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

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Historic March to Launch Movement for Climate Action

ACTION: Some seats left on the Pittsburgh Climate Express – reserve yours!

With over 1,500 Climate Action Now events taking place around the world, the People’s Climate March on September 21 will be the biggest demonstration for climate action in world history. The New York march will be notable not only for its size but for its diversity, with over a thousand labor, environment, faith and justice groups represented.

See the film “DISRUPTION – A Film About the People’s Climate March

The Sierra Club and Thomas Merton Center have arranged for two buses to leave Pittsburgh early on Sunday morning. There are a few seats left, so please RESERVE YOUR SEAT now.

A Climate Change Lesson from the Ozone Layer

NASA image

The layer of naturally occurring ozone in the atmosphere high above the Earth is a vital shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation.  Fifty years ago chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from aerosols and refrigerants began to deplete the ozone layer and in 1996 the use of global CFCs was banded.  Now a group of scientists from national and international organizations report that the ozone layer is finally recovering.  This is welcome news in itself, but it is also a climate change lesson.  We cannot simply dump CFCs and CO2 into our fragile atmosphere without disastrous consequences. In the CFC case nations acted in time; whether we can still act in time to avoid a tipping point for climate change we will soon know, for greenhouse gas pollution is surging, and reached a carbon equivalent of 397 ppm last month.

Proposed Long-Wall Mining will Affect Ryerson Station State Park

September 17, 2014
1:00 pmto3:00 pm
5:00 pmto7:00 pm

Photo of dry Duke Lake, Ryerson SP. Steven Sunshine, The Center for Public Integrity.

ACTION: Urge DEP to deny a mining permit beneath Polen Run.

Consol Energy has applied for a permit to extend it long-walling mining to beneath Polen Run, which feeds into Ryerson Station State Park. The Center for Coalfield Justice believes that this mining will devastate the stream and its ecosystem, severely reducing if not eliminating recreational opportunities at Ryerson Station State Park. To learn more about this proposal and express concerns, citizens are urged to attend an informal public meeting held by the DEP:

1 – 3 pm, Wednesday, September 17
Ryerson Station Station Park Office
361 Bristoria Rd,
Richill, Pa 15380

If you are unable to attend during the day, the Center for Coalfield Justice will be at the Park Office from 5-7pm to record comments and submit them to the DEP. If you cannot attend either of these sessions, you may add your comments to a letter calling for DEP to deny the permit. For more information, contact Veronica at veronica@coalfieldjustice.org or 724-229-3550.

September is National Wilderness Month

Tionesta Research Natural Area old-growth forest. Photo by Kirk Johnson.

September 3, 2014 marked the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). Today it is hard to image a Congress having such foresight and wisdom as was employed in 1964. Fortunately, President Obama has been able to continue the ‘wilderness tradition’ as he explained in his Proclamation for National Wilderness Month.

Added to the NWPS in 1984, there are two Wilderness Areas in the Allegheny National Forest, Hickory Creek and Allegheny Islands. A 2003 proposal to added another 54,460 acres to the existing 9,000 acres on the 513,000 acre National Forest has not yet won the support of the local Congressman Glenn Thompson, who tends to favor the extractive industries.

Speed Limits, Public’s Climate Concerns, and the “Pittsburgh Climate Change Express”

NASA image

ACTION: Seats are still available on the Pittsburgh Climate Change Express.

Despite a steady stream of evidence that the Earth’s climate is changing, and despite clear evidence that those changes are related to the emission of gases from the use of fossil fuels, the impacts of a changing climate have yet to sink into the public consciousness. For a simple example, the speed limit on portions of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was recently raised from 65 mph to 70 mph without a whisper of how this might increase climate change.

People may be concerned about climate change and its consequences, but it is not yet an immediate concern. In March a national poll placed climate change way down a list of environmental concerns, although in low-lying Florida a July poll found that 71 percent of registered voters were concerned about climate change. (No poll for California?) (more…)

HELP MAKE CLIMATE ACTION HISTORY. Join the People’s Climate March in New York City, Sept. 21

ACTION: Register HERE for a seat on one of our two buses.

On Sunday, September 21, tens of thousands will march in New York City to demand that President Obama, the President of China, and other world leaders attending the UN Climate Summit 2014 on September 23 take action on Climate Change before it is too late.

The Allegheny Group and Thomas Merton Center have arranged for two buses to travel to New York:

  • Our two buses will depart Edgewood Town Center (off the Parkway East) at 3 am.
  • Arrive in New York in time for the 11:30 am start of the March.
  • The March will be less than three miles from Columbus Circle., going over to Sixth Ave, across 42nd Street and finishing on Eleventh Ave.
  • Depart New York about 4 pm and arrive back in Pittsburgh shortly after Midnight.
  • The fare is $68 per passenger. Some scholarships are available – contact Peter at pjwray@verizon.net.

To reserve your seat on the bus register HERE. If you are unable to join us on the bus, you may make a tax-deductible donation with ‘People’s Climate March’ on the Memo line of your check, payable to ‘Allegheny Group Sierra Club’, and mailed to:

Allegheny Group
c/o Sierra Club,
425 N. Craig St. Suite 202,
Pittsburgh PA 15213

For more information, contact Peter at pjwray@verizon.net.

Mining Beneath Ryerson Station State Park

Sierra Club members and friends high and dry at DRYerson event. Photo: V. Coptis

ACTION: Help prevent long-wall mining beneath Ryerson Station State Park. Comment HERE

The 8th Annual DRYerson Festival on August 16 celebrated the Center for Coalfield Justice’s (CCJ) fight to restore the Duke Lake in Ryerson Station State Park. Although there is hope that the collapsed dam will be restored to create the lake anew, there is a new threat to the Greene County park from planned long-wall mining beneath the park. In the agreement with Consol Energy to restore Duke Lake, the State laid the groundwork for the expansion of the Bailey mine Complex under a portion of the park, a mining expansion that could drain streams feeding the new lake. In May the Sierra Club and CCJ filed suit to appeal the DEP permit. The public are urged to send their comments on the DEP permit HERE

Obama Skirting Congress with Move for Global Climate Accord

NASA image

ACTION: Demand climate action at the People’s Climate March, Sept. 21 in NYC

President Obama is working to gain the support of world leaders for a new global effort to curb climate change. Acknowledging that the US Senate is unlikely to ratify a formal treaty, the President aims to combine the legally binding conditions of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol with new voluntary measures. The first round of talks will take place at the UN Climate Summit in New York, Sept. 23 and move on to the UN Climate Change Convention in Paris, December 2015. The immediacy of required global action is emphasized by the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that deals with the risks we face.

Good Fracking News: Growing Opposition – Lake Arthur Victory – DEP Admits Drinking Water Contamination – Couple Able to Sue Township Supervisors

Coming to a State Forest near you? Photo from the PA DEP

Growing Opposition to Fracking. According to Food and Water Watch‘s latest count, the number of communities that have passed measures against fracking has reached 435, spread across the country. Bloomberg News included this count in a description of how the fracking industry is reacting.

Victory for Moraine SP’s Lake Arthur. As the result of a legal challenge the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) has cancelled a needed permit for a proposed Marcellus Shale drilling site in the Lake Arthur watershed. The proposed drilling site was one mile outside the park, but the suit claimed that polluted water from the drilling would drain into waters designated by law as high quality. Thanks go to Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Save Lake Arthur Watershed grassroots citizen group, and attorney Jordan Yeager. (more…)

Corbett’s Fracking Boosterism Ignores Climate Change

Shale gas flaring. Coming to Pittsburgh International Airport.

The scene did not jibe with what is going on elsewhere in the world. With County Executive Rich Fitzgerald serving as Master of Ceremonies, on August 25 officials celebrated the start of fracking at Pittsburgh International Airport. According to WESA, in his remarks Gov. Tom Corbett said that Pennsylvania is “coming after” Texas as the number one natural gas producer. “From number five in the production of natural gas … in the nation, to number two in just about five years,” Corbett said. “We’re number two in the production of electricity and number two in nuclear power generation, because we have adopted an all of the above and below philosophy to creating energy.” (more…)

Marcellus Gas Pipeline Threatens French Creek Watershed.

French Creek State Park Photo: DCNR

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy describes the French Creek watershed north of Pittsburgh as “arguably the most ecologically significant waterway in Pennsylvania”. As part of the ever-expanding pipeline system to transport fracked gas out of Pennsylvania, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 3 mile, 30 inch pipe loop in the Pine Creek headwaters just over the NY state line. Ryan Talbott of the Allegheny Defense Project is quoted as saying “FERC assumes that because the company is boring the pipeline under the stream there are no impacts, but that doesn’t take into account the risks that its construction could go wrong or that it could rupture under the creek”.

Ten Current Reasons to be Hopeful about Tackling Climate Change

ACTION: Join the bus to the Peoples Climate March in NYC, Sept. 21

Avoiding the worst of climate change is challenging, requiring more from ourselves and our leaders, but there are some signs for hope. In a detailed article Karl Mathieson of the Guardian provides ten good signs:

  1. Barack Obama has made it one of his defining issues
  2. China has ordered coal power plants to close
  3. The cost of solar has fallen by two thirds
  4. People are taking their money out of fossil fuels
  5. Bangladeshi women are being retrained as solar technicians
  6. Renewable energy will soon take the lion’s share of new power
  7. European homes are using 15% less energy than they were in 2000
  8. Cutting emissions has become a business imperative
  9. Oil is becoming much more expensive to find
  10. Electric car sales are doubling each year
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