Ten days ago, a group of hearty volunteers ventured into a cold rain to do their civic duty. They stuffed plastic garbage bags with trash that had been strewn along Route 519 from Hickory to Houston and hauled tires up from stream beds in an annual commemoration of Earth Day....
Earth Day was April 22, and it was great to see people sharing information and tips on how to reduce the consumption of natural resources and be more conscious of the water and energy-intensive aspects of our lifestyles. At the Center for Coalfield Justice, rather than challenging people to install more energy efficient lightbulbs or take shorter showers – we are confident many have already made those changes – we want to challenge people to stand up against the irresponsible, damaging extraction of fossil fuels and their use for energy generation.
About 52 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from industry and electricity production. Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily come from burning fossil fuels for energy, as well as certain chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials. Approximately 67 percent of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal (39 percent) and natural gas (27 percent).
Lowering our level of energy consumption is an important first step in moving beyond our current reliance on fossil fuels, but it is also crucial that we come together to push for accountability and compliance with the best environmental standards for fossil fuel extraction. The most recent Act 54 Report on underground coal mining made it clear that there are still gaps in law, regulations, and enforcement that are allowing widespread destruction of streams, wetlands, ecosystems, people’s homes and water supplies. The next step is to support policies that allow renewable energy to compete on a level playing field with heavily subsidized fossil fuels.
A study by PennFuture revealed that during 2012-2013, Pennsylvania provided $3.25 billion in subsidies to fossil-fuel industries. That translates to $794 per Pennsylvania taxpayer per year. As we look forward to a transition beyond fossil fuels, we recognize the critical importance of a parallel economic transition in Greene and Washington counties, where we hope to see a community-lead movement into a resilient, sustainable economy of stable jobs that pay living wages which will allow this region to thrive.
McCoy is the legal director at the Center for Coalfield Justice in Washington.
On April 25, I had the opportunity to clean up garbage around the Jessop exit on Route 70 with 14 other members of the Washington Rotary Club. As I drove home later that day, I saw several other groups doing the same thing in various parts of Washington.
Several thoughts entered my mind:
1) Everyone who is able should join in with their church group, service organization or community group to do a cleanup at least once.
2) Thanks should be extended to all of the groups who get involved in these cleanups.
3) The next time you are in your car or walking by an area and you have a piece of garbage, think before tossing.
4) If you or someone you know has done this cleanup work, you won’t just throw things out on the street or sidewalk.
When we started our work on Saturday, we didn’t think there would be a lot of garbage, but we managed to fill over 30 bags from the entrance and exit ramps, as well as from the hillsides near the exit. There was even more garbage near the overpass, but for safety reasons we didn’t walk out that far onto Route 70.
April 22 was Earth Day. We need to keep our planet clean, starting with our own community. This is a place we should all be proud of, and when people are driving through, I want them to see how beautiful it is, not how much garbage is on the roads.
On behalf of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging, Inc., I am writing to commend the Observer-Reporter for undertaking the yearlong series, “No Longer Me,” which increased community awareness of individuals within the region who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
This special series illustrated the devastating toll that the disease has upon individuals and the overwhelming consequences for families and loved ones who are providing care.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging is especially grateful for the donations that were the result of the No Longer Me Alzheimer’s fundraising associated with the series. The funds received through the Washington County Community Foundation, Inc., in the amount of $15,749, and the Community Foundation of Greene County, in the amount of $4,800, will be used to ease the burden of caregiving for families in Washington and Greene counties.
Through these generous contributions, the Area Agency on Aging will have additional resources to grant caregiver “wishes” for respite care or relief, reimbursement for caregiver supplies and specialized adaptive equipment.
Caregivers interested in information about the available funds should call 724-489-8080 or 1-888-300-2704, ext. 4418.
Grenfel is the executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging.
Students have borne the brunt of massive cuts to higher education over the last four years. Under the previous governor, more than $90 million was cut from schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and tuition increased by $1,016.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed investments in higher education, as well as PASSHE’s decision to freeze tuition contingent upon passage of the governor’s budget, are each important steps in giving students a break from constantly rising college costs.
So when I read state Rep. Camera Bartolotta’s Wednesday letter to the editor that criticized Wolf for advocating for a tuition freeze for students, while at the same time proposing an increase of $45.3 million to PASSHE, it was clear that she has a profound misunderstanding of the situation Pennsylvania middle-class families and students are facing as a result of a disinvestment in education and an economy that has been stagnant for four years.
Wolf’s 2015-16 budget reinvests in higher education and commits to restoring the cuts to colleges and universities over the next two years. The governor has also laid out a bold plan for Pennsylvania to achieve the goal of 60 percent of residents with a degree or high-value certificate by 2025. Additionally, Wolf will work to leverage the state’s investments to dramatically improve college completion rates, boost innovation and strengthen alignment with real-world economic opportunities and the needs of employers.
We have real problems in Pennsylvania, and we cannot accept where things currently stand. The commonwealth is facing a massive deficit, schools at all levels are without the resources to provide an adequate education and the economy is stagnant after years of misguided policies. Doing nothing is not an option, and the governor refuses to be part of the first generation of Pennsylvanians who have to tell their children they have to go elsewhere to achieve success.
Sheridan is the press secretary to Gov. Tom Wolf.
I am extremely disappointed Gov. Tom Wolf recently threatened to withdraw his support for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in order to win approval of a hypothetical tuition freeze next year. Although Wolf campaigned on the idea of a “fresh start,” his latest stunt......
From the beginning, horizontal drilling and fracking in Southwestern Pennsylvania have been experiments undertaken by the shale gas industry. The industry chose to use our communities as testing grounds for new methods of extraction and production, relying on reckless ideas like direct disposal of......
I own my home in the McGuffey School District, in Blaine Township. It is where county commissioners Diana Irey-Vaughan, John Bevec and Bracken Burns did the land swap deal a few years back. They unanimously voted to take approximately 4,200 acres of developable land permanently off of the McGuffey......
In the category of “Now I have heard everything” comes the news that a New Jersey third-grade teacher instructed her class to write get-well letters to Mumia Abu-Jamal, the infamous man who killed Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner in cold blood on Dec. 9, 1981....
Walking through the town of Waynesburg, one can see there is a lot of trash that can be recycled on the roads and hills. Imagine having a cleaner environment by setting up recycling bins around the town. Doing so would help reduce the amount of recyclable trash that is accumulating....
An error appeared in the March 26 article about the Peters Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Venetia. The article states that when the church vacates its current location on Brookwood Road and holds its last service today, “It will also mark the end of 220 years of continuous worship......
In response to John Baranowski’s April 19 letter, the Liquefied Natural Gas Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act expands domestic energy production by expediting the approval process for liquefied natural gas export permits. Southwestern Pennsylvania is in the heart of the Marcellus......
Imagine my surprise when sitting down with my morning coffee and discovering headlines about Washington County. It didn’t stop there. Friends in other parts of Pennsylvania, friends in other U.S. states, and even friends overseas were commenting online about student behavior and organized......
I just finished reading your Thursday editorial, “Be very wary of state officials bearing gifts,” and I totally agree that the half measures being considered to reduce property taxes will not work. Property taxes should be eliminated entirely, once and for all. State officials must......
The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 28 defeated a Democratic bid to deny natural gas exports to state sponsors of terrorism, or to countries or firms that use cyber attacks to steal U.S. intellectual property or military secrets. Republican congressmen from the region – Tim Murphy,......
The reassessment of property in Washington County has been going on for some time, and people still write letters to the Observer-Reporter criticizing it. If everyone had a computer and looked at the assessed values of properties in each school district, I have no doubt everyone would......