September 2023 Newsletter

Posted Sep 29, 2023, by Alex Downing

Fall Fundraiser Banner (1)


Our 9th Annual CCJ Fall Fundraiser is less than two weeks away! We can’t wait to spend the evening with residents, staff, board members, and allies from around the region in celebration of 29 years serving our community.

We’ll have a homemade pasta dinner with bread donated by Breadworks, salad and dressing donated by Olive Garden, and a cookie table courtesy of some of our staff and their families. Gluten-free and vegan options will be made available by request. Beer from Rusty Gold Brewing and wine from Washington Winery will be available for attendees 21 and older. You will receive one drink ticket with your purchase of an adult ticket, or you can purchase an ‘All-You-Can-Safely-Drink’ option for an additional $25 and enjoy your drink of choice throughout the evening.

We’re also excited to have a wide selection of silent auction and raffle items that you can win. Prizes include:

  • Tickets for Pitt and WVU football, Washington Wild Things, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Pittsburgh Zoo, Longwood Gardens, and Heinz History Center
  • An autographed photo of Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Paintings, photography, and handcrafted items from local artists
  • Gift cards to dozens of local shops and restaurants
  • And much more!

Buy your tickets today and come bid on these awesome items to help us continue to raise awareness and promote policies for healthy, sustainable, and thriving communities in Southwestern Pennsylvania.



Washington County Awards Its Largest Broadband Project Since The Start Of The Initiative

By Paul Fedore / September 26, 2023

On July 20th, the Washington County Commissioners awarded the final three projects for the third phase of the Broadband Program to Comcast. This group of projects is the largest and the most expensive since the start of the initiative back in 2021. These projects will extend broadband access to 2,600 previously unserved locations in East Finley Twp., Donegal Twp., and areas around 10 Mile Creek.

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an image of prescription pills and the Purdue name

Purdue Pharmaceuticals Bankruptcy Settlement Paused

By Paul Fedore / September 5, 2023

While state and local governments have begun receiving their share of opioid settlement funds from a variety of parties held responsible for harm, the maker of the drug that is at the center of the opioid crisis, Purdue Pharma, has been trying to shield its wealthy Sackler family owners from further lawsuits over their role in the country’s opioid epidemic.

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CCJ Community Advocate Job Position 2023 (IG Post) (1)

Join Our Team

We're looking for a new Community Advocate to join our legal team with a focus on economic justice issues in our area. Please share this posting with your networks and if you're interested, be sure to apply by October 12th. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis starting in October.

The Community Advocate serves as a people-centered policy advocate. This role will analyze critical policy developments for their impacts on our communities and directly engage with both residents and local, state, and federal officials to advocate for our rights to clean water, clean air, and a thriving economy.


UPMC's Acquisition of Washington Health System - How Are You Feeling About It?

Since news broke this summer about UPMC acquiring Washington Health System, we've heard from some people who are excited and we've heard from others who are concerned. We've heard from partners who have shared information describing UPMC as a bad actor, and we've heard from individuals who have received great care in their facilities. This is a complex issue, and we want to know more about how our members are thinking about it and what your concerns are, if any. We want to take our cues from you while making sure you have access to the information you need. Help us do so by filling out this brief survey and sharing your thoughts about the situation.

Tell Your County Commissioners to Practice Transparency When Spending Opioid Settlement Funds

Millions of dollars are coming to Washington and Greene County from the recent nationwide opioid settlements. These funds are explicitly intended to be used for Harm Reduction, Recovery, and Substance Use Disorder services and we want to make sure they get used on strategies that have been proven to mitigate harm and decrease overdoses in our communities. If you’re in one of those counties, sign our petition calling on your county commissioners to be transparent and listen to community input when spending these funds. Please note this petition is available to Washington and Greene County residents only!


Read all of the latest relevant public notices from the past month for Washington and Greene Counties as of September 25th here.



Donora Smog (1)

10/11 — Donora Smog 75th Anniversary Webinar with Donora Historical Society

CCJ is partnering with the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum for a webinar to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Donora smog, an event that led to the creation of the Clean Air Act. The deadly smog of 1948, one of the worst air pollution disasters in history, killed 21 people and caused health issues for thousands more in the Washington County town of Donora. The webinar will discuss the tragic events of that day, its long term impacts on health in the area, and the role it played in bringing about federal air pollution regulations.


10/26 — MAD-FACTS Monthly Meeting with Justin Nobel

MAD-FACTS (Moms & Dads: Family Awareness of Cancer Threat Spike) will be meeting for their fifth monthly meeting of parents and residents from around the region who are concerned about health impacts of oil and gas development. This month, we’ll be joined by Justin Nobel, an award-winning journalist and author who has written about fracking, radioactivity, and environmental health in Rolling Stone and Desmog, among other outlets. The meeting will take place October 26 at 6:30 PM. We will announce a location soon, so register now and stay tuned for more info!

Plus, check out this report from WPXI following last week’s September MAD-FACTS meeting! https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/activists-washington-co-residents-concerned-after-study-explores-link-between-natural-gas-cancer/3JV7RUXF2JFPTLCGUF2OLSG5PU


10/3 — “Chemical Recycling" Myths Debunked

  • 6-7:30 PM on Zoom
  • Join NRDC, Climate Reality Project, and Move Past Plastic for a virtual discussion that will uncover the misleading facts around so-called chemical recycling. They'll take a hard look at what these technologies really do - and don't do - when it comes to tackling plastic pollution.
  • More information and registration here

10/5, 10/12, 10/19 — Work it Out Wombats Family & Community Learning Workshops (FCLs)

  • 10-11 AM at Firefly Gardens
  • Join WQED Education, Uptown Firefly Gardens, and the Cheerful Balloon for this family program with food, games, and fun. Perfect for families with children ages 3-6. Event is free but registration is required.
  • Learn more and register here

10/27 & 10/28 — Washington Park's 3rd Annual Dark in the Park

  • 6:30 - 10 PM at Washington Park

  • Take an interactive haunted hayride and walk through Washington Park. Friday Night is our "Light Scare," which is more spooky and less scary; there will be fewer actors and they’ll keep their distance. Saturday Night is our "Full Scare" - enter if you dare! Tickets are $5 each, pay at the door. There will also be a bonfire, concessions, glow gear and stations to vote for your favorite scenes and pumpkin carvings.


Tuesdays & Saturdays — Greene County Flea Market

Wednesdays through 10/11 — Waynesburg Farmers Market

Thursdays through 10/26 — Main Street Farmers Market (Washington)

Second Saturday Monthly — Free Food Pantry

You can find community events in Washington County here and Greene County here.


We could not do this work without the continued support of our members and supporters. Please help us to continue our work to fight for environmental justice in Southwestern Pennsylvania by becoming a member of CCJ. Recurring monthly donations help to best support our work. Any gift made to the Center for Coalfield Justice is 100% tax-deductible.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns by responding to this email or reaching me at the email below.


  • Alex Downing

    Alex Downing is the Digital Communications Strategist for CCJ. He was previously our Communications Associate and an Outreach Fellow. He manages all of our social media and writes our monthly newsletter, the Coalfield Review. Alex was born and raised in Pittsburgh's north suburbs and learned about the importance of nature and conservation at a young age through his father and grandfather’s involvement with preserving parks and hiking trails in the area. He has a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from American University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Point Park University. Alex currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his partner Lindsey. Outside of work, he enjoys kayaking, watching movies, and rooting for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Contact Alex at alex@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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