April 09, 2014

Call Congress

From Americans Against Fracking:
On April 10th and 11th, hundreds of concerned Americans are calling their Senators to tell them to protect U.S. communities and oppose fracked gas exports.
Call your Senator at 202-609-9041
Tell Congress: "As a constituent, I want my Senator to oppose S. 2083 and all efforts to export gas abroad. We should put U.S. communities over oil and gas profits."
Please SHARE and INVITE your friends to join this Facebook event and make sure that they call their Senators on April 10th and 11th

The oil and gas industry and some in Congress are using escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia to push President Obama to dramatically expedite the approval of U.S. exports of natural gas. But exporting gas abroad means:

-More fracking in the U.S., putting our drinking water, air, climate and health further at risk
-Higher gas prices here at home, reversing industry claims that fracking creates energy independence
-Bigger oil and gas industry profits as they sell gas to the highest abroad - most likely Asia, not the Ukraine.

Instead, Congress should work to transition the U.S. off fossil fuels through proven clean energy solutions.

April 08, 2014

The Bomb Trains

While the controversy rolls on over oil/gas drilling, storage, pipelines and exports, one thing has already happened that is affecting our NYS region right now :  the massive increase of rail tankers rolling across NYS from the Bakken oil fields in ND.   You are not hearing about the derailments and other railroad problems in the mass media but they are happening.  NYS needs to address crude oil transport!

I invite you to visit Riverkeeper.org and learn about the immediate risks we are already facing.  From the Riverkeeper webpage - a call to action:
"Support Riverkeeper’s call for a moratorium on crude oil transportation through New York State by calling on Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to (1) ban, with an emergency order, the use of DOT-111 cars for transporting crude oil, (2) implement NTSB safety recommendations on crude oil transport, and (3) immediately open a public process for developing new rules and regulations governing oil transportation."

On a personal note, I live within walking distance from the CSX rail line and am experiencing the rapid increase in crude oil transport trains as real events ~ daily.  One afternoon while waiting at a crossing around the corner from my house, I counted 98 cars streaming by!  When I sleep at night I no longer feel comfort when I hear train whistles. Instead I sleepily think: is that another "black trainload"?  Are we safe?

Please visit the Riverkeeper page and take a moment to send your own letter/comments to Transportation Secretary Foxx.  Then share this information with others!  Especially your friends and family who live near the CSX line!

NYS Department of Transportation

April 04, 2014

Clear the Fog

There is an excellent article on Huffington Post's Green Blog that is a must read:
Mark Ruffalo and Wenonah Huater make the case clearly and simple to understand:  the current push by big oil and gas to increase production and exports of LNG is not a scenario about national security nor energy independence, it is a push for corporate profit.  Manipulating our government's legislative bodies by using world events as a scare tactic and corporate money influence is currently in full play.  It is urgent to speak up to your representatives and say ... no more!  

See the Petitions Page for a link to MoveOn.org call for action.

March 27, 2014

Support Vera Scroggins

Many of you know who Vera Scroggins is. She's the steadfast woman who has been leading the fight against fracking and its aftermath in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Many of us have taken her tour of the area, seen the gas drilling pads and cut-throughs for pipelines and poisoned wells and endless semi rigs and toxic brine ponds that now define that part of rural Pennsylvania.
Last October Cabot Oil and Gas took Vera to court, claiming that she was interfering with its work. True? Not hardly. All Vera had been doing was recording Cabot's activities, with over 500 short videos now posted on YouTube. And taking people on tours so they could see and hear for themselves what life is like in Frack Country.

But the judge was sympathetic to Big Energy. He granted Cabot's wishes, issuing an injunction that forbade Vera to come within 150 feet of any land where Cabot held a lease. This amounted to 40 percent of the area where she lived, including many of her friends' houses, her local supermarket, her library, and her hospital.

Now Vera is back in court -- this time with lawyers from the ACLU and Public Citizen. And she needs our help. Lawyers -- even pro bono ones -- cost money. This is our opportunity to give back to Vera, who has been waging this long struggle and bringing it to the light of day. Please go the Donate page that Public Citizen has set up and contribute what you can to Vera's cause: https://secure.citizen.org/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9417

And help spread the word by sharing this. Vera's cause is our cause: if they can take away her First Amendment right to bear witness, they can do it to all of us, in all our struggles.

For more see:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/24/us-usa-pennsylvania-fracking-idUSBREA2N05H20140324 — with Vera Scroggins.


March 22, 2014

Support Marcellus Shale Earth First Legal Fund

Five people protesting natural gas drilling were arrested March 20 in Lycoming County. Authorities said the protest stopped drilling at a state forest for about six hours.   The protestors are from a group called Marcellus Shale Earth First.  Read More

What is happening was made very clear a couple of years ago:  the movement to stop HVHF and it's destruction and pollution of our Earth will not stop.  If politicians and governments continue to ignore the citizens of our communities whilst taking in millions of dollars from corporate interest groups, the stakes will continue to rise.

It does not have to be that way.  Our pathway forward with a green, energy sustainable future is not a dream.  Science and technology will lead the way with investment for research and development.  Everyone can win.  Corporate greed and corruption must become a practice of the past.

January 17, 2014

Support the Frac Pack Bills

Have you heard about The Frac Pack bills?   Recently I wrote to my representative, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, to state my support for these bills.  She is a strong supporter of the Frac Pack and replied with a good summary of what each bill means.

Here is the letter from Congresswoman Slaughter:

"You will be pleased to know that I am a co-sponsor of several of the so-called “Frack Pack” bills mentioned in your letter, including: H.R. 1921, the FRAC Act, H.R. 1154, the BREATHE Act, H.R.1175, the FRESHER Act, and H.R. 2825, the CLEANER Act. As a member of Congress, public health and safety will always be my number one priority. These bills will help regulate the oil and gas industry and hold them to the standards already in place for other industries. 
As you know, The FRAC Act would repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, an exemption given to the oil and gas industry in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The legislation would also require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with states to regulate hydraulic fracturing so these operations adhere to the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  
The BREATHE Act would reverse the exemption of oil and gas exploration and production activities from the Clean Air Act’s aggregation requirement. The bill would also require the EPA to add hydrogen sulfide to the federal list of hazardous air pollutants, as well as list major sources of this pollutant, including oil and gas wells. 
The FRESHER Act would close loopholes in the Clean Water Act which created exemptions for growing oil and gas industries by creating permitting requirements for industrial stormwater runoff that is related to oil and gas exploration and production. It would also create a study to better understand the effect of storm water runoff from oil and gas operations. 
Finally, the CLEANER Act would eliminate the exemption of oil and natural gas under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which subject industries that produce hazardous waste to strict regulations, which govern how this waste must be disposed. These specific exemptions are the result of a 1980 amendment passed during an oil crisis amidst fears of harming a fragile oil industry. This amendment is now out of date and unnecessary. 
Rest assured that I will closely monitor the progress of these important bills and will keep our shared views in mind should Congress take further action." 

January 14, 2014

How $ Deep $ Do $$$ Go?

As an activist for several years now in the struggle to keep our state free from mass industrialization for oil/gas production and distribution, one point has become clear: this movement has evolved from a single issue path to a broad movement to take back our government and way of life.  The depth of political influence and corruption in our state and America in general has never been exposed as much as it is in 2014.  To make a claim "oh, they're all corrupt" was a common cry among citizens.  Now, however, we are beginning to understand the depths of what political money influence means in our democracy.  I think the fight over high volume hydraulic fracturing has helped to break the silent reaper!

It is important to keep focus on one's cause and at the same time understand how that cause is directly connected to the larger issues of the day. 
Campaign Contributions and Lobbying by Fracking Interests to Influence Public Policy - See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6721533#sthash.qPOKH5gN.dpuf

Report - Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Expenditures by Fracking Interests to Influence Public Policy - (January 2014) - See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6721533#sthash.qPOKH5gN.dpuf
An excellent article by Chip Northrup on No Fracking Way introduces and summarizes the newly published report by Common Cause.org  which is a must read

The website provides an abundance of reference links as well to further understand the depth of this political influence.

Can one really fathom the reality of 64 Million Dollars worth of political money just from one circle of industry in one state?  I know I cannot.  Yet, I remain empowered because "despite being outspent by nearly 9 to 1, organized people have managed to overcome the advantage of organized money to make their voices heard.".    Check out Chip's article.

Call to action:  If you find your representative listed as receiving significant contributions, send him/her a letter asking:  Where does your allegiance lie? 
Report - Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Expenditures by Fracking Interests to Influence Public Policy - (January 2014) - See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6721533#sthash.qPOKH5gN.dpuf
Report - Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Expenditures by Fracking Interests to Influence Public Policy - (January 2014) - See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6721533#sthash.qPOKH5gN.dpuf