Environmental News

A Few Seats Remain on the Buses to DC March on Saturday




On Saturday, April 29, three buses will take folk from SW Pennsylvania to the Peoples Climate March in Washington DC.  THE BUSES ARE FILLING FAST  – DON’T MISS THIS CHANCE to join the thousands who will RESIST Trump’s attack on the environment and the health of our communities.

  • You may now REGISTER HERE to secure your seat on the bus to DC.
  • Make sure you enter the phone number in the format 4121236789.
  • When you click on Submit you will be asked to pay to the GoFundMe account.
  • The basic fare is $10, but to help cover the actual cost per seat of $55 an extra contribution in any amount would be appreciated.


Two ‘Pittsburgh’ buses will leave from the Edgewood Towne Centre in Swissvale. The ‘Washington PA’ bus will leave from the Park’n Ride site near the I79 Beau Street exit.

All buses load at 4:15 am and depart at 4:30 am. With a rest stop on the way, we expect to arrive at the staging area at 11 am and the event will start at noon. Buses will leave Washington DC about 5 pm.


The organizers wish thank all who have contributed financially towards the cost of the three buses, especially those who are not passengers, and including 350 Pittsburgh, the Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club, the Group Against Smog and Pollution, Marcellus Protest, and SEIU 57.

Friends who are unable to go to the DC march but wish to make a contribution may do so at CONTRIBUTE HERE.

“Going Solar” Event at the Frick Environmental Center, April 27

While the ‘climate deniers’ rule in the White House, citizens across Pennsylvania are moving towards solar energy with more than 11,000 solar installations already in place. For a presentation and all the information you need, you are invited to a special event:

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Thursday, April 27
Frick Environmental Center
2005 Beechwood Blvd., Pittsburgh

Meet experienced solar installers and solar owners, and learn about interesting sustainability features at the Frick Environmental Center.  Registration is requested.

Sponsored by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Conservation Consultants, 350 Pittsburgh, and Solarize Allegheny.

Trump’s Climate Policy Legally Challenged by 17 States, but not PA

On March 27 Donald Trump ordered Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, to review and revise the measures set in place by Barack Obama to reduce the emission of GHG emissions. A central target of these measures is the Clean Power Plan. Following Trump’s order, the EPA asked the US court of appeals in DC to delay proceedings related to the Clean Power Plan while the Obama regulations are being reviewed

In a counter move, on April 5 the attorneys general of seventeen states asked the to reject EPA’s request for a delay. Leading the … was New York’s attorney general, who argued ““In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump Administration must replace those protections, as well — and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around.“

Pennsylvania’s attorney general was not among those of the seventeen states filing the motion

Chatham University Moves Towards Divestment

Of all the universities, non-profits, endowed foundations, pension funds, etc., in Pittsburgh, only Phipps Conservatory has shed fossil fuel stock from its investment portfolio. Now Chatham University shows signs of joining Phipps, as the investment committee recommended to the Board of Trustees moving away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable fuels.

Initiated by students, this is a significant move for the nascent fossil fuel divestment movement in Pittsburgh. May Carnegie Museums, CMU, Pitt, UPMC, etc., soon follow suit.

Sierra Club O&G Small Grant Program

The Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club has announced two new small-grant programs for local groups conducting campaigns related to the oil and gas industry. The litigation program provides grants to pay counsel, file pleadings and motions, conduct discovery, obtain transcripts, retain expert witnesses, and otherwise participate meaningfully in court or administrative proceedings. The organizational program enables groups to conduct research, organize meetings, provide information to members and the public, advocate their concerns, and engage the media. The maximum amount of each grant is $2,500.

For further information contact Thomas Au at thomxau@gmail.com.

Message to the Trump Administration: 2016 Was Earth’s Hottest Year on Record



President Trump, please take note, “the globally averaged temperature for 2016 was the highest since record keeping began in 1880”. 2016 was hotter than 2015 and 2015 was hotter than 2014, due in large part to wormer ocean surface temperatures. Sixteen of the 17 record years have occurred since 2000.

In the US 2016 was the second hottest year on record, with 15 ‘weather disasters’ causing $46B in damage. For Pittsburgh 2016 was the second warmest year in the 69 years of record keeping, being 3.0 DegF above the 1981-2010 average.average

According to the World Meteorological Office, the largest contributors to the rising temperatures continue to be man-made greenhouse gases like CO2, resulting in acidification of the oceans and minimum ice caps in the polar oceans.

Gorsuch Could be Bad for the Environment

Regardless of which tactical path the Democrats follow, it seems mostly likely that Neil Gorsuch will become the next member of the U.S. Supreme Court. This will not cheer environmental groups like the Sierra Club, who fear that this judge will favor corporations over the environment. In a statement on Twitter Sen. Casey (D-PA) said in part:

“I am concerned that far right groups presented an edict to Donald Trump when he was a candidate, demanding that he select a nominee from their approved list. These same organizations have pushed for legal rulings that rig the system in favor of big corporations and against workers, stacking the deck against everyday Pennsylvanians.”

Let your U.S. Senators know what your think:
    Pat Toomey at Phone: (412) 803-3501 or Fax: (412) 803-3504
    Bob Casey at Phone: (412) 803-7370 or Fax: (412) 803-7379

Keystone XL Pipeline is NOT a Done Deal – Send Trump a Message

Starting with support for the rally in Washington DC in February 2013, Pittsburgh’s environmental community has seen the Keystone XL Pipeline as a major symbol of what is wrong with our national energy policy. Citing climate change, on Sept. 6, 2015 President Obama rejected the pipeline. Since then we have opposed the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. On January 24 President Trump signed an executive order that reopens the discussion of whether these pipeline should be built or completed, much to the consternation of groups like the Sierra Club.

Because the actual consequences of Trump’s action are unclear, sending a personal message to President Trump will be timely.

Why there is uncertainty about Trump’s executive order is explained by Duncan Meisel of 350.org:

  • He did *not* approve Keystone XL or Dakota Access. He briefly succeeded in confusing a lot of people on this point
  • On DAPL he told the Army Corps of Engineers to “consider” revoking the environmental review placed on it by the Obama Administration.
  • On Keystone XL, he invited TransCanada to re-apply and if they do, mandated a final decision on the pipeline within 60 days and waived input from environmental agencies.
  • And when TransCanada does re-apply, they no longer have permits in Nebraska, and their permits in South Dakota are being challenged.
  • Trump also placed conditions on approval of the pipelines — like limiting oil exports, and determining where the steel comes from — that the oil companies might not accept.

Allegheny Group Preserves Selected Federal Climate Information

The Trump Administration intends to remove all references to climate change from Federal Government web sites.

To protest this action, the Allegheny Group has preserved selected climate information from the NOAA web sites.

You can view the NOAA home page (as of January 25, 2017) at:


NOAA’s climate page (as of January 19, 2017) at:

NOAA Climate

Silence Is Consent: Solidarity With All People Fighting Oppression

In 1967 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave a sermon in which he said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.

In my new role as the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Justice at the Sierra Club, I have a lot of conversations that begin with questions like, “Why should the Sierra Club get involved in issues outside of the environmental movement? Why are we speaking out about Black Lives Matter, or the Fight for $15? What does this have to do with us?”

Whenever I hear these questions, I reflect on Dr. King’s quote. What does it mean to stand silently by while members of our community are suffering? For me, silence is consent.

That’s why the Sierra Club can’t and won’t be silent. This is more true than ever in the wake of an election that has left the progressive movement reeling, and people with marginalized identities in fear for their safety.

As an organization, we do not consent to the violence visited upon the bodies of Black people in the United States. We do not consent to the exploitation of workers, or to attacks on voting rights for disenfranchised people, or to the theft of land from indigenous people. We do not consent to injustice or the oppression of any people, anywhere.

We also do not consent to the normalization of white supremacy that Donald Trump’s election represents. As a person of color living in the United States, I do not labor under the illusion that the virulent hatred Trump has unleashed is a new phenomenon. This ugliness has been part of our community all along – the election just exposed it to the light. Regardless, the Sierra Club will not sit idly by as our volunteers, our staff, and our friends and neighbors are deported, persecuted for their religious beliefs, or denied control over their own bodies and lives.

The Sierra Club strives to be in solidarity with the powerful network of activists and organizers united in the fight against oppression. We are working inside the Sierra Club to become a more inclusive, equitable, and justice-oriented organization, and we seek to learn from the experiences of others on this path.

Our mission statement says that the Sierra Club will “enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.” On November 8th, the human and social environment in which we live got a whole lot less safe and healthy for a lot of folks. Donald Trump’s election threatens the safety and social support of millions of our friends and neighbors. It is our mission, our obligation and our moral imperative to speak up, to lend our resources, and to show up in solidarity with people fighting for justice wherever we can.

This is a dark and difficult time for many of us. It would be easy to retreat, keep our heads down and focus narrowly on what are traditionally known as “our issues.” But justice, equity, and inclusion are our issues. We have a duty to stand with those who are facing persecution on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexuality or other marginalized identity. Solidarity is our only hope of creating the world we want to live in.

If you, like me, don’t consent to oppression, racism and hatred, then don’t be silent. Educate yourself about how you can show up for the LGBTQ community. Find your local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice and attend a meeting or a rally. Challenge hate speech when you hear it. Write to your local elected leaders and ask them to stand with immigrants and undocumented people in your community. Leverage the resources, influence, and power of organizations in your own life to lift up equity, justice, and inclusion. Now is the time to engage. We don’t have a moment to waste.

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