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Deborah Goldberg, Earthjustice, (212) 791-1881, ext. 227
Jeff Schmidt, Sierra Club, (717) 232-0101
Barbara Arindell, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, (570) 729-8687
Anne Harris Katz, Coalition for Responsible Growth and Resource Conservation, (570) 433-4681
Pennsylvania groups are seeking to intervene in a proceeding before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has been asked to expedite approval of a proposed pipeline that would cut through portions of northeastern Pennsylvania. The groups are calling on federal regulators to thoroughly review the cumulative environmental impacts of the project before any decision is made.
The 39-mile pipeline, known as the MARC I Hub Line Project, would be built and operated by the Central New York Oil and Gas Company. It would run through Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming Counties in Pennsylvania, crossing pristine drinking water sources and fishing streams in the Endless Mountains, disturbing some 610 acres and leaving 238 acres permanently altered. The groups argue that the project would spur gas drilling in a previously undeveloped portion of the state, bringing with it threats to public health and the environment that have yet to be thoroughly analyzed.
The pipeline proposal comes as other parts of the state struggle with an explosive rate of gas drilling and an outbreak of industrial accidents and pollution related to rushed and irresponsible development. Unlike New York, Pennsylvania has allowed shale gas development and infrastructure construction to proceed without any comprehensive environmental analysis.
The non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings on behalf of Sierra Club, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, and the Lycoming County-based Coalition for Responsible Growth and Resource Conservation.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg:
"Pennsylvania rushed into developing the Marcellus Shale with no comprehensive review of the potential effects on public health or the environment. The State was unprepared for the drinking water contamination, air pollution, and dangerous accidents that came with the frantic pace of drilling. It's time to stop scrambling to respond to crises and instead to prevent them in the first place. That's exactly what we're asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to do, and why we're asking it to give impacted communities a seat at the table as it reviews the project. This proposed pipeline is just one of many inter-related gas development and infrastructure projects that industry wants to build in sensitive watersheds and forest ecosystems throughout the Marcellus region. Before federal regulators jump to approve this project, the law requires that they examine it in its larger context."
"Huge congratulations to the U.S. members who made this call from the delegation, and to all those who have fought like hell to declassify these files and bring justice for the bloody crimes of September 1973."
The U.S. State Department has declassified a pair of documents related to events leading up to the 1973 coup in Chile, a violent assault on democracy covertly backed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The two documents were made public late last week following renewed calls for transparency by U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Greg Casar (D-Texas), and other progressive lawmakers who visited Chile earlier this month as part of a broader Latin America trip. The Chilean government and international human rights groups have also been calling for the declassification of documents containing details about the U.S.-backed coup for years.
"A number of reports have been received... indicating the possibility of an early military coup," reads Nixon's daily brief for September 8, 1973. "Navy men plotting to overthrow the government now claim army and air force support."
The brief notes that Fatherland and Freedom, a fascist paramilitary group, "has been blocking roads and provoking clashes with the national police, adding to the tension caused by continuing strikes and opposition political moves. President Allende earlier this week said he believed the armed forces will ask for his resignation if he does not change his economic and political policies."
Nixon—who was closely involved in efforts to block Allende from assuming office and once ordered the CIA to "make the [Chilean] economy scream"—also received a daily brief on the day of the coup, just before Allende's ouster. The democratically elected left-wing president took his own life during the coup after refusing to step down.
"Plans by navy officers to trigger military action against the Allende government are supported by some key army units," the September 11 brief reads. "The navy is also counting on help from the air force and national police."
"Socialists, leftists, extremists, and Communists are equally determined not to compromise," the brief adds. "They are gambling that the military and political opposition cannot carry out moves to oust the government or even to impose restraints on it. President Allende, for his part, still hopes that temporizing will fend off a showdown."
Led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean military seized control of the government on September 11. What followed was a vicious, decades-long reign of terror and repression during which tens of thousands of Chileans were killed, tortured, or disappeared by the Pinochet regime, which continued to receive support from the CIA.
As the CIA admitted in a 2000 report, "Many of Pinochet's officers were involved in systematic and widespread human rights abuses... Some of these were contacts or agents of the CIA or U.S. military."
Pinochet was arrested in 1998 and later indicted for a range of human rights violations. The dictator died before facing trial.
Peter Kornbluh of the nonprofit National Security Archive welcomed the declassification of the two presidential briefs but questioned why they had been kept under such tight secrecy for decades, given that they don't "contain not a single sentence that could compromise U.S. national security."
"I'm happy that the Freedom of Information Act, together with some positive diplomacy by the Chilean government, broke a secrecy barrier that has kept us from knowing this history for 50 years," said Kornbluh, National Security Archive's Chile specialist. "I hope the [Biden] administration will reinforce its commitment to transparency by releasing all the documents that, inexplicably, remain secret after all this time."
The Chilean government, currently led by progressive President Gabriel Boric, also hailed the release of the documents.
Gloria de la Fuente, Chile's undersecretary of foreign affairs, thanked the Biden administration for "its willingness to accept the request to declassify files related to our country."
"Fifty years after the coup d'état," the diplomat said, "the declassification of archives of this documentation promotes the search for truth and reinforces the commitment of our countries to our democratic values."
'He hated Black people,' the sheriff said
A racist white man killed three black people in a racially motivated attack then killed himself in Jacksonville, Florida.
The man, identified by local media as 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter, entered a Dollar General store and opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle.
Sheriff T K Waters said three blacks - two men and a woman - were killed by the gunman, who wore body armor and left manifestos of his “disgusting ideology of hate.” The gunman had swastikas drawn on his AR-15-style rifle
“This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Sheriff Waters said.
"He targeted a certain group of people and that's Black people. That's what he said he wanted to kill. And that's very clear," Sheriff Waters said. The manifestos made it clear: “He wanted to kill n******,” the sheriff said.
The attack happened less than a mile from the historically black Edwards Waters University.
The shooter first went to the university campus, where he was asked to identify himself by a security officer, the university said in a statement. When he refused, he was asked to leave.
"The individual returned to their car and left campus without incident," the statement added.
Ryan Palmeter lived with his parents in nearby Oakleaf and was a registered Republican, according to Florida voting records.
Mass shootings have become commonplace in the U.S., with more than 469 so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
'Our legacy of resistance & building never ends'
Tens of thousands of Americans converged on Washington Saturday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a turning point in the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement at which Martin Luther King Jr gave his galvanizing "I have a dream" speech.
Organizers say today's march was not a commemoration but a continuation of the demands made in 1963.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s only grandchild Yolanda Renee King, 15, told the gathering that if she could speak to her grandfather today, she would say, "I am sorry we still have to be here to rededicate ourselves to finishing your work."
"Sixty years ago, Dr. King urged us to struggle against the triple evils of racism, poverty, and bigotry," she said. "Today, racism is still with us. Poverty is still with us. And now gun violence has come for our places of worship, our schools, and our shopping centers."
"When people say my generation is cynical, we say cynicism is a luxury we cannot afford," she said. "I believe that my generation will be defined by action, not apathy."
“We have made progress, over the last 60 years, since Dr. King led the March on Washington,” said Alphonso David, president and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum. “Have we reached the mountaintop? Not by a longshot.”