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

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Petition to Place a Hold on Further Fracking of Allegheny County Parks

Shale gas flaring.

The Protect Our Parks coalition is collecting signatures on a petition to bring a citizen-sponsored Ordinance to Allegheny County Council. The purpose of the petition is to place a “hold” on the fracking of our eight remaining county parks now that Deer Lakes Park is leased for fracking! If you are willing to help collect signatures, please contact Joni at 412-241-8359.

Local Protesters to Help Close Down FERC Over LNG Export Facility, Nov. 10

November 10, 2014

Artwork: Mike LaMark

In response to a call for larger, escalated action on climate change a coalition of frontline communities, regional and national organizations, and concerned individuals will take nonviolent direct action in Washington DC during the week of November 1. The target of the action will be the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, specifically calling on FERC to reconsider and withdraw their permit for a dangerous gas export facility at Cove Point LNG plant in Maryland. Transportation is being arranged for Western Pennsylvanians to participate in the action on Friday, Nov. 10 with an overnight stay in DC on Nov. 9. For more information contact Michael Badges-Canning at 724-791-2754 (land) or 724-431-8560 (cell).

Warm Welcome for ‘Climate Action Now’ Marchers as they Crossed Our Region

Marchers and friends with Shenango coke plant across the Ohio. Photo: T. Popovich.

A group of about thirty-five hardy souls spent a week in our area on their march from Los Angeles to Washington DC. Drawing attention to the need for immediate ACTION NOW to avert the climate crisis, they participated in the FrackDown rally in Butler, held a rally on the Northside, met scores of local folk at two potluck dinners, got a snootful of bad air near the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island, shared a quaff at Green Drinks, and talked with students at Seton Hill University. Thanks are due to all the good folk who opened their homes to the marchers, and to Wanda Guthrie, Warwick Powell and many others who helped provide such a warm and well organized welcome to our visitors.

Citizen-Scientists Help Map 1,358 Fracking Wastewater Impoundments in PA

What happens to the approximately sixty percent of the four million gallons per well of water used in fracking that becomes wastewater at the wellhead? This wastewater contains an unknown mix of toxic chemicals, and is either recycled, injected into deep wells, or stored in an impoundment for what might be a long time. The impoundment route has raised serious concerns among communities and environmental groups. (more…)

San Gabriel Mountains NM –Obama Continues to Build his Land Conservation Legacy

In the new San Gabriel Mountains NM. Photo: The Wilderness Society

ACTION: Thank President Obama for preserving another great wild place for the American people.

On October 10 President Obama establishted the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, using his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act. This latest move by the President will protect 350,000 acres of public land in the Angeles National Forest, a rugged area in the San Gabriel mountains near Los Angeles and the largest section of open space in Los Angeles County. This is the twelfth National Monument established by Obama, following the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks NM in New Mexico in June, and it will not be the last according to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Thus the President continues to build an impressive land conservation legacy.

Residents Fight Proposed Walmart in Flood Prone Pine Creek Watershed

Over the years development in the Northern suburbs of Allegheny County has produced severe flooding in the Pine Creek watershed and in communities down to Etna. Much money has been devoted to mitigate that flooding. Residents in McCandless Township are concerned that a proposed Walmart will help undo some of that effort. Below is an article written by Giovanna Bochicchio of the group “Citizens of McCandless”.

The Town of McCandless council recently approved a development plan for a Walmart Supercenter on Blazier Drive, located off of Ingomar and McKnight Roads. The proposed store would be adjacent to several wetlands, Pine Creek, and less than one mile away from the beautiful North Park. (more…)

Obama Helps India with Positive Action on Climate Change

NASA image

One of the major issues discussed at the historic meeting in Washington between President Obama and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was climate change. Although he did not attend the recent U.N. Climate Summit, Modi joined with Obama in expressing his concern about the impact of climate change on India and globally. In specific terms:

  • The two countries will work together toward a successful outcome of U.N. climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015.
  • India will receive $1 billion in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to help India purchase American technology for clean energy projects.
  • Modi also agreed with the need to reduce the emission of the very potent greenhouse gases hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
  • Established anew U.S.-India Partnership for Climate Resilience to help improve climate change adaptation

FERC Approves Cove Point LNG Plant in Maryland

Artwork: Mike LaMark

In a setback for those who prefer promoting renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels, on September 29 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the plans to convert the Cove Point Liquid Natural Gas plant into an LNG exporting facility. The proposal would directly create a new market for frack drillers here in the Marcellus play. The FERC decision was immediately denounced by environmental groups, with EarthJustice and others planning to formally object to FERC’s inadequate consideration of the environmental impact of the LNG exporting plant. (more…)

Connecting Climate Change to Specific Events?

US Drought Map for Sept 30, 2014. Darkest red denotes Exceptional Drought. Compare with map of three years ago for continuation of drought in OK and TX. (http://alleghenysc.org/?p=3089) Source: NOAA

As we become more aware that the global climate is changing it is becoming more common to askIs this particular event directly due to climate change?” In some cases the connection is fairly clear; the thousands of walruses stranded on a beach in northwest Alaska are there because the ice floes they normally use are melting in the warmer arctic sea. The connection is less clear in the case of the historic drought in the southwest U.S. Worsening by the month, a group of scientist report that making a connection between this drought and climate change is difficult, but researchers at Stanford suggest that the warming waters of the Pacific Ocean are creating a huge and persistent air mass that is diverting storms away from California. (more…)

Post-Gazette Tracks DEP’s Dismal Record

Photo: Phil Coleman

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) appears to be losing the public’s trust in its ability to provide environmental protection, especially regarding fracking operations. Apart from the embarrassing resignation of the DEP Secretary following porno Email revelations, there is a record of the DEP’s failure to properly inspect and publicly reveal mishaps related to the fracking industry, an industry that has invested heavily in the Governor’s election campaigns. Under the title “Tracking Marcellus”, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has now performed a public service by cataloging the DEP’s dismal record.

Huge March in New York Sets a New Tone for Action on Climate Change

A sea of Climate Action humanity in New York, Sept. 21. Photo: Mark Dixon.

ACTION. To help curb Climate Change, the EPA’s proposed new rule on emissions from power plants is important. Please submit your comments now.

They went to New York in their thousands; students, grand-parents, union members, community organizers, and faith groups.  Lead by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, Al Gore, the French prime minister, and Jane Goodall, 400,000 of them passed through Times Square in a festooned march that stretched for four miles. Their numbers stunned the organizers and surprised the NYPD. They called on the world’s leaders to ACT NOW on climate change, to move away from our dangerous reliance on fossil fuels, and for protection of the poorest inhabitants of all nations. This was the largest demonstration for social action in many years, and was the strongest call for action on climate change ever. (more…)

Sierra Club Endorses Re-Election of Dan Frankel to the State House

In recognition of his strong support on environmental issues over the years, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club has announced its endorsement of Dan Frankel in the upcoming General Election. Rep. Frankel currently represents citizens in the 23rd District, which includes Hazelwood, Squirrel Hill, and parts of Oakland and Point Breeze.

Ten Current Reasons to be Hopeful about Tackling Climate Change

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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