CPAR

Citizens to Protect the

Ambridge Reservoir

In this op-ed, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. of Hip Hop Caucus explores and explains why the destruction of our planet means greater harm to Black and marginalized communities.

By Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr.


JUN 22, 2020 - the disparate affects of climate change on marginalized communities

 

ALEJANDRA BALLESTEROS


When it comes to climate change, we’re inching dangerously close to the point of no return. This is what the world’s climate scientists have been saying for more than a few years. But since the problem is so vast, it’s easy to blow it off, burying your head in the sand and hoping it goes away on its own. So we wanted to offer some helpful tips on what you can do in your daily lives to put a dent in the climate change crisis. We hope to shed some light on the urgency of the problem through thoughtful deep dives that explore the systems and industry practices that exacerbate the problem and explore their social and ecological impacts. Within the series, you might also find some inspiring ways you can start to help make Earth more green and, hopefully, begin to turn back the clock on climate change.

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In January of this year — before the pandemic — I was arrested for occupying a Chase bank on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. I was there with a handful of fellow activists to launch Stop The Money Pipeline, an effort to get to the root of the climate crisis — the money that props up the fossil fuel industry. Jane Fonda was outside the bank, rooting us on.

 

Seriously. The police didn’t rough me up (this time) before putting us into a city jail cell. My brother Bill McKibben — one of the climate movement’s most effective advocates — was locked up with me. He pointed out that the city jail is a much different place than the relatively comfortable holding rooms that the Capitol Hill police use.

We were sharing a cell with three young Black men who weren’t more than 20 years old. I was the only Black person among the climate activists, and with all the other activists being white, it was not a collection of people you typically see in Washington D.C. central booking.

Our Radioactive Secrets

Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year. An investigation shows how it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America

By Justin Nobel

Rolling Stone 

In 2014, a muscular, middle-aged Ohio man named Peter took a job trucking waste for the oil-and-gas industry.  The hours were long — he was out the door by 3 a.m. every morning and not home until well after dark — but the steady $16-an-hour pay was appealing, says Peter, who asked to use a pseudonym. “This is a poverty area,” he says of his home in the state’s rural southeast corner. “Throw a little money at us and by God we’ll jump and take it.” Click to continue

Shell YouTrube.png
Shell plastics plant Trump touted faces oversupply risks: energy institute report

FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump tours the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca.

Timothy Gardner

Pennsylvania, U.S. August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A massive Pennsylvania plastics project that President Donald Trump touted during a visit last year faces risks of oversupply and a low price outlook for the materials, a report by an institute that examines energy issues said on Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Petrochemical Complex plant in Beaver County, owned by Shell, has been promoted by some as an economic savior in a region still suffering from the demise of steel industry in the 1980s.

But the $6 billion to $10 billion plant, expected to open in 2021 or 2022, faces competition from other major plants owned by companies like Exxon Mobil, expected growth in recycled plastics, and the sluggish global economy, according to the report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which supports the transition to green energy.

“A lot of people think it’s the second coming of the steel industry ... but this is way too weak of a proposition and a questionable economic development choice,” Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA director of finance and former first deputy comptroller of New York state, said. Sanzillo hopes local officials and investors will ask questions about the plant.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the short-term outlook for the chemicals business is challenging, but long-term demand for petrochemical products will grow. The project is advantaged given its proximity to abundant, inexpensive feedstock, Smith said, referring to the region’s natural gas and ethane.

Trump won Pennsylvania in the 2016 election by less than 1 percentage point and has visited the state often ahead of the November vote.

“This is just the beginning,” Trump told thousands of building workers wearing yellow vests at the plant last August. “My administration is clearing the way for other massive, multibillion-dollar investments.” He said the project would have never happened without him, although its final permits were issued before he was elected.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shell’s Plastics Plant Outside Pittsburgh Has Suddenly Become a Riskier Bet, IEEFA Study Concludes

 

A new study from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns that Shell will be making less plastic and less money while facing increasingly stiff competition. That means the company won't likely be able to hire as many workers and will contribute less to the local economy, IEEFA concludes. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Local

Groups

Protest

Demonstrators converged at the Beaver County courthouse on August 13 to coincide with President Trump's visit to the Shell cracker plant on the Ohio River.

Royal Dutch Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant was Trump's backdrop to champion "new jobs" and the fossil-fuel industry. And Shell was "very exited" to have Trump do it, a representative telling local broadcaster KDKA that the visit was a chance "to showcase all the good work" that Shell is doing.

 

Although, the cracker plant will produce 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, Trump's EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, told local WTAE that it would be okay.  When asked about Shell's production of new plastic (the very purpose of a cracker plant) in light of world-wide concerns about plastic pollution, Wheeler bypassed the point, responding that US-manufactured plastic would leave less carbon because it didn't have to be shipped from overseas. He didn't discuss the carbon footprint of plastic exports.

For their part, environmental activists and community leaders in the Ohio Valley region are uneasy not only about the impact that the Shell plant will have on the local community, but also by efforts to bring similar projects into the larger area. Such concerns go beyond Trump's embrace of the fossil-fuel industry. Trump is driving to deregulate such industries. His EPA will only measure each plant's emissions (which are approved at notably higher levels than in the past) instead of measuring the cumulative pollution in the zone. Choosing to grow a wider petrochemical industry in the Ohio Valley is a nightmare health scenario.

 

For the latest information about the impact of the Shell plant, see "Letter to a President", "New Chart Shows Shell Cracker Impact on Health at Various Beaver County Locations" and "The Fracking Endgame" all of which are available in the stories below.

The Beaver County demonstration addressed many concerns beyond environmental issues. Its sponsors included Move On, Democratic Volunteers of Beaver County, Southwest PA NOW, Womens March on Washington Pittsburgh, Indivisible Pittsburgh, Partners for Progress Southwest PA, People Over Petro Coalition, 12th CD Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America, Cease Fire PA, Progress PA, Beaver County Voice for Change, Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community, Beaver County Peace Links, Breathe Project, Beaver County Democrat Committee, and Beaver County Young Democrats.

New Chart Shows Shell Cracker Impact on

Health at Various Beaver County Locations

The shaded box on the left side of the graphic displays the detrimental effects of exposure at various levels. The other box highlights some exposure levels that will be experienced around Beaver County.

Want to learn more? There are two new items posted by the SWP Environmental Health Project:

"Health Risks of Living in Close Proximity to Oil and Gas Development" by Anne C. Epstein, MD shows impacts around the country--including Beaver County.

"Hydraulic Fracturing: Experiences with Clinical Evaluations" by Michael Gary Abesami, MD is a more technical look a the links between fracking chemicals and chronic illnesses.

Links to papers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Pittsburgh region's air quality gets an "F" grade

by Dan Hopey, 4/24/2019

Download the

New Report from Food & Water Watch

The Municipal Ordinance Project

Fighting Fracking at the Local Level

Info from Food and Water Watch

UN Report

Climate Warming: The World Must Act Now

Pipeline Explosion Rocks Center Township

Early morning ball of fire prompts evacuations, warnings

And click on

Falcon Pipeline

at top of page

Op-Ed: Beaver County Pipeline Explosion

How to Prevent Future Catastrophes

By Jacquelyn Bonomo 

Residents of Center Township, Beaver County, narrowly avoided a catastrophe on Sept. 10. A newly constructed natural gas pipeline ruptured, causing a terrifying explosion and fire that destroyed a house and several garages and vehicles.

Although it’s a great relief that no one was injured, we must still consider what we can do to prevent a similar occurrence, or worse, in the future.

It’s easy to chalk the explosion up as an accident. The ruptured pipeline was caused by a landslide, an unintentional, chance occurrence. We can’t prepare for that. Not true. If office towers can be built in cities prone to earthquakes, pipeline operators can prepare for landslides and minimize their impact.

In this instance, the pipeline owner, Energy Transfer Corporation, had installed the proper erosion and sedimentation controls, but they were not working at the time. That’s what Jim Shaner, executive director of the Beaver County Conservation District, the agency responsible for inspecting ETC’s pipeline construction procedures, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. So, lax safety practices by ETC, which also owns the problem-plagued Mariner East 2 pipeline, offset the safeguards in place, assuming those “safeguards” are enough.

But isn’t a landslide an act of God? Not much we can do to prevent that. Again, not true. The landslide was caused by intense rains during the previous four days. Experts are attributing the heavy rains and flooding we’ve been experiencing this summer to climate change — an act of man. Furthermore, climate science is signaling a much wetter future for our region, so land saturation and flooding from more frequent and more intense rainfall is coming.

No, this near-disaster cannot be dismissed as an accident or an act of God. The real culprit here is bad public policy and misguided economic development investments. For decades, policymakers of both parties have refused to allocate enough funding to the state agencies responsible for permitting and monitoring pipeline construction, and protecting our health and the environment. Furthermore, investing in gas, and not renewable and clean energy, is shortsighted, reckless and, as the Center Township explosion demonstrates, dangerous.

But isn’t a landslide an act of God? Not much we can do to prevent that. Again, not true. The landslide was caused by intense rains during the previous four days. Experts are attributing the heavy rains and flooding we’ve been experiencing this summer to climate change — an act of man. Furthermore, climate science is signaling a much wetter future for our region, so land saturation and flooding from more frequent and more intense rainfall is coming.

No, this near-disaster cannot be dismissed as an accident or an act of God. The real culprit here is bad public policy and misguided economic development investments. For decades, policymakers of both parties have refused to allocate enough funding to the state agencies responsible for permitting and monitoring pipeline construction, and protecting our health and the environment. Furthermore, investing in gas, and not renewable and clean energy, is shortsighted, reckless and, as the Center Township explosion demonstrates, dangerous.

By failing to take the necessary steps to address climate change, legislators put our communities and climate at risk. Pursuing policies and investments that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and begin to level the playing field between gas and renewables, such as wind and solar, would unequivocally prevent calamities like the one in Center Township.

The leading environmental organizations in Pennsylvania are fighting to improve current policies. The Pennsylvania Common Conservation Agenda, an action plan developed by a statewide coalition of more than 25 conservation and environmental groups, contains a number of practical policy solutions for bipartisan bolstering of the state’s clean-energy sector, adequately funding the state agencies responsible for protecting the environment and natural resources, achieving environmental justice for the most-vulnerable communities, improving the quality of drinking water and more.

Achieving the policy changes called for here is going to require a groundswell of support from Pennsylvanians. With a pivotal election taking place Nov. 6, we need to take our demands for more enlightened, proactive environmental policies directly to the candidates running for governor and the Legislature. All of us must do our part.

Visit www.greenin18.org to find out what you can do now to fight for a healthier environment in Pennsylvania.

-Jacquelyn Bonomo is president and CEO of PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy organization.

Video

Shale Gas: The Technological Gamble

That Should Not Have Been Taken

by Anthony Ingraffea

Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC) is a 501(c)(3) organization. The organization seeks to inform the citizens of Western Pennsylvania, specifically those in Beaver County, about Marcellus Shale unconventional gas drilling, and to protect our natural environment by promoting and supporting sustainable energy alternatives to carbon-based energy sources.

BCMAC – Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community

501(c)(3) Organization

Beaver County, PA

BCMAC.awareness@gmail.com

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BCMAC receives funding support from

 

Ohio River Valley - Appalachia Collaborative Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies

-and-

Three Rivers Community Foundation