Fracking Ban in Allegheny County Parks

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.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kathleen A. Hrabovsky
Development Associate
PA Interfaith Power & Light

Support for Bill No. 12162-22

Ban Fracking from Allegheny County Public Lands

June 9, 2022

PA IPL would like to share Dr. Patricia DeMarco’s letter in support of Bill No. 12162-22, to ban from Allegheny County public lands all slick-water hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations and other industrial activities noted in the proposal.

Dr. DeMarco, a PA IPL board member, is the Vice President of the Forest Hills Borough Council. She advocates for this ban on fracking on behalf of the citizens of the Borough of Forest Hills, and for the children present and future who have no voice in these matters.

You can read Dr. DeMarco’s full letter here.

Additionally, you can find Dr. DeMarco’s Appendix A. Fracking Exemptions from Federal Laws here.

July 2021 Statewide Monthly Meeting

On July 19th at 7:00 pm, we will hold our next virtual PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting and presentation.

This month’s meeting and program will show a film as part of our summer film series titled The Story of Plastic. The film will discuss the effects of plastics, especially as it relates Fracking and Cracking.

The films presented by PA IPL are On-Demand Virtual Film Screenings for which registered audience members have a window to view the film. The viewing window will be July 15th to 18th in the hopes that viewers will subsequently register for the Statewide Monthly Meeting on July 19th.

PA IPL will hold a regular Statewide Meeting on the 3rd Mondays of the month at 7:00 pm via Zoom.

If you would like to join us for this meeting to discuss PA IPL business, Climate Justice, and enjoy a regular lineup of programming please sign up here.

You are still welcome to attend your local chapter meetings as well.

To make sure you get the links,  be sure to add statewide@paipl.org to your contacts! You can also contact us at this email regarding this monthly meeting.

100% Renewable Energy — Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb’s remarks

On June 19, 2019, the Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb (pastor of Sixth Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh) gave remarks at the 2019 100% Renewable Lobby Day rally organized by our friends at PennEnvironment.

He’s kindly shared his remarks with us here. Since these remarks were necessarily brief, at the end you’ll find a few links to learn more about the exciting energy resolution of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. Prefer video? His remarks begin at 27 min here.

Good morning!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

We have gathered today because we have a beautiful dream: 100% renewable energy for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2050.

I am here to tell you that people of faith in southwestern PA are working hard to make this beautiful dream a reality. In Pittsburgh Presbytery in 2017, our region of churches submitted a resolution to our national church to divest our national resources from fossil fuels. This is a part of a growing worldwide movement, as clean, renewable sources of energy become responsible and profitable investments. Today, approximately 5.5 trillion dollars have been divested from the fossil fuel industry and faith-based organizations are leading the way at 27% of those institutions making divestment commitments!

We have begun a region-wide effort to provide congregations the opportunity to convert to renewable energy sources: solar panels on roofs and undeveloped properties, cooperative purchase of energy needs, affordable energy audits for aging facilities, and the establishment of neighborhood solar cooperatives. This is in keeping with the vision of Mayor Bill Peduto and our City Council in Pittsburgh, which have pledged the Steel City to be 100% clean energy by 2035.

At the same historic Presbytery meeting in December of 2017, our regional body condemned the construction of the Shell Cracker plant in Beaver County, that will emit 2.25 million tons of CO2 annually in a region that is already in the top 2% for cancer risk because of air pollution. We want our region to be a clean energy hub, not a new cancer alley!

We are part of a faith tradition that has affirmed our responsibility to care for the earth as our home and care for all people, especially our most vulnerable populations who are at risk for cancer, disease, and asthma.  Clergy and lay people of faith will continue to advocate for the care of our home, because our sacred scriptures have commanded us to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us.

Rev. Kolb as the crowd begins to assemble on the steps in the Capitol Rotunda

Who wants 100% renewable energy in PA? We do!
Who wants 100% renewable energy in PA? We do!

Thank you!

Want more? Click through to:

  • sign up to host a screening of Paris to Pittsburgh, a National Geographic film that features work cities, towns, and states are doing to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • learn about the massive petrochemical complex including an multi-state underground storage facility and the first of several gargantuan “cracker plants” which use “wet gas” from fracking for plastics manufacturing.
  • read the three-part resolution itself.
  • peruse the FAQ page that FossilFreePCUSA created in advance of the the 2018 national divestment overture.
  • join PA IPL’s monthly Policy Update calls to stay current on state and federal climate and clean energy policies. Each month includes positive news, a discussion hook, and one state and one federal action item.



MECHANICSBURG: Fracking poetry and photos

Ongoing exhibition Feb. 6–March 15 at Messiah College — Shale Play: Documentary Art by Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, an exhibition in collaboration with the Department of English Climenhaga Building, Climenhaga Galleries (upper)

Artist’s Talk/Poetry Reading and Reception: High Center, High Foundation Recital Hall, Feb. 7, 4:15 p.m.

Shale Play, a singular work from an award-winning poet and a veteran documentary photographer, tracks the natural gas boom in the small towns, fields and forests of Appalachian Pennsylvania. In the era of the visual and verbal meme, Rubin and Kasdorf pair documentary poems with photographs in a volume that can be held in the human hand and shared, even in communities that lack high speed internet access.

Learn more about the artists:
juliakasdorf.com                     stevenrubin.com

Interviews with the artists about the book, and the work that led to the book:

image source

You may remember Julia Spicher Kasdorf’s work from the close of our April 2018 newsletter, copied here:

In honor of [the April 13, 2018 A Better Path Coalition] event, we will end with a powerful poem by Pennsylvania docupoet Julia Spicher Kasdorf.  For more from her, including explorations of faith, bookmark this written interview to read with time to reflect.

But first, the poem:

“A Mother on the West Virginia Line Considers the Public Health”
The industry thinks I’m too dumb to back down; they don’t know
I do this for my Mom and Dad. They were 69 and 71.
He had pulmonary fibrosis, worked with asbestos all his life. She grew up
near the coke ovens back when kids were sent into the mines to pick coal.
So they both had lung problems, but their home, the next hollow over,
sits 350 feet from a compressor station. We sealed the house,
set up an air scrubber, but—four of their neighbors passed last year, too.
*
We bought the coal rights to our 115 acres because we know
the company will come up to your front door, but we let the gas go,
just didn’t see this coming. A gentleman from New Jersey leased our land.
One day we come home to find pink ribbons tied in the field. Then bulldozers.
They put in four shallow wells and a Marcellus well on a 5-acre pad

Continue reading where the poem is printed in full with permission

date changes STATE COLLEGE: poetry and photos, fracking and faith

image source

Program begins at 9:00AM, and finishes a bit before 10:00 (in time for 10:00 church)
People of any faith or none are welcome. RSVPs appreciated so they can set up extra chairs.

Join member congregation St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church’s Adult Forum to hear from Poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf  will talk about Shale Play, her newly published collaboration with photographer Steven Rubin.  She will show some images, read some poems

DATE CHANGES (changed due to weather) :
Sunday, FEBRUARY 3rd at 9:00AM at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin have an  exhibit linked to the book at the Bellefonte Art Museum, January 4-27.  They will present together in secular settings:

Jan. 11th at 7:30pm at the  Bellefonte Art Museum
Jan. 24th at 7:30pm

Thursday, January 31 at 7:30pm in the Foster Auditorium in the Pattee and Paterno Library on the Penn State University Park campus.

 

 

Learn more about the artists:
juliakasdorf.com                                    stevenrubin.com

You may remember Julia Spicher Kasdorf’s work from the close of our April 2018 newsletter, copied here:

In honor of [the April 13, 2018 A Better Path Coalition] event, we will end with a powerful poem by Pennsylvania docupoet Julia Spicher Kasdorf.  For more from her, including explorations of faith, bookmark this written interview to read with time to reflect.

But first, the poem:

“A Mother on the West Virginia Line Considers the Public Health”
The industry thinks I’m too dumb to back down; they don’t know
I do this for my Mom and Dad. They were 69 and 71.
He had pulmonary fibrosis, worked with asbestos all his life. She grew up
near the coke ovens back when kids were sent into the mines to pick coal.
So they both had lung problems, but their home, the next hollow over,
sits 350 feet from a compressor station. We sealed the house,
set up an air scrubber, but—four of their neighbors passed last year, too.
*
We bought the coal rights to our 115 acres because we know
the company will come up to your front door, but we let the gas go,
just didn’t see this coming. A gentleman from New Jersey leased our land.
One day we come home to find pink ribbons tied in the field. Then bulldozers.
They put in four shallow wells and a Marcellus well on a 5-acre pad

Continue reading where the poem is printed in full with permission