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Shale Gas Outrage 2013 Kickoff and Press

September 25, 2013

Shale Gas Outrage has begun, and our Water Drive has gotten the notice of Philadelphians, the industry, and the press. We are delighted and grateful for the donations we’ve received so far, and for the time of strangers who stopped at our table to talk.

Here’s press coverage of the Shale Gas Outrage Water Drive and conference so far:

CBS Philadelphia: Shale Industry Conference in Philadelphia Draws Protests

Credit: Mike DeNardo, CBS Philadelphia

Philadelphia Inquirer: Shale Industry and Anti-drilling Activists Set for Gathering

Environmental issues are high on the agenda of the two-day conference that opens Wednesday. And the environmental consequences of drilling will also dominate events planned by anti-drilling activists outside the Convention Center.

Activists who are seeking a drilling moratorium in Pennsylvania set up shop Tuesday at Arch Street United Methodist Church to solicit bottled water for rural residents affected by shale-gas development. Their event is called Shale Gas Outrage.

StateImpact Pennsylvania: Dueling Drilling Conferences to Bring Insight and Protest to Philadelphia

And now, in our own words:

Shale Gas Outrage September 24 to 26th Kicks Off

65 Organizations Pitch in for Water Drive; the days ahead hold press conference, water truck send-off and conference

Contacts: Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters, 215.840.6489
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, 610.678.7726
Adam Garber, PennEnvironment, 267.515.1220
Matt Walker, Clean Air Council 215.567.4004 x 121

Philadelphia, PA – On Tuesday September 24th at 12:00 noon, jugs of water and donations began to flow into the hands of groups who are collecting water to give to Pennsylvania residents whose water has been polluted by gas drilling.  People will drop off jugs of drinking water and checks to buy clean water at the Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA. 

The Water Drive will continue through to Thursday, September 26th, at 9:30 a.m. Trucks will be loaded that morning to deliver the water to families in counties where their well water is not drinkable because of pollution caused gas drilling operations, and will be given a rousing send off at a press conference at 9:30 a.m. at the Church.

Water wells throughout gas extraction regions in the state have been contaminated by drilling.  PA Department of Environmental Protection admits to 161 cases of private water well contamination as a result of gas drilling operations between 2008 and September 2012.  That number – already a year old — refers to contamination incidents, not individual wells or the number of families impacted. Many people whose wells have been contaminated have been left to their own devices to replace their water.  Replacing water for a family of four can cost in the neighborhood of $12,000 in the first year alone — a cost that is difficult, and for many, impossible, to bear.

In an effort to help these neighbors in impacted communities across the state, water drives are being organized to do what the industry responsible for the contamination and the government failed to do — get people the clean water they need.

The Shale Gas Outrage Water Drive is being held directly across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center where industry insiders are celebrating their annual Marcellus Shale Insight get-together on the same days, in view of conference goers.  The public is invited to donate water and funds at the Church from noon to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; and up until 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Shale Gas Outrage will illustrate very publicly that people will step up to replace the clean water that gas drilling took away; but the industry will be held accountable for the pollution they have caused.  “The True Cost of Fracking”, an examination of gas extraction and its complex infrastructure, will be the subject of the Freedom from Fracking conference to be held on Thursday September 26, from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Friends Center a few blocks away.  This event will close out the third annual Shale Gas Outrage.

“This year’s Shale Gas Outrage Water Drive and Freedom from Fracking conference are shining a light on the true costs of fracking. They are the entries you’ll never see on a balance sheet because they’re not numbers. They’re stories of individuals, families, even entire communities everywhere fracking is being done. They’re real life accounts everyone needs and deserves to hear,” said Karen Feridun, Founder, Berks Gas Truth.

Iris Marie Bloom, Director, Protecting Our Waters, said, “With flaring 500 feet from children’s schools, hundreds of cases of poisoned water, and families being silenced by gag orders when their air, water and health are impacted — and with the climate crisis at 5 minutes to midnight — we are here to say ‘stop fracking now!’  We don’t have to be back here next year getting more clean water for people impacted by this extreme extraction!”

Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, representing Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said, “It is morally wrong that in the pursuit of more dirty fossil fuel energy, industrial profits, and political jockeying, real people are losing their access to clean water.  This week we’re collecting and will send water to Pennsylvania people and families who have lost their drinking water to the gas industry.  Tomorrow it could be our neighbors to the north, south or east collecting and sending water to us here in Philadelphia and the Delaware River Watershed if drilling gets allowed.  It is time to draw a line in the sand – and for all people to band together in defense of one another to say it is time to stop the fracking and drilling in every watershed and every community.”

“With the gas drilling industry and our elected officials failing to step in and protect families from toxic drinking water due to fracking, people from across the Commonwealth have had to do so. We hope one day clean water drives like this one will no longer be necessary—but that will take significant shift in state policy,” stated Adam Garber, Field Director, PennEnvironment.

“The shale gas industry in Pennsylvania is run amok, and regulators are not enforcing even the minimal rules we have on the books to protect air quality and public health. While the industry touts shale gas as a clean-burning fossil fuel, every stage of shale gas extraction emits harmful air pollution. Clean Air Council stands in solidarity with local leaders in shale-field areas working to take back their quality of life from the impacts of the shale gas industry. The Freedom from Fracking Conference this Thursday will provide an opportunity for leaders from rural Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area to learn and strategize together on how to tackle fracking related pollution,” said Matt Walker, Community Outreach Director with Clean Air Council.

Shale Gas Outrage is a community effort supported by organizations and members of the public.  The mission statement is: Shale gas development contaminates our communities’ air and water, harming human health and living ecosystems. It distracts us from taking the immediate steps essential to curb climate change. Building a thriving economy requires us to create green jobs, develop sustainable energy, and ensure a healthy environment. Therefore, we are committed to stopping fracking now, including maintaining and expanding each moratorium and ban already established. We are also committed to fighting for justice in place of the unacceptable and unequal burdens imposed by the shale gas industry upon vulnerable populations and future generations.

For more information about Shale Gas Outrage, the Water Drive and the Freedom from Fracking 3 Conference, and a full list of endorsing organizations, go to: http://shalegasoutrage.wordpress.com/

For background information on these issues that Shale Gas Outrage is addressing go to: http://shalegasoutrage.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/backgrounder-final-9-23-13.pdf

Organizers of both events:

DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER NETWORK * PROTECTING OUR WATERS * PENNENVIRONMENT * CLEAN AIR COUNCIL * BERKS GAS TRUTH

To see the list of over 60 endorsing organizations, Freedom from Fracking Conference Schedule, and more, go to: shalegasoutrage.wordpress.com

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6 Comments
  1. September 25, 2013 9:45 pm

    thanks, all for bringing needed attention to the water contamination issues with
    Gas Drilling; This sounds great; The Word is getting out…

  2. September 25, 2013 9:56 pm

    Great to be there today, collecting jugs and donations. Lots of positive energy. Lots of Shale Gas Insight folks walking by quickly. I recognized Michael Krancer (resigned head of DEP) and Nick DeBenedictus (head of Aqua America–the water company that was a party to displacing trailer park residents in Jersey Shore PA–actual name of a PA town on the Susquehanna–in order to withdraw water for fracking. One man–a convention attendee, who did not otherwise identify himself, said he felt guilty about what was happening to people and gave $20.

  3. tam permalink
    September 26, 2013 7:51 am

    Philadelphia Gas Works employee told me the pipelines used from wells to delivery do not leak, they are made of steel. He said there is under 2 % leakage in the city pipes, which are too expensive to replace with plastic… does anyone know what happens if it is too expensive to replace gas pipes and what are the numbers for pipeline, old and new?
    Wednesday;
    The threat of a huge demonstration, as in 2 years past, had more than 25 police, (identified by arm badge or uniform) surrounding metal fencing enclosing the Broad Street entrance of the Phila. Convention Center. Broad Street both sides lined up police cars,as for a dignitary funeral. At the entrance, a few dozen attendees watching to see what would happen, across Broad Street, our fired up protest din. Many, many persons stopped to ask what we were protesting. They continued to the water donation site determined to do ‘something’. I want to thank the Philadelphia Police!
    Their number added huge value to our remarks. I want to thank the conference for increasing our message power. I want to thank POW for the genius to collect gallons of water!! I spoke to a few cops, one said that last year, outsider groups joined the Marcellus Shale protesters, who were not part of the group, and caused problems.
    He didn’t know what they did or who they were, but the vibe all around was negative and there was a lot of radio talk of only 3 cops for 11 doors sort of thing… As Maggie of Maggie’s Farm of eastern Pa. at the Ohio boarder shouted,” You are protecting the BAD guys, the GOOD guys are out here”.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      September 30, 2013 11:58 am

      Great point Tam, if the cops really wanted to protect people they’d be making citizens’ arrests of most of the CEOs inside who have caused over 4,400 environmental violations at shale gas sites in PA in just 4 years; who have made people sick from poisoned water and air, who are destroying climate, and who are displacing people from their homes.

      Actually the worker you spoke to is referring to a small, narrow aspect of the big problem. There is a very high methane leakage rate over the life-cycle of shale gas drilling; the most recent study showed 6%-12% leakage; and the pipelines are now made of inferior steel which is more likely to have problems like pipeline explosions (remember the 300-foot fireball that happened when a pipeline exploded in Illinois on August 12th 2013, just last month? that’s what can happen with leaks!). Unfortunately the distribution lines in the city are very old and have very high leakage rates. Scientists are only just beginning to measure the methane leaks in old cities like Boston, San Francisco, DC and Philly; I’ve seen leakage rates from distribution lines as high as 17%. It could be that some of the brand-new pipelines aren’t leaking much in Year One, but those are small segments; we look at the bigger picture, i.e. life-cycle shale gas development, which has phenomenal leakage rates — at least ten times greater than the EPA estimates, according to NOAA.

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