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Pittsburgh’s First Ever Climate Action Rally, June 21

June 21, 2015
2:00 pmto3:30 pm

NASA image

Bring your friends, family, workmates, water bottles, and hand-made signs to demonstrate the need for action on the global climate crisis.

On the day of the Summer Solstice show your concern about the climate crisis by participating in Pittsburgh’s first ever Climate Action rally. Following music by the Squirrel Hill Billies, Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman will present the proclamation of June 21 as Climate Action Day. Dr. Patti DeMarco will make introductory remarks followed by Wanda Guthrie, Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, Veronica Coptis, Chris Bangs, and Joylette Portluck. Mayor Bill Peduto will provide the concluding remarks, after which we will walk with hand-made signs to different locations to demonstrate and to distribute leaflets.

2:00 pm, Sunday, June 21
East Park, Allegheny Commons
Intersection of Cedar Ave and Lockhart Street

Organized by ‘Pittsburgh350′, the list of co-sponsors for the rally currently includes: Allegheny Defense Project, Allegheny Group – Sierra Club, Citizens Climate Lobby, Clean Water Action, Divest Pittsburgh, Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, GASP, Mountain Watershed Association, Nature Abounds, Pennsylvania Chapter–Sierra Club, SEIU35BJ, Solarize Allegheny, and the Thomas Merton Center.

To RSVP or for more information contact Peter Wray at pjwray@verizon.net with ‘Climate Action Rally’ on the subject line.

Deer Lakes Park ‘Fracking Watchdogs’

POP members and local residents at May 30 picnic in Deer Lakes Park.

Members of Protect Our Parks (POP) and local residents gathered at a picnic in Deer Lakes Park on May 30 to launch a ‘watchdog’ campaign for the imminent fracking operations beneath the park. For months POP lobbied Allegheny County Council to reject County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s proposal to approve the lease of the gas rights beneath the park. Now POP members and local residents will watch the fracking operations for air and water pollution, signs of drilling-related activity within the park, unusual levels of light or noise, dangerous operation of trucks on neighboring roads, etc. To be a Deer Lakes Park Watchdog click HERE and to read some related blogs click HERE.

EPA Sets Rule to Ensure Safer Drinking Water for Millions

ACTION: Thank President Obama by clicking HERE.

In a move to clarify which streams and wetlands fall under the Clean Water Act, on May 27 the EPA introduced a final rulethat ensures waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier, and faster for businesses and industry”. Involving 20 million acres of wetlands, the rule was welcomed by environmentalists and anglers. It was not unexpectedly opposed by Speaker Boehner and developers, with concerns expressed by farmers. Despite the rule being finalized after over a million comments were submitted, opposing Congressional action is likely.

Obama Moves to Protect Bees

Artwork: M LaMark

On May 19 the Obama administration addressed the critical problem of diminishing bee colonies by introducing a national strategy for honey bees and other pollinators. Greeted with criticism that it ignores the effect of pesticides, the key strategic goals are:

  • Reduce honey bee colony losses during winter (overwintering mortality) to no more than 15% within 10 years.
  • Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies
  • Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next 5 years

Statewide Fracking Bans: A Tale of Two Nations

Riding the shale gas treadmill. Photo from the PA DEP

Following the example of New York, on May 29 the Republican Governor of Maryland put aside his veto power and instead signed a bill setting a moratorium on fracking in the state for 30 months. The bill passed the House 102-34 and the Senate 45-2. What do these legislators know that the folk in Texas and Oklahoma don’t know? Fearing the spread of local zoning decisions banning fracking, on May 18 the Governor of Texas signed a statewide law banning local bans. On the same day the Governor of Oklahoma signed a bill that prohibits any local authority from banning fracking, despite the experience of earthquakes associated with fracking.

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.

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.

‘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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