You know when Goliath starts yelling that David has managed to do something right. That’s how it feels today as one of many anti-petrochemical activists watching regional politicians, particularly including Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, make such pathetic overtures to current and potential petrochemical business interests as seen in today’s article/statement (featured in the Beaver County Times: County leaders: Petrochemical industry welcome in western Pennsylvania). Here’s a small excerpt that gives you a taste of the message…

“So, while Mayor Peduto may speak for one city, we speak for the rest of this region,” the officials wrote. “We welcome the production of natural gas here with open arms. While Mayor Peduto carelessly has gambled with the jobs of our workers, particularly our union and building trade workers, we are fighting for them.”

The full pronouncement by regional county officials did not include a single mention of climate change, but we will never forget that it was Rich Fitzgerald AND Bill Peduto who jointly signed a full-page ad in the Post-Gazette calling out President Trump for abandoning the Paris Climate Agreement (here, and as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here). Now it looks to me like Fitzgerald has decided that President Trump’s approach to climate relations works for him, considering that a massive regional fracked petrochemical industry cannot grow into a stable climate — or if it can, nobody seems to care about making that case to the public (and I deeply doubt it is possible). Considering their pathetically aligned interests, I’m just surprised that we didn’t see Trump and Fitzgerald parading arm-in-arm around the Shell Cracker site and Shale Insight conference this year. Maybe Fitzgerald hopes that Trump will call to congratulate him on their mutual support for pro-pollution, pro-plastic, pro-dirty jobs.

I’d also like to add that this region, SW Pennsylvania, is at an economic and cultural crossroads. We can choose from a wide range of economic opportunities upon which to build our region. It turns out that one in particular, fracked petrochemicals and plastics, is uniquely divisive to our community. Sure, there are some who are eager to see it happen, but it feels like a growing number are deeply opposed to it. Just this week a number of families visited Gov. Wolf and demanded he pay attention to their concerns about rare childhood cancers (with an AP article about it syndicated at least 100 times since Nov. 18! See bottom of this page for syndication list.). No to mention the fact that Pittsburgh has a literal ban on fracking on the books. And so I would offer this suggestion to Rich Fitzgerald: If he is truly interested in the well-being of his region, then he would agree to multiple open and scientifically rigorous town hall discussions on the fate of petrochemicals in SW Pennsylvania (and WV and OH). And I also believe that if Fitzgerald seeks a harmonious economic pathway forward, then there are many options that do NOT create the degree of climate devastation and community division brought about by fracking and petrochemicals. There are better ways to make a living. A good living, even. Just ask all the states that banned fracking: Maryland, New York, Washington, and Vermont. And then maybe ask the countries that have banned fracking (many influenced by Pennsylvania’s sad story): France, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, and most recently, the United Kingdom.

Those are my comments for now…

Yours,

Mark Dixon, NoPetroPA.com

P.S. The Breathe Project was quick to respond to today’s pro-petro announcement with the following press release:

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Debra Smit
dsmit@breatheproject.org, 412-760-7677

Breathe Project Responds to County Leaders on Petrochemical Expansion in the Ohio River Valley

The Breathe Project stands with Mayor Bill Peduto’s commitment to the Pittsburgh and the Ohio. River Valley in denouncing the expansion of petrochemical plants, pipelines, compressor stations
and ancillary industries in our region. The views and actions of county leaders in the region will not protect people and the environment from the health risks posed by the creation of a massive petrochemical hub.

“Mayor Peduto’s statement was fundamentally calling for a regional dialogue on priorities for future economic investment— a dialogue that has not been present,” says Matt Mehalik of the Breathe Project. “Today’s statement once again reinforces the notion that officials who have already signed on to a future of petrochemicals are not interested in having such a regional public dialogue on economic opportunities that do not harm workers and community health.

Why has this dialogue not taken place?” Mehalik adds.

Petrochemical industry expansion is completely contradictory to the principles of addressing climate change, improving air quality, protecting water and pursuing a sustainable and resilient community approach to regional development. Turning any region into a massive petrochemical hub is a huge step in the wrong direction on Climate Change when we should be investing in clean energy, not fracking and plastics.

“We would rather see such support go to jobs and projects that promote health, extend lives and support frontline communities,” Mehalik adds. “We know that through innovation, we can create jobs, grow the economy, clean up our communities and protect our health. We support leaders who commit to doing this.”

“A recent analysis by the Breathe Project using EPA Cobra software shows that the addition of three cracker plants in the Ohio Valley will increase healthcare costs to the tune of $3.6 – $8.1 billion over 30 years, and this only accounts for the added particulate matter to the atmosphere and none of the hazardous air pollutants,” says Terrie Baumgardner of Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Project (BCMAC). “If you add to that the social cost of carbon from the emissions of these three plants ($8.5 billion), the cost to society climbs to $12.1 – $16.6 billion. This is a substantial drain on the region’s economy.”

“Concerned Ohio River Residents (CORR), a local environmental organization opposed to the petrochemical build-out in the Appalachian region, is backing Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto’s stance on these issues,” adds Bev Reed, CORR organizer. “Plastic proliferation is already causing a worldwide crisis to our ecosystems and we do not need another plastics plant in the Pittsburgh region, nor do we need the proposed PTT Global Chemical cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio. The Ohio Valley deserves better than this. CORR will continue to advocate for a healthier Ohio River Valley.”

The construction of the Shell Petrochemical Plant will erase 30 years’ worth of regional air quality improvements.

###

Syndication list of the AP article (gathered by Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition): “Pennsylvania families demand investigation into rare cancers”

AP News
https://apnews.com/c11dec58c14847b9bcdae7c111ca4342

Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/77f56f2c-0a51-11ea-8054-28…

NY Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/ap-us-rare-cancers-investigation.…

US News & World Report
https://www.usnews.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inves…

Minneapolis StarTribune
http://www.startribune.com/pennsylvania-families-demand-…/…/

WRAL (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville)
https://www.wral.com/pennsylvania-families-demand-invest…/…/

WDRB (Kentucky)
https://www.wdrb.com/…/article_d232ce42-edba-58a9-a9d2-7b52…

WRBL
https://www.wrbl.com/…/pennsylvania-families-calling-for-a…/

WBNG (Johnson City, NY)
https://wbng.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

Yahoo News
https://www.yahoo.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-invest…

Seattle Times
https://www.seattletimes.com/…/pennsylvania-families-dema…/…

ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inves…

Sacramento Bee
https://www.sacbee.com/news/article237509134.html

Charlotte Observer
https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/article237509134.html

Houston Chronicle
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-de…

Miami Herald
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/article237509134.html

Greenwich Time (Connecticut)
https://www.greenwichtime.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-deman…

The Republic (Columbus, Indiana)
http://www.therepublic.com/…/11/18/rare-cancers-investigat…/

Alabama News Network
https://www.alabamanews.net/i/pennsylvania-families-demand…/

Daily Journal (Johnson County, Indiana)
http://www.dailyjournal.net/…/18/rare-cancers-investigation/

The Hour (Norwalk)
https://www.thehour.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-demand-inve…

My JournalCourier (Jacksonville)
https://www.myjournalcourier.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-de…

660 News (Calgary)
https://www.660citynews.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand…/

The Star (Various Canadian Cities)
https://www.thestar.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inve…

WMDT (Delmarva)
https://www.wmdt.com/i/pennsylvania-families-demand-invest…/

KTAR (Arizona)
https://ktar.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

Herald-Sun (Durham, NC)
https://www.heraldsun.com/…/…/national/article237509134.html

News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/article237509134.html

Post-Gazette (David Templeton’s reporting)
https://www.post-gazette.com/…/Ewing-…/stories/201911180128…

Philadelphia Inquirer
https://www.inquirer.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inv…

KDKA
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/…/southwestern-pennsylvan…/…

WPXI
https://www.wpxi.com/…/pittsburgh-cancer-pennsyl…/1009951800

WESA
https://www.wesa.fm/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investig…

Times-Tribune
https://hosted.ap.org/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-invest…

The Sentinel (Cumberlink)
https://cumberlink.com/…/article_1be4a3d6-86c9-54ef-9d24-07…

ABC 27
https://www.abc27.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inves…/

WITF
https://www.witf.org/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-invest…/

Courier Express
http://www.thecourierexpress.com/…/article_e61d9785-6596-56…

Bradford Era
http://www.bradfordera.com/…/article_7bb0fbed-01e0-5010-af1…

WTAE
https://www.wtae.com/…/pennsylvania-families-deman…/29836721

CBS 21
https://local21news.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inve…

The Daily Item
https://www.dailyitem.com/…/article_0161b731-5658-5d6f-adb4…

WTAJ
https://www.wearecentralpa.com/…/pennsylvania-families-dem…/

WCN247 (Westminster College in PA)
https://www.wcn247.com/…/article_dec3424b-c6de-5e94-978a-20…

New Haven Register
https://www.nhregister.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-demand-i…

ABC FOX Montana
https://www.abcfoxmontana.com/…/article_ff2a1219-3d2d-577c-…

Imperial Valley Press (California)
https://www.ivpressonline.com/…/article_cd0e7a24-170f-5abd-…

MyNorthwest (Seattle)
https://mynorthwest.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inv…/?

WKOW (Madison, WI)
https://wkow.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

Fort Wayne NBC (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
https://fortwaynesnbc.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-i…/

CBS3 Duluth (Duluth, Minnesota)
https://cbs3duluth.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-inve…/

KBJR NBC (Duluth, Minnesota)
https://kbjr6.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investiga…/

WVVA NBC (Bluefield, WV)
https://wvva.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

WAOW (Wausau, WI)
https://waow.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

Week.com NBC (Peoria, IL)
https://week.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

WREX NBC (Rockford, IL)
https://wrex.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

WGEM NBC (Quincy, IL)
https://wgem.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Washington)
https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/article237509134.html

KTVZ Fox (Central Oregon)
https://ktvz.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

The Free Press (South-Central Minnesota)
https://www.mankatofreepress.com/…/article_d59fac96-0bb0-55…

San Antonio Express-News
https://www.expressnews.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-demand-…

WXOW (LaCrosse, WI)
https://wxow.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

WQOW (Eau Claire, WI)
https://wqow.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

Beaumont Enterprise (Beaumont, CA)
https://www.beaumontenterprise.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-…

KVOA NBC (Tuscon)
https://kvoa.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

WPTA ABC (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
https://wpta21.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investig…/

Myrtle Beach Online
https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/article237509134.html

Heart of Illinois ABC
https://hoiabc.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investig…/

Herald-Mail (Hagerstown, MD)
https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/…/article_62b3bc67-22b1-5c0…

KTIV NBC (Sioux City, Iowa)
https://ktiv.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

Valdosta Daily Times
https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/…/article_e35b2402-b629-…

WTOP (Washington D.C.)
https://wtop.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

The Wichita Eagle
https://www.kansas.com/news/article237509134.html

The Courier Express
http://www.thecourierexpress.com/…/article_e61d9785-6596-56…

KNBN (Black Hills, South Dakota)
https://www.newscenter1.tv/i/pennsylvania-families-demand-…/

The Modesto Bee
https://www.modbee.com/news/article237509134.html

KTAR (Arizona)
https://www.modbee.com/news/article237509134.html

TDN.com (Iowa)
https://tdn.com/…/article_c556b8d4-96f8-5676-ba85-75bbb8042…

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/article237509134.html

Greensboro News & Record
https://www.greensboro.com/…/article_f60cc46f-e7ce-5631-936…

WDRB (Louisville, Kentucky)
https://www.wdrb.com/…/article_d232ce42-edba-58a9-a9d2-7b52…

WGEM (Quincy, IL)
https://wgem.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

The Herald (Rock Hill, SC)
https://www.heraldonline.com/news/article237509134.html

KTTC (Rochester, Minnesota)
https://kttc.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investigat…/

The State (Columbia, SC)
https://www.thestate.com/news/article237509134.html

News-Press Now (Kansas)
https://www.newspressnow.com/…/article_c77c6a14-e4cb-5a4d-a…

KSL (Salt Lake City, Utah)
https://www.ksl.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-investig…

Daily Progress (Charlottesville)
https://www.dailyprogress.com/…/article_2745efed-0574-50d0-…

Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, FL)
https://www.bradenton.com/…/health-ca…/article237509134.html

Fresno Bee
https://www.fresnobee.com/news/article237509134.html

SunHerald (Biloxi)
https://www.sunherald.com/ne…/business/article237509134.html

Record-Eagle (Traverse City)
https://www.record-eagle.com/…/article_30774558-d94d-5e3c-8…

The Telegraph (Macon, Georgia)
https://www.macon.com/news/article237509134.html

Hilton Head Island Packet
https://www.islandpacket.com/…/health…/article237509134.html

Tri-City Herald (Southeastern Washington State)
https://www.tri-cityherald.com/…/heal…/article237509134.html

Bismark Tribune
https://bismarcktribune.com/…/article_8a788c3f-0926-52ca-a2…

Winston Salem Journal
https://www.journalnow.com/…/article_117f4e82-a499-5999-a26…

New Canaan Advertiser
https://www.ncadvertiser.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-demand…

JG-TC (Illinois)
https://jg-tc.com/…/article_be667842-edd9-5303-8458-c11407d…

Argus-Press (Owosso, Michigan)
https://www.argus-press.com/…/article_f1c3e653-6fd2-5087-83…

Albany Democrat-Herald
https://democratherald.com/…/article_2bc211be-6081-524a-b80…

Beatrice Daily Sun (Nebraska)
https://beatricedailysun.com/…/article_07832d8d-6050-5e89-9…

Darien Times (California)
https://www.darientimes.com/…/Pennsylvania-families-demand-…

Billings Gazette
https://billingsgazette.com/…/article_6b9d4300-6f59-558f-9c…

The Oklahoman
https://oklahoman.com/…/pennsylvania-families-demand-invest…

The Times & Democrat (South Carolina)
https://thetandd.com/…/article_434c3add-9039-5934-bae2-516f…

Independent Record (Helena, Montana)
https://helenair.com/…/article_bb8b9c91-3e65-59d4-aa88-79ea…

Ottumwa Courier (Iowa)
https://www.ottumwacourier.com/…/article_97244347-b617-5d77…

Daily Herald (Provo, Utah)
https://www.heraldextra.com/…/article_96159d86-7682-5ef8-a3…

Lincoln Joural-Star (Nebraska)
https://journalstar.com/…/article_d2790f7f-5d75-5cf2-a246-d…

NoPetro written in plastic nurdles

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