Stacked Fracking Panel Has Public Meeting Monday in Pennsylvania
Monday night, June 13, is your chance to speak up on behalf of America's drinking water and to help protect your land from damage from oil and gas drilling.
Not content with the appointment of a federal panel heavily biased in its favor, industry backers are pulling out all the stops to dominate the panel's first public meeting on Monday night in western Pennsylvania.
An industry group called Energy in Depth has sent an email enticing people to attend Monday's meeting, apparently hoping to draw an audience that is friendly to wide-open drilling. The group is offering to pay for transportation to the event, including "airfare (for older folks, especially… and for heads of landowner groups)," hotels and meals.
As an additional inducement, the group's email originally offered to provide those who attend the meeting with tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates/New York Mets game that day, but a spokesman said later that offer had been withdrawn. Could that be because the game is at the same time as the Department of Energy panel's meeting?
People with legitimate concerns about the potential harm from drilling activity need to show up, too, to counter this blatant effort to pack the hall for the meeting of the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.
Gas and oil drilling is nothing new, but today's drilling relies more heavily than ever on a controversial method known as hydraulic fracturing, known as "fracking." Fracking has been associated with drinking water contamination and property damage across the nation, from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. In one incident that polluted a Colorado creek, nearby groundwater was still contaminated with benzene six years later.
The Energy Department set up its advisory board to make recommendations to improve the safety of fracking. The problem is, six of the seven panel members have direct financial ties to the natural gas and oil industry, and there is no one on the panel representing communities that could be harmed by water contamination or other problems caused by fracking.
Environmental Working Group has gone on record requesting that the panel's chairman John Deutch step down because he has a conflict of interest: He has received nearly $1.5 million as a board member of both Schlumberger Ltd., one of the world's three largest hydraulic fracturing companies, and Cheniere Energy, Inc., a Texas based company focused on liquefied natural gas.
The Energy Department panel's first public meeting is scheduled to be held at Washington Jefferson College, 60 South Lincoln Street, in Washington, Penn., from 7 p.m to 9 p.m. on Monday, June 13. Anyone can speak. We hope you'll attend the hearing to learn more about fracking in your area and to stand up for your right to know.
Click here for more information about the Energy Department meeting, http://www.shalegas.energy.gov/.
Interested in speaking? Here are some key issues.
- Fracking and its effects on Pennsylvania's land and water are serious matters that should be discussed by everyone in the community.
- Government advisory panels should be fair and balanced.
- John Deutch cannot be impartial and should step down from the panel.
- An impartial person should lead the panel. It should also be expanded to include local people directly affected by oil and gas drilling and also independent experts.
Click here to read more information about this fracking advisory board, http://ewg.org/release/ewg-chair-dept-energy-natural-gas-panel-must-step....
We hope you can attend this public meeting!