On Friday, April 13, more than one hundred protesters from across the state, even some from Maryland and Virginia, came to the steps of Harrisburg’s Capitol Building to demand action from Governor Tom Wolf.
The organizers presented a petition with more 700 signatures to the governor’s office to ban fracking and pipeline construction across the state.
Tim Spiese, Board President of Lancaster Against Pipelines, said during the event “[Gov. Wolf’s] luck is run out. Because no longer will grassroots groups and threatened communities be content to challenge alone the harms and destruction brought on by the fossil fuel oligarchs and our own state government.”
Citing bans on fracking in neighboring states New York and Maryland, the group believes that Wolf has not done enough to preserve Pennsylvania’s environment. They also cited a recent Franklin & Marshall poll that stated 55% of Pennsylvanians believe the environmental dangers of fracking outweigh the economic benefits.
“Representatives from groups across the state are here to make clear the fact that fracking, fracking infrastructure, pipelines, and above all climate change inaction are all the same thing.” Spiese said. “They’re an affront to individual and community rights, they’re a threat to our health and constitutionally guaranteed right to clean air and clean water and a grave threat to humanity and all life in the community we call Earth.”
Many of the speakers spoke passionately on how fracking and pipelines had negatively affected their lives.
“Fracking has ruined my life, destroyed everything my husband and I worked our entire adult lives to build,” writes organic farmer Maggie Henry, when she told her story for Beyond Extreme Energy. “The 88+ earthquakes have done real physical damage to our home and property. Why are corporations permitted to do this to people?”
These people and their communities are some of the many casualties of the corporate war against the environment. In a message we can all aspire to on this year’s Earth Day, these protesters have shed tears, blood, endured arrest and the elements to fight fracking and gas pipelines. They have done so with song in their hearts and staunch stride in their step, singing Woody Guthrie’s iconic protest song “This Land is Your Land.” And they show no sign of stopping.
Closing out his speech, Tim Spiese declared “We have a moral imperative to challenge the corruption in all political parties and the rampant corporate greed that threatens us all.”