CAMPAIGN FOR CLEAN WATER PENNSYLVANIA
June 7, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Myron Arnowitt, Clean Water Action 412-592-1283
Jeff Schmidt, Sierra Club 717-232-0101
Adam Garber, PennEnvironment 973-986-8992
Hundreds at Capitol Rally for Action on Marcellus Drilling
Largest Rally in
Calls for Drilling Moratorium and Environmental Protections Harrisburg
) – Hundreds of Harrisburg residents rallied at the State Capitol today protesting the state legislature’s inaction on Marcellus Shale drilling. The coalition of groups holding the rally called it the largest that Pennsylvania has seen to date protesting Marcellus Shale gas drilling. Harrisburg
The coalition called for:
1. A moratorium on further drilling in
until a full cumulative impact analysis on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale is conducted. Pennsylvania
2. Improved protections from gas drilling for drinking water supplies and rivers.
3. Ensuring that gas drillers pay their fair share in taxes, and utilizing these funds to restore cuts to the DEP budget.
4. Require full disclosure by gas drillers of all chemicals used.
5. Maintain the moratorium on further leasing of
land for gas drilling. State Forest
Groups sponsoring the rally and lobby day included: PA Campaign for Clean Water, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, PennEnvironment, Gas Truth of Central PA, League of Women Voters of PA, Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia, Marcellus Protest, EARTHWORKS Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Green Party of Philadelphia, Mountain Watershed Association, Responsible Drilling Alliance.
Crystal Stroud, a resident of
Towanda, PA, in , described her health problems caused by drinking water contaminated with barium and other toxins from nearby gas drilling. “No one is receiving help from our DEP, local, state or federal governments. Our family has become collateral damage! We are just 1 of the 33% failure rate of these gas companies. The failure to keep the residents of Bradford County ’s wells contaminant free,” she stated. Bradford County
Other speakers at the rally included Josh Fox, the creator of the film documentary, GASLAND, and Craig Saunter, a resident of
, where considerable water contamination from drilling has occurred. Also speaking was Jonathan Jeffers, a former worker in Dimock, PA for Bronco Drilling, who described the neglect he saw for health, safety, and the environment while working on gas drilling jobs. Pennsylvania
Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director for Clean Water Action, stated, “Drilling has been going on for nearly four years now, but still our state legislature has taken no action to protect residents from harm. Legislators should take note that the crowds in the Capitol calling for action keep getting bigger.” In addition to attending the rally, protesters made over 160 appointments with state representatives and senators, covering almost every corner of the state.
Several legislators attended the rally, many of whom have introduced legislation on the issue. Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) stated, “We are the only state that doesn
't tax them. 70% of Pennsylvanians understand this and want a tax. Last year and half alone, drillers racked up over 1500 violations. A severance tax will hold the industry accountable and ensure that the people of are not left footing the bill.” Pennsylvania
"The people of
are alarmed at the growing list of pollution incidents at gas drilling sites across the state," said Jeff Schmidt, Director of the Pennsylvania Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter. "They are here today because they know that Pennsylvania 's gas drilling law and regulations don 't provide enough protection for our health or the environment. We don 't need an industry-dominated Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, whose roll has been to stall the needed reforms. We call on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to immediately enact amendments to our antiquated OIl and Gas Act legislation, such as HB 971, to protect our communities," he concluded.
“Every day, the gas industry succeeds in making its voice heard, trying to convince us and our decision-makers that Marcellus Shale drilling isn’t the biggest public health and environmental threat to hit Pennsylvania in a generation,” said Erika Staaf with PennEnvironment. “Yet poll after poll tells us that the majority of Pennsylvanians want industry to pay its fair share in taxes and want clean air and clean water. We’re here to make our voices heard and tell our leaders exactly that.”
“The elected officials of
Pennsylvania need to listen to the people who live and work here -- we need protection from the gas industry’s out of control violations through a statewide drilling permit moratorium,” said Tracy Carluccio, Riverkeeper Network. Deputy Director, Delaware
"Elected officials heard loudly and clearly today that they have a duty to protect communities from the rush to drill," said Nadia Steinzor, Marcellus Regional Organizer for Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project. "Citizens are simply asking for health and the environment to be given priority over industry profit."
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