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.

Reconciliation Package Must include Strong Manufacturing Measures

Great news! Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light has joined other organization across the state for a sign on regarding the passing of a bold reconciliation package that will help rebuild our manufacturing sector in ways that will deeply reduce emissions while building domestic supply chains and creating and protecting good union jobs for workers and disadvantaged communities.

Serious action is required to address climate change and strengthen the U.S. economy for all. The following provisions must be included in any negotiations around budget reconciliation as well as future climate infrastructure packages to ensure that the Appalachian region can create a thriving manufacturing renaissance in the region.  We deserve it.

Appalachia can and should be a leader in the global economic race to modernize domestic manufacturing.

Several provisions key to building this future include:

  • Key investments to reduce climate pollution in emissions-intensive industries—such as cement, steel, and aluminum. We can reduce these emissions at scale by funding industrial efficiency measures and emissions reduction technology as well as broader supply chain programs.
  • Spurring domestic clean technology manufacturing through measures such as $25 billion in funding for 48C together along with new supply chain production tax credits that expand clean energy and technology manufacturing and onshore key supply chains.
  • Strong funding to strengthen the domestic automotive supply chain, protect workers and communities, and build the electric vehicle (EV) fleet of the future in Appalachia. This includes new funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program and manufacturing conversion grants—together enabling over $20B in investments to retool automotive manufacturing to build the EV technology of the future in existing plants and communities.
  • Support Manufacturing Supply Chains and Manufacturing-Centered Economic Development. In addition to investments that support clean technology manufacturing expansion and retooling directly, it is also critical to ensure that we expand and fund the broader programs that provide the economic, technical, and workforce infrastructure and support to strengthen advanced manufacturing ecosystems and communities.
  • Ensure that clean energy deployment tax credits include labor and domestic content standards and support the retention and growth of domestic manufacturing and high-quality jobs.

These provisions would make a historic investment in the expansion and retooling of domestic clean energy, vehicle and component manufacturing, the transformation of our industrial sector to reduce emissions and enhance competitiveness, as well as the necessary efforts to build out robust supply chains for critical clean technologies—all while building family sustaining careers and investing in the communities that need it most.

Any reconciliation package should advance a sustainable economic vision for a 21st century Appalachia—one that is good for working people, communities, the environment and our health. Our communities have many assets, but a sustainable economic future can’t be achieved without significant public investment, strong policies, and responsible economic development approaches designed to maximize the benefit to the community as a whole.

You can read more and sign on here.


UPDATE ON JUNE 6, 2022:

You can see the final letter here.

Tell your Senators Climate Can’t Wait!

Please take a moment to write to your Senators. Below is the template email to your members of Congress. Feel free to edit the letter on the next page before you send it, personalized letters are more effective.

Dear Senator,
As a person of faith and conscience, I believe that leaving a safe and thriving world to the next generation is a moral imperative. Climate change threatens the very life support systems that the planet provides. The issue could not be more urgent and we must invest now to shift off of fossil fuels and move rapidly to a clean energy economy.
I urge you to support big, bold investments in renewable energy, clean vehicles, environmental justice, and climate resilience by passing climate and clean energy investments through reconciliation. These investments will go a long way toward protecting our climate and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure to meet the demands of a 21st century economy. It will also invest in rebuilding communities that have borne the brunt of pollution for too long.
Congress has a historic opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Americans for generations to come. Please support the important climate elements of the budget reconciliation bill that will protect our world and secure a more just and prosperous future for all people.
Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Let’s raise our collective voices and ensure our elected leaders get the $550 billion in climate and clean energy investments across the finish line. Email your senators and urge them to #GetClimateDone.

Climate Can’t Wait: Add your name to the petition to Biden

If you are not a faith leader you can add your name to our petition to President Biden calling on him to keep his promise to take meaningful action on climate, justice, and clean energy.

The Build Back Better Act includes the most significant climate and clean energy investments ever- and it will create jobs and protect clean air and clean water for all. We need to pass the most comprehensive version of the Build Back Better Act possible, including the $550 billion in investments that will deliver on climate, justice, jobs, and clean energy.

Our climate, our communities, and our faith compel us to call for bold and just action. We have a moral responsibility as a nation, and a sacred task as people of faith and conscience, to care for our climate and to leave a safe and thriving world for future generations.

Thank you for helping encourage bold climate action for our neighbors and our common home.

Faith Leader Letter to Biden, Schumer, and the Senate

Climate cannot wait. Lives are at stake and your voice matters. Every day of inaction costs us dearly. Many of our communities have experienced the severe impacts of climate change: wildfires, superstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and increasingly intense weather phenomena that cause damage, injury, and loss of life. We are running out of time to avoid even more serious consequences. 

SIGN and help circulate this faith leader letter to President Biden, Leader Schumer, and the full Senate calling for action on Build Back Better. We are asking for leaders of faith-based organizations and denominations to sign on by February 11th and will deliver it to the White House and Senate on Valentine’s Day.