 9. As Jill St John points out, what is remarkable is not just Dorothy’s age but the fact that since the first fledgling in 2002 Dorothy has given birth to more than forty falcons, contributing significantly to the restoration of this important raptor in our region.

Barbara Daly Danko, 1953-2015

It was back in the summer of 2013 when many members of the local environmental community first became aware of Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko. The issue before Allegheny County Council was the proposed fracking beneath Deer Lakes Park. Councilwoman Danko quickly became the key opponent of this proposal, calling for a 3-yr moratorium on fracking in County parks. She also opposed fracking at Pittsburgh airport. After fracking under Deer lakes was approved in May 2014 Councilwoman Danko lent her support to a citizens’ petition to place a 2-yr hold on fracking of any additional parks. Throughout this long campaign against the invested powers, we learned of Councilwoman Danko’s intelligence, tenacity, and courage. County Council and the citizens of Allegheny County lost a true friend when Barbara Daly Danko died from recurring cancer on May 6, during her bid for re-election to County Council.

NOTE: Barbara’s name will remain on the May 19 ballot and in accord with her wishes voters in District 11 are urged to still vote for her. If Barbara wins that vote, it will be the responsibility of the members of the Democratic Committee in that District to select a person to fill the vacant seat on County Council.

CO2 Atmospheric Concentration Passes the 400 ppm Mark

Source: NOAA

As the man-made emission of greenhouse gases continues with global carbon dioxide concentrations increasing at a yearly rate of over 2 parts per million, it was only a question of time before the monthly average concentration of CO2 in the global atmosphere surpassed 400 ppm. That time arrived in March when the scientists at NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network measured a 400 ppm global monthly CO2 atmospheric concentration for the first time. Passing the 400 ppm mark is a clear warning as NASA scientists have said. What is a reasonably ‘safe’ level to avoid a catastrophic rises in the global temperature is 350 ppm according to former NASA scientist James Hansen and colleagues. How to get back down from the 400 ppm level is the challenge before the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December.

Denmark Calls Halt to Fracking Exploration

Photo: Phil Coleman

Although it produces natural gas from its off-shore wells, Denmark does not have any fracking operations. The Danish government has allowed the French company Total to conduct exploratory hydro-fracturing tests to see if exporting fracked gas is a viable option for this country that maintains a ‘green’ reputation. On March 23 a small group of anti-fracking activists met in Pittsburgh with a delegation of Danish city mayors and council members to explain what risks are attached to pursuing fracking. Imagine our surprise when after only one day of exploratory drilling by Total, on May 6 the Danish government halted the tests because Total used “unauthorized chemicals”. Stay tuned.

Fracking Opponent Runs for Butler County Commissioner

In December 2013 the environmental activism of Michael Bagdes-Cannings and his wife caught the attention of the National Catholic Reporter. Not only do the Bagdes-Canning’s practice what they preach about environmentalism in their daily lives, they appreciate the need for political engagement. That engagement goes beyond advocating for fracking-free communities as leaders of Marcellus Outreach Butler but Michael is currently Vice President of the Cherry Valley Borough Council. As a Green Party Candidate, in November Michael hopes to win a seat on the Butler County Board of Commissioners.

Endorsed Candidates for May 19 Primary

After a thoughtful review of the completed candidate questionnaires and following personal interviews of the candidates, the Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club has wholeheartedly endorsed the following ten candidates in the May 12 Primary Election. Support for these worthy candidates is encouraged.

For Pittsburgh City Council:

  • District 3: Bruce Kraus (Incumbent)

For Pittsburgh City Controller

For Allegheny County Council

  • District 11: Barbara Daly Danko (Recommendation still stands for the Primary vote.  See explanation. )
  • District 13 – Dan Connolly (Open Seat)

For Allegheny County Controller

For Mount Lebanon Commissioner –

‘Hard to Recycle’ and ‘Household Chemical’ Collection Events In 2015

Again the Pennsylvania Resources Council is managing collections of e-waste, household chemicals, materials for reuse and more in Southwestern PA.

Hard-to-Recycle Collections. Individuals can drop off “e-waste” such as computers, cell phones, printer/toner cartridges, CFLs and expandable polystyrene packaging material at no cost. For a nominal fee, individuals can drop off alkaline batteries, fluorescent tubes, small Freon appliances and tires. For detailed questions call 412-773-7156 or click HERE.

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