There’s a Global Climate Strike planned for Friday, September 20, days before the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City on September 23. The Global Climate Strike invites people of all ages to strike—by refusing to attend work and school—to disrupt the social order and to push our governments to act on the climate emergency we find ourselves in. Imagine the distruption possible when both young and old join forces.
This was written for the September 2019 issue of GRID Magazine. Read entire column here.
Two people spoke this week against our own municipal utility’s desires to extend their customer base for fracked gas by developing an LNG facility. You can learn more at 350philly.org/NoLNG.
First up, candidate Joe Cox, running for City Council At Large.
Next, Meenal Raval
Hello, my name is Meenal Raval.
I’m here today in opposition to bill number 181063, PGW’s proposed LNG facility. You may have noticed that I’ve been here each week speaking, or supporting someone speaking, against this bill. Last week, you heard from Abby Leedy, the student from Central High, and also with the global School Strike for Climate. Some of the students from that strike are here today, from Friends Select School.
I ask you — When are you going to acknowledge the elephant in the room? I’m talking about the climate crisis. The crisis that’s affecting our air and water quality. The crisis that’s affecting the most poor, the black and the brown in each community. The crisis that demands that we stop planning new fossil fuel projects.
I also know that most of you are up for re-election. We could support you so much whole-heartedly if you showed an initiative, even some interest, in solving the climate crisis.
But how, you ask? How can you lead on climate? We’ve developed a climate action platform that my colleague Tanya Seaman has shared with each of you. You could use this document for starters. Missed that email? Please see me afterwards.
Also, for starters, you could publicly state that you’re against this project and that you plan to vote NO on bill # 181063.
Since we’re given only 3 minutes to speak here, we’ve taken to the airwaves, by producing our own radio show — Philly Talks Climate. Last week we talked about other US cities making commitments to renewable energy. This week, we’ll talk about using less energy overall, and the jobs potential from this.
People keep speaking up against the proposed LNG facility. Witness two speakers from March 14th, 2019.
Hi. My name is Meenal Raval. I’m here to talk about bill number 181063, otherwise known as PGW’s public-private partnership to develop and operate a liquid natural gas (LNG) processing facility.
I think the public in “public private partnership” refers to people like me, that people like you should be representing. People like me think this project should not be approved. Some of your offices were visited by people like me yesterday.
We’ve heard that our own utility, who wants this project so very much, has accused us, people like me, of spreading mis-information about this project.
I would like to remind Council that the public advocate, hired by the Philadelphia Gas Commission to represent interests of all ratepayers, also has raised concerns about this project. Concerns which have been ignored. Concerns about making this decision based solely on a term sheet, without looking at contracts. Concerns about the City being left with the risk.
I would also like to refer to tomorrow’s global school strike for climate at over 1100 locations globally in over 90 countries, including Philadelphia. The youth have a list of demands, so that they have a future on a livable planet.
One of them is to halt all fossil fuel development. This LNG project is one such project.
Another demand is that every government decision, at every level, is a science-based decision, not just about money, or a few jobs today.
OK’ing this project is a decision that affects all our residents inversely, meaning in a bad way. I trust Council will consider my voice and the voices of the youth tomorrow in their deliberations.
My name is Lynn Robinson.I’m a union member, voter, teacher, PGW customer, creative soul, who is sometimes not diplomatic enough, but actually means well, director of Neighbors Against the Gas Plants, and a member of the new Pass On Gas Philly Alliance.
Thank you for your kind attention to my message to you today, on bill #181063, Council member Green’s proposed LNG project.
Here’s the rub. Let’s reduce PGW’s current debt, down to a rounded off figure of $1 billion. An LNG plant, even if it brings in the unlikely projected maximum of $4 million a year, would pay off PGW’s debt, in 250 years.If the revenue is closer to the guaranteed amount of $ 1.3 million/year, it would take 769 years.
The price of delaying a just transition to renewable energy, is just not worth it.Let’s just be clear about bill #181063.
A new LNG [processing facility] at Passyunk would guarantee more outdoor air pollution, and disease, for those living near the refinery.
A new LNG [processing facility] would encourage an influx of more methane burning electrical generation plants, like SEPTA’s in Nicetown, within city limits, and result in a delay on renewable alternatives.
An increase of on site, electrical generation, using methane, would mean more asthma, cancer, brain damage especially in children and elders, less productivity, lower academic achievement levels, and a continuance of Philadelphia’s non-attainment status for ozone.
Selling gas to other locations, encourages the same mess for them, and will push the planet’s warming trend.
Too many of Philadelphia’s incumbents have come under the influence of the Marcellus Shale, and conveniently remained blind to climate science. Natural gas, with its unavoidable methane leaks, is no better for the climate than coal, or any other fossil fuel.
Open your eyes. According to the EPA, methane leaking to the air has 84 to 87 times the potency of carbon dioxide in the air, for the first 20 years.
PGW must redefine its mission, now, and I challenge Council member Green to step up to the plate, and champion that cause.
There is no amendment to 181063 that can justify adding additional methane gas infrastructure to this city.That thought is blind to science.It needs a no vote, based on the facts.
What the city needs now, is a Philadelphia-style Green New Deal, so that we join the worldwide effort to address the climate crisis, by 2030.A Philadelphia Green New Deal would provide plenty of living wage as well as union jobs to city residents.
The people’s question is: Will Philadelphia City Council and Mayor continue to be Trump’s left hand, or will you allow the necessary shift away from fossil fuels?
Reverend Greg Holston of POWER Interfaith speaks on poverty and the need to raise minimum wage – but not at any cost. He also spoke of the need to halt fossil fuel development.