Anti-fracking protests storm DC
July 30, 2012
An estimated 5,000 people rallied at the Capitol and marched to the headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute on July 28 to protest hydraulic fracturing — a method of extracting natural gas from shale deposits that some people blame for polluting water and harming the health of people who live near the wells.
The process, dubbed “fracking,” involves drilling a thousand feet below the surface and an equal distance laterally to inject a soup of chemicals and water into the ground. The pressure fractures the shale and releases natural gas trapped inside.
Critics say that the process releases harmful chemicals into the air and known carcinogens into private wells and underground aquifers.
Most people at the rally were from New York and Pennsylvania, where gas companies have leased private and public land to drill along the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation, which extends south and west into Ohio and West Virginia. Much of the area in which drilling is permitted is in the Delaware River watershed.
That concerns the Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic River coalition and others, including residents of Hunterdon County river towns.
Among the protesters were members of the Frenchtown Green Team, Adrienne Crombie, Don Dalen and Bonnie Pariser and Frenchtown Mayor Warren Cooper.
“I went to D.C. to connect with other concerned citizens,” Crombie said after the event.
At first, Crombie said, “I took it for granted that natural gas was the way to go, that it would be useful to me and the environment.” Then she saw the movie “Gasland,” one of a series of documentary films on environmental issues shown by the Green Team. Now, she said, she’s “horrified” by the threats that hydraulic fracturing represents.
Crombie praised the head of the Pittsburgh City Council, who spoke at the rally. Pittsburgh is said to be the first major city in the country to ban the mining practice within its limits.
“That’s my ideal of how government needs to run,” Crombie said, making decisions “after receiving all the information, without leaning toward special interests.”
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