This week begins the Stop the Frack Attack tour “Cautionary Tales from Fracked Communities”. The tour’s theme features community folks from around the country who share a common story. For each of them, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began an investigation in to the gas industry’s contamination of their water supply, only to later see the agency retreat leaving the people without a clean source of drinking water.
- Ray Kemble hails from Dimock, Pennsylvania. You’ll notice him usually wearing a biker jacket and carrying around a milk jug of his contaminated water courtesy of Cabot Oil and Gas.
- Craig Stevens from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania has his own jug. Craig reminds us that contamination is non-partisan. A sixth generation landowner and founder of Marcellus Patriots for Land Rights, Craig proudly flashes his CPAC badge and his Tea Party credentials.
- John Fenton is bona fide cowboy. From Pavillion, Wyoming, Fenton chairs Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens, an organization committed to protecting water supplies in one of the country’s places hardest hit from oil and gas development.
- Steve Lipsky will fly in from Parker County, Texas. Steve can light his water on fire. He has since lit a metaphorical fire underneath Range Resources for contaminating his well.
The first stop began last night in Annapolis, Maryland. Each destination involves a place where fracking has not yet occurred, but the specter of oil and gas drilling hangs ominously over decision makers. Annapolis legislators may have their last chance during this 90-day legislative session to create a pause before state agencies could begin issuing permits.
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, film maker Josh Fox will join us as we take the tour to Washington DC to meet and brief Hill staff. Sharing personal stories of the real everyday impacts of living near active oil and gas development will provide a stirring reminder to our elected officials that our “all of the above” energy strategy has its consequences. It will also remind them that sometimes legislators in Washington DC are the last to know.
The real push away from dirty fossil fuels toward renewable forms of energy comes from the people closest to where drilling occurs. This tour will allow their stories to build on a growing opposition to fracking from a perspective of folks who watch how each municipality and state wrestles with these issues. The trend so far is that the over riding concern to protect public health and the environment percolates upwards from the grassroots. In March, we will visit California and North Carolina. See you on the road.