Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Activists Testify and Rally at Clean Power Plan Hearings at EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

On July 29, twenty seven activists traveled by bus to Washington DC to support the Clean Power Plan rules, and to suggest that the EPA make the regulations even stronger. This rule proposes to regulate carbon pollution from existing power plants. Among the group were seven vets from the Veterans Multiservice Center. Seven activists that traveled with the group testified at the hearing, and everyone attended an energetic rally outside the EPA headquarters. Ben & Jerry's provided free ice cream all day, and bicyclists towed trailers carrying signs calling for "Clean Air Now." A children's brigade organized by Mom's Clean Air Force submitted a banner full of handprints to a surprised EPA officer. The testimonials in favor of curbing carbon far outnumbered those opposed (117 to 13 were tallied up to a break in the proceedings prior to our departure). Public hearings were held in four US cities, and a comment period will remain open until Oct. 16. We encourage you to submit your comments prior to the end of the comment period, after which the EPA will finalize the rule.

Our activists are testifying in the Pittsburgh hearings also

Monday, July 14, 2014

Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan proposes to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. EPA's plan is a commonsense, flexible approach to protect public health, spur innovation, and create jobs under the President's Climate Action Plan

Some Background Info
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions From Existing Power Plants:
Options to Ensure Electric System Reliability
– Analysis Group

This paper addresses whether EPA’s actions to regulate GHG emissions from existing power plants will give rise to electric system reliability problems and explains why it will not.

Climate Change and Your Health – Union of Concerned Scientists
Climate change has significant implications for our health. Rising temperatures will likely lead to more frequent and severe heat waves, heavier rainstorms and flooding, and increased air pollution. All of these changes could pose serious, and costly, risks to public health.
The Climate Change and Your Health initiative is a UCS effort designed to highlight some of the major health risks associated with climate change in the United States and attempt to quantify their impacts. We also include information to help your family, your community, and our country prepare for—and try to mitigate—the growing health risks of a warming world. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Labor and Climate Justice: Moving from “Jobs OR the Environment” to “Jobs FOR the Environment”

Wednesday, June 18, 6:45pm to 9pm
AFSCME District 1199C, 1319 Locust St.

  • Barbara Rahke, Director of PhilaPOSH (Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health)

Global warming is causing serious harm to people across the US and around the world. There is a growing understanding that a rapid transition to a renewable, clean energy economy is essential. A climate justice movement is evolving, seeking to rebuild our economy in a way that protects and is fair to workers and to members of all of our communities. It’s not true that we must choose between jobs and the environment. Increasingly, people are working together to push for good jobs and a liveable world. The speakers will share their thinking about how to forge labor/environmental alliances and invite a conversation about what we can do it here in Philly.

Sponsored by (list in formation):
  • AFSCME District 1199C
  • AFSCME District Council 33
  • AFSCME District Council 47
  • BlueGreen Alliance of Pennsylvania
  • Caucus of Working Educators
  • PennFuture
  • Pennsylvania Federation, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees/Teamsters
  • Philadelphia Area Jobs with Justice
  • PhilaPOSH (Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health)
  • Sierra Club SPG (Southeastern PA Group)
  • United Steelworkers Local 404
  • 350 Philadelphia

Join us for a discussion about how labor and environmental activists here in Philly can work together to stop catastrophic climate change and create economic justice. Please let us know if you plan to come! Click here to RSVP.

Questions? Contact John Braxton at

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rally for Appalachia: Stand Up for Clean Water on June 4th

When: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 12:00 Noon
Where: EPA Region 3 Offices at 17th & Arch
Who: Environmental Activists like YOU that want to exercise our right of free speech
Why: The people and wildlife of Appalachia are not being protected from coal mines and its supporting industries.

This is Why We Need The EPA to Step Up for Clean Water!
Kentucky has little regulation of coal ash, and State regulators don't enforce those on the books.  The head of the North Carolina environmental agency spent 28 years working for Duke Energy -- responsible for both slurry spills -- before being appointed by Governor Pat McCrory.  Duke Energy contributed $1.1 million to McCrory’s campaigns and groups that supported him. Pennsylvania has the basis for strong regulations on coal mining and waste, but fails woefully in enforcement. Tennessee regulations lack requirements for protection of surface and subsurface waters and lack emergency action plans. Virginia fails to protect the public from coal ash by imposing basic safeguards at coal ash dumps. State regulators in West Virginia routinely fail to hold the coal industry accountable for its pollution.

State Regulators are NOT protecting their Citizens:

West Virginia chemical spill leaves 300,000 without tap water
REUTERS | January 11, 2014 By Ann Moore

W.Va. coal prep plant spills slurry into creek

Associated PressAssociated Press – February 11, 2014

Duke starts dredging river as coal ash deal dumped

Associated PressBy MICHAEL BIESECKER and MITCH WEISS | Associated Press – Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Second coal ash dump leak sends toxins into North Carolina river

ReutersBy Eric M. Johnson | Reuters – February 19, 2014

'Significant' slurry spill blackens Kanawha creek

Ken Ward Jr. Monday, February 24, 2014
More than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry poured into an eastern Kanawha County stream, blackening roughly six miles of Fields Creek, and some of the slurry made it into the Kanawha River.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Meet Andrew Brady, Organizer with USILive

Andrew Brady, who organizes the online campaign USILive, which is supported by unions such as UNITE the Union (UK), the Teamsters, & the Metalworkers (Brazil) is coming to Philly to talk about the work he's doing to build a global, online solidarity network.

Come out and meet him!
When: Thursday, March 27 at 4:00pm (Click here to copy from our Google Calendar)
Where: SEIU Local 32BJ District 1201, 455 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123 (map)

We're having a formal meeting at SEIU 32BJ District 1201 at 4 pm, and then we'll probably walk over to a local bar for a happy hour afterwards.

For the latest info, see the Facebook Event:

Interview with Andrew Brady

FREE Screening of Gasland Part II

Join us for free screenings of the award-winning sequel to Gasland, directed by Josh Fox, that updates us on the state of fracking within the U.S. and highlights stories from around the globe.

What: Gasland Part II
When: Tuesday, March 25th Two showings: 3:00 and 5:30 p.m.
Where: Room S2-3 of the Winnett Student Life Building, Community College of Philadelphia (on the west side of 17th Street, 1/2 block south of Spring Garden Street)

A short discussion about fracking in Pennsylvania and what we can do about it will follow the film.

Open to all.

FREE popcorn and Lancaster County apple cider.

Cosponsored by:
CCP Coalition for a Sustainable Future
Sierra Club
Green Cycle Alliance (CCP's environmental and cycling student club)
Food & Water Watch

Also coming up in April, date TBA: Groundswell Rising, a Philadelphia premier of another film about citizens rising up against extreme energy extraction.
Contact: Margaret Stephens
Community College of Philadelphia
1700 Spring Garden Street, W3-10
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 751-8869

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Philly Beyond Coal Campaign Protests Coal-Industry Water Pollution at EPA Region 3 Headquarters

Philly Sierra Club Beyond Coal activists teamed up with activists from Rising Tide, Protecting Our Waters, Earth Quaker Action Team, Mountain Justice and other allies from Appalachia to put on the second rally at the EPA this year, and the third event the group has staged since the organizations started working together in late 2012. The two actions were the most successful series of rallies that the Philly Beyond Coal Team has organized in the last three years, because of the high turnout, diversity of groups involved in planning and turnout, volunteer-led process used in planning that involved groups from Appalachia and Philadelphia who hadn’t worked together, the creativity and forcefulness of the events, and the press coverage received (two media outlets covered each event for a total of four media hits).  It’s telling that the TV news crew that questioned the EPA for their reaction to the second protest were told, "The state of West Virginia is overseeing the clean-up and the EPA is ready to help if asked."  This reply makes it clear that the EPA is leaving water quality up to states that are in cahoots with the coal companies.

In blowing snow and subfreezing temperatures, dozens of Sierra Club and Rising Tide Philly activists marched from Love Park to the EPA Region 3 headquarters carrying a 30 foot long black plastic “river,” (made by volunteer Dave Moscatello) part of it polluted with spots of chemicals labeled with their side effects, and part of it blue and filled with fish—the goal we seek. A “hazmat-suited EPA representative” (Eli Schewel of Rising Tide Philly) led the march. Drums punctuated the air as the group arrived at the EPA, where the sidewalk began to fill with fellow demonstrators asking, “What is the EPA going to do about coal industry pollution of Appalachian rivers and streams and threats to communities' health?”

Against a backdrop of the blackened “river” and a huge puppet representing the EPA, Johanna DeGraffenreid from Coal River Mountain Watch in West Virginia spoke about the devastation and illness that plague Appalachia wherever mountain top removal coal mining occurs.  She also talked about the numerous leaks and spills of coal ash, coal ash slurry, and coal industry chemicals in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina that have left residents worried about their health and the safety of their children—all with no response from the EPA.  She explained that state departments that are charged with protecting the environment are in bed with the coal industry and turn a blind eye to these recurring tragedies.  And the EPA Region 3 office here in Philly is charged with overseeing coal-mining pollution in the mid-Atlantic states.  She asked when they are going to fulfill their duty.

Coryn Wolk from Philadelphia's Protecting Our Waters extended the theme of fossil fuel pollution by highlighting the parallel struggles in Pennsylvania with natural gas fracking, which causes water despoliation and the resulting incidence of illness and birth defects. She talked about the need to fight on both fronts and to work together to get EPA to stop the poisoning of our communities both in Philadelphia and Appalachia.

Sierra Club volunteer Sue Edwards added that the bitter cold we were experiencing is part of the story of global warming, which alters the jet stream and causes disrupted, record-breaking, weather of all kinds.  What is needed, she said, is shifting from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.  She led a chant:  FOSSIL FUELS LEAK AND SPILL, WIND AND SUN NEVER WILL!  More chants followed, including one spontaneously led by Vietnam veteran Gerald Brown:  EPA, CLEAN IT UP!  ALL THIS FILTH HAS GOT TO STOP!  He was there with a group from the Veterans Multi-Service Center who have become frequent participants in hearings and rallies aimed at stopping fossil fuel pollution.

The Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign in Philadelphia garnered coveted TV news coverage when  WCAU ran an accurate thirty second segment on the early evening news, including a quote from an EPA spokesperson saying, “a clean-up is underway.”  What we need is an end to the spills, not just a clean-up in the aftermath.  A photographer from the Metro, the daily free commuter newspaper read by thousands, took photos, one of which ran on page two the next day with a caption that succinctly expressed why we were there:  Protesters ask "Where is the EPA?  Protesters with the Sierra Club marched to the US Environmental Protection Agency's offices in Center City to denounce mountaintop-removal coal mining and chemical leaks in West Virginia that led to hundreds of thousands of people without access to potable water.

News Coverage on WCAU TV

Pictures on Flickr