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

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After Keystone Pipeline – No More Oil & Gas Leasing on Federal Lands

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, CA Source: BLM

ACTION: Urge our Senators Casey and Toomey to co-sponsor the ‘Keep it in the Ground Act, S.2238).


We, the people, own huge tracts of land in the Bureau of Land Management areas out west, in our National Forests and National Parks closer to home, in our National Monuments, and under marine sanctuaries. We hold the mineral leases under most of those lands and waters. On November 4 Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Keep it in the Ground Act of 2015, with co-sponsors Boxer, Cardin, Gillibrand, Leahy, Sanders, and Warren. S.2238 would prohibit new and non-producing leases for coal, oil, gas, shale, and tar sands extraction on federal land as well as prevent drilling in the outer Continental Shelf.

ALCOSAN Rejects Green Solution in Favor of Drop Shafts to Solve Stormwater/Sewage Problem

On the morning of November 19th, members of the Clean Rivers Campaign, Riverlife, Bike Pittsburgh, PCRG, the Parks Conservancy, Pittsburgh United, and other community, labor, and faith allies stood together for a press conference exposing for the first time ALCOSAN’s new tunnel and drop shaft plan as a solution to the storm water/sewage problem. Joined by Kevin Acklin, Chief of Staff to Mayor Peduto, the participants covered Allegheny Landing with 8,000 square feet of black tarp to demonstrate the devastating impact ALCOSAN’s plan will have on our riverfronts. In a supporting statement Grant Oliphant of the Heinz Endowments called ALCOSAN’s “maddening” plan disruptive and expensive. The press conference followed protest of ALCOSAN’s plan at the previous evening’s Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network meeting attended by over one thousand at the Rodef Shalom synagogue in Oakland.

Youths Win Legal Right for Protection from Climate Change.

On November 19 King County Superior Court judge in Washington state ruled that for eight youthful petitioners their “very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming…before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.” This is precedent setting judgment in a series of lawsuits by teenagers and supported by Our Children’s Trust. In Pennsylvania a similar law suit was filed in Commonwealth Court against Gov. Wolf and the DEP. The legal action also supports the call for strong action by the U.S. at the Paris talks.

Pittsburgh City Council Hearing: Burden of Drop Shaft Plan on ALCOSAN’s 2016 Budget, Nov. 24

November 24, 2015
10:00 amto12:00 pm

The Clean Rivers Campaign is calling on Pittsburgh residents and ratepayers to attend a hearing on ALCOSAN’s 2016 budget. At issue is ALCOSAN’s exorbitant plan to solve the storm water and sewage overflow with expensive concrete drop shafts and tunnels instead of adopting a greener and less costly solution.

10 am, Tuesday, November 24
City Council Chambers 5th Floor
Pittsburgh City County Building,
414 Grant Street Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Citizens Turn Out for Hearings on EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Artwork: Mike LaMark

All the speaker slots at the EPA’s hearing on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) closed a couple of days before the event at the end of last week. The 160 speakers were predominately in favor of the plan which calls for Pennsylvania to establish ways to achieve reductions in carbon emissions from power plants.

Comments on the proposed Clean Power Plan must be received by January 21, 2016. Be sure to reference Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0199. (more…)

Pittsburgh Suburb Keeps Fracking at Bay – for Now

Churchill fracking meeting

Crowd at Nov 9 hearing in Churchill. Photo: P. Wray

Open spaces like parks and golf courses are among the few places where fracking can occur in the densely populated communities close to frack-free City of Pittsburgh.  In Churchill the municipal zoning of the area that included the former Churchill Valley Country Club allowed fracking to take place.  As is not uncommon, there was the temptation for the borough council members to view fracking operations as a fresh source of revenue. But residents were having none of it, and on November 9 in a church hall borrowed for the special occasion an over-flow crowd heard residents one-by-one cite numerous reasons for stopping fracking in this primarily residential suburb. With a 6-0 vote council amended the zoning ordinance and saved the old golf course area for residential development.

Hickory Creek Wilderness Trail Stewardship, Nov. 27 and 28

ANF streamHere is an chance to avoid the crowds and commercialism of the “Black Friday” weekend. The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness is cleaning up the trail in the Hickory Creek Wilderness area on Allegheny National Forest. Volunteers will leave from the Hickory Creek Wilderness trailhead on Hearts Content Road on Friday afternoon, spend Friday and Saturday nights in the wilderness, and hike out on Sunday. This is a fun and rewarding way to experience the natural beauty of the Hickory Creek Wilderness first-hand and help give back to a part of America’s National Wilderness Preservation System. For details call Friends of Allegheny Wilderness at 814-723-0620 or Email info@pawild.org.

Climate Activists Welcome Obama’s Rejection of Keystone Pipeline

After years of study and controversy, on November 6 President Obama took the advice of Sec. State John Kerry and formally announced that the Keystone XL Pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States”. Welcomed by the thousands of activists such as those Pittsburghers who went to Washington in February 2013, this action is yet another step by the President to establish a solid record of environmental protection, and to prepare for a leadership role at the COP21 Paris climate conference in December. But as Bill McKibben of 350.org wrote after the good news, there is still work to be done, and the rejection can still be overturned by a future president. For a detailed account of the role of the environmental movement in Obama’s arriving at this point see the Politico article.

Urge Local GOP Congressmen to Sign on to Climate Resolution

NASA image

ACTION: Urge Congressmen Mike Kelly, Tim Murphy, and Keith Rothfus, to co-sign Rep. Chris Gibson’s ‘environmental stewardship’ resolution.

As Republican candidates in the Presidential race deny a need for action on the climate crisis, on September 17 eleven Republican members of Congress signed a resolution that acknowledged not only the existence of climate disruption but also the fact that human activities have an impact. Introduced by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), the co-signers included three Pennsylvanian Republicans – Ryan Costello (Chester Co.), Michael Fitzpatrick (Bucks Co. ), and Patrick Meehan (Delaware Co.). (more…)

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