May Day 2014

I’d like to start with a story, a tragedy really, that links some of the issues we have walked through together so far today. Last September, a young African American girl named Laporshia Massey died of an asthma attack. That was the immediate cause of her death. The less immediate cause was that she was in a school that had no school nurse due to budget cutbacks. She might not have died if not for those cutbacks. But she also would not have died if she had not had asthma, which she might not have had if she hadn’t been exposed to the environmental toxins that are a part of life in inner city Philadelphia, where one out of five children have asthma as opposed to one out of eleven nationally. You could as easily say Laporshia died of environmental racism as asthma.

We are here now in front of Philadelphia Energy Solutions because this company, the successor to Sunoco, is refining oil from the North Dakota Bakken shale fields. Although there have been refineries and their ill effects in this city for over a century, this oil is even worse. Trains carrying this toxic, explosive shale oil in inadequate tankers over poorly maintained lines are now traveling through Philadelphia regularly. One derailed in January on a crumbling bridge over the Schuylkill, narrowly avoiding a catastrophe. A similar oil tanker exploded in Canada last year, killing dozens in one small town. Shale oil is being mined, along with tar sands oil, even though it is difficult and expensive to extract and highly damaging to the environment and surrounding communities because the oil companies have run out of cheaper and easier places to get oil. It’s a race to the bottom now, for the last drops, and they will spare nothing in their pursuit of that last bit of profit. And as the last of that fossil fuel burns, the temperature of the atmosphere rises to levels that make it increasingly difficult for people and other living things to exist. The first effects are being and will be felt by those most disenfranchised by our society and least responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases.

It has always been disempowered and marginalized communities that have borne the brunt of climate injustice, whether it is the people of Appalachia whose streams are poisoned by mountain top removal and chemical leaks, or indigenous peoples whose land and water are destroyed by tar sands, pipelines, or other oil exploitation, or urban communities of color who are forced to live next to coal-powered electric plants, refineries, and petcoke dumps. Those for whom life has always been hard will only find it harder as resources grow scarcer.

We have made several stops so far today, and have heard about several issues. We can’t solve any of these problems individually. Neither can we solve any of the problems of climate change and climate justice by appealing to the corporations who created the problems in the first place, just by doing what they were created to do, making a profit. We must build a movement that puts people and the environment first, that finds common ground among all our issues, that fights for system change, not climate change. Another world is indeed possible, a just, ecologically sustainable world, but we can’t build it on a dead planet. And we must all build it together!

Cindy Bertrand Holub
Rising Tide Philly


Image  —  Posted: May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

Philly monthly meeting. Tuesday, April 22 at 7:30 PM

Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street

Come out and join Rising Tide Philly at our monthly meeting. We had a lot of new people at our last meeting and it was great to have so much more involvement. With everything going on in the world there is no shortage of issues to discuss and address.

Image  —  Posted: April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Rally at the EPA

Posted: February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hey folks, next week Rising Tide Philly is teaming up with The Sierra Club again to protest the latest chemical spill in West Virginia. Things keep getting worse in West Virginia and we need to tell the EPA that they need to do something about it. The rally is taking place Wednesday, February 26th at noon outside of the EPA region 3 field office at 17th and Arch in Philadelphia. Keep up to date with any other details at the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1392334087698728/ or the website itself http://pacleanair.blogspot.com/p/mtr.html

Hope to see as many of you out there as possible!
epa protest


Image  —  Posted: January 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

BP logo

The BP logo with oil covering parts of it and dripping down past the graphic.

Wed. 4/20 @ 12 – 1pm
BP Station
813 N. Broad St. (Broad & Parrish)

Please wear all black!

We will be doing Street theater to expose and end corporate control over politics. PA Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey each receive huge contributions from oil and gas companies. Casey was recently one of only seven senators out of 100 who voted to limit EPA regulations of greenhouse gasses on corporate polluters. The partnership between polluters and politicians enabled the disastrous BP oil spill and is currently threatening PA’s drinking water as natural gas drilling and fracking in the Marcellus Shale ravage our environment and poison our communities. It’s time to make PA’s politicians Protect People Not Polluters!

Energy Action Coalition and Rising Tide are organizing this event following Powershift as part of the National Day of Action Against Extraction. Media footage will be shared with the Senators’ offices sending a clear message to protect people not polluters.

Invite your friends on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=220311261317474

Please contact jeffr@powershift2011.org to get involved or learn more!

As you know, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin has recommended
that the permit for mountaintop removal at Spruce Mine No. 1 in WV be
withdrawn. We have sent the following message to him and ask you all
to call EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and urge her to veto the permit
as per his recommendation.

Please call call 202-564-4700, identify yourself and where you are
from, and ask Administrator Jackson to veto the largest, most
destructive mining project currently on the table, Spruce Mine No. 1.
We are well on the way to victory.

Thank you,


Dear Mr. Garvin,

    We are writing to thank you for recommending that the permit for
Spruce Mine No. 1, the largest mountaintop removal site in West
Virginia, be withdrawn. Mountaintop removal has devastating effects on
wildlife, while polluting or burying streams and greatly harming the
local communities
that depend on them.

    We would also like to express our appreciation to your office for
meeting with us to discuss this issue. We hope our input played some
part in your decision and that you will continue to recommend that
mountaintop removal permits be denied. We will now urge Administrator
Jackson to follow your splendid recommendation.

Cynthia Bertrand Holub on behalf of Philly Against Coal and Philly Rising Tide

We have tremendous news: EPA Region III Administrator Shawn Garvin has
recommended that the Spruce Mine permit (the largest one in
Appalachia, which we specifically spoke to Jeff Lapp about) be vetoed!
Now the final decision is in EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s hands.
Thank you to everyone who made a call, sent an email, or came to a rally.
Regional administrator asks for revocation of mine’s permit

Today signals a historic and hugely positive step taken by the EPA to protect the people of Appalachia, who have suffered the harmful and grave consequences of mountaintop removal mining for too long.

The news, just released, is that EPA Region III Administrator Shawn Garvin is recommending a veto of the permit for Spruce No. 1 Mine. Read here for background on the EPA’s historic decisionmaking around the Spruce No. 1 Mine. Garvin’s recommendation is to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who ultimately must make the decision.

What this means is that after years of watching their streams buried and waters contaminated by mountaintop removal mining, there is hope for the health and well-being of the people of Appalachia.

Here is part of Garvin’s letter :

Based on the foregoing analysis and upon consideration of the public comments received in response to Region Ill’s proposed detennination, Region III believes that discharges of dredged and/or fill material to Pigeonroost Branch and Oldhouse Branch for the purpose of constructing the Spruce No.1 Surface Mine as currently authorized by DA Pennit would likely have unacceptable adverse effects on wildlife.

For this reason, it is the recommendation of the Regional Administrator that the specification embodied in DA Pennit No. 199800436-3 (Section 10: Coal River) of Pigeonroost Branch and Oldhouse Branch as disposal sites for discharges of dredged and/or fill material for construction of the Spruce No. 1 Surface Mine be withdrawn.

Garvin said the 50,000 public comments received as a part of this process helped to inform his decision, in addition to the science and analysis conducted by his office.

To be clear, this recommendation alone does not determine the outcome of the permit for the Spruce mine. It is a step along the way — and one that must be reinforced by a full veto of the permit by Jackson. The EPA has 60-120 days to make a final decision.

In this time, we must make it clear to the EPA and to Jackson that a full veto of the largest proposed mine in Appalachia is absolutely necessary. This veto won’t solve the problems of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia and it won’t guarantee that the people of the region will have full protection of the Clean Water Act, but it is a step in the right direction.

My colleague Joan Mulhern, Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative, had strong words a bit ago on this recommendation that I believe cut to the heart of what’s at stake here: 

We applaud the EPA and Regional Administrator Garvin for taking this important step toward a final veto.  Congress gave EPA oversight of these permits for a reason: it is the agency’s job to make sure waters are protected to the full extent of the law.  This step honors that legal – and we believe moral – responsibility.  We hope Administrator Jackson will follow this recommendation and veto the unacceptable permit for the Spruce Mine.

For too long, mountaintop removal mining has made Appalachia into a national sacrifice zone for the polluting dirty energy industry. This practice –  which obliterates mountains, buries streams, and harms water supplies – goes against both science and the law. This national sacrifice of Appalachia must end. The Spruce No. 1 Mine permit must be fully vetoed, and the EPA must follow that with a strong policy that honors the Clean Water Act and finally ends mountaintop removal mining.

15 October 2010, 11:26 AM Liz Judge