Alert! Prime Natural/Cycling Areas In Jeopardy 

1. McConnell’s Mill State Park 

Background: MMSP lies about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. It is the site of a restored grinding wheel mill and covered bridge, nestled in the Slippery Rock Gorge, a wonderful, unspoiled natural landmark formed 10,000 years ago by glaciers. This magnificent state park is not much wider than the Gorge itself. It is a mecca for hikers, bikers, climbers, kayakers, birders, families and school children. It was recently the first location shown in a TV news story on the attractions of Pittsburgh, which aired on the CBS Morning Show. This regional asset and natural treasure should be preserved indefinitely.  

But now the future of MMSP is uncertain because of two threats to its survival...

a) Sechan Limestone Industries, a company that committed numerous documented environmental violations in the 1980s, is hoping that the PA Department of Environmental Protection will grant them approval to established a residual waste dump on land right next to the narrow state park and uphill from Slippery Rock Creek. This would be a very bad decision and it could ruin MMSP for our posterity. But it is a very real possibility and your help is needed to keep it from happening.

b) Quality Aggregates limestone mining company has just been awarded a permit to mine 200 acres adjacent to the Slippery Rock Gorge, right up the road from MMSP's covered bridge. This will undoubtedly cause long term adverse effects to this fragile ecosystem and will create noise, dust, traffic, and unsightly, open scars adjacent to this pristine national treasure.
This permit allows mining in a previously off-limits buffer zone and should never have been granted. 

Please write brief, polite letters or emails recommending rejection of the Sechan Limestone Residual Waste Landfill Permit Application and support of the appeal to overturn the approval of the mining variance granted Quality Aggregates to mine in the buffer zone adjacent to MMSP.  Mail to the respective DEP official listed below and make sure you send carbon copies (in US Mail or email—cc’s) to your state legislators, Governor Schweiker, your U.S. House member, and Senators Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter.  Letters to the editor of your local newspaper also carry much influence if you live in the region. But you don't have to live in the region to voice your displeasure. These are also tourist destinations and tourism is a huge industry in Pennsylvania (good to mention that, too, in letter).

(re: landfill permit)
Todd Carlson
PA Department of Environmental Protection
230 Chestnut Street
Meadville, PA 16335  
(re: appeal to mining permit)
Javed Mirza, Mining District Manager
Knox District Mining Office
P.O. Box 669
Knox, PA  16232-0669
Phone: (814) 797-1191    Fax (814) 797-2706

 

The Honorable United States Senator ____
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
Switchboard:  1-202-224-6324
Contact via Email: visit http://www.senate.gov

The Honorable United States Representative___
Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Melissa Hart’s phone: 202-225-2565
Phil English’s phone: 202-225-5406
Contact via Email: visit http://www.house.gov   

The Honorable Governor Mark Schweiker
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Capital Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 1-800-932-0784

2. Montour Trail

The Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, (www.portauthority.org) is listing the Montour Run Valley as a possible location for a four-lane highway or light rail transit line between Downtown Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh International Airport. This would spoil or eliminate one of the finest, most rustic urban rail trails in America. Anyone who has ridden the Montour Trail would agree. It includes many bridges over pristine Montour Run, a railroad tunnel, and a soon-to-be-completed link to the trail that will run from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC. Much taxpayer funding has already been invested in this trail, in addition to countless volunteer hours. Let your elected officials know you that the Montour Run Valley would be the wrong choice for this project. If you live outside the region, let our officials know what a mistake it would be to spoil such a regional asset, the kind that makes a difference to the quality of life and appeal of a place.

You can personally make a difference by taking a stand on these issues. You help would be appreciated. Drop us an email if you happen to write any of the above officials. Thank you for your time in reading this alert.

Best,
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
Bikexchange.com: The Bicycle Exchange
ibike@bikexchange.com

Other urgent concerns: League of American Bicyclists' Action Alerts
Keep abreast of specific Pittsburgh issues: www.Bike-Pgh.org  

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