Sierra Club Allegheny Group Update

By Michael Pastorkovich

The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest environmental organization in the United States. Founded in 1892 by naturalist John Muir, the Club’s organization structure comprises three levels: the national organization headquartered in Oakland, California; various state chapters; and regional outfits called “groups”.

The Sierra Club Allegheny Group is the regional organization covering eleven counties in western Pennsylvania, with approximately 5000 paid members. While both the national organization and state chapters at times employ salaried organizers, a Group is a strictly volunteer arm of the Club.

The Sierra Club national organization opened a regional office in Pittsburgh in 2004 as part of its efforts in the presidential election for that year. The office was shared by the national staff organizers with the Allegheny Group. The office remains open.

Last autumn, the regional office moved from its long-time location in North Oakland to shared office space in East Liberty near Bakery Square,  in the old Liberty Bank building now designated as The Beauty Shoppe. The address is Suite 402, 6101 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. There is no main telephone number, and organizers must be reached via their personal phones. The Sierra Club Allegheny Group can be reached at the following number: 412-328-9817.We can also be reached at the following email address:

Locally, the Sierra Club is involved in a number of important projects. Among them is working with the City of Pittsburgh on a Climate Action Plan to put the city on track for a 100% renewable energy future by 2035. This project is headed by Eva Resnick-Day. Tom Hoffman is leading the Clean Rivers Campaign dedicated to finding green solutions to ALCOSAN’s (Allegheny County Sanitation Authority) raw sewage problems. Eva is employed by the national organization and Tom by the state chapter.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the Sierra Club Allegheny Group in the new year is an effort to stop the establishment of a proposed ethane cracker plant in Potter Township, Beaver County. When up and running, the plant will likely release harmful chemicals into the air and water, several of them known carcinogens. Worse yet, the plant is intended to be the first of several in the region. And, perhaps worst of all, the end product of the petrochemical “cracking” process is plastic, a completely artificial and virtually “immortal” nonbiodegradable substance, which is already polluting our lands and our oceans.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the Sierra Club Allegheny Group or would like more information, please contact us using the information listed above.

Michael Pastorkovich is a member of the Sierra Club Allegheny County Group.

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