Philly Green Party

Greens oppose fracking at Council Hearing

Posted in Ban Fracking, News on Mar 17, 2011

Greens oppose fracking at Council Hearing
By Ross Levin

On the evening of March 8, Green Party members joined other members of the community at a hearing in City Council Chambers on fracking in the Delaware River Basin. For more than two hours, citizens had the chance to voice their opinions on proposed fracking regulations from the Delaware River Basin Commission, even though the Commission had decided not to hold an official hearing in the largest city that will be affected by its decisions.

Many testified, including one representative of the Green Party, www.gpop.org, high school student Ross Levin. “We know what will happen if we allow this practice in the Delaware River Basin,” said Levin.  “Our water will be poisoned, ecosystems will be devastated, and people will get sick and die. To me, there is no acceptable level of death in the name of fossil fuels and money.”

Levin also reiterated the Green Party of Pennsylvania’s official views on fracking, “The Green Party of Pennsylvania endorses the following actions: halting drilling until every well complies with the Clean Water Act, a drilling moratorium on state lands, a ban on drilling that doesn’t strictly conform to a wastewater reclamation plan, and harsh penalties for violating these regulations. The Green Party is also currently working to obtain an outright ban on fracking.”

Fracking is a means to extract gas in which hundreds of toxic chemicals, including benzene and diesel fuel, are shot into the ground. There is overwhelming and grim evidence that these chemicals make their way into underground aquifers and permanently poison the source of our drinking water. The Green Party of Philadelphia, along with dozens of citizens who voiced their opinions at the hearing, firmly believes that the regulations on the practice proposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission are tragically inadequate and will lead to environmental and human catastrophes.

Several dozen other concerned citizens testified at the hearing which was sponsored by Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Penn Environment, Protecting our Waters, City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Sierra Club of Southeastern PA. More than 150 people attended the hearing.

“Risks are fine for gamblers,” said a resident of Mount Airy, but in this case “the risks are too high.” A scientist from West Philadelphia brought up the typhoid epidemic in 1700s Philadelphia, caused by unsanitary water, and urged us to learn from our past mistakes. One man asked why he wasn’t at City Hall testifying for ways to make our water cleaner instead of testifying against ways to make it toxic. Toward the end of the hearing, another man called natural gas “death on all fronts,” given its toxic extraction and major contribution to the global climate disaster.

Several themes occurred throughout the night in citizens’ testimony. An overwhelming majority called for either an extension of the current Delaware River Basin fracking moratorium until more is known about the practice, or a total ban on the practice. Many people also mentioned radioactivity and toxic substances in fracking wastewater that cannot be filtered out, a fact recently publicized by a New York Times investigation.

For more information about the Green Party, please telephone 215-243-7103 or email gpop@gpop.org. For more information on gas fracking, please visit the Green Party of Pennsylvania’s page on the issue at http://tinyurl.com/gpfrack

The author is a Green Party member and a senior at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School.

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