Wednesday, August 31, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Francesca Lo Basso, Communications Director, Shale Gas Outrage
Arsenic and Old Gas: Families directly impacted by fracking to speak at 10:30 am press conference before Shale Gas Outrage rally
WHO: Protecting Our Waters
WHAT: Shale Gas Outrage Press Conference
WHEN: Wednesday, September 7 at 10:30am
WHERE: Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St. (corner of Broad & Arch) in the Chapel
Philadelphia, PA – Shale Gas Outrage, a two-day event endorsed by over 65 organizations outraged by fracking’s environmental impact and unacceptable risks, will open with a press conference featuring individuals personally impacted by gas drilling. Protecting Our Waters, pushing for a Pennsylvania statewide halt on high-volume hydrofracking and for a continued moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin, will host the pressconference. At least six impacted individuals will be available for interview.
Dozens, likely hundreds, of families throughout Pennsylvania’s “shale country” have lost access to drinkable water due to gas drilling impacts. Some families 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.
Two months after the drilling began on two hydrofracking wells within a mile of her property, Kim McEvoy of Evans City, PA began to notice her well water turning black and emitting a foul odor. “The smell of rotten eggs was so strong that it would wake me up when the shower was running in the next room,” Kim said, adding that headaches, constant fatigue and growing health concerns followed.
Referring to her pursuit of an explanation for the high levels of toxic chemicals in her well water, a resident of Susquehanna County slated to take questions at the press conference said, “I felt helpless. Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. . . [Southwestern Energy] said, ‘We are not going to help you.’ It’s just me up against a giant oil and gas corporation. My water is ruined, my property value is totally done for.”
Shale Gas Outrage includes a rally against fracking on September 7 from noon to 2pm on Arch Street in front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center (where 2,000 members of the natural gas industry will be holding their convention), as well as a march, an Interfaith Blessing of the Waters at the Delaware River, and the September 8thFreedom From Fracking Conference. For a complete list of events please visit shalegasoutrage.org.
Ecologist, author and public health advocate Sandra Steingraber is confirmed for the morning plenary at the Freedom From Fracking Conference, along with hydrogeologist Paul Rubin; filmmaker Josh Fox will speak at the closing plenary.
“High volume hydraulic fracturing is a public health disaster in the making,” said Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Protecting Our Waters organizer and Freedom From Fracking Conference Coordinator.
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: protectingourwaters.com
“Fracking” is the term popularly used to refer to all the life-cycle phases of high-volume slickwater horizontal hydraulic fracturing with multi-well pads. Fracking is a heavily industrial process exempted from over a dozen major federal environmental laws in 2005. Last week the U.S. government slashed by 80% the estimated amount of recoverable gas in the Marcellus Shale region. The controversial combination of techniques is new to Pennsylvania and has increased in scope, speed and magnitude since 2005. Fracking uses 2 to 8 million gallons of water mixed with toxic chemicals and sand, per frack, per well. Some fracking fluid, injected at high pressure deep underground to fracture rock a mile and more below the surface, stays underground — threatening future generations and permanently losing hundreds of billions of gallons of water from Pennsylvania watersheds. The fracking fluid which returns to the surface, called “flowback,” has toxic levels of salt, radionucleides, arsenic, barium, benzene, and the original fracking chemicals which include carcinogens, neurotoxins, biocides and endocrine disruptors.