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General News    H3'ed 8/22/13

Coalition in DC Fracks Fracking Today

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Acress Daryl Hannah (in red) led the rally today
Acress Daryl Hannah (in red) led the rally today
(Image by Marta Steele)
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When the sun shines down on Washington, DC, in summer from an even partly cloudy sky, you can feel the energy being wasted on sunburn when it can be cheaply and cleanly diverted to saving the planet. Instead, our president has opted to prioritize natural gas development, a.k.a. fracking, despite tangible and widespread evidence of the lethal harm it reeks on human lives and natural landscapes.

     And so, as Mr. Obama tours "shale country" (upstate New York and a stop in PA) today, August 22, and tomorrow, to sell his plan to ease college debt burdens on students whose lives are being ruined by education instead of enriched and elevated, though we cheer the effort, we wonder why he chose such fractured or soon-to-be fragmented venues.      

     The answer is that the cost of higher education has grown exponentially in the Empire State in the last few years. The president even plans a side trip to neighboring Pennsylvania--already fracked and oozing scars. The city of Pittsburgh has forcefully announced its opposition to this method of extracting natural gas from its terrain.

     What a mixed bag. Fodder for the progs combined with acid in the face of this land of ours. Our students' futures are certainly important, but so is the planet they will inhabit in the years to come. Educate them, Mr. President, so that they can resort to the right energy sources and frack the whole idea of fracking.

     If that's what you want deep down inside, it's certainly a sinuous way to go, with the EPA backing down on its opposition to fracking recently.

     A small group of activists led by Progressives for Democratic Action (PDA) and Moveon, both represented by the organizer of the rally and march, Mike Hersh, protested fracking today at Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, which borders the back of the White House. Mr. Obama's chosen venues today provided a perfect backdrop.

     Not only did we chant against fracking and listen to the highly articulate and well-informed words of Hersh and colleagues David Braun of Americans against Fracking, Drew Hudson of Environmental Action, Jason Kowalksi of, and several others; we materialized our demands with 650,000 supportive comments uploaded to CDs we delivered to the Department of the Interior, which was the endpoint of the fifteen-minute march from Lafayette Square. These demands were symbolized by "banking boxes" carried by most of the marchers--hundreds of boxes would have been required had we conveyed them in hard copy--we carried empty boxes and were told to look as weary as we should have because the burdens being imposed on the people and their planet would weigh down a squadron of jumbo jets at least.

     Once we got to the steps of the DOI and handed over the CDs to DOI representatives designated to meet us, a few protesters diligently dismantled the boxes for easy and environmentally efficient disposal. After the informal ceremony, actress Daryl Hannah, who led the march, thanked us for our efforts even as representatives of the coalition of protestors thanked her for interrupting her glitzy schedule to fly here. Excuse my skepticism. Celebrities add glitz to causes, and the impact should not be belittled. The harder they work, the more we all benefit.

     From Hannah to the voiceless who will suffer the most from fracking, get the word out. Continue to beseech our President to add teeth to his commitment to the environment rather than allowing the one percent to chew us to bits.







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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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