Source : Almanac.net
By Amy Philips Haller for the Almanac : firstname.lastname@example.org
It was standing room only at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Cecil Township as citizens voiced their opinions about the hydraulic fracturing process used by the natural-gas drilling industry.
About 1,400 people attended the July 22 meeting to hear more about the process used by gas companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which covers Southwestern Pennsylvania and extends from West Virginia as far as New York.
The EPA was mandated by Congress this year to study hydraulic fracturing. Meetings were held in Texas, Colorado and Cecil Township. The one at the Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe was the third hearing with the final one to be held Aug. 12 in Binghamton, N.Y. The study is expected to be completed by late 2012.
After EPA panel members explained the details behind the study, the public was given a chance to testify. More than 130 people were registered to speak. Each person had two minutes to make their statement. Police officers were on hand if there was an unruly conduct.
Wearing a numbered wrist band, one by one citizens took the microphone.
Robert Donnan of Peters Township, who noted he was a Vietnam veteran, started with a question: ‘Is Pennsylvania worth fighting for? For 235 years my family always said, ‘yes.’”
Concerned about the Marcellus Shale drilling, he continued: “Battle lines are drawn. This fight is for our lives and for our children.”
He mentioned Agent Orange. “My comrades were ignored when they got sick. 20 years after our war, the National Academy of Science finally did a health study. My comrades were right, many were dead right….” The room filled with applause when he finished, “They are poisoning the state we love.”
One person after another expressed concerns for drinking water. Some claimed their wells were poisoned with fracking chemicals. One woman, West Virginia resident Marilyn Hunter, stated, “We are running out of time. An economic war is being waged against the US. Our rights are being violated by these fracking corporations. Canonsburg is a historic site for nuclear contamination. Let us make this meeting a historic victory for human rights. We are fighting for our lives.”