Wednesday Protest to Confront Gas Drilling Doublespeak at the Doubletree
When Tom Ridge takes the podium at a Chamber of Commerce event promoting hydrofracking for natural gas in Pennsylvania at the Doubletree Hotel at noon on Wednesday, May 18th, Pennsylvania residents will rally outside. at the corner of Broad and Locust, from 12 to 1 pm. Protesters “demand protection of our air, water and health from this dangerous, inherently contaminating technology,” said Mr. Alex Allen, Protecting Our Waters’ Associate Director.
Shale gas drilling giant Range Resources — responsible for water contamination in southwestern Pennsylvania as well as in Parker County, Texas — is among the corporate guests. The EPA has charged Range with contaminating Texas families’ drinking water with the carcinogen benzene and creating an explosion hazard, ordering Range to replace drinking water for the affected families.
“We are tired of the doublespeak issued every day by gas drilling companies and their cheerleaders, while ordinary people have their health harmed and their lives turned upside down by gas drilling,” said Mr. Allen. “We call on former governor Tom Ridge to meet with gas drilling victims and admit the truth: this industry is out of control.”
“We’ll also deliver a message to Tom Corbett, whose Philadelphia office is across the street, calling for no new permits until all the special exemptions for gas drillers are removed and until fracking is proven safe for air, water, earth, and human health,” said Mr. Allen.
Wednesday’s protest will include street theater; images of people and places impacted by gas drilling; and jugs of contaminated water from Dimock, PA, one of many areas where high concentrations of methane have been proven, through isotopic testing, to come from shale gas drilling operations.
“Denial is the name of the Big Gas strategy, just as it was with Big Tobacco, which spent a generation suppressing scientific studies which showed smoking was in fact linked with lung cancer,” said Protecting Our Waters Director Iris Marie Bloom. “The industry should be extremely concerned because cement casing fails quickly 25% of the time, and fails eventually 75% of the time. Toxic elements naturally occurring deep underground, including arsenic and barium, have made people severely ill already due to gas drilling in Pennsylvania.”
“Industry safety practices are outrageously negligent. The failure to respond promptly to the Clearfield blowout last June, or the Bradford blowout in April, shows the industry’s disregard for the people impacted by their action. Their focus has been to spend millions on PR — including Tom Ridge’s salary — to prevent these disasters from slowing down their rush for quick profits, while regulations, especially under the Corbett administration, are criminally lax.”
“Our goal is to protect people right now, and the only way to do that is to stop permitting this radically new technology — high-volume horizontal hydrofracking with multi-well pads — right now,” said Bloom.