Activist crowd of over 1,500 confronts Marcellus Shale industry: “Shale Gas Outrage” is a huge success
Below is our complete press release for the Shale Gas Outrage rally.
Activist crowd of over 1,500 confronts Marcellus Shale industry:
“Shale Gas Outrage” rally in Philadelphia with over 65 groups calls for fracking halt to protect water, air, health
*For a complete list of rally speakers, impacted people, bios please visit www.shalegasoutrage.org/media-press
*For downloadable high res images from the event, see:
http://www.jjtiziou.net/temp/shalegasoutrage.zip [5 high res files]
please credit “© Jacques-Jean Tiziou / http://www.jjtiziou.net”
*For a 30 second downloadable high res video from the event please visit:
Philadelphia, PA – A mass rally and march against high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drew over a thousand outraged residents of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas to push for a Pennsylvania statewide halt on gas drilling and a continued moratorium in the four-state Delaware River Basin.
The day of events, organized by the Philadelphia-based advocacy group Protecting Our Waters, kicked off with a packed press conference featuring families with water poisoned by gas drilling in Pennsylvania and Texas – including three farmers, a rancher, and poignant messages sent by Janet McIntyre and Kim McEvoy of Butler County, PA. Josh Fox (director of Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland) spoke out. Iris Marie Bloom said, “Giant corporations are playing fast and loose with public health. The risks are not acceptable; we need a moratorium now.”
Outside the convention center, over 1,500 outraged residents from around the region rallied. Speakers and performers included Josh Fox; Craig and Julie Sautner of Dimock, PA; Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown; Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones; Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields; Al Appleton, former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection; Iris Marie Bloom, Director of Protecting Our Waters; David Braun of United for Action; Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of Delaware Riverkeeper Network; Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director of Food and Water Watch and more. Several speakers urged the public to oppose gas drilling moving forward in the Delaware River Basin on October 21, and Josh Fox invited the public to join him in a civil disobedience action on that date to prevent fracking in the Basin.
A spirited, 1,000-person march wound through Center City, shouting at the EPA to crack down on the fracking industry and concluding at Governor Corbett’s Southeastern PA office. An angry delegation delivered a letter from Butler County, PA resident Kim McEvoy which says, “Dear Governor Corbett, I own my home in Connoquenessing Township and I have black water…. Please stop the drilling. It’s not right to allow the gas companies to gamble with our lives.”
Shale Gas Outrage was organized in response to the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s industry conference happening at the convention center in Philadelphia today and tomorrow. CEOs from major fracking companies are present. Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge spoke in support of the industry, and former Governor Ed Rendell and current Governor Tom Corbett are slated to speak soon. Dubbed “Shale Gas Insight,” this is not only a key trade show for the industry, but also a brazen expression of its political muscle. Activists held signs saying “Shale Gas Inspite…. Of Clean Water and Air” and called for clean renewable energy now.
Families throughout Pennsylvania’s “shale country” have lost access to drinkable water due to gas drilling impacts. Some have reported severe abdominal pain, mouth ulcers, vomiting, hair loss, signs of arsenic poisoning and other serious health issues as a result of water and air contamination. Farmers and others report dead animals and lost or threatened livelihoods as a result of gas drilling.
Susan Breese of Susquehanna County, PA, whose water was contaminated in 2008 by Southwestern Energy’s nearby fracking well, spoke at both the press conference and the rally. Breese’s mother is a Native American Sioux, born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota in 1939. “I know her parents and grandparents were feeling the raw devastating loss of freedom, and everything they believed in due to the power and greed and the lack of regard for the earth,” said Breese. “I never would have thought that in 2011 I would be getting a taste of the loss and hopelessness of my ancestors.”
New York City based grassroots group United for Action (UfA) organized buses to bring in several hundred concerned citizens, and UfA’s co-founder David Braun emceed the Rally to Stop Dirty Drilling. Braun, a former grassroots organizer for MoveOn.org said, “Public opposition to fracking continues to grow exponentially as the evidence of its serious health and environmental impacts are publicized. At the same time, the natural gas industry is digging in its heels and creating PR whitewashing campaigns so as not to lose the enormous investments they’ve made in land, infrastructure and political lobbying.”
Tomorrow, hundreds of people will attend the “Freedom from Fracking” conference in Philadelphia organized by Protecting Our Waters and allies. Famous ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber will deliver the morning keynote, along with hydrogeologist Paul Rubin and organizers.
Protecting Our Waters is a Philadelphia-based grassroots organization dedicated to protecting the Delaware River basin, the state of PA and the region from unconventional gas drilling and other threats to drinking water, environment and public health. Please contact us at 215-391-1630 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
United for Action is a New York City-based grassroots organization with over 10,000 members that opposes hydraulic fracturing and promotes sustainable, renewable energy. See http://www.unitedforaction.org for more information.