Tag Archives: fracking

To protect Pennsylvania, we must reject restore

Opinion at PennLive, Sep 13

By Sam Bernhardt, Pennsylvania Director at the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch.

The early summer budget battles in Harrisburg have mostly faded from view, but a larger fight is looming over Governor Tom Wolf’s top policy priority this fall: Creating a slush fund backed by fracking bonds.

The governor’s office has a more appealing name for their plan. “Restore Pennsylvania” is supposed to be a clever way to fund new infrastructure projects. But the governor’s scheme is a new spin on an old idea: A ‘severance tax’ on gas drilling. Wolf has tried and failed with this approach several times before, so this time he added a twist: Selling $4.5 billion in bonds, and plowing that money into a laundry list of public works projects and business-friendly incentives. The money would be paid back by a new tax on fracking….

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Pennsylvania Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience

CELDF, May 3, 2016

Ready to Stop Company from Injecting Frack Wastewater into their Community

New Law Shields People from Arrest for Protesting Project

Grant Township, Indiana County, PA: Tonight, Grant Township Supervisors passed a first-in-the-nation law that legalizes direct action to stop frack wastewater injection wells within the Township. Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells.

If a court does not uphold the people’s right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being of the community, the ordinance codifies that, “any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action.” Further, the ordinance states that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected, “prohibit[ing] any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or other criminal action against those participating in nonviolent direct action.”

Grant Township Supervisor Stacy Long explained, “We’re tired of being told by corporations and our so-called environmental regulatory agencies that we can’t stop this injection well! This isn’t a game. We’re being threatened by a corporation with a history of permit violations, and that corporation wants to dump toxic frack wastewater into our Township.”…

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The Pennsylvania Paradox

By Barb Jarmoska, Responsible Drilling Alliance (Williamsport PA), 12/21/15

Earlier this month, 195 nations and the European Union, representing billions of earth citizens, reached an unprecedented consensus at the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). A plan to slow global warming was agreed upon with the hope of averting disastrous climate effects. Global dependence on fossil fuels is beginning to wind down and a commitment to an increasing reliance on clean, renewable energy has begun. Janos Pasztor, the U.N. assistant secretary-general on climate change, proclaimed that the message of the Paris Agreement is to “send a strong signal… that this is the direction we are going, to a low-carbon, low-emissions world, so investing in new technology is the way to go.”

“The agreement requires the world to wean itself off of fossil fuels by the middle of the century,” said Alden Meyer, the director of strategy and policy of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We have to get to net zero of greenhouse gases by 2060 or so. That can be through a combination of reducing emissions and increasing uptake of carbon dioxide by forests and agriculture by natural syncs. There is no way to meet this goal without phasing out fossil fuels over that time.”

Although the commitments made in Paris are insufficient to protect the most vulnerable people or to reverse the trend of rapidly declining biodiversity, the COP21 deal is a compromise, a crucial and forward-looking step in the right direction.

Huffington Post proclaimed, “…the Paris Agreement does send a strong signal to the business community and financial markets that we are moving to a low-carbon, renewable energy future.”

Here in PA, that “strong signal” has been blocked by false promises and padded campaign coffers. The message of COP21 is not reaching the ears of Pennsylvania’s elected and appointed officials who, as a whole, remain heedless of the warnings, ignorant of the predictions, and deaf to the global consensus on climate change. The gas industry’s stranglehold continues to dominate… welcome to the Pennsylvania paradox.

November saw the release of the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Draft Report. The governor’s 48-member Task Force, said to be comprised of “stakeholders” is hardly a balanced group, as the stakes most members hold have nothing to do with methane’s impact on climate change. The report’s 184 recommendations make no mention of the methane that leaks from pipelines nor does it hold in regard the forest fragmentation, invasive species, damage to wetlands, and other environmental impacts of PA’s proposed 30,000-mile web of new pipelines….

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A Fracking Fortune Gets Political

by Peter Montgomery, July 3, 2014, The National Memo

Televangelist James Robison recently declared that he’s praying for a merger of the Tea Party and the religious right. Is he kidding? That merger is well underway. And it’s getting a hefty push from a couple of billionaire brothers.

No, not Charles and David Koch. Brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who reaped a fortune off the fracking gold rush and cashed in their Texas-based company a few years ago for more than $3 billion. In addition to buying up vast swaths of land in the West, they’re “using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals,” as Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody puts it.

What are those goals? They’ve embraced both the anti-government politics of the Koch brothers and the religious right’s anti-gay, anti-choice cultural warfare. The Wilks brothers belong to Pastors and Pews, an organization connected to Christian-nation extremist David Lane, who wants to make the Bible a primary public school textbook.

Dan Wilks told Brody that we need to “bring the Bible back into the school, and start teaching our kids at a younger age.” Adds brother Farris: “They’re being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right.”

The brothers and their wives have followed in the footsteps of other far-right funders and set up foundations. Together they’ve funded them to the tune of more than $200 million. In 2011 and 2012 they gave away millions, both to churches and to culture-war political groups. More than $5.5 million buttressed groups in the Koch brothers’ political networks.

Another $4 million or so funded leading organizations in the religious right political movement, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Another big chunk — more than $4 million — enriched anti-abortion groups. The brothers support a network of “pregnancy centers” that refuse to talk to single women about contraception and require married women to check with their husbands and pastors before discussing birth control….

continue reading and follow links at The National Memo

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