Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Visiting Pennsylvania's Destructive Fracking Footprint

Energy

Artists Against Fracking

By Yoko Ono

[Editor's note: On Jan. 17, Artists Against Fracking co-founders Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon were joined by actor Susan Sarandon, peace leader Arun Gandhi, filmmaker Josh Fox and activists to lead members of the press on a bus tour of fracking sites in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Here's a video featuring the visit and Yoko Ono's reflection on the visit.]

After being invited to visit Pennsylvania by residents who have experienced the impacts of fracking, my son Sean and I decided to go see the harms of fracking up close. Our friend Susan Sarandon came with us, and we had the incredible honor of being joined by Mahatma Ghandi’s grandson, Arun Ghandi, as well. We also invited members of the media.

Driving into the quaint town of Montrose, PA, I could hardly have anticipated how upsetting the next stops on our tour would be: a gas pad of four drills and a hissing pressure release, a giant compressor station under construction, large trucks full of sand and toxic chemicals rumbling down narrow dirt roads, and a drilling rig reaching to the sky.

To see such a beautiful landscape ruined was disturbing enough, but not nearly as bad as the heart-break of meeting those whose health, homes and lives have been forever changed because of fracking: Vera Scroggins, Craig Stevens, Rebecca Roter, Frank Finan, Ray Kemble and the Manning family. They welcomed us into their homes with complete hospitality, and Tammy Manning even baked us delicious muffins.

And they told us their stories. How they can no longer drink the water from their own wells because they have been poisoned by fracking pollution. These American families are suffering from suddenly not having clean water for the essentials of healthy living. They are not able to use their well water to drink, cook with, wash dishes, bathe or do laundry. They are buying water every day. Can you believe it?

They cannot move to a healthier place to raise their families because the value of their house plummeted when the water went bad and they cannot afford to relocate. They have to open their windows when they run the water to prevent methane gas from building up and risk explosion. It is a terrible fate, and there is no way to reverse what has happened to them. And it is outrageous that the gas companies accuse these honorable, defenseless people of lying we saw the brown smelly water ourselves in homes right next to fracking sites. The fact that the water was nasty brown around their houses really scared me.

Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono and Arun Ghandi with the Manning Family, who’s drinking water was contaminated by fracking.

As we toured fracking sites in this once beautiful rural area and visited homes throughout the day, I reflected on the frightening reality that this dirty practice could soon destroy other families and homes in New York if Gov. Cuomo lifts the ban on fracking.

After that tour, I have never felt more compelled to prevent others from facing the harm I saw in Pennsylvania last week. And after being followed around all day by industry representatives who yelled threats at us, I have also come to realize how much is at stake. We cannot allow people, clean water and the health of our climate and planet to be sacrificed for the gas industry.

I hope that Gov. Cuomo will take the same tour that I did before he makes any decisions about whether to allow fracking in New York. And though it is too late to stop the harm that has already come to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, I hope that Gov. Corbett of Pennsylvania will visit the same families and sites that I did, and stop the industry from running rough-shod over that beautiful state.

I urge President Obama to make that trip too and put aside any notion of depending on fracking instead of truly clean energy. As industry documents prove, these wells crack and leak, more and more over time. It cannot be prevented and once it happens, it cannot be fixed thousands of feet under the ground. Please, go see for yourselves.

It was a staggering realization that this is now happening in the USA … the country of power and wealth. Why is this national tragedy being kept quiet? Why aren’t any politicians doing anything about it? These families, on top of their terrible fate, are subjected to nasty rumors that they are not people to be believed. It is not only destroying their lives but their spirits as well. I was there. I saw it. It made me cry.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less
White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden / Facebook

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.

Read More Show Less