Tag Archives: infrastructure

Pipeline infrastructure

Interfaith Power & Light has joined a faith sign-on letter in support of the Standing Rock Sioux, reprinted below the first horizontal divider.

In addition, Philadelphia PA IPL has sent a letter connecting their work on proposed expansion of oil and gas receiving and processing plants with the work that the Sioux Nation and others are doing in North Dakota on the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Reprinted below the second horizontal divider.

PA IPL’s Board Resolution on Fossil Fuel Infrastructure speaks to our work in Pennsylvania, and is relevant to the choices we make about infrastructure in Pennsylvania and well beyond.    Continue reading

ARTICLE Faith in Action: Opposition to Fracking —and other new fossil fuel infrastructure— Is a Moral Imperative

Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein and the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, co-chairs of Philadelphia PA IPL, wrote the guest editorial for the June 2016 GRID Philadelphia Magazine.   

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (Nevei’im) (Old Testament)

Cheryl.MalkahBinahA low-level but corrosive despair and cynicism pervades our common life. We see it across the political spectrum, from politicians and CEOs who deny climate change, to ordinary folks who acknowledge the science but who feel too overwhelmed to do more than change lightbulbs. This despair is understandable. Predictions of ecological collapse are frightening. Moving to a new energy future is daunting, and it seems to move further out of reach with each presidential campaign speech. It’s tempting to believe half-measures and incremental change will be enough.

It’s tempting to believe the claims that hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—offers us a “bridge fuel,” that industry estimates of methane leakage are correct, that taxes on fracking are the answer to the public school funding crisis. It’s tempting to believe that jobs and income from fracking will revive the rural economy, that water contamination is a minor problem that can be solved, that carbon sequestration or some new technological breakthrough will be the “answer” so we can continue with business as usual.

But these claims are false, as most readers of Grid know. The evidence becomes stronger by the day: Methane leakage makes natural gas nearly as dangerous as coal. Building new wells—and continued use of old ones—will lock us into a future of ecological and economic chaos where those who have contributed the least to climate change—the poor, the young and future generations— will suffer the most.

This injustice, along with the wanton destruction of plant and animal life, makes climate change a moral issue.

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PA IPL) opposes fracking because we are people of faith and hope. We are individuals and communities of many faiths, drawing from the deep wellsprings of our traditions, inspired to work together for the sake of our collective future. We are strengthened by multiple ways of understanding hope: We may point to the divine light within, to the words of the biblical prophets, to the promises of Allah in the Quran, or to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

GRID Philly coverAs people strengthened by faith and hope, as people of many backgrounds who are learning to pray and work together, we believe that a clean energy economy is within reach. We believe that we can build a world where all people have enough to eat and clean air to breathe. We believe that we can live on this earth in a way that allows all creatures to thrive. We believe that we can make the transition in a way that is just, that provides jobs and guards the welfare of all people in the state of Pennsylvania. We believe in a future with hope, and we know that future cannot include fracking—or fossil fuels of any kind. We are therefore focusing our efforts on preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure, including—but not limited to—that for natural gas.

We are a founding organization of Green Justice Philly, a growing and diverse coalition committed to building a healthy, sustainable and economically just Philadelphia region that opposes the development of Philly as a fossil fuel hub. In our resolution, “Covenant with the Future,” we ask the commonwealth to halt the march toward new fossil fuel infrastructure.

We call for…[finish reading at Grid Philly]

MORALtorium remarks: Adam and Eve, herons and loons… and fracking?

Photo credit: Sam Berhardt

PA IPL board president Rabbi Daniel Swartz was one of many leaders, from several different faiths, who spoke as part of a full day calling for a “moral-torium” on new fracking in Pennsylvania.  His remarks were delivered in the Capitol Rotunda.

This is perfect setting for talking about a moral framework for our relation to our planet and to each other.  On the steps into the capitol, we see two depictions of Adam and Eve – one where they are in harmony with the garden and life is full of blessing, and one of conflict, leading to tragedy.  On the floor surrounding us are mosaic depictions of butterflies and blue herons, snapping turtles and loons – feathered ones that is.  And above, the quote:  Justice is the end of government.

But we have neither harmony with creation nor justice. Instead, we’re being fracked.  Frackers inject a toxic stew of chemicals into the earth to split apart shale. And too many forces today Continue reading

Show up, and keep on showing up.

UPDATE November 2016: Governor Wolf announced that the port would be used to double the container shipping capacity of the port, and not  for fossil fuel processing or handling.

A coalition group that Philadelphia PA IPL is a founding and active member of, Green Justice Philly, has been actively engaging at multiple levels (public meetings, written testimony, conversations with leaders, and more) with the conversations about how Southport will be developed.  What happens now commits that area to particular kinds of use for a long time, and we want it to be safe for nearby residents, to  provide good, safe jobs, and to not add to the fossil fuel infrastructure which further chains us to the energy sources of the last century.   (Some of you may know that there is some exciting work happening in Philadelphia ports that is helping us move forward into the clean energy future we want, but that’s another entity at another site.)  Last night there was a public hearing on the issue, PACKED because of outreach by active and concerned folks.

Read the State Impact PA piece.
Read a piece written by Green Justice Philly member Meenal Raval which begins:

There’s a corner of Philadelphia that’s under-developed. It’s at the south east tip of our city, along the Delaware River, calledSouthport. It’s managed by a state agency called the PRPA (Philadelphia Regional Port Authority).

In southwest Philadelphia, there’s an oil refinery owned and managed by Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES). For the past year or so, the CEO of PES, Phil Rinaldi, has been proposing expanding their operations into Southport, with the vision of Philadelphia becoming the Houston on the Delaware. For a full coverage of this plan, see our collection of local fossil fuel news.

Many (no, make that countless) Philadelphian’s are terrified with this vision.  Some groups have publicly expressed their positions; notably see published letters from Green Justice Philly, Philadelphia chapter of PA Interfaith Power & Light andPhysicians for Social Responsibility of Greater Philadelphia.

The PRPA team has been reviewing proposals for Southport’s development and narrowed it down to 6 companies. Their RFP (Request for Proposals) and other public documents can be found here. In brief,

  1. CenterPoint Properties Trust wants to  CONTINUE

Our covenant with the future.

The PA IPL board is pleased to share its first resolution, urging policymakers to stop investing in fossil fuel infrastructure as a sign that we now clearly know that the use of fossil fuels does harm.  We know we must begin to transition, and our infrastructure investments should reflect that understanding.

The board anticipates forthcoming documents providing deeper faith grounding and a second resolution calling for building TOWARD a just, sustainable, clean-energy future.

Read the resolution.PA IPL board 2016