UPDATE [November 8, 2011]: On Sunday, November 6, Bill Schackner reported in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the Cal U Student Association had been quietly negotiating a mineral lease deal. Read the details in his article, Drilling on Campus: Marcellus Shale boom puts colleges at crossroads It’s the first of two parts. Here’s Part II: Corporate funding of Marcellus Shale studies at universities raises alarms by Reid R. Frazier and Olivia Garber.
On October 26, 2011, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed SB 367, by a vote of 47-2, which will allow the State System of Higher Education to lease the mineral rights of campus land for shale gas drilling. PA State Senators Jim Ferlo [D-38th District] and Mike Folmer [R-18th District] cast the dissenting votes. [Source: PASenate.com] State universities located above the Marcellus Shale are Bloomsburg, CALU, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven, Mansfield and Slippery Rock.
No matter how cash-strapped a school might be, it seems like an uneducated decision to expose college-aged students to toxic air pollution and potential carcinogenic water contamination, the kind which doggedly trails this highly controversial industry wherever it goes. According to a Pennsylvania Land Trust Association report, Marcellus Shale Drillers Amass 1,614 Violations Since 2008, a considerable 1,056 of the violations were deemed “most likely to endanger the environment and/or the safety of communities.” The report also includes a more sobering, lesser known stat: “During a 3-day enforcement blitz in June 2010, 699 traffic citations and 818 written warnings were issued to trucks hauling Marcellus Drilling wastewater.” Yikes!
I’m not the only one who thinks that allowing Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing on college campuses is a seriously bad idea. In a recent post, Fight Fracking at Pennsylvania State Schools and Prisons!, Alexander Lotorto gives readers good advice on what they can do to stop fracking in their communities and on college campuses. My favorite is Occupy Well Street which takes you right down to the front lines with Protesting 101, providing great information on how to start your own peaceful demonstration.
There are other, more civilly obedient courses of action, too. Citizen fractivism can range from clipboard brigades for Don’t Drill the Delaware Day (November 21, 2011) to hosting screenings of Gasland in your dorm. I’m glad to know, just the same, that while our legislators are busy passing gas, and fumbling the environmental football in the process, at least the 99% is out there getting it right.