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We Refuse to Die was part of the exhibition, Unsettling Matter: Gaining Ground, at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, August 2023 - January 2024.
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Fossil fuel and petrochemical corporations are poisoning our communities, contaminating the air we breathe and the water we drink, and threatening our children’s future with catastrophic climate change.

A new billboard campaign recently put them on notice.

It kicked off November 8, 2023 in the Pittsburgh region, where big polluters are convening at the MetCoke World Summit, sponsored by US Steel, Norfolk Southern, and other companies responsible for ecological and public health harms. Billboards were installed near sites of toxic pollution, and in Pittsburgh outside the summit hotel. 

Check out the tv news coverage, then learn more and take action below.


The people of Clairton, Pennsylvania breathe in some of the most toxic, cancer-causing industrial air pollution in the nation, due to the US Steel Clairton Coke Works Plant, the largest manufacturer of coke (a type of refined coal) in the country. More than 36,000 people live within three miles of the plant, and there are seven public schools within three miles of the facility.

Plant emissions have violated the Clean Air Act for years, and the company has been fined over $10 million since 2018. On Christmas Eve of that year, a catastrophic fire at the plant knocked out its pollution controls, resulting in 100 consecutive days of dangerous air. Residents were urged to remain indoors, and asthma cases and emergency room visits spiked. 

In October 2023, the EPA rejected part of US Steel’s air quality permit for the Clairton Coke Works Plant, yet the plant is still operating. Local residents and environmental groups are calling on the Allegheny County Health Department to take action. Join them. 

Source: BLAC (Black Appalachian Coalition)

Billboards outside of the MetCoke World Summit, Pittsburgh, PA.


People, pets, and wildlife living in and near East Palestine, Ohio are suffering the devastating effects of one of the worst chemical train disasters in U.S. history. On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in this small rural town, spilling 100,000 gallons of hazardous materials. In a desperate effort to prevent an explosion, 115,000 gallons of cancer-causing vinyl chloride were vented and burned—creating a toxic cloud so large it could be seen from space. 

In the aftermath, at least 43,000 animals died, businesses lie shuttered, and previously healthy residents now suffer from rashes, lesions, headaches, and bloody noses. We don’t yet know the full impact of this environmental and public health disaster.

1. Declare an Emergency in East Palestine

Join community members in calling on President Biden to issue a Disaster Declaration, which would ensure impacted residents get the financial relief, comprehensive environmental testing, and guaranteed medical care that they desperately need.

Source: Unity Council for the East Palestine Train Derailment

2. Ban Toxic Vinyl Chloride

Manufactured in low-income communities in the Gulf South, and transported through vast pipelines and rail networks across the country, vinyl chloride threatens the health of workers and residents far and wide. Urge the EPA to ban this highly toxic, cancer-causing petrochemical before any more harm is done.

Source: Beyond Plastics

Billboards outside of the MetCoke World Summit, Pittsburgh, PA.

3. Prevent Future Derailments

The East Palestine train derailment was far from Norfolk Southern’s first. In fact, between 2015 and 2020, Norfolk Southern documented a total of 834 accidents within Pennsylvania alone. To prevent catastrophic derailments in the future, residents are calling for more rail safety inspection oversight.

Source: Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh


Washington County is Pennsylvania’s most fracked county. Over the past decade, drill pads, pipelines, wastewater ponds, and related infrastructure have moved dangerously close to homes, schools and communities, exposing residents to unsafe levels of contaminants linked to cancer, asthma, impacts on birth outcomes, and other serious health problems. Despite the known health risks, Pennsylvania only requires a 500 feet buffer between fracking operations and residential homes. 

While state officials are considering increasing the buffer to 2,500 feet, residents are fighting to ensure even greater distances to protect the health of their communities.

Source: Protective Buffers PA