Quantcast

Community College Faculty Says No to Fracking, Yes to Clean Energy

Climate

Community College of Philadelphia Coalition for a Sustainable Future

In a standing-room-only meeting on Dec. 4, the governing body of the Community College of Philadelphia’s (CPP) faculty and staff union denounced the college’s ties to the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). MSC is the primary fracking industry lobbying group in Pennsylvania.

By an overwhelming margin, the Representative Council of the Faculty and Staff Federation of CCP (FSFCCP) passed a resolution calling on the college “to sever all ties to the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the gas fracking industry” and urged the CPP instead “to expand its initiatives and offerings in clean, green energy and environmental career fields.”

The action is in response to a partnership with the fracking industry the college administration revealed at the Nov. 15 opening of its "Energy Training Center.” The college’s announcement took everyone by surprise, as faculty had not been notified beforehand. The Marcellus Shale Coalition donated $15,000 to the College, ostensibly for student scholarships.

“CCP must not be used as a PR puppet of front groups for shale gas fracking companies,” said John Braxton, a professor of biology and co-president of CCP’s union.

The faculty recognize that hydraulic fracturing presents unacceptable risks to people and the environment. Because oil and gas corporations were made exempt from many environmental regulations in the Energy Act of 2005, they operate with near impunity even while causing grave human health and environmental harms.

“We’ve seen this playbook before,” added Margaret Stephens, a professor of environmental conservation and geography, “such as when the tobacco industry bought its way into colleges’, universities’ and doctors’ offices. It took decades, and countless human illnesses and deaths, before their foul play was brought to light. We cannot afford to make such mistakes again.”

“We know that methane being fracked from shale is a potent greenhouse gas,” said Megan Fuller, a professor of chemistry and co-chair of CCP’s Faculty Council on Education. “Its emission in the life cycle of fracking worsens global warming and threatens the habitability of the planet. Why do we ignore the long-term dangers in exchange for short-term benefits? We know better, and we should do better.”

Industry claims shale gas is a “domestic” energy source, but it is destined for export to countries where it fetches a higher price. Better domestic energy sources are renewable solar and wind, and job prospects for professionals in those fields will only continue to grow.

CCP faculty and staff clearly recognize the need for rewarding, good-wage jobs for Philadelphians in sustainable industries.

“We have an ethical obligation to provide life-sustaining job opportunities to our students. We stand with the many communities and educational institutions that are fighting back against the powerful fracking lobby,” said Junior Brainard, a professor of English.

Pittsburgh and Buffalo are among the large cities that have banned fracking, and in New York State, more than 140 municipalities now have a ban or moratorium on fracking in place.

The CCP union’s action occurs at a time when public alarm about the threats from climate change is growing, especially in the wake of the summer’s record heat and drought and Hurricane Sandy. There is a burgeoning movement on college and university campuses for complete divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING and ENERGY pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less
Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images

Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A boy gives an impromptu speech about him not wanting to die in the next 10 years during the protest on July 15. The Scottish wing of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group of Scotland locked down Glasgow's Trongate for 12 hours in protest of climate change. Stewart Kirby / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.

Read More Show Less
A group of wind turbines in a field in Banffshire, Northeast Scotland. Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less

tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less