Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Groups Demand Wolf Shutdown Pipeline Task Force, Enact Fracking Ban

Citing harm to their states and communities, representatives of 115 organizations delivered a letter to Gov. Wolf at his DEP Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force on Wednesday demanding that the Task Force of industry representatives be shut down, and that Gov. Wolf enact a statewide moratorium on fracking and help Pennsylvania residents harmed by fracking.
[Editor’s Note: DEP’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force is not “industry representatives.”  It contains a mix of members.  Click Here for the membership list.]
The letter from Northeast and Mid-Atlantic based organizations, including groups from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, brought attention to the regional harm that fracking infrastructure stemming from Pennsylvania-fracked gas is inflicting on their states and communities and called for aid for Pennsylvania residents whose health and safety has been threatened by in-state drilling.
The letter states, “Our homes, neighborhoods, water, air, land, precious environment and the health and safety of our families are threatened by each new shale gas well drilled and fracked, each new mile of pipeline or pipeline expansion, each new compressor station, natural gas power plant, storage facility, LNG facility, or processing facility currently being proposed and built throughout the East Coast. Drilling and fracking operations in Pennsylvania and throughout the Marcellus Shale are driving that build-out of gas infrastructure.”
The letter goes on to outline the impact fracking and related infrastructure has already had on communities region-wide, stating, “Supporting ongoing and increased shale gas extraction and all of its infrastructure puts the needs of the industry over the needs of the people. People have lost their homes and loved ones to natural gas explosions; have lost their own health to the damage brought by drilling and fracking; have lost the clean water, air, forests and lands they need to live healthy lives; have lost value in their properties to such a degree that they have no option but to stay and suffer; and whose quality of life is all but gone.”
Groups delivered the letter to the Governor during public comment at the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  
Reverend Sandra Strauss, Director of Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, said, “We haven’t seen convincing evidence that the work of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force is fully taking into account environmental, health, welfare, and transparency concerns we have voiced on behalf of the Commonwealth’s people and environment. In light of these concerns, and as Christians striving to live out the Genesis call to “till and keep” creation, we find the potential vast expansion of natural gas pipelines troubling.”
Lena Smith, Mid-Atlantic regional organizer for Food & Water Watch, said, "There are currently 11 proposals for fracked gas pipelines to cut through New Jersey in close proximity to rivers, streams, aquifer, and within 100 feet of people’s homes and livelihoods. Governor Wolf, instead of disregarding the concerns of these communities and the residents throughout the region, you should terminate the Pipeline infrastructure task force and to enact a moratorium on fracking in Pennsylvania.”
Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said, “Pipelines, compressors, LNG proposals and fracked gas process plants sparked by drilling and fracking operations in Pennsylvania are devastating communities.  They are cutting scars across our landscapes and through the places we call home; they are harming the environment needed to support present and future generations, destroying the quality of our lives, harming local economies, and preventing the government from committing to the clean energy present and future we need. We have come together on behalf of a growing collective from across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to draw the line in the sand, to stand together and say no — no fracked gas and no fracked gas infrastructure, Governor please join us in our commitment to clean and renewable energy now."
Julia Walsh, Campaign Director of Frack Action from New York, said, “New Yorkers looked over the border to Pennsylvania to see first-hand why we didn’t want fracking in our beautiful state and our Governor rightly banned it. New Yorkers are now fighting fracked gas pipelines and infrastructure from carrying the same fracked gas that is contaminating and harming our friends and neighbors in PA through our state. Our message to Gov. Wolf is to recognize how harmful fracking is to the public health and safety of Pennsylvanians as well as the entire Northeast region with fracking infrastructure and to shut down the PA Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force.”
Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth, said "Another decade of pipeline proliferation, thousands of new miles of pipeline in Pennsylvania alone, that's the plan DEP Secretary Quigley described at the first meeting of the Wolf administration's Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force. As infrastructure here spawns projects beyond our borders, the problem of gas drilling metastasizes and that's something communities across the region won't tolerate."
Arianne Elinich, member of Bucks County Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline, said, "Pennsylvania is not a fracking sacrifice zone. To continue to compromise the health and welfare of the residents of Pennsylvania by allowing our state to be crisscrossed with yet more natural gas infrastructure, is not only fossil foolishness, it's fiscally irresponsible. The majority of this extracted gas is intended for export, and all at the priceless expense of poisoned aquifers, decimated landscapes and the very health of our state and its citizens. As water sustains life, a moratorium is the only ethical option for anyone who values life"
Ten-year-old Earth Guardian Kaia Elinich said, "Fracking and pipelines cause harm to our water, our forests, our animals, our crops and even our health. Why frack our limited resources when we could be using renewable resources such as solar or wind, instead of burying dangerous gas pipelines in the ground?"

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