June 16, 2022
As an Allegheny County resident, past Sustainability Manager with Allegheny County, Chairperson of the Mt. Lebanon Environmental Team and, particularly, as Development Associate with Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PA IPL), I am writing to request that you vote yes in support of the bill proposed by Councilpersons Olivia Bennett, Jack Betkowski, Bethany Hallam, Michelle Naccarati Chapkis, and Anita Prizio to protect Allegheny County’s parks from new fracking and industrial development, Bill No. 12162-22.
I was born in Allegheny County in 1960, and have seen significant changes in air & water quality over my lifetime. When I fished in the North Park Lake and the Allegheny River with my father in the 1960s, we caught fish that had tumors in their bodies & ulcers on their skin, and we caught frogs & salamanders that had more than four legs and two tails. As a science teacher, my father explained that these conditions were caused by air & water pollution. He enforced a strict catch and release policy for fish because he did not want his family to ingest pollutants that were concentrated in the fish’s bodies.
Then, we witnessed air & water quality and riparian health improvement after the passage of the Clean Air & Clean Water Acts in the 1960s & 1970s. The improvement went so far as to draw sport fish back to Pittsburgh, permitting sport fishing tournaments, such as the Bassmaster Classic, at Point State Park in 2005, and others.
After living out of state for 15 years, I returned in 1998 to raise my family the way that I had been raised, with a strong connection to our beautiful environment in SW PA. We recreated in Allegheny County and other parks & recreational areas for twenty-four years. My children have grown up and moved away, but, now that my husband and I are empty nesters, we still visit North Park, South Park, and Settler’s Cabin Park to listen to music, hike, bike, walk our dog, and kayak. Please vote yes to protect our parks for people of all ages and interests.
Our Allegheny County parks are our treasures, connected by beltways similar to the Boston Emerald Necklace of parks. We know that unconventional shale gas drilling, or fracking, has been linked to dangerous airborne radiation, toxic air pollution (like benzene), and harmful water pollution. Let’s continue the improvement of air & water quality. Let’s not go backwards. Let’s protect all of our green spaces in order to improve human & environmental health, by not permitting unconventional shale gas drilling, and other forms of industry, in our parks and recreational areas. Please vote yes to protect ourselves and other plant & animal species.
Many of our Allegheny County Councilpersons and employees are people of faith. PA IPL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that inspires and mobilizes people of faith to take bold and just action on climate change. As Development Associate with PA IPL, I urge you to reach inside your hearts. Please vote yes to protect our parks as your faith dictates.
Kathleen A. Hrabovsky
PA Interfaith Power & Light