Sunday, August 23, 2009

Battling Polluting Waste Coal Plants In Western Pennsylvania

Politicians at the state and local level in Pennsylvania believe the residents should roll over and play dead when companies push for waste coal power plants. Some politicians take it for granted that we already have. However, waste coal power plants increase the amount of fly ash and other particulates in the air and the amount of mercury and arsenic the water. We, the people, must care about what happens to the environment, to the air we breathe and the water we drink. People living in Pennsylvania need to paraphrase John Paul Jones and need to constantly remind our elected and appointed officials...

We Have Not Begun to Fight:

Battling Polluting Waste Coal Plants In Western Pennsylvania

Many years of mining in Pennsylvania created large areas of waste coal, called gob piles. This is the Beech Hollow gob pile, just outside of McDonald, as seen from the western side (photo taken winter 2008):

Beech Hollow Gob Pile taken from the western side, 2/3/08

Here's what the Beech Hollow gob pile looks like from space, courtesy of Google Earth (photo taken late summer 2005):

Beech Hollow Gob Pile, taken from space, 8/05

The large glob of gray to the west of 980 (Robinson Highway) is the largest gob pile east of the Mississippi. It's in our backyard. Granted, it's an ugly mess, but in its current state, it isn't adding to the particulate problem in Southwestern Pennsylvania. However, if you live in places like North Fayette Towship, Oakdale, Carnegie, and Mount Lebanon, you live downwind of a proposed coal waste power plant for Beech Hollow, that will make electricity from the waste coal in this gob pile while spewing fly ash into the air.

For many years, Pittsburgh has been at or near the top of cities with the most particulate-polluted air. Yet our local politicians are giving permission for a waste coal power plant to be built just west of the area? This type of plant will only make a bad air quality situation worse, as anyone with asthma or other lung problems in our region already knows.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area, especially in the western and southern suburbs, you should be mad as hell and let your local officials know that you aren't going to take it.

To learn more about this proposed waste coal power plant, attend a public meeting in Mount Lebanon on Thursday, August 27, 7:30pm at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

NetRoots Nation Saturday

I left NetRoots Nation Thursday (even missing Bill Clinton's speech, which I would have loved to have heard) completely exhausted. After working my three hour airport shift, I went home and collapsed and missed Friday's events (including my cousin Alice's good friend Howard Dean).

So I returned to NetRoots today, and worked three hours at Registration, went to the Keynote Lunch, spent the afternoon videotaping a couple of panels, and am now at the evening Keynote.

The lunchtime keynote was OK, but not quite as forward-looking as I'd hoped. Most of the discussion was "it's better in Europe" and "we need more unionization." While these things are certainly true, they aren't making any new suggestions about how to handle the situation. Where are Paul Krugman and Charlie Stross, who spoke very interestingly on this very topic at Worldcon, when we need them?

After lunch, I was the videographer for a fascinating panel on DOJ extremes during the Bush years (that the Obama folks haven't fixed yet...*sigh*) and a very interesting panel on getting parents more involved in political organizing. I kept having to ask for help, but, luckily, my room was next door to the video office, so it was pretty easy to run next door and ask another stupid question.

At the evening keynote, State Senator Jim Ferlo gave a good speech, reminding us that peacefui assembly during the upcoming G20 meeting in Pittsburgh is Constitutionally protected - "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin. The city is way overreacting, saying that protests A MILE AWAY from the Convention Center during the G20 are forbidden. Much as I do believe that the G209 should continue unimpeded by disruptions, peaceful assembly is not disruptive. I'm very much opposed to muzzling peaceful protest.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, August 13 - Live from NetRoots Nation in the 'Burgh!

After spending some time helping run my Dad's 80th birthday, vacationing in Canada, then helping run the World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal, I'm back in Pittsburgh. My next "I'm underemployed and I'm bored!" project is working as a local volunteer for NetRoots Nation, which is here in Pittsburgh through Saturday. I've already linked up with "Drinking Liberally" and told them where they should go to drink.

I worked with another woman delivering today's tent cards to various panel rooms this morning, then helped out with Registration for a few hours. I'm now on a break, testing out the Acer WebBook in the exshibit hall.

While I have been fairly inactive on this blog for the last few weeks, due to doing work for Worldcon, I'm a proud liberal blogger and was delighted to hear that NetRoots was coming to Pittsburgh. I hope to make some contacts (beyond the "Drinking Liberally" folks!)