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Over 5,000 people traveled from all over the country this past Saturday July 28th to be part of a rally and powerful voice against fracking on the West lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Their goal: to end dirty and dangerous fracking; closure of the seven legal loopholes that let frackers in the oil and gas industry ignore the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act; and full enforcement of existing laws to protect families and communities from the effects of fracking. Not unreasonable demands given that hydro fracturing for gas or “Fracking” has already destroyed people’s land, water, air, property and health. Asking congress to stop this destructive practice is a no brainer but then some in congress don’t act on intellect but only focused on greed and/or how they can get reelected.
Congress has the power to stop the fracking of our country and the destruction of the American Dream for so many people. The fracking industry, astonishingly, doesn’t even have to adhere to the laws that other industries are held to like the safe drinking water act — a critical law — because when there is no safe water people die.
If you were at the rally you would have experienced people’s feelings of fear and frustration among many who were gathered to speak to the issue and talk with congressional representatives. So many of the participants expressed how they have experienced or fear their lives being destroyed, their families left helpless and frustrated because they cannot stop the frackers. “Our land has been in our family for generations and now it’s poisoned, polluted and unusable. We received no benefits, no money from the frackers and today we have nothing but poisoned land not fit for livestock or crops. This is so wrong,” said a grassroots farmer from Pennsylvania.
“I support any legislation that we can get passed that will cost the companies money,” said another activist who attended the demonstration. “I don’t think that there can be a safe form of fracking.”
If you were at the rally you would have also been swept up in the enthusiasm, energy and sense of power people felt. Together we are strong . . . together we can make a difference, said many of the participants. There were all kinds of people there, young, old, farmers, businessmen and women, rich, poor, black, white, brown a reflection of the diverse American populace.
Rally speakers included, Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; Josh Fox, producer of Gasland; Calvin Tillman, former mayor of Dish, Texas; Allison Chin, board president of the Sierra Club, and community members from swing states affected by fracking. After the rally people marched for more than one hour, stopping at the headquarters of the America’s Natural Gas Alliance and American Petroleum Institute.
“As the increasingly bizarre weather across the planet and melting ice on Greenland makes clear, at this point we’ve got no choice but to keep fossil fuels underground. Fracking to find more is the worst possible idea,” said McKibben.
This was an impressive rally with grassroots people impacted by fracking in their communities joined together with 136 local and national organizations to call on Congress to Stop the Frack Attack and protect Americans from the dangerous impacts of fracking. CHEJ was proud to play a small role in the event.