Earth Day Protest at DEP Office April 22nd

Citizens celebrate Earth Day by protesting DEP

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:45 pm

By Rachel Morgan |

PITTSBURGH — Most people celebrate Earth Day by planting trees. But a local coalition of environmentalists plans to celebrate the Earth by protesting actions of the state agency intended to protect it.

The coalition, made up of 60 organizations and individual citizens, is staging a statewide Earth Day protest Monday at six regional Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection offices. The groups are calling for the DEP to return to its mission, “to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment.”

The group also has five demands for the regulatory agency, which has come under fire in recent months over its water-testing practices. It stems from a Public Accountability Initiative report that highlighted extensive ties between DEP leadership and the oil and gas industry, and its granting of a permit to Chesapeake Energy for hydraulic fracturing just 1 mile from the Beaver Valley Power Station, among others.

The Earth Day Protest Against Fracking has the following five demands:

• Appoint an environmental expert without industry ties as DEP Secretary to ensure DEP’s mission is fulfilled

• Place a moratorium on permits for gas wells, compressor stations, pipelines, water withdrawals, coal mines, and other infrastructure related to fossil fuel extraction

• Allow no more toxic secrets and full disclosure of water tests and other studies by DEP

• Provide justice for those harmed by the oil and gas industry

• Reopen the DEP Office of Energy and Technology Deployment to develop solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies

The local demonstration will take place at 2p.m. Monday at the DEP Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Drive, Homestead.

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