FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Food and Water Watch Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA — The Green Justice Philly coalition applauds the announcement that Governor Tom Wolf and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) will dedicate $300 million to developing shipping capacity at the Port of Philadelphia and making green improvements to existing infrastructure at Southport, which represents a firm rejection of fossil fuel projects at the site.
He’s slimy, offensive and a threat to the ecology.
Like rock snot, Trump’s proposed policies would be devastating to Pennsylvania’s watersheds. Like rock snot, a Trump administration may be a danger to the drinking water of 17 million people in the Delaware River Watershed. Like rock snot, Trump jeopardizes the integrity of our state’s tourist economy. Plus, he’s just gross.
Didymosphenia geminata, or Didymo, is a single celled, invasive algae. “Thick mats of Didymo can crowd out or smother more biologically valuable algae growing on the riverbed. Didymo is easily spread, and the chance of it hitchhiking its way into nearby streams or rivers that currently lack this unwanted invader is cause for alarm.”
According to Reince Priebus, Trump’s White House chief of staff, climate denial is the president-elect’s official default position. While the rest of the world scoffs, Trump has repeatedly promised to boost gas and coal. He is currently, albeit quietly, appointing frackers and climate change deniers to top cabinet posts. The current frontrunners in The Appointee Apprentice are Myron Ebell for EPA Chief, and fracking billionaire, Harold Hamm, for Secretary of Energy, swamp-dwelling industry insiders both. Hamm is, by way of his adultery, the current record holder for most expensive divorce of all time.
Rock snot sticks to your shoes and spreads easily, so you need to check very closely. With similar vigilance, Pennsylvanians need to pay special attention to these fossil fools because they plan to expand fracking in the Marcellus Shale, big time.
It’s not easy being green! I’m grateful for all the fractivists in the world, and to everyone who’s fighting to protect our planet and prevent climate disruption.
Future generations will be thankful, too. Peace and smiles!
Cartoon by Dan Wasserman, The Boston Globe
Monte Wolverton, The Cagle Post
World class climate hoaxter, Donald Trump, may see Pennsylvania as just another pretty piece of shale, his for the grabbing, but a growing number of physicians and scientists are calling on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf [D] to enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
In October, the archly conservative Pennsylvania Medical Society was unanimous in its resolution calling for a moratorium on new shale gas drilling permits, voicing the need to create a statewide health impact registry. Their advice grows urgent as more peer-reviewed studies are published, and the data chronicling the human harm becomes more widely available.
“The medical society’s call for a moratorium came just a day before the release of a new study by the Yale School of Public Health that found numerous carcinogens used in fracking have the potential to contaminate the air and water of nearby communities and increase the risk of childhood leukemia,” reports Don Hopey in Doctors call for state ban on drilling and fracking, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 31, 2016. Read the rest of this entry »
The Unlikely Path To Less Carbon …
Last week, The Donald won the election but not the popular vote. Days later, membership in the Sierra Club exploded faster than any time in its 124 year history. The country’s oldest and most iconic environmental preservation group is now more than 600,000 members strong with considerably greater reach.
Maybe it was because most sane people, and even some Trump voters, know that science has no agenda. They listen to climatologists, not lobbyists. Maybe it’s because they love the great outdoors, or they want to preserve our biosphere for future generations. Or maybe it’s because Mother Nature is the original nasty woman, and whether you accept the reality of climate change or not, she always bats last.
Sadly, the inmates have taken over the asylum. Trump is looking to run the country from his gilded New York City penthouse, sending his proxy to Washington via Mike Pence, who has already begun to seize executive power Dick Cheney-style (only his war is against women and he’s a much bigger dick.) Trump will also look to white supremacist, Steve Bannon, as senior policy whisperer. And because, in Trumplandia, conflicts of interest only apply to everyone else, our new Commander-In-Chief will be relying on fracking billionaire – and yuge campaign contributor, Harold Hamm, to head the Department of Energy transition team. He’s also considering Sarah “I can see Russia!” Palin for Secretary of the Interior. No joke. But, in perhaps what is the most egregious pick of all, Trump has named chief climate denier, old King Coal himself, Myron Ebell, to dismantle the EPA and overturn Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Windmills, Not Windbags
Thankfully, the world does not revolve around Trump Tower. The next four years will be rough, regardless of how many evil clowns Trump sends to Washington. No amount of dark money poured into GOP coffers, no degree of economic protectionism, will insulate his administration from global market forces. Trump will be compelled to follow the money. It won’t serve him to sit on his tiny hands and bet the entire U.S. energy future on extreme fossil fuel extraction while the rest of the world laps us in the development of sustainable energy.
Should the Trump administration shun the Paris Agreement, should they renege on U.S. commitments, and ramp up fracking and Arctic Drilling, his government will be sued, and then there’s every possibility that the invisible hand of the free market will give him the finger. Trump may want to believe there’s a growing taste for coal, fracked gas and more carbon, but better, cheaper, more efficient alternatives already exist. The rest of the world’s markets are reshaping and retooling, surging forward on renewable energy, decoupling their economies from a rapidly diminishing supply of fossil fuels, and they recognize the clear danger of Trump’s ideas about energy.
The Donald has promised a lot of people a lot of jobs, and I can’t help but wonder, where does he think the best-paying, most secure and desirable incomes will come from? The clean energy sector has grown despite all the Republican efforts to squelch it. That says a lot about the strength, resiliency and sustainability of the clean energy market. To borrow that over-employed phrase, it seems like it’s already baked in.
UN Secretary-General BanKiMoon said he is “optimistic” that Donald Trump can be “made to see reason.” (I know, LOL, right?) Nevertheless, he asserts, “I believe that he understands that there are market forces already at work on this issue. And we need to harness these forces for good of the planet and all the species in this planet.”
Environmental activists are now striving to take the longview, and to not be discouraged – or worse – distracted by the present sideshow that is American politics. My only hope is that we can rely on the rule of law. Ours is a great Republic, and citizens should be able to look to the law to provide reasonable checks and balances for the powers that be. In the fight to conserve our natural resources, the courts have often served as the last bastion of protection for environmental human rights.
Still, I feel sick when I see what the orange menace is plotting. I’m repulsed by the small-mindedness under which he operates, and by how he and his crew of deplorables want to devalue important, vaunted U.S. institutions like the EPA. Sure, I know the fight for climate is a long one, longer and more complex than any one U.S. presidency. Plus, I refuse to be cowed by bullies. I also know I’m not alone. Think about Sierra.
Think Global, Act Fast
Maybe you will Stand With Standing Rock and the Sioux Nation’s right to protect sacred water. Perhaps you side with Senator Sanders and the Climate Revolution? No matter how you contribute to the climate movement, we need to work smarter and faster, and we need good quality information. Not all news is created equal and some actions are more powerful than others. Here are a bunch of trusted resources. I share them in the hopes that they might help you in your efforts — solidarity!
For Climate, Fight Fracking
Delaware Riverkeeper Network: Non-profit, membership organization dedicated to addressing “the issues, actions, regulations, legislation, policies, programs and decisions that impact the health of our Delaware River Watershed waterways and our ability to protect and restore them for the benefit of all.”
Food and Water Watch: National group led by Winonah Hauter, leading public interest advocates and author of Frackopoly. FWW champions healthy food and clean water for all. Join FWW’s Clean Energy Revolution or help Ban Fracking Everywhere. Busy local chapters such as Food Water Watch in Philadelphia, Pa. love to hear from volunteers, will gladly put you to work!
Sierra Club: Longtime conscientious objector to fossil fools, this group simply wants to #LeaveItInTheGround.
Friends of the Earth: Global network of more than two million activists in 75 different countries. Several U.S. offices advocate in the halls of Congress, in state capitals, and with community groups around the country. Online petitions.
Earth Justice: Because the Earth obviously needs a good lawyer.
NextGen Climate: Founder, Tom Steyer, believes Climate Change is the most pressing issue of our time. Nextgen actively seeks to engage voters.
News & Information:
StateImpactPA / NPR: https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Don Hopey: http://www.post-gazette.com
PA Against Fracking Newsroom: http://www.paagainstfracking.org/newsroom/
ClimateWire by EENews: http://www.eenews.net/cw
Democracy Now, Amy Goodman: http://www.democracynow.org/
DeSmog Blog: http://www.desmogblog.com/
PA Environmental Digest: Environmental news and headlines: http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/
The Berks Gas Truth: Regularly updated links to headlines across Pennsylvania covering the great fracking divide: http://paper.li/BerksGasTruth/1369451548#!all
Delaware Riverkeeper’s Blog, Maya van Rossum is an environmental champion, attorney and organizer: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/blog/
Laura Legere, freelance journalist: https://twitter.com/LauraLegere
Oil Change International: http://priceofoil.org/
Follow Sierra’s Executive Director, Michael Brune, on facebook and feel like a climate insider: https://www.facebook.com/michael.brune.9
Protecting Our Waters: Northeastern U.S. water advocates: https://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/
Raging Chicken Press, Refreshingly left, entirely raw truth spoken here: http://ragingchickenpress.org/
@fractivista, all the #fracking headlines I can find, and why you should read on: https://twitter.com/Fractivista
The Onion, because sometimes you just have to laugh: http://www.theonion.com/
List by no means comprehensive, please feel free share your favorite resources and organizations in the Comments.
The Tax `n Frack era is upon us.
On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced to a classroom full of Thorndale elementary students that he plans to tax shale gas drillers to pay for things like textbooks, and the laminated weather map hanging ironically on the wall behind him.
Tying education funding to a single, cyclical, heavy industry, and one with a wildly variable price at that, is bad business for the state. Wolf should know that no tax will ever begin to cover their true tab, or replace what they are presently destroying.
While he’s at it, Wolf might ask gas drillers to print up some new textbooks, too. Otherwise, Pennsylvania school children might learn about the legacy of toxic pollution that they and our legislators are leaving behind.
Remember Talisman Terry, the friendly Fracosaurus? He was featured in a propa-ganza enriched coloring book published for Pennsylvania school children, and hilariously immortalized by Stephen Colbert in 2011.
Dear Governor Wolf,
Montgomery and Bucks are the only counties in Pennsylvania where there’s a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. We don’t see rigs from our front porches, or continuous flares. We don’t get headaches from strange odors, or drive on crumbling roads clogged by endless truck traffic. In the Philadelphia suburbs, it’s easy to ignore the health and environmental impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling.
When the shale gas industry arrived nearly a decade ago, it was still somewhat plausible to insist that there’s “no proof” gas drilling has ever polluted water supplies. Today, there’s plenty of proof. In 2014, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported 248 cases of water supply contamination since 2007. Nationwide, there are more. Read the rest of this entry »
Fracking Bans Sweep Across North America, And That Was Just The Month Of December
A steady uptick in citizen activism, and a broadening awareness of hydraulic fracturing’s negative impact on everything from climate to wildlife to water, resulted in successful anti-fracking measures on ballots across North America in 2014. Then, in mid-December, the state of New York banned it. They’re not the first, Vermont holds that distinction, yet they are the first state with significant shale gas reserves to do so. People are pumped.
Naturally, the issue is emotionally charged. Shale gas development not only damages land, air and water, it destroys people’s lives. Fracking promises to be a factor in the upcoming 2016 Presidential race. Let’s make of sure of it.
Despite customarily downplaying the successes of the anti-fracking movement in the media, activists across the county have racked up a handful of amazing, longshot victories. Fracking bans were won, far and wide, and they can be found in the unlikeliest places.
All through the year…
This share extraordinaire is via fellow fractivista, Kim Triolo Feil, a self-described “Detective for Loopholes in our Gas Drilling Ordinance” and Arlington TX Shale Blogger. Thanks, Kim! Follow Feil on Twitter: @
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Frack Mess
Video by Defend Community Rights, posted on December 24, 2014.
Maile Bush commented on the Facebook share: “Christmas in a frack mess. Yes, my neighborhood is featured in this lovely song.”
Keep On Keepin On, Fractivists and Fractivistas
Warmest Wishes for a Clean, Green 2015!
New York will ban fracking — huzzah!
Despite the media’s subdued coverage, fractivists will always remember where they were when they first heard the news. I was sitting at my desk, reading emails.
Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State, by Thomas Kaplan, New York Times, December 17, 2014.
New York State Prohibits Fracking Delaware Riverkeeper Network Applauds New York’s Assessment and Conclusion, Press Release, The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, December 17, 2014.
Cuomo’s announcement was not only momentous, it was a surprise gift, and it was met with gratitude, tears of joy, and dancing in the streets. A spontaneous gathering thanked Cuomo, who merrily took one of the activist’s signs with him to commemorate the historic occasion. This very festive video was posted on Facebook by Sabrina Artel.
On msnbc, however, Alex Wagner characterized Cuomo decision like that of a reluctant, job-killing environmental anti-hero who was shying away from the limelight for the sake of appearing politic. I think she sells Cuomo short. I get the sense that the governor simply preferred to let science have its day.
Recently, my son wrote an essay about hidden costs. He discussed the heavy toll that certain industries, like factory farming and clothing manufacture, take on humanity and our environment when they externalize their true costs. Naturally, it got me thinking about the external costs of fracking.
One of the biggest hidden costs of Marcellus shale gas development will be a significant reduction in the number of clean, fresh drinking water supplies for future generations.
PA watersheds have endured a history of environmental degradation from a variety of sources such as logging, agricultural run-off and acid mine drainage, to name just a few. But while it’s true that many threats to our water supplies are long-standing, we can’t ignore the fact that they now face a much more serious, imminent threat.
The instances of fresh water contamination in Pennsylvania have increased dramatically since hydraulic fracturing began.
As fracking booms, waste spills rise — and so do arsenic levels in groundwater, Reporter: Reid Frazier, Writer: Adam Wernic, Living on Earth, Public Radio International, November 18, 2014.
How can we not worry? The business of shale gas is predicated on taking public risks for the purpose of private gain. All it requires, apparently, is a pricey ad campaign and couple of slick publicity stunts.
Politically, Pennsylvania is in a race to the bottom.
On one hand, we have incumbent Governor Tom Corbett [R], the devious idiot who has been giving away the farm, both literally and figuratively, to Marcellus shale drilling special interests, to whom he is totally beholden.
Corbett is not only the most reviled governor in the nation, he’s also the highest paid. And that’s on top of all that gas funding. Little wonder democratic challenger Tom Wolf is trouncing “One Term Tommy” in the polls, yet it’s been decades since anyone has unseated an incumbent Republican governor in Pennsylvania, and no one is willing to call this race just yet. In the end, it could all come down to voter turnout. Read the rest of this entry »
“He Don’t Own The Sun”
Some of Ohio’s most talented musicians came together on Earth Day, 2014 to record this bluesy, planet-loving song, written by Jenny Morgan of “You Can’t Drink Money” fame. I love that it echoes a strong current among fractivists. Fighting fracking is not simply about stopping the boom/bust cycle of shale gas development, it’s about getting real, and actively moving toward a healthier, more sustainable fossil-free future.
Play it loud.
“He can make his billions, but he don’t own the sun.” Video share by Carolyn Harding, radioactivewastealert.org and Cinublue Productions in Columbus, Ohio. Thank you!
What’s the fastest way to get approval to build a hotly contested, demonstrably volatile 299-mile gas liquids pipeline through numerous densely populated suburban Pennsylvania municipalities?
First, elevate your corporate status to Public Utility. Then, claim the right of Eminent Domain to bulldoze over local zoning restrictions and the objections of local residents. At least that’s how former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Michael L. Krancer, would like to see construction of Sunoco Logistics Mariner East Pipeline proceed. In fact, he’s leading the charge.
Litigate, Baby, Litigate
Good Governors Don’t Frack People
Most Pennsylvania primary elections are sleepy business. Not this one.
On May 20, 2014, an all-important primary election will be held, and it will probably determine the state’s next governor.
A whopping 55-34% of Pennsylvania voters feel that Tom Corbett does not deserve reelection, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. Politico Magazine has captioned Corbett “arguably the most vulnerable incumbent governor in 2014.” And, per Stephen Calabria in The Huffington Post on February 26, 2014, GOP Governor Tom Corbett Trails Each of His Democratic Challengers. It’s one of the few causes for optimism in an otherwise fracked up commonwealth. Read the rest of this entry »
Van Wagner teaches Environmental Science at Lewisburg High School in Pennsylvania. He’s also an accomplished country-folk musician who has donated his time to teach music to kids at Pennsylvania summer camps. I came across this compelling plea on Wagner’s website:
“I have played music at several summer camps for children who are cancer survivors. Camp Victory / Camp Dost and Camp Can-Do to name a few local examples. These children are amazing. I’m always amazed how grateful they are to me for spending a few hours simply singing with them. It is I who should be thankful. These children have smiles worth their weight in gold. They are filled with joy and know more about love and friendship than most adults. I challenge any fracking advocate to donate some time at one of these camps. While there sit down at the dinner table with these kids and try to explain to them why grown-ups want to put more cancer causing chemicals in our environment because of things like energy, stock values and jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
Funny how Exxon owns half the world but they still can’t control the conversation about fracking. Shale gas producers leave themselves wide open. They persist in underestimating the intelligence of average consumers, and we can’t help but ridicule them in return. Of course, there was Chevron’s infamous pizza party after a fatal well explosion in Pennsylvania, and last week the fracking industry attempted to throw itself a 65th birthday party. Never mind that it was low volume, vertical fracking which was invented decades ago, and that high-volume horizontal hydraulic slickwater fracturing wasn’t developed until 2003. “Happy 11th!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Here’s another history of fracking, one this behemoth industry doesn’t particularly want told, let alone illustrated by some of the country’s wildest minds. The pen is mightier still, thank heaven, and naturally the ink is fossil free. Read the rest of this entry »
What’s it gonna be, Steven Tambini?
As former Vice President of Operations at Pennsylvania American Water, who also previously served on the board of trustees for the American Water Works Association and the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, the National Association of Water Companies – Pennsylvania Section, Steven (don’t forget the Rancocas Conservancy) Tambini seems like the ultimate water industry insider. Just sayin.
“Mr. Tambini’s work on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the Delaware River has allowed him to develop and build relationships with regulators and stakeholders throughout the basin,” states the Delaware River Basin Commission press release.
Somebody ought to ask Mr. Tambini to define exactly who those “stakeholders” are. I want to have faith, really, but Tambini’s resume is pretty thin on conservation, and darn heavy on extending private water industry interests. One can’t help but worry that he will be inclined to keep on carrying water for the water industry. Read the rest of this entry »
Progressive Measures Across U.S. Aim for Local Protection of Land, Air and Water Resources
Leave it to LA to make a big splash. The city of angels just became the largest U.S. city to approve a zoning ordinance against hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation methods, and the vote was unanimous.
“City council unanimously voted Friday afternoon to send a moratorium motion to the city attorney’s office to be written as a zoning ordinance. It will then return to council for a final vote,” reports Brandon Baker in Breaking: Los Angeles Passes Fracking Moratorium, EcoWatch News, February 28, 2014.
I’ve been updating the List of Bans Worldwide page regularly. Thankfully, the list will never be finished. Bans against hydraulic fracking, shale gas processing and waste disposal are proliferating. Pennsylvania has 17 local bans and a statewide moratorium in the works, and many democratic gubernatorial candidates agree with the growing call for a permanent ban in state parks and the Delaware River Watershed. New Jersey has 33 anti-fracking actions currently gaining momentum, and New York has a staggering 218, including a strong statewide moratorium measure. When the tiny town of Marcellus, New York seeks a fracking ban and the right to local zoning, the irony pretty much abounds.
Seems wherever fracking goes, vigorous grassroots opposition springs to life. High volume hydraulic fracturing is a developing industrial technology, and as it expands into more populous regions, shale gas drillers are finding that most people object to noxious air pollution, water contamination, explosions, blow outs, spills, truck traffic, light pollution and earthquakes caused by the injection of millions of gallons of radioactive toxic waste – water that was once fresh, clean and potable. Turns out, no one – not even Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson – wants to live in an industrial
sacrifice development zone.
The Big Ban Theory
A lot of very talented people are working hard to make clean air, non-industrialized un-fragmented land, and protected public water supplies a reality. Luckily, Food and Water Watch keeps a list of their efforts. It’s grown to 407 measures passed in the U.S., and counting.
I’m With Rex Tillerson, Ban Fracking #ImWithRex via David Fischer
FWW also maintains a handy interactive map.
Plus, here’s yet another budding ban from Texas:
Denton, Colorado: Group seeks ban on fracking, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, Denton Record-Chronicle, February 18, 2014