Bessemer Penn: Locals Chain Themselves to Giant Pig
Are you being fracked?
Fracking or fresh water, that’s what it’s come down to in Lawrence County countryside. At the center of the pig protest is Maggie Henry, a farmer. She and her family have farmed the area for many years and along with neighbours have learned to live with the consequences of oil exploration.
The area is riddled with abandoned oil wells from the 19th Century oil rush in the area. Periodically leaking methane causes buildings to explode.
The new gas rush using rock fracturing or fracking is a whole new ballgame. Shell is proceeding with fracking in the area and protesters have stationed a nine foot papier mache pink pig in the driveway of the well head. They have chained themselves to the legs of the monster pig impeding traffic to and from the well.
This civil disobedience comes after Henry tried and failed through the courts to stop fracking in her area.
There are several concerns around this relatively new technology. The fracking fluid uses massive amounts of water and it contains toxic substances such as benzene and diesel which are forced into the shale rock to crack it, letting out the natural gas. There is no law that compels gas exploration companies to reveal the formula they use and there are fears that dangerous substances are being forced into the earth that will leak into the water table. While theoretically that won’t happen, if the drill shaft is not sealed correctly or fractured rock meets up with other faults or abandoned oil wells, the toxic fluid could contaminate the water table.
Fracking companies do not have to comply with the US Clean Water Act.
If the drilling company refuses to reveal its special formula, it becomes extremely difficult to prove that a poison showing up in the water comes from fracking.
Self sufficiency in energy supplies is important, but even more important is clean water. Our reliance on petroleum and its products is a relatively new phenomenon but our reliance on clean water goes back to when we were tadpoles.
The following are two names who can be contacted for further information on the Pink Pig Protest.
Contact: Ben Fiorillo – 412-999-9086, or Diane Sipe – 724-272-4539