News

Shale Gas Outrage 2012 – Philadelphia

Updated website and information coming soon!

First, Join Us to Stop the Frack Attack – Washington, DC – July 28, 2012

In the Philadelphia area, sign up for the bus shared by Protecting Our Waters, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Food and Water Watch to head to Washington, DC for the “Stop the Frack Attack” rally on July 28th.

Then, Join Us for Shale Gas Outrage 2012

Press Conference, Main Rally, March: September 20th
Health Impacts Conference, Organizers’ Gathering: September 21st


Get on the Bus November 21st — Fight for the Delaware River Watershed

Friends, please join us – bring neighbors, friends, new sectors, new protectors!

What: Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) special meeting about gas drilling
When:  Monday, November 21st 10 AM – 12 NOONgather at 7:30am
Where: Patriots Theater, War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive Trenton, NJ 08608
Why: DRBC has called this special meeting to vote on opening the Delaware River Watershed to fracking, ignoring tens of thousands who’ve stood up for our ecosystem, our economy, our lives.

People are already taking the day off from work, school and their normal schedules to travel to Trenton on Monday, November 21st to stand together to protect our water and to insist on putting health, science and sanity ahead of corporate rule and economic ruin.

Get on the Bus:
Protecting Our Waters is organizing buses which will leave at 6:30 AM from 30th Street Station on Monday, November 21st.  We must get there early in order to fill the seats, as the industry is expected to send busloads.  Reserve your seat on the Philadelphia bus now!!!

Background:  For over three years, Delaware Riverkeeper Network has been leading the fight to protect the Delaware River Watershed from pollution from toxic gas drilling.  For over two years, Protecting Our Waters has joined that fight along with many great allies. Concerted action has helped keep the moratorium on drilling in place.

Most importantly, residents of the entire four-state watershed have enabled us, working together, to generate tens of thousands of comments demanding a continued moratorium and insisting on a cumulative impact study for this watershed, which has not been done.  In the last comment period alone (Dec. 8 2010- April 15, 2011), 69,800 people filed comments with the DRBC – a magnificent, unprecedented level of public participation.

But the DRBC — a four-state entity composed of the governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware along with the federal government, represented by the Army Corps of Engineers — doesn’t seem to be listening.

Despite the vast amount of public comment, the scientifically informed in-person testimony provided by countless residents of the four-state watershed, and several active lawsuits, the DRBC has scheduled aspecial meeting on November 21st to vote on the regulations they have drafted in order to move forward with fracking.  An approval of such regulations would lift the current moratorium on high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing for methane gas in the Delaware River Basin.

The New York Attorney General, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability have all filed lawsuits to prevent the DRBC from moving ahead with their existing inadequate regulations with no impact studies.  We’d like the City of Philadelphia to join in that effort. Those of you in Philly, call your City Councilperson, and the Mayor’s office, right now to ask them to step up!  (Just go to seventy.org to find the phone numbers you need)

On November 21st, we need to be there in large numbers — all ages, all walks of life; class field trips, labor unions, faith-based communities, everyone who drinks water and breathes air.  As usual, DRBC meetings are scheduled at times that are terrible for working people.  So students, retired people, and those with flexible schedules please do all you can to fill in that gap and come to Trenton November 21st!

What’s this got to do with the rest of PA and the region?


Media Advisory: Press Conference

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:     Francesca Lo Basso, Communications Director, Shale Gas Outrage

215-717-8364, [email protected]

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.

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Press Release: Josh Fox & Al Appleton to Speak

Thursday August 23, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:     Iris Marie Bloom, Director, Protecting Our Waters
215-840-6489, [email protected]

Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper
845-901-1029, [email protected]

JOSH FOX AND AL APPLETON TO SPEAK AT SHALE GAS OUTRAGE RALLY TO “STOP DIRTY DRILLING,” PROTECT AIR, WATER, HEALTH

WHO: Protecting Our Waters & over forty local, regional and national endorsing organizations incl. Catskill Mountainkeeper and Delaware Riverkeeper

WHAT: Shale Gas Outrage Rally and March

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 7, noon-2pm (March 2 – 3pm)

WHERE: Arch St. between 13th and Broad, Philadelphia PA 19107

Philadelphia, PA – As the U.S. Energy Information Administration slashes its estimate of recoverable Marcellus Shale gas by 80%, activists are reinforcing their call for shale gas drilling to be halted.  “Just as the industry has not been telling the truth about recoverable gas, so they have not been telling the truth about what high-volume hydrofracking does to air, water, earth and human health,” said Francesca LoBasso, Communications Director for Protecting Our Waters, the Philadelphia-based advocacy group initiating the Shale Gas Outrage events.

Filmmaker Josh Fox, creator of the documentary Gasland, and Al Appleton, an international water systems expert, will be among the speakers at the Shale Gas Outrage rally and march in Philadelphia on Sept. 7.

Mr. Fox’s film was among the first to document major problems associated with high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing with directional drilling, popularly called “fracking.”  The controversial new combination of techniques is called “unconventional” by the industry and is less than five years old in Pennsylvania.  It has caused air and water contamination, health problems, and widespread methane migration.

“Not only did Josh make a great informative film, but he has become an expert on what has happened to communities across the world when the gas industry marches in. He really understands the big picture,” said an outspoken proponent for protecting the Delaware River, actor Mark Ruffalo.

Al Appleton, a Senior Advisor at The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, is an expert on the real and potential impacts of fracking.  Mr. Appleton’s experience with water systems for major cities includes positions as former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Director of the New York City Water and Sewer system.

“Mr. Appleton’s professional past and experience, coupled with his longstanding dedication to the issue, positions him as a unique expert in the field,” said Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, an environmental group that helped sound the alarm on fracking in the region beginning over three years ago. “He understands the absurdity of fracking for gas in the Delaware River Basin – an act which would threaten the drinking water of over 15 million people, including residents of Philadelphia, Princeton, Camden and New York City.”

In a letter to the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Mr. Appleton wrote, “[the fracking process is] an enormous threat to the well-being not only of the city but of the state of New York.”

Protecting Our Waters, a Philadelphia-based grassroots advocacy group focusing on unconventional gas drilling and other threats to drinking water, environment and public health, initiated the September 7th protest to protect people throughout the Marcellus Shale region; to push for a Pennsylvania statewide moratorium and to intensify the demand for a continued moratorium in the Delaware River Basin.

An Interfaith Blessing of the Waters will be held after the rally and march at Penn Treaty Park on the Delaware River from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.

A coalition of over forty organizations has endorsed the event; all are listed at shalegasoutrage.org, complete with a link for each organization.  Rally and other program updates are also posted at shalegasoutrage.org.

For issues-based information, please visit protectingourwaters.com and allies.


Civil Disobedience Statement

We affirm, respect, and value the importance of civil disobedience as one of the essential tactics which will increase this movement’s energy and ability to create social change.  It’s as American as apple pie, as powerful as Rosa Parks, as eloquent as Thoreau, as wise as Barbara Deming, as effective as Gandhi and all the countless and nameless courageous people who have endured arrest and worse during every successful movement, including the abolition, labor, women’s suffrage, civil rights, anti-war, anti-apartheid, Central America solidarity, gay rights, and environmental movements, to name a few!

That said, the organizers of the Shale Gas Outrage initiative are not planning, organizing, facilitating, or participating in any civil disobedience on September 7th and 8th.

During our rally, we want to make sure the voices of those most directly impacted by shale gas drilling are heard, as directly as possible.  Impacted people are the focus of the rally. Their stories must be front and center in the news.

For this reason, we ask that those considering any independent nonviolent direct action or civil disobedience actions during the fracking industry’s “Shale Gas Insight” conference please respect the work which has gone into the legally permitted march and rally by avoiding such actions until after our events in Center City conclude at 3 PM on Wednesday, September 7th.

To ensure the public safety of all the attendees of the Shale Gas Outrage rally and march we will have a trained peacekeeping team and are communicating actively with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police. To further the end of a safe and respectful environment, we ask that all participants and attendees of these events adhere to the following code of conduct:

We ask that attendees of the rally and march NOT:

  • Bring or use weapons, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal substances before or during the events;
  • Use verbal or physical violence against anyone, including attendees of the industry’s conference and police officers;
  • Damage city, convention center, or other property;
  • Risk unnecessary arrest.

We ask attendees of the rally and march:

  • Adopt a respectful and dignified attitude towards anyone we encounter;
  • If provoked, stay calm, respond nonviolently, and get help from peacekeepers.

Thank you for all you do.  Human health, wildlife, our streams and rivers, and future generations depend on you.


 

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