Climate Change

Pennsylvanians Respond to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's Visit to Greene County Mine

Following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit to a local coal mine, the Center for Coalfield Justice and Sierra Club Beyond Coal hosted a press conference where Pennsylvanians gathered to criticize Pruitt's efforts to put polluter profits ahead of communities health and environment.

Speakers criticized Administrator Pruitt and his “back-to-basics” plan for EPA, which he introduced at a visit to Consol Energy’s Harvey Mine. Speakers said it amounted to little more than a plan to take away lifesaving environmental and public health protections and permit unlimited pollution from fossil fuel companies. Randy Francisco, Organizer with Sierra Club Beyond Coal stated, "When Administrator Pruitt says he wants to get the EPA “back-to-basics” we all know he wants to send the agency back to the days before the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, laws which have protected Pennsylvania families from harmful pollution for decades. And to launch his polluter-friendly agenda, Pruitt choose a mine that was fined $3 million for Clean Water Act violations just last year.” 

Pruitt’s visit comes on the heels of the President’s ‘dirty energy’ executive order, which aimed to roll back pollution limits like the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and as the President calls for a 30 percent cut to the EPA’s budget, including enforcement activities and mine cleanup. Veronica Coptis, Executive Director, Center for Coalfield Justice said, “If Administrator Pruitt cares about the coalfields, he would help rebuild our local economy for the long term, as programs in the CPP would have done. Interfering with pending rules and removing existing standards will not save the coal industry and will only limit resources for worker retraining and economic diversity, all while killing our streams and degrading the places our families enjoy.” 

Speakers concluded by committing to hold the Trump Administration and Administrator Pruitt accountable for protecting public health and promoting, not restraining, the growth of Pennsylvania’s strong, clean energy economy. Sarah Grugas, a student organizer with the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition said, “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is risking my future for polluter profits. Rolling back regulations will only accelerate climate destructions and threaten my ability to live the American dream. My generation won’t stand for it; we are committed to protecting our future.” 

Watch the live stream here:

Join the Clean Energy March Revolution July 24th

CCJ member, Keith Fullerton is attending the Clean Energy March on July 24th in Philadelphia and explains what it means to participate in these large national gatherings below:

I’ve always felt separated. In my “hometown” of Aleppo Township, Greene County, there aren’t many opportunities for a young environmentalist, such as myself, to express themselves and get support from other like-minded folks.

CCJ Hosts Extreme Energy Extraction Collaborative

A few weekends ago, the Center for Coalfield Justice hosted the Extreme Energy Extraction Collaborative Summit in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Frontline community members, indigenous folks, grassroots groups and big green groups fighting extreme energy extraction from around the US and Canada came together to share skills and strategize about working together across many extraction and social justice issues.

Climate Expert Offers Solutions

Just a few days before climatologist, Dr. Michael E. Mann, came to speak at Washington and Jefferson College, forest fires in Westmoreland County flooded news reports throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. With a dry early spring and very little green vegetation, forest floors in Southwestern Pennsylvania were tinder boxes ready to ignite at any moment. In preparation for the statewide trout season opener, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources issued a warning for anglers to take precautions to prevent forest fires in the area. The next day, firefighters successfully extinguished two forest fires that spread across 30 acres in Westmoreland County.