Fracking Protest: A Lesson in Being Ignored

By C. Arthur Reavis

On August 23, 2013 I attended the anti-fracking protest at Binghamton University. This protest was planned because President Obama was coming to BU to deliver a speech about education. Though I was not present for the speech, (I did not care to enter my name in a “lottery” on the White House’s website.) by all accounts he stuck to that topic: Not once addressing his support for Hydraulic Fracturing of the Marcellus Shale deposit upon which we live here in the Southern Tier. Not to mention the fact our water table, from which we get our drinking water, sits atop.  Moreover, his motorcade and bus took less than a minute to pass the hundreds of protesters holding signs and shouting: Mr. Obama did not even pause to acknowledge our existence.

Why should he? After all, Mr. Obama supports fracking. He also supports the “Halliburton Loophole”: the exemptions Dick Cheney’s (insert you own quacking/Darth Vader noises here)  administration gave to these oil and gas companies to pollute our; water, land and air.  In case readers were not aware, all fracking is exempt from Federal regulations, specifically; the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Regulations, if any, are left to the States who do not have the resources of the Federal Government and whose legislatures can be bought more cheaply by lobbyist for the industry. Many of those lobbying firms have ties to the Koch brothers and ultra-righting conservative Political Action Committees. So where does that leave our water and environment? Not in a good place! Not only are these pro-fracking groups and lobbyists actively pursuing abolishing all environmental regulations (especially for their precious fracking operations), but they are also actively pursuing a campaign against clean renewable energy sources.

This raises some interesting questions regarding our so-called democracy, such as: Where does public opinion figure into the equation? How do facts about the environmental/health dangers of fracking get a role in the debate?  And also, what happens to us (people) after our land, water, air and properties are destroyed by these companies (for their Capitalist greed) when the laws where stacked in favor from the get-go?

It’s time to get active! We as citizens still have some voice left (I hope). Our voices may be becoming an endangered species (and when have petrochemical corporations ever cared about them) so we need to use them while we still have them. Call your representatives and tell them that hydraulic fracturing as it exists now (and probably always) is unsafe for humans, animals and is environmentally detrimental. Let them know we don’t want fracking to come to New York State.

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