Triple Divide


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Community Rights Activists Speak Out

Published on Jun 11, 2013 Local activists talk about their work to pass community rights legislation at the local city and county level in an effort to stop natural gas fracking and the destruction of present and future environmental quality, particularly water!!! The health and safety of our democracy, our local grassroots democracy is at the core of this debate. This national and international movement is pushback against the privatization and corporatization of every last drop of fossil fuel energy at the cost of catastrophic global climate change

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Media Advisory PA Earth Day Protests at DEP Offices

MEDIA ADVISORY: Earth Day Protest at Regional DEP Offices, 4/22

      On April 22, a state-wide Earth Day Protest Against Fracking will take place at the six regional offices of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A coalition of 60 organizations and individuals is organizing these events to demonstrate public demand for the DEP to return to its mission, which is “"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 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; and
• Reopen the DEP Office of Energy and Technology Deployment to develop solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies. 

      The six demonstrations (and the primary contact person for each) are listed below for your convenience:
      DEP Northeast Regional Office
2 Public SquareWilkes-BarrePA 18711.This event will take place from noon until 2:00 pm in Public Square, directly across the street from the Northeast Regional DEP office with music by Don Shappelle.For more information, please contact Jay Sweeney, Green Party of Wyoming County, at 570-587-3603 and
      DEP Northcentral Regional Office, 208 West Third Street,WilliamsportPA 17701. This event will take place at noon. For more information, please contact Russell Zerbo at 215-567-4004 (x130)
      DEP Northwest Regional Office, 230 Chestnut StreetMeadvillePA16335. This event will take place from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm beginning atDiamond Park on Main Street and continuing to the DEP Office. For more information, please contact Diane Sipe, Marcellus Outreach Butler, at 724-272-4539 and
      DEP Southeast Regional Office, 2 East Main StreetNorristownPA19401. This event will begin at 3:00 pm and end at 5:00 pm. There will be an open mike for endorsing organizations. For more information, please contact Chris Robinson, Green Party of Philadelphia, 215-843-4256
      DEP Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Avenue,HarrisburgPA 17110. This event will begin at noon and last until 2:00 pm. For more information, please contact Maria Payan at 717-456-5800
      DEP Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront DrivePittsburgh,PA 15222. The land march will begin at 2:00 pm in the North Shore Trail Parking Lot closest to the Walking Bridge. There will also be a river march by boat across the Allegheny River. For more information, please contact Patrick Young at 412-298-6361 or Mel Packer at

The following 60 organizations and individuals have endorsed the Earth Day Protest Against Fracking:
Allegheny College Students for Environmental Action, 
Michael Bagdes-Canning, Vice President, Cherry Valley Borough Council, Butler County
Timothy Bagdes-Canning, Councilmember, Cherry Valley Borough Council, Butler County
Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Committee
Benedictine Sisters Erie PA,
Berks Gas Truth,
Brandywine Peace Community,
Bucks County Green Party,
Citizens for Clean Water, Citizens Against Marcellus Pollution (CAMP)
Clean Water Action,
Communities United for Rights & Environment,
Cross County Citizens Clean Air Coalition, 
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability,
Delaware County Green Party,
Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 
Energy Justice Network,
Environmental Justice Committee, Thomas Merton Center, 
Food & Water Watch,
Fracking Truth Alliance,
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition,

Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia, 
Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA),
Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP),
Growing Community Project,
Celia Janosik, Beaver County Volunteer Water Quality Monitor,
Kill Mammon,  Laurel Highlands Energy Awareness Project
Lehigh Valley Gas Truth,
Lehigh Valley Greens,
Lenape Nation, Chief Shelley DePaul,
Luzerne County Green Party,
Marcellus Outreach Butler, 
Marcellus Protest,
Montgomery County Green Party,
Mountain Watershed Association, 
Northwest Greens,
Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group,
PA Alliance for Clean Water and Air, 
PA Sierra Club, Allegheny Group 
PA Sierra Club, Northeast Group
Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphiawww.psrphila.orgJoshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman,
Protecting Our Waters,
Jasmine Rivera, Action United,
Mark Schmerling Photography,
Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective, 
Shale Justice Coalition,
South Hills Area Against Dangerous Drilling (SHAADD),
350 Berks & Lehigh Valley Climate Action, Steve Todd, Candidate for Derry Township Supervisor 
Tour de Frack
Dr. Walter Tsou, Phila. Commissioner of Health 2000-2002
Upper Burrell Citizens Against Marcellus Pollution
Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group,,
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Philadelphia/Delco Branch
York County Green Party,

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Environmental Justice Film Series: The problems and solutions!

April Environmental Justice Film Series: Communities SPEAK OUT .... Mountain top removal, sand mining,  water, land and health in jeopardy from fracking, and how we can make a transition to resilient communities! Don't miss these great films!

For additional information contact: Wanda Guthrie 412-596-0066 or email:

The Last Mountain:  Tuesday evening, April 9, 7pm
The Price of Sand:   Saturday evening, April 20, 7pm
Triple Divide:            Monday evening, April 29
Transition 2.0:          Tuesday Evening, April 30
Tuesday evening, April 9  7 pm The Last Mountain
Community House Presbyterian Church
120 Parkhurst St  Pittsburgh, PA (North Side Community) 15212
The message of The Last Mountain is that is not enough to simply be outraged anymore. We are all users of the electricity and power that is generated from the sacrifices of the Appalachia residents and miners. The imagery of environmental devastation is so shocking, the deregulation and egregious indifference of the coal mining companies’ various violations so appalling, that we begin to feel somehow complicit in perpetrating this modern American tragedy. Ordinary people, banded together in a common purpose, can indeed move mountains. And sometimes, they can even save them.

We are preparing for an action on April 23: The Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) has identified an age old way to address civic action. Civil disobedience is the response of ordinary people to extraordinary injustices. “American Quakers have historically been at the forefront of civil and human rights issues, and climate change is no exception,” explains EQAT executive director Amy Ward Brimmer. “Spurred by our moral conscience and sense of shared responsibility to help right the wrongs of our society – slavery, child labor, suffrage, segregation, marriage equality and immigrant rights, to name just a few – we have a tradition of engagement in creative nonviolent resistance. Climate change threatens the health and security of all Americans, and action proportional to the problem is required–now.

Lou Martin, a participant in EQAT actions, will be leading questions and answers when the Environmental Justice Committee TMC sponsors a showing of the Last Mountain in April.
Saturday evening, 7 pm, April 20 The Price of Sand
The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
5700 Forbes Avenue (Squirrel Hill Community) 15217

Jim Tittle received a call from his mother two years ago that an open-pit frack sand mine was being considered for the Hay Creek bluffs south of the city.
“It really threw me for a loop,” said Tittle, who remembered the area well from his youth.
The curious Tittle set off with a video camera to research the issue of frack sand mining. His work culminated into the documentary film “The Price of Sand.” 

The documentary features interviews with people on both sides of the frac sand debate, from displaced homeowners to drivers who found work with mining companies. The goal of the film was to raise awareness of the human impact of frac sand mining, Tittle said.
“I want people to see other peoples’ stories,” Tittle said. “Wherever I could find a person affected by this, I’d go there and talk to them.”

Linda Three Crows Meadowlark, resident of both LeSueur County, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh will talk about sand mine activism. 

About the sand mines: 
In parts of rural Wisconsin, the presence of sand mines is something you can feel, smell or taste.  The presence of those mines and the trucks hauling its powdery sands toward natural gas drilling sites has been devastating. The sand is an essential ingredient in the fracking process.

Sand, fracking, health, volumes: It has been tough for residents of Pennsylvania to prove that natural gas production is harmful to health. It has been equally difficult for  our Midwest neighbors to convince the public of the health hazards posed by the frack sand mining. The process of fracking requires blasting large volumes of water, chemicals and silica sand into bedrock. Up to 4 million pounds of the sand is used per well to prop open the newly created rock fractures that release the natural gas and Wisconsin's sands happen to be perfectly suited for such a task. Since May 2010, the number of mines and processing plants in the state jumped from 10 to about 110, according to Thomas Woletz of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The tune is familiar as are the singers: Burgeoning business, say industry representatives, is a boon for the state's economy.

But the relative lack of research or monitoring of the sand mining's impacts has left a "big gaping question mark," said Jim Tittle, whose documentary film "The Price of Sand" 
Sand at Marcellus Shale fracking sites: An occupational hazard alert was release in June, 2012.  A Study found that the majority of air samples taken at fracking sites had more silica dust than the recommended limit. In fact, about a third had at least 10 times the limit. There has been no study on the effects of the dust on nearby residents. 

While silica dust can be small enough to bypass the body’s defenses, the freshly fractured crystalline silica from mining and processing operations is particularly damaging. Although the dangers are known and apparent, crystalline silica dust is not regulated as a hazardous pollutant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or by Wisconsin. So the danger during mine blasting or blowing off trucks, trains, conveyors or storage piles is sobering. 
Monday evening, April 29, 7 pm Triple Divide
5401 Centre Ave  Pittsburgh, PA (Shadyside Community)15232 

Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates this 18-month cradle-to-grave investigation by
Public Herald, an investigative news nonprofit co-founded by journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman. Triple Divide features uncovered state documents, never before seen interviews with industry giants and advocates, exclusive reports with impacted landowners, and expert testimonies.

Triple Divide reveals how state regulators have abandoned the public they’re meant to serve. And though the industry says fracking can be done safely, the film shows that no amount of regulation can prevent the corrosion of wells casings, illegal burying of radioactive waste, or the “pressure bulb” effect fracking creates underground.

The film’s title represents one of only four Triple Continental Divides in North America, a place that provides drinking water to millions of Americans and signals to the audience that everything, and everyone, is downstream from shale gas extraction.

Public response to Triple Divide:
“Powerful” ... “Amazing” ... “Beautiful” - Pennsylvania Screenings
“This documentary deserves an oscar!” - Celia Janosik
“This documentary is absolutely fantastic!” - Joe Shervinski
“Best Documentary on Fracking Ever, Better Than Gasland!’ - OUE

The documentary filmmakers, Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman. will lead a question and answer session. 
Tuesday evening, April 30, 7pm   Transition 2.0

Kingsley Association  
6435 Frankstown Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (East Liberty Community)

If you want to know the present state of Transition both here in Pittsburgh and all over the globe, this is your movie (site and trailer here!). It covers Transition Initiatives and the diverse, powerful communities driving their relocalization and community-rejuvenation efforts, from Europe to Asia to America and beyond, including an appearance from the Whitney Avenue Urban Farm right here in Wilkinsburg!

The filmmakers' description:
"In Transition 2.0 is an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. You'll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food, localising their economies and setting up community power stations. It's an idea that has gone viral, a social experiment that is about responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism. In a world of increasing uncertainty, here is a story of hope, ingenuity and the power of growing vegetables in unexpected places".

Time: Doors will open at 6:30pm, and after a short introduction to Transition Pittsburgh's recent activities.  The audience can stay afterwards for group discussion of Transition in Pittsburgh past, present, and future with Fred Brown, Associate Director for Program Development, Kingsley Association. 

Earth Day Protest at Regional DEP Offices: April 22, 2013

Earth Day Protest at Regional DEP Offices
Calling on DEP to fulfill its mission and stop fracking

A coalition of more than 40 environmental organizations and individuals are rallying for protection of communities and the environment with a statewide Earth Day Protest on Monday, April 22.  These rallies will call on our public officials to act with integrity and protect the people of Pennsylvania, who are being victimized every day by fracking and the cradle-to-grave dangers of shale gas extraction.  

Rallies will take place at each of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) regional offices in Harrisburg, Meadville, Norristown, Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport on Earth Day. The coalition is calling for support from people who want to stand together to preserve and protect our communities from the assault and abuse of environmental devastation.

The rallies will demand that DEP fulfill 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.” In order to do so, DEP must put the ‘public’ back in public policy.

Join the Earth Day coalition at your regional DEP office to demand our public officials:

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

For more information or to get involved locally, contact:

Southwest:  Mel Packer, 412-243-4545 or 412-307-6827,

In Pittsburgh, we’ll march to the DEP office on Washington’s Landing, beginning from the North Shore Trail along the Allegheny River. The march is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm, on Monday, April 22, with a rally to follow at DEP.

For the complete list of organizations involved and Regional Contacts visit the Green Party Link at:

Monday, March 25, 2013


Establishing the
Westmoreland County Chapter
of the
Pennsylvania Community Rights Network

Date: Wednesday, March 27
Time: 7pm
Place: Murrysville Community Center
(3091 Carson Ave, Murrysville)

What is the Pennsylvania Community Rights Network?

The Pennsylvania Community Rights Network (PCRN) has grown out of the local grassroots organizing that the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund has assisted Pennsylvania communities with for over 15 years. That work includes assisting communities to draft Community Bills of Rights - in effect, local constitutions - that assert new civil and political rights for the community, and then prohibit those activities
(such as fracking, factory farms, dumping sewage sludge on farmland, etc.) that would infringe on those rights.

PCRN is a non-partisan, statewide organization made up of a network of independent County-based chapters, each with their own distinct committees and attributes that attune them to the particular needs and issues within each County. The glue that binds these chapters together into a statewide organization is their common focus on asserting fundamental rights to achieve constitutional change that liberates local community self-government.

What would the Westmoreland County Chapter do?

With the establishment of a Westmoreland County Chapter of PCRN, those interested can work with folks in municipalities throughout Westmoreland County, and with counties across PA, to lay the foundation for statewide recognition of the rights of people to protect their communities and natural environment, free from
State preemption or claims of corporate "rights." And, people in municipalities in Westmoreland County will have a place to go for assistance, resources and consultation with PCRN, you, and CELDF for local ordinance and home rule campaigns.

For more information, please contact:
Chad Nicholson

A Project of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund   P.O. Box 360, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania 17236207.541.3649

Monday, February 11, 2013

NEW! 2nd Community Rights Workshop March 29-30

Community Rights Workshop and a Pittsburgh Community Bill of Rights Referendum CANCELLED BUT TAKING A RAIN CHECK!  WATCH FOR MORE!

Not to be missed by those who are committed to Community Empowerment for a Sustainable Future 

Space is limited to 35 maximum. Sign up early and please forward this to people you know who would find this a really useful 

Friday evening, March 29, 6pm to 9pm Saturday, March 30, 9am to 6pm, 2013, 
located in the Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh 

  • Wondering why corporations have more power than those of you living in your community? 
  • Wondering why Harrisburg licenses and permits corporations to harm your community? 
  • Wondering why Harrisburg routinely prevents you from making decisions that are in the best interests of your community? 
The Pennsylvania Community Rights Workshop takes an in-depth look at how Pennsylvania's political and legal structures have been set up to protect the interests of an elite minority, at the expense of the majority of Pennsylvanians. We'll look at how Pennsylvania's constitution has continually evolved since the American Revolution to protect wealth and privilege over community self-government; we'll look at how corporations in Pennsylvania have received more rights and protections than those of you living in your community; and we'll look at how Pennsylvanians have pushed back against these oppressive structures to reclaim democracy in their communities. 

We will also explore how to strengthen a Referendum Campaign in Pittsburgh that will place Community Rights on the November ballot. 

We will also consider what it would take to create a Pennsylvania constitution that protects the rights of people, communities, and nature by securing our inalienable right to local self-government, free from corporate and state interference. 

TO REGISTER SIMPLY EMAIL: and let us know how you will be paying. 

The total cost of the workshop is $60 per person. 
A partial payment of $25 must be paid by March 25 unless a special arrangement is made (call Wanda at 724.327.2767 or 412.596.0066) or email It is possible to PAY BY CREDIT CARD OR PAYPAL ACCOUNT! Log on to Thomas Merton Center Donate and scroll down to Environmental Justice. 

Checks should be made out to the Thomas Merton Center, with a memo notation “Community Rights” Please send to Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15224 The balance should be paid in full the evening of March 29 at the workshop. We are keeping our expenses to a minimum to ensure affordability for everyone. 

Pittsburgh's Community Bill of Rights: leading the way toward true local democracy, sustainability and justice 

Can we support a Referendum? In 2010, Pittsburgh famously became the first U.S. city to pass a Community Bill of Rights (CBoR) ordinance which, in contradistinction to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, limits the rights and influence of corporations and makes them subordinate to the rights of people and the natural communities upon which we depend. 

Now, this groundbreaking ordinance could become part of Pittsburgh's local constitution with great organizing. 

So what does the Community Bill of Rights do? It asserts the rights of residents to clean air, pure water, freedom from chemical trespass, peaceful enjoyment of home, local self-government.  It recognizes the rights of natural communities and ecosystems as well, and empowers community members with legal standing to enforce those rights. 

Included in the Bill of Rights, indeed the issue that prompted its introduction in the first place, is a provision that prohibits corporations from extracting natural gas within the city (with the exception of gas wells already established and in operation at the time of adoption of this amendment). 

Here’s the reason why it is important to move our Community Bill of Rights from the status of an ordinance to that of an amendment to the city Charter: Numerous times over this past year, the community has rallied to support the ordinance as the mayor was prodded by the gas industry to overturn the drilling ban so that such companies might "feel welcome" to set up their headquarters in Pittsburgh. If the citizens of Pittsburgh succeed in embedding the Community Bill of Rights in the Charter through a ballot initiative it will be clear to politicians that the people of Pittsburgh take their rights seriously. It will also take the Community Bill of Rights, including the gas extraction ban, out of the hands of future mayors and council members, who might be persuaded to rescind it on behalf of the gas corporations. So if you are a city resident and would like to learn more please come to the workshop.

To keep up to date on Community Rights please visit the blog:

We the People 2.0 Funding Promo from Tree Media on Vimeo.

Terry Engelder and Tony Ingraffea debate

Should New York State and/or Starkey Township Allow High Volume Shale Gas Extraction? A debate sponsored by the Town of Starkey held January 23, 2013 at the high school auditorium in Dundee, NY between Dr. Terry Engelder, Penn State University, who supports the proposition, and Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Cornell University, who opposes. Jack Ossant, moderator, introduces debaters “The value of this science could increment the net worth of U.S. energy resources by a trillion dollars, plus or minus billions.” —Dr. Engelder “They are imposing on us the requirement to locate our homes, hospitals and schools inside their industrial space.” —Dr. Ingraffea Those unfamiliar or familiar with hydrofracking’s offerings, in favor of or not, or still undecided, should gain new perspectives from this event. Wednesday January 23, 2013 7:00PM Dundee Central High School Auditorium 55 Water Street Dundee, NY

Monday, February 4, 2013


On Valentines Day, Feb 14, 2013, Market Square, Downtown Pittsburgh, high noon .... 


  • One In Three Women On The Planet Will Be Raped Or Beaten In Her Lifetime. 
  • One Billion Women Violated Is An Atrocity. 
One Billion Women Dancing Is A Revolution. 

Join V-Day on 02.14.13 
Demand an end to violence!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"The environmental movement is a failure. Whether it's climate change or the health of our oceans, air, and soil, the planet is worse off now than it was 40 years ago, and rapidly declining. Yet corporations have more rights than our communities or eco-systems, and are doing just fine. This film is about how we fix this situation." – Thomas Linzey, Executive Director, CELDF.
Please visit and learn more about our Pittsburgh Campaign for a Community Bill of Rights.

We the People 2.0 Funding Promo from Tree Media on Vimeo.