Pittsburghers and the people of surrounding communities were justifiably irate when President Trump claimed to “represent Pittsburgh” as he renounced the Paris Climate Accord. On behalf of the city and the region, our elected officials, private citizens, and civic institutions answered him with essentially the same message: “Not in Our Name!”
This past Monday and Tuesday, the Northeast Petrochemical Construction Conference met at the Sheraton Station Square on the Monongahela River. They came to promote toxic petrochemical development in the region surrounding the air-polluting Shell cracker plant being built in Beaver County. They already intend to replicate the Beaver Plant four-fold or more.
Across town, the annual Developing Unconventional Gas (“DUG East”) conference was opening at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on the Allegheny River. That group came to press for even more drilling, compressor stations, processing plants, petrochemical plants, and pipelines for shale gas extraction. Between them, the two conferences demonstrated a double-barreled threat to Western Pennsylvania: fracking and cracking, each justifying itself as “necessary” for the profitability of the other
On Tuesday, June 20th, beginning at Station Square, Pittsburghers and people from across Western Pennsylvania and beyond gathered for the Stop the Madness rally and march. They added their voices to the “Not in Our Name!” message to Trump, and to tell the carpet baggers attending the two industry conferences “You are not welcome her!”
The Stop the Madness participants also called on state and local officials to match their actions to their words: To demonstrate that Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania, reject the President’s repudiation of America’s moral responsibilities, and in particular, called on Governor Wolf and county and municipal officials …
To withdraw their support from fracking, especially on public land;
To take back their “welcome” of petrochemical and extraction industries in Western Pennsylvania communities – both as to their physical operations and their trade meetings;
To restore full funding to the Department of Environmental Protection; and
To put the DEP and the Allegheny County Health Department back on the job of cleaning up industrial pollution of air, water and soil.
Photos by Tom Jefferson