Tag Archives: hydraulic fracturing

Fracking is Back on Maryland’s Table and State Government Means Business

Claire at fracking rally

It was a relief when the fracking moratorium passed in Maryland last legislative session. It gave those of us fighting to stop fracking a chance to take a breath. Turns out it’s not much of a break. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is following state government orders to finalize regulations for fracking in Maryland by October 1, 2016. Once approved, these regulations will become law when the moratorium lifts in October 2017, and we’ve got a governor that is eager to get going on fracking. The only way to stop fracking from coming to Maryland will be to pass a new law this legislative session banning it. No easy task and one that must be accomplished.

I testified at the MDE public comment meeting last night on the proposed regulations and am posting my testimony addressed to MDE, hoping to generate interest in this profoundly serious issue. Once Maryland is opened to fracking, it will be near impossible to turn back.

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Facts. Facts are interesting, because there’s a personal filter involved in perceiving and accepting facts. People pick and choose which facts to believe are facts. Even when facts are scientifically validated, people choose whether or not to believe these facts are scientifically valid. Tonight citizens will present proven facts that support the unmistakable reality that fracking will put our citizens, our state, and our climate in serious jeopardy. Since the Maryland moratorium on fracking, more scientific studies have confirmed that fracking contaminates water and air. Which facts will our state government choose to believe and act on?

As a mother, grandmother, and environmental educator, I have spent years in Maryland presenting facts about slickwater high-volume hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. Facts validated by scientific studies. Facts born from undeniable experiences of people on the front lines of fracking. People whose water has been contaminated, who have lost the value of their homes because no one wants to buy a house that no longer has safe water; because no one wants to buy a house where it is questionable to breathe the air. Farmers whose livestock has been poisoned by fracking runoff or given birth to profound, shocking deformities. Mothers, fathers, seniors, children who have experienced rashes that cover their body, ringing in their ears, nosebleeds, debilitating headaches, loss of smell, loss of taste, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, neuropathy and cancer. All because they have been exposed to toxic chemicals from fracking in their water and air. Yet public officials making decisions about fracking still, despite mounting evidence, consider their stories anecdotal.

Here are more facts to choose from:

Fracking takes massive quantities of fresh water permanently out of our finite fresh water supply, contaminating it forever.

Fracking fluid contains highly toxic chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, developmental toxicants; chemicals that harm the brain and nervous system.

Approximately 30% of fracking fluid injected into wells comes back up as wastewater. Most of the wastewater is blasted back into the earth for disposal, which is causing earthquakes. The remaining wastewater rests in the shale in casings that, as stated in the gas industry’s own documents, will ultimately deteriorate, making highly likely the contamination of pristine aquifers.

The wastewater also carries with it added toxins that have been quietly resting in the shale for 370 million years. These include arsenic, lead, uranium and radium 226. We are talking about radioactive waste.

Dangerous levels of methane leak from the fracking process, from well sites, storage tanks and countless pipelines. We have just passed the hottest year on record on this planet. We know that methane is horrific in its contribution to global warming.

Opening up Maryland to fracking is opening up Pandora’s Box. All the safety regulations in the world cannot protect the water and the air that will always be in jeopardy in the production and distribution of fracked gas. It is inevitable that underground cement casings will leak. That contractors will illegally dump wastewater into streams. That blow outs will happen at well sites. That trucks carrying lethal fracking fluid and wastewater will get into accidents on roads not meant for such extreme industrial traffic. These are facts. Does it happen every time? Of course, not. Does it happen? Absolutely!

Knowing that Western Maryland will be the first place to be fracked in our state, who will our government listen to? Will they listen to concerned citizens and the tourism industry that relies on clean water and air and untouched beauty to bring people to this treasured part of our state? Or will our government choose to gamble? Because that is what it is. Gambling. Gambling with lives, finite fresh water and pristine land. Fracking is safe until it isn’t. And once water is contaminated, there is little anyone can do.

Don’t gamble. With all due respect I have to say you will live to regret it. You will come to a place in your heart where you will realize you chose the wrong facts to back your decisions. The facts are already out there that fracking cannot be done safely. Please take the road that honors our children and future generations. Support green ways to fuel our state and boost our economy. It is the only road to take into the future. It is the only road that gives us a chance to have a future. Please ban fracking in Maryland.

Josh Fox on Terry Greenwood

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Terry Greenwood is a humble hero.  Josh Fox, the director of the oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, knew Terry well.  Terry died a couple of weeks ago of brain cancer.  He knew that fracking poisoned and killed his cows, yet elected officials, the PA Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA wouldn’t listen to him.

Josh’s words and video honoring Terry Greenwood capture him so eloquently, I wanted to pass them along.  I hope you can find time to read the post and watch the video – a few poignant outtakes from Gasland.  Terry was an example of wisdom, light and integrity in the face of greed, lies and profound adversity.

Thank you, Terry.  RIP.

Here’s Josh’s post:

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Fracking Falls Short of “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself”

Cove Point

Cove Point LNG export terminal. Coming soon to a Chesapeake Bay near you?

In my constant state of vocation evolution, I now find myself focused on getting into places of faith to talk about fracking*, the new, unconventional natural gas extraction process I’ve been obsessed with over the past few years.  I’m knocking on the doors of places of faith because the moral consequences of fracking are up in my face, screaming at me to let it be known that fracking is not the way to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

There has been an impressive, growing effort in religious communities to become more actively engaged in energy efficiency, thanks in large part to Interfaith Power and Light. So fracking seemed to me a reasonable extension of this engagement.  Turns out, a fracking presentation is a harder sell than I had hoped.  Taking a look at how natural gas is extracted isn’t a priority, and I get that.  There are so many social causes that call out for help; fracking seems a more abstract and less pertinent one.  But I beg to differ.

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And We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

This garden we are graced to live in, this magical spinning planet we call home, was designed for abundance, designed to provide us with food, clothing and shelter, and, beyond that, beauty and magic. This garden was not designed to withstand the amount of carbon dioxide and methane we are putting into the atmosphere from fossil fuels; the pesticides we are putting into our water, soil and food; the destruction of our trees and oceans meant to clean our air and create oxygen.

We have forgotten where we live. We have forgotten that being alive is not something we are guaranteed.

We are forgetting our moral obligation to our children and future generations.

Claire and berries

Video

Calling All Angels for Renewable Energy

As spring begins, I am keenly aware of the urgency the renewable energy movement is facing. Fracking is moving at lightening speed across the country and the world, poisoning water, air and, of course, people. Elected officials in Congress are doing their best to get the Keystone XL pipeline passed, even as tar sands spills continue to rear their ugly head.

The fossil fuel industry has the deepest pockets on the planet, and at times it feels as if we can’t beat them in this fight for a viable future. Yet, we continue to grow as a movement in numbers and strength. The coordination between people, towns, cities, states and organizations is impressive and essential to our capacity to impact the shift to renewable energy.

This video was made to inspire all those giving so much of their energy and time to this dire cause. After all, there is no Planet B. Just us and the choice to create a safe and viable future. I say, in the end, our passion will tip the scales away from dirty energy toward renewables. Let’s keep it up!

Calling All “Moms-In-Chief”: The Mothers Project and the Fight to End Fracking

I wasn’t able to listen to the First Lady’s speech the night she delivered it at the Democratic National Convention.  My 8-year-old daughter Claire is a night owl who loves to be read to sleep, so we lay in bed together reading Katie Kazoo Switcheroo as Michelle Obama spoke from her heart about the man she married and the country she so loves.

The next day I watched the speech on YouTube.  Toward the end, Michelle spoke about who she was first and foremost amidst the many roles in her life.  It was the only noticeable moment where tears filled her eyes.

“And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady and not just as a wife. You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.”

As I listened to her, my eyes filled with tears, knowing that I, too, am first and foremost a mom-in-chief to a daughter I love more than words could ever convey.  I was moved to tears by that extraordinary love and a future my daughter and all children will be inheriting – a future that I’m not feeling very good about.

Granted the future has always and will always carry with it burdens and responsibilities that the next generation must take on when they have grown.  But when it comes to poisoning water and air, the adults in this world right now have a responsibility to stop that poisoning.  And right now fracking is at the top of the culprit list.

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Josh Fox Explains How Fracking is Consuming Our America

At the Frack Attack rally, I caught Josh Fox talking on the sidelines.  I am always in awe of his capacity to communicate.  He is articulate, accessible, compelling, funny, genuine and spot on.  The anti-fracking movement is so fortunate to have him as an international spokesperson, though his film Gasland is clearly one of the main reasons the movement exists.

In this clip, he explains how our country is literally getting eaten up by our addiction to fossil fuels.  I’ve known this for a while now, but as he was explaining it, it hit me differently, perhaps because I was at the rally in the front of the Capitol with people from all over this country that have been personally affected by fracking in horrendous ways.  Whatever the reason, I could literally see our country getting eaten up, and it fueled my fire to continue fighting to extinguish the madness.

Clean energy is our only chance for a viable future.  Our only chance.

Is Cheap Natural Gas Worth Poisoning Children?

Is cheap natural gas worth poisoning children?  It’s a question we all need to answer truthfully.  Especially when it comes from the mouths of children themselves.

I met Devon Haas at the Stop the Frack Attack rally in Washington, DC.  She is a beautiful eight-year-old-girl who was out in the blazing heat with her sign, fully present to do her part to stop the insanity of fracking.  She lives in Pennsylvania, where fracking is taking over at lightening speed.   Accidents and spills abound, contaminating water and air.  The gas industry will not own the contamination they are causing, but they do own the governor and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Devon makes clear the obligation we have as a society to stop the destruction of the planet and get serious about renewable energy.  How can we do otherwise? How can we not do our part to make sure the water she drinks and the air she breathes are safe?  We are the caretakers of their future, and the future is now.

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Devon is currently involved in Kids of the Gulf, a documentary film in progress that features two kids – Devon and Devin – who are determined to have a positive impact in the Gulf coast region in the aftermath of the BP oil spill by telling the stories of the children affected by the spill.  She is also the founder of Kids Army Worldwide
, which connects tens of thousands of kids around the world together for environmental and social justice issues that matter most to kids today.

The Sky is Pink: The Truth about Fracking

Josh Fox’s “The Sky Is Pink” is a brilliant, concise and startling short documentary on the truth about fracking and the fate New York awaits.  It is worth 18 minutes of your time. Fracking is NOT safe.  It’s as simple as that.  See for yourself.

Stop the Frack Attack!

Hydraulic fracturing a.k.a. fracking is the current form of natural gas extraction that is sweeping the nation and the globe.  It’s beyond toxic, poisoning people, ecosystems, our precious water supply and the air we breathe. Yet the gas industry has all the money it takes to drill away, passing on drilling’s heaviest costs to landowners, local communities and future generations. There are even legal gag orders on doctors in Pennsylvania and Ohio that prevent them from revealing to patients the specific chemicals showing up in their bodies as a result of fracking.  Enough is enough!

The Stop the Frack Attack rally and march in DC is happening on Saturday, July 28th, 2012.  It will be bursting with good people who want a safe and promising future for all.  Let your voices be heard over the sound of the mighty dollar that has bought our elected officials.  All rally details can be found at stopthefrackattack.org.

Here’s Barbie’s latest anti-frack rap, “Hit the Road, Frack.”  She’s had it, too…