Friday, August 12, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPT. 7TH “SHALE GAS OUTRAGE” RALLY TO PROTECT AIR, WATER, EARTH AND HUMAN HEALTH
To Be Held Outside Convention Center While Fracking Industry Meets Inside
Mayor Nutter Declines to Speak at Industry Convention
On September 7th, residents of Pennsylvania and surrounding states will rally at the Convention Center in Philadelphia to put out the message that the region’s people “will not tolerate contamination of our air, water and earth by dirty gas drilling,” according to rally organizers. Over forty organizations locally, regionally and nationally have endorsed the rally, including unions, religious organizations, civic groups and environmental organizations including Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and PennEnvironment.
Speakers will include Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated film Gasland; Al Appleton, international water systems expert; elected officials, faith-based leaders and people impacted by shale gas drilling. Protecting Our Waters, a grassroots advocacy group based in Philadelphia, initiated the Sept. 7th rally, march, Interfaith Blessing of the Waters, and conference. Protecting Our Waters aims to help protect Philadelphia’s drinking water; the Delaware River Basin, the Susquehanna and Ohio River Basins of Pennsylvania, and the region, from fracking and other threats.
The rally targets high-volume hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling for methane gas; the technology used is called “fracking” for short.
When: “Shale Gas Outrage” Rally to Stop Dirty Drilling Wednesday September 7th, 12 – 2pm. March 2pm – 3pm
Where: Arch Street between Broad and 13th Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Followed by: Interfaith “Blessing of the Waters” at Penn Treaty Park, 5:30 – 7pm, by the Delaware River
September 8th: “Freedom from Fracking: Building Strategies Together” conference, 8:30 am – 5 pm
Although invited, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has declined to speak at the Marcellus Shale Coalition gas drilling industry convention, to be held September 7th and 8th, dubbed “Shale Gas Insight,” by the industry. Protecting Our Waters Associate Director Alex Allen said, “We are extremely happy with Mayor Nutter’s decision to distance himself from the shale gas drilling industry convention, and applaud his continued commitment to making Philadelphia one of the nation’s greenest cities.”
Shale gas drilling involves “fracking,” the controversial technique using high volumes of toxic chemicals and fresh water to drill deep into shale layers a mile and more underground, explosively fracturing the rock to release methane. Methane gas, a potent contributor to global warming, rushes back to the surface — sometimes uncontrollably, as several major blowouts have shown — along with “flowback” fluid which is often radioactive, always many times saltier than the ocean, and carries naturally occurring poisons like arsenic, barium; hydrocarbons like benzene and toluene; as well as the original toxic chemicals from the fracking fluid. These toxins find their way through multiple pathways into water supplies, air, and the food chain.
“Fracking is hurting human health right now in Pennsylvania,” said Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters’ founder and director. “This is not abstract. Clean air, water and earth are absolute requirements for human life and for all life. We must institute a moratorium — not one more shale gas drilling permit — and stop making people sick in Pennsylvania. Our people are not guinea pigs.”
Karen Feridun, founder of GasTruth Berks County, confronted the argument that gas drilling is good for jobs. “In 2010, Pennsylvania ranked third in the nation in job growth. If you subtract all the Marcellus Shale jobs, Pennsylvania still ranked third in the nation in job growth. All of the hype about job creation is baseless,” she said. The Keystone Research Center said in June that the Marcellus Shale Coalition (industry lobbying and PR group) claim to have created 48,000 jobs was exaggerated and that the real number is in the range of 10,000 jobs.