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DAYS OF ACTION BEGIN FOR DELAWARE RIVER WATERSHED; Saturday February 19th GASLAND Screenings Free at Community College of Philadelphia

February 16, 2011

News on the fracking front only gets wilder. Three members of Congress are calling for an investigation into Halliburton and 11 other gas drilling companies injecting 32 million gallons of diesel underground as part of hydraulic fracturing operations for four years. The EPA found that methane emissions at shale gas drilling sites is 9,000 times greater than it previously thought, but House Republicans are aggressively attempting to deny the EPA authority and funding to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, claiming there is no valid basis for concern about global warming. The champions of doublespeak are outdone only by Judge Cahn, who was appointed by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to hear a case brought by advocacy groups calling for a moratorium on all gas drilling in the Delaware River watershed. The judge canceled the hearing, refusing to allow expert testimony on behalf of clean water to be heard in court. Then it turned out Judge Cahn works for Blank Rome, a law firm which is an associate member of the industry’s deep-pocketed PR and lobbying spinmasters, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which fight full time against regulating or limiting the right of the industry to drill wherever they desire.

Enter voices of sanity! As part of its “Law and Society” week, Community College of Philadelphia is hosting a day-long program, “Natural Gas in Pennsylvania – Economic boon…disaster… or both?” on Saturday February 19th from 9 AM to 4 PM featuring two screenings of Josh Fox’s documentary, GASLAND, which has been nominated for an Academy Award. Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones will speak at 11 AM after the first 9 AM screening of GASLAND. Councilman Jones’ bill calling for a moratorium on Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the Delaware River watershed passed unanimously at City Hall on January 27th. Jones’ bill also calls for the DRBC to extend its March 16th deadline on all public comment on fracking in our watershed; the complete bill may be found through Councilman Jones’ office and its set of recommendations is also at protectingourwaters.com.

A second GASLAND screening begins at 1:15 pm, followed by a Q and A panel featuring local writer, activist and Protecting Our Waters founder Iris Marie Bloom (oh, that’s me). Volunteers will be on hand to assist attendees in submitting comments to the Delaware River Basin Commission on the spot.  Margaret T. Stephens, associate professor of Social Science at CCP will moderate discussions about legal and ethical questions raised by gas drilling, and the event promises to be lively.

Saturday’s event at Community College of Philadelphia is at 18th and Callowhill Streets in the “Center for Business and Industry Building” Room C2-5 (second floor). The closest SEPTA stop is the Broad Street Line stop at Spring Garden Street.

Attend the upcoming DRBC public hearing Feb 24 in Trenton NJ

Protecting Our Waters is calling for “Days of Action” leading up to the DRBC March 16th deadline for public comment. Clean Water Action, POW, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Sierra Club, and other groups are working together to create a downriver hearing; but meanwhile a primary goal is to generate attendance at the February 24th DRBC hearing in Trenton, NJ at the Patriots Theater, War Memorial, with a capacity for 1,833 people. Protecting Our Waters is organizing a carpool and “trainpool” to the February 24th hearing; questions may be directed to Jerry Silberman at (215) 219-2158 or ajs805phila@verizon.net.

Gasland film screenings and discussions 9am & 1:15pm

A film by Josh Fox, Gasland (107 minutes)

Screenings at 9:00 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., followed by discussions

This Sundance award-winning documentary by filmmaker Josh Fox illuminates disturbing consequences of shale gas drilling. Fox’s film—inspired when the gas company came to his hometown—describes chronic illnesses, toxic waste, explosions, and regulatory undersight.

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