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This is a link to a 3 minute Radio Roxanne Earth Day 2010 audio post… Please listen, and share it with others. Also below is information about actions to take outside. Given that this is Earth Day, and there are plenty of celebrations everywhere to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this, I’m strongly encouraging taking the sentiment to real world actions and sustaining protection of the earth beyond one day. There’s a forest out there who needs us! The text to my commentary is below…
Last month on the first day of spring, the same month in which Obama authorized the destructive offshore drilling-for-oil policy, I toured the Allegheny National Forest with the Allegheny Defense Project, a grassroots environmental protection group, working to save Allegheny National Forest. I gathered about 3 hours worth of audio, and this 3 minute piece is a commentary, based on the questions which arose for me during the tour. I have several other new segments I’m producing from that tour, and more coming down the pike in coming weeks and months.
The Allegheny Defense Project works by keeping a presence on the ground in the Allegheny National Forest, watching, recording, and reporting what they see being done to the forest by industry. This forest has been under unrelenting assault for at least the last 15 years and it’s being massively ramped up because of peak oil and because the industry and local, state and federal government have had longstanding plans to do Marcellus Shale so-called “natural gas” well drilling. This is happening at tremendous cost to the wilderness and the human communities near and in the forest. Here you can see the plans for the well drilling, and the catastrophic gridding being done for the drilling of oil and gas:
The Allegheny Defense Project needs help with their work to stop this destruction. You can get email updates about their events and projects every other week here. You can join them in their events such as the Camp-out and Clean-up, and their Backpacking trip, here.
Thanks for listening!
Questions from Allegheny National Forest
Obama’s offshore drilling plan reminds me of Marcellus Shale and shallow oil and gas drilling in public lands of The Allegheny National Forest; impacts of which raise substantial questions about who gains and loses in a drilling-for-energy policy; questions about being human. Nearly fifty years ago, Rachel Carson warned of tragedy driven by industrialism and technology. The first day of spring last month, I toured the well-drilled silencing of that forest with the Allegheny Defense Project…
We saw some of 2,500 miles of mud roads drillers like Pennsylvania Gas and Energy and National Fuel Gas trenched into the shattered forest-such fragmentation one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss; all sides of this rutted slop-huge contributor to sedimentation and acidification of freshwater streams and creeks-trees ripped from their bases, roots exposed; plans for 15 acre deep well sites every 500 feet; some of 1,000’s of giant baseball diamond sized drilling and fracking pits, lined with black plastic. When they’re done, the plastic folded over the contaminated fluid and buried.
If the United States’ Forest Service is not managing wildlife habitat, protecting water-tables, WHO are they serving? Why don’t they know how many abandoned wells there are? Why did the Court grant an injunction, allowing PG&E to disregard the 2008 lawsuit settlement, which would have protected the forest, and the public’s right to comment? Why does the EPA need yet another study about hydro-fracking, when the dangers have been demonstrated in states like Texas and Wyoming? Where are the Pennsylvania Governor and Legislatures’ spines STOPPING the destruction? How justify no requirement for public notice for extractions? How does the public defend their lives in light of this?
Returning home, I shared the drilling disaster tour with a friend who said, “Drilling for energy is like burning your house to stay warm for one winter.” Envisioning far beyond one winter, anticipating chemical threats posed to generations beyond DDT in 1962, Rachel Carson said we are “…[S]ubjecting whole populations to exposure to chemicals…proven to be extremely poisonous and cumulative, beginning at or before birth and…will continue through the lifetime of those now living.”
The tour ended at a creek sprayed gray with Marcellus drilling fines, suffocating any chance for aquatic life. This heartbreaking filth raised questions about being human on this planet. Are we prepared to pay the price of drinking oil- and chemical- infused water, for the benefit of the energy industries? Will we wait for more skin irritations, respiratory problems, destruction of food sources and wilderness fragmentation? Or will we stop this criminal profiteering from theft and poisoning of freshwater?
Terry Tempest Williams writes that as human beings, a sense of beauty and place is not optional, but is survival strategy. This includes defending and protecting the only place we have to live, demanding the governor and legislators immediately halt all natural-gas exploitation, thoroughly investigating through public hearing, insisting the industry reveal what’s in the toxic chemical fracking-injections, and requiring respect for lands and waters necessary for survival.