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Friday, April 19, 2013

Environmental Protests for Earth Day

Posted By on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Groups are taking advantage of Earth Day to call for both government and corporations to either do more to protect the environment or to stop damaging it so much.

On Monday, there’s statewide Day of Action targeting the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. A coalition including 40 or more groups “demands that DEP fufill its mission to ‘protect Pennsylvania’s fair, land and water’ and ‘provide for the health and safety of its citizens.’”

The coalition says DEP’s been more concerned about expediting permits for the gas and coal industries than about residents who claim their health has been harmed by those industries. With DEP secretary Michael Krancer — a staunch ally of the gas industry — having stepped down, the groups are calling for better stewardship both by and of the DEP.

A march to the DEP regional headquarters, on Washington’s Landing, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Participants should meet on the North Shore Trail, Downtown. The action is being organized by Marcellus Protest and the locally based Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective.

Similar actions are planned in Harrisburg, Meadville, Norristown, Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg.

Details are here or can email info@shadbush collective.org.

On Tue., April 23, a different coalition of groups will gather to protest PNC’s investment in mountaintop-removal coal-mining. Marchers will target PNC’s annual shareholders’ meeting, to be held at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

Mountaintop-removal is a form of strip-mining in which the top several hundred feet of mountains are blown apart to reach the coal inside. The rubble is then pushed into adjacent valleys.

The practice, heavily used in West Virginia and other Appalachian states, results in habitat loss, polluted (or simply buried) streams and severe health consequences for people living nearby.

PNC has long been targeted for investing in MTR. Activists now charge that PNC, despite its promises to disinvest, is the largest investor in the practice.

Groups including Energy Action Coalition, the Earth Quaker Action Team and the Alliance for Appalachia will gather at 10 a.m. in Market Square, and march for a 10:30 rally at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave.

The groups will demand that PNC disinvest in both MTR and fracking for natural gas.

Participants can sign up here.

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