“Environmental Justice” Lunacy in Allegheny County, PA

In Pennsylvania, the “Office of Environmental Justice” (sounds like a comic book thing) is nothing more than a way for po’ folk and minorities to sue the Marcellus industry over non-existent transgressions. In 2015, then-Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Quigley, “reactivated” the Office of Environmental Justice (see Environmental “Justice” for Some, Not for All, Courtesy PA DEP). If you live in a PA community where at least 20% of the people are below the poverty line, or if the community is composed of at least 30% minorities (defined as “non-whites”), the so-called Office of Environmental Justice will give you special treatment if you claim to have been harmed somehow by the Marcellus industry. Everyone else gets ordinary/regular environmental “justice”–no special treatment if you’re white or middle class. In Allegheny County local officials are miffed that the municipality of McCandless got labeled as an environmental justice community, but Etna didn’t. McCandless is too white and too rich, whereas Etna is not. We would find it all rather comical–if the Environmental Justice Leaguers didn’t have such a potent weapon to oppose the shale industry…

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