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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A morning of protests

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM

It's been a busy morning for protestors and activists in the city.

First up — About 30 environmental activists protested outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center where state DEP Secretary Michael Krancer was addressing a natural gas conference. The conference — Developing Unconventional Gas (DUG) East — ends today.

Outside, anti-drilling activists objected to the state's handling of Marcellus Shale gas drilling and warn about the dangers associated with the process.

"We're out because this is the biggest scam put over on Pennsylvania," said Loretta Weir, a Lincoln Place resident involved with Marcellus Protest. "The DEP is no longer protecting us."

Weir and company took issue with the state's handling of well-water reports, and demanded DEP officials release all reports on water contaminants related to Marcellus Shale drilling, as well as conduct further tests. Protestors said that Pennsylvania officials like Gov. Tom Corbett and Krancer are more interested in courting the industry then protecting the residents from toxic chemicals.

"Mike Krancer won't go to a citizen's forum, but he can go to every energy industry forum!" shouted longtime activist Mel Packer.

GOP strategist Karl Rove spoke at the conference yesterday. Last year, five Occupy Pittsburgh members were arrested protesting at the convention.

A few blocks away, members of Working America gathered in front of Democratic Senator Bob Casey's office to deliver letters asking him to promise to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, while fighting against extending former president George W. Bush's tax cuts to the wealthy.

Speakers ranged from those who rely on the programs to those wanting to preserve them for future generations and those who are vulnerable and on a limited income.

"Cuts to Social Security and Medicare mean my wife and [millions] more would have to sacrifice in ways folks shouldn't have to," said Del Linville, 72, of Ambridge. "Folks...should be able to retire and live a decent life."

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