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Pennsylvania Moratorium: Groups Deliver Over 100,000 Signatures to Gov. Corbett Demanding a Halt on Fracking

May 1, 2013
Calling for a PA moratorium on shale gas development on April 30, 2013. From left: Sonny, son of Mac Sawyer; Mac Sawyer; Iris Marie Bloom, Director, Protecting Our Waters (speaking); Reverend Thwing; Pastor, St. Paul's United Church; Sam Bernhardt, Food and Water Watch; Ljubica Sarafov, Democracy for America. Photo: Keely Kernan

Calling for a PA moratorium on shale gas development on April 30, 2013. From left: Sonny, son of Mac Sawyer; Mac Sawyer; Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters (speaking); Reverend Thwing; Pastor, St. Paul’s United Church; Sam Bernhardt, Food and Water Watch; Ljubica Sarafov, Democracy for America. Photo: Keely Kernan

Over thirteen groups delivered over 100,000 petitions for a statewide moratorium on shale gas development — fracking and all its  infrastructure, from compressor stations to waste pits — to Governor Corbett in Harrisburg yesterday.  The first press report, “Boxes of petitions delivered to Corbett call for moratorium on natural gas drilling,” by Pennlive.com reporter Jan Murphy, includes a 23-second video from the April 30th press conference and highlights former fracking industry worker Mac Sawyer’s remarks:

Talking about lesions the size of pancakes on his former co-worker’s side, Rick “Mac” Sawyer stood in the Capitol Rotunda making a case for state leaders to listen to more than 100,000 people’s calls for putting the brakes on drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania.

The former drilling rig worker said he too is sick. Neither he nor his friend [Randy Moyer] has insurance and neither knows exactly what is wrong with them… Sawyer blames the ailments he and his friend suffer on a lack of proper training and protection provided when it came to the risks associated with handling water used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process used to extract natural gas from Marcellus shale.

Mac Sawyer reflects before speaking at the Moratorium Press Conference in Harrisburg, PA on April 30th, 2013. Mac suffered skin rashes, loss of consciousness and other symptoms while working for the fracking industry. His colleague Randy Moyer, is seriously ill due to fracking flowback exposure, with symptoms unalleviated for over 18 months. Photo: Keely Kernan

Mac Sawyer reflects before speaking at the Moratorium Press Conference in Harrisburg, PA on April 30th, 2013. Mac suffered skin rashes, loss of consciousness and other symptoms while working for the fracking industry. His colleague Randy Moyer, is seriously ill due to fracking flowback exposure, with symptoms unalleviated for over 18 months. Photo: Keely Kernan

While Governor Corbett’s staff members leap into “counterspin” mode, praising the industry, claiming it is highly regulated and avoiding mention of the 4,363 known violations of Pennsylvania law the industry has committed in the past few years, Mac Sawyer and all the organizations calling for a fracking halt yesterday got our point across. Pennlive continues:

Sawyer said, “They call us the canary in the coal mine. Well, the canary’s sick. I was a pro-gas guy like you wouldn’t believe until I saw the truth. What they are doing is criminal.”

He and others spoke of streams being polluted, farmland being destroyed, animals and people getting sick…

Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Allegheny County, said he plans to introduce legislation to bring a halt to fracking until a thorough study of its environmental effects is done. He called on his House and Senate colleagues to join him in supporting the measure.

Adam Garber, PennEnvironment’s field director… said, “If this track record of pollution, destruction and environmental violations is what we’re seeing in fracking’s ‘infancy’ stage, the people of Pennsylvania don’t want to see maturity.”

Infrastructure Included

Pipelines, compressor stations, flaring, flowback waste pits, radioactive drill cuttings and other toxic aspects of shale gas development each took a hit at the historic April 30th press conference  in the Capitol Rotunda.

“With 18 new pipelines planned to crisscross Pennsylvania this year, we will all soon live in the drilling region,” said Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth. “These pipelines, with air polluting compressor stations every 40-100 miles, will bring the same risks that wells bring to communities in the Marcellus region and they’re just as poorly regulated. We are not willing to forsake any part of this state for fracking.”

"No Fracking Pipelines" says a Protecting Our Waters banner in Harrisburg yesterday. Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth is standing bottom right; Ljubica Sarafov of Democracy for America is speaking. Photo: Keely Kernan

“No Fracking Pipelines” says Protecting Our Waters banner in Harrisburg yesterday. Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth stands bottom right; Ljubica Sarafov of Democracy for America is speaking. Photo: Keely Kernan

11 Comments
  1. Jim Cummings permalink
    May 1, 2013 2:10 pm

    I cannot see the photos. Sounds like a great action. On International Workers Day lets call for an end to chewing up workers for the profit of the natural gas industry.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      May 1, 2013 4:14 pm

      Fixed: All can see the photos now. Touche for that on May Day and every day. This industry’s treatment of workers, as well as residents, is a human rights issue. Randy Moyer’s suffering is especially terrible, but unfortunately he is not alone: Mac and Randy say that about half of the workers they know have symptoms. Mac’s girlfriend, Lisa, and all three of his sons, Ricky, Matthew, and Sonny, were affected by skin rashes from contact with their father when he came home from work — can you imagine putting your family at risk just by washing your work clothes with their clothes? That’s the reality in shale country.

  2. May 1, 2013 2:26 pm

    My comment is to put Corbett in prison for selling out the air, water, land and people of Pennsylvania, to prop himself up for this equally criminal industry. Same goes for Michael Krancer, the lying criminal former DEP Secretary.

  3. T.Clements permalink
    May 2, 2013 6:26 am

    Later this morning in Harrisburg, May 2nd, 10-12 panel discussion on public health risks in fracking in Pennsylvania-sponsored by Greg Vitali. Minority Caucus Room 418 Main Capitol Bldg. After all those petitions, 100,000, a caring governor needs to attend today. Maybe we need to knock on his door and walk him over?

  4. T.Clements permalink
    May 2, 2013 6:41 am

    why not call Gov. Corbett’s office 717~787~2500 and invite him to the panel discussion today (may 2nd), on health risks of fracking 418 main capitol bldg. 10am til 12noon. 🙂
    or call him tomorrow and ask if he attended?

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      May 2, 2013 9:55 am

      Great idea, Tam. I called, received a disinterested response, was told “I’ll be sure to forward the information over” and was told that all the high-level staffers are in a meeting so the phone call could not go up the chain. It was clear that I was the first call on this today, so it’s a good idea for others to call: 717-787-2500.

  5. Jerry LeeMiller permalink
    May 2, 2013 10:03 am

    Thank you Iris and Karen and all who have continued to press this issue. Your perseverance, compassion and quest for justice are so inspiring!

  6. Georgia permalink
    May 2, 2013 6:37 pm

    Anyone interested to know just how much oil and gas money has gone into PA politicians pockets can look at http://www.marcellusmoney.org for the details. It includes the politicians names, what company gave how much money, and even the date the money was given. It’s astounding info !!! PA’s politicians should be ashamed that they sold out the state’s people, water, land, air, and the resident’s way of life !!!!!!!!

Trackbacks

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