December 1, 2015
Contact: Eva Westheimer

Pittsburgh Tour of Climate Scrooges Calls Out Industry Role In Local Air Pollution

Pittsburgh, PA- Tuesday afternoon about 50 concerned community members, environmental groups, and social justice organizations marched throughout downtown Pittsburgh. The march wound through downtown stopping at what participants call Pittsburgh’s top “Climate Scrooges.”
Accompanied by a marching band, a 12 foot tall puppet of the Ghost of Climate Future, lumps of coal, and a Climate Scrooge, participants visited the headquarters of Babst Calland Attorneys at Law, PPG, EQT, PNC, and US Steel. Representatives of all  these corporations have been appointed to the Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald after contributing to his campaign.

Participants played off of the Holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” having the Ghost of Climate Future visit each of the corporations and government bodies to show what a future will look like if action on climate change and air quality is not taken seriously. Each corporation and government body was represented by a “Climate Scrooge” and was left lumps of coal with messages attached.

With some street theater as a part of the march actors chanted at each location, “We have come to show you a world in the making. A world that is the product of your crimes and pollution, where children breath poisoned air and families drink poisoned water. If we continue on the course you have set for us our future is grim.This is a haunting. This is what is to come. This is a forewarning of a bleak future.”

Pittsburgh is known for having consistently poor air quality. Participants on the march called out Rich Fitzgerald for appointing many of the top polluters in the region to sit on the government body with oversight over air quality issues in the region. In addition to appointing top polluters to the committee, participants called out the conflict of interest of having representatives from Babst Calland both sit on the committee, and represent Shenango Coke Works in legal actions against Clean Air Act violations and other environmental violations.

Eva Westheimer, a member of Three Rivers Rising Tide, a local environmental organization, stated, “In our region air quality is a serious issue. The issues of air quality, climate change, economic and racial justice are linked together.”  Westheimer continued to state that, “We believe it is important to highlight these inconsistencies on the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee. Resident’s health and well being should be be considered more important than corporate profits.”

This event was a part of Flood the System, a national effort to highlight intersectional issues such as climate change, environmental justice, housing justice, and economic justice.


Written by eva