Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Benton resident Dean Marshall rightfully calls out Press Enterprize editor, Jim Sachetti

Dear Sir; 
The Editorial published 8-12-14 in PE has numerous factual errors and achieves a new low in  journalism.
It begins by labeling the "green" left as "irrational", "knee-jerk conservatives" with "closed minds", "leading any fair-minded observer to conclude that they did not feel the need to ascertain facts."   

I must conclude that you sir, are the epitome of the previous descriptions.  The commenters you have cited and who were named in the 8-7-14 article by your own Susan Schwartz, (Public decries pipeline plan), included Teachers, Healthcare workers, a Restoration Ecologist, a Professor with published works on Ecology, Local Residents, and concerned citizens of no particular Political Party, as you allude. We have taken the time to find the facts. We have attended these meetings and hearings for several years.  Were you at the FERC mtg. Mr. Sachetti, or did you arrive at your narrow-minded opinion based on the work of Ms. Schwartz?

Furthermore, the  fact that fracking, was "denounced", was and is Central to the Pipeline issue due to the fact that if FERC approves Williams plan as a "Public Convenience" it will grant Eminent Domain rights for the taking of Right of Way when the truth is that Williams fracking partners intended to fill this pipeline with a steady supply of Marcellus Gas for Export.  This is a known fact and the proof is readily available by reading the "Forward Looking Statements" on the Stock pages of Cabot, Range Resources, Anadarko, and all the other fracking Companies also listed by Williams as contracted customers for the 42" LNG Export Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.
 
It seems that you, Mr Sachetti, have undermined your credibility by failing to do your homework, and disclosing your bias.  We do not feel that using any and all forums to educate the public so they can make an informed decision is "Grandstanding" as you put it.   Fracking for Unnatural Gas has become a huge investment and this project is aimed at making a huge return, by peddling it to Asia and thus raising the prices here.  So much for "Cheap, Abundant, American Energy Independence".  If these greedy corporations invested in Sustainable Energy development we "Greens" would not "behave badly".      
                                                                                                                       Dean H.Marshall
                                                                                                                       Benton,Pa

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Auditor general criticizes DEP oversight of shale gas industry and the DEP goes into damage control mode.

Auditor general criticizes DEP oversight of shale gas industry


By Laura Legere / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/22/Auditor-General-criticizes-DEP-oversight-of-shale-gas-industry/stories/201407220147#ixzz38M8yzkO9

MY COMMENT: This report serves to emphasize the immediate need for a statewide moratorium on unconventional shale gas drilling/high volume-slick water hydraulic fracturing (aka: fracking) until comprehensive independent public health and environmental studies can be completed, peer reviewed, and publicly discussed, and if these studies can not produce evidence that this extreme fossil fuel extraction process can be done safely, then it needs to be banned. PA ran recklessly head-on, with eyes closed into this development and rolled the dice on public health and safety, as well as our environment and they lost. Clearly, the PADEP is still woefully, if not willfully unprepared to manage, regulate, control, or even efficiently monitor this industrial practice, let alone protect the people in it's path. Last year, the democrat party of PA voted overwhelmingly in favor of a statewide moratorium. Unfortunately, only one democrat gubernatorial candidate was willing to support that resolution. Now, with the evidence revealed in the Auditor General's report, and the newly released documents that clearly state that the gas industry has damaged PA water supplies at least 209 times, and with at least 161 "documented" cases by the DEP of people's well water being contaminated from gas drilling - as discovered via a right-to-know request, and over a thousand more cases still being reviewed, the case for a statewide moratorium becomes even more compelling. The democratic nominee for governor, Tom Wolf instead of institutionalizing fracking in PA by imposing a severance tax that will only create another cash cow for the state to rely on, needs to pay attention to these reports and support his party's resolution. No amount of tax revenue is worth sacrificing the health and safety of rural Pennsylvanians and their children. Tom Corbett's chances for re-election are practically non-existent. Therefore, we need for every registered voter -democrat, republican, independent, to flood Tom Wolf's with calls and emails demanding he do the right thing and embrace the precautionary principle, by agreeing sign a statewide moratorium, and if fracking can not be proven safe, agree to a ban. It's not just the right thing to do, it's also the smart thing to do. The cost of fracking in terms of health care, property loss, environmental clean-up, is going to be catastrophic. Not to mention the permanent jobs that are being lost in tourism, agriculture, forestry, real estate, and new home construction due to the industrialization of rural PA. Renewable energy will create permanent, family sustaining, good paying local jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and system upgrades, while not poisoning our water supply, polluting our air, or threatening the health and safety of our families.

Yet, somehow, the PADEP is trying to "spin" this into some bizarre vindication of their performance. It's almost as if they read a completely different report!

Here's their headline on the DEP website:
Auditor General Performance Report Validates DEP’s Work Regarding Unconventional Gas Drilling Activities 7/22/2014
The Auditor General’s Office today released the Special Audit of DEP’s Performance in Monitoring Potential Impact to Water Quality from Shale Gas Development for the period 2009 through 2012, finding no instances where DEP failed to protect public health, safety or the environment.
 
However, the DEP failed to include the actual 158 page report.
You can download and read the entire 158 page report by going to this link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1227039/dep-response-to-auditor-general-report.pdf

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Regulatory Trap.

The oil and gas industry, as they work towards turning rural North America into a 'third-world' style extraction colony, is now in the process of expanding their pipeline infrastructure on an unprecedented scale.
 
The agency that is trusted with overseeing and permitting this infrastructure is the Federal Regulatory Commission [aka: FERC], but really their job is to issue permits and although they are obligated by law to allow 'public input' and consider public comments before making their decision to issue a permit, at the end of the day, public opinion carries no weight and has never influenced their decision, or caused them to deny a permit. - NEVER.    
 
Here's why. You may, or may not, be aware that FERC is NOT really a government agency, anymore than say the Federal Reserve Bank is. Just because they have the word "Federal" in their name does not mean they're the government. Where I grew up in Philadelphia, their is a soft pretzel maker called "The Federal Baking Company", and they weren't a government agency either.
 
The truth is, FERC is a private entity largely funded by the API and ANGA, and chaired in part by former O&G representatives, that is licensed by the US/DOE to issue permits. Their job is to see that every application meets the minimum criteria to justify FERC approval.

I learned this when I registered as an "intervener" in the Inergy/CNYOG Marc-1 pipeline project in North-East PA. The short version of this experience was as follows.

The Marc-1 pipeline is a 39 mile connecting hub between the Tennessee and the Transco pipelines. It involved the clear cutting of 650+/- acres of greenfield forest, the removal of 250,000+/- trees (many were old growth), disturbance of protected wildlife habitat, 122 sensitive HV/EQ stream crossings, and intrusion on 104 private properties.

Myself, and other concerned citizens launched a massive campaign to stop the Marc-1. We submitted 22,093 signatures opposing the project, in addition to a bi-partisan coalition of 35 PA State Representatives, 2 State Senators, and even the EPA stepped in and declared the project un-necessary since the natural gas in the region was already being moved to market via the Tennessee and the Transco.

After we effectively stalled the project for 18 months by demanding justification for the project, environmental impact statements, and concerns about eminent domain abuse, etc., The three willfully incompetent Sullivan County PA Commissioners, along with a few US congressman with no connection to Pennsylvania, asked FERC to "overlook the localized concerns" and expeditiously approve the project. 

FERC issued a pre-vetted statement thanking everyone for being involved and expressing their heartfelt thoughts and concerns, assured all property owners that eminent domain would "only be used as a last resort" and only if all negotiations between CNYOG and the landowners failed, and approved the project. All of which was done "class one" which means minimum safety standards, and no local, state, or federal oversight.

The very next day, eminent domain was filed against 89 of the private landowners, most of which never previously notified of a proposed ROW on their property, or had the chance to negotiate terms. All 89 property owners went to court - all 89 lost. 

In FERC's history, they have NEVER denied a permit for any oil and gas infrastructure project unless the operator withdrew the application.

The ONLY way to stop these pipelines is by establishing Community Bill of Rights that essentially can either "zone out" this kind of activity, or restrict it and establish safety standards and set-backs in such a way that it is no longer economically worthwhile for them to build it.

The FERC regulatory/permitting process is designed and orchestrated to render public opinion meaningless, ineffective, and destined to fail.
 
Here's why: The Regulatory Trap (*excerpt from the CELDF Democracy School)
 
1. The regulatory system guarantees that the environment will be damaged, that the system actually permits it to occur, and that the system is built to recognize certain constitutional constraints.
  
2. Our “engaging in the regulatory system”, while limiting some of the harms done by corporations, cannot achieve the types of change we need, and that we are colonized to believe that it actually can.
  
3. Our thinking is colonized not only by the law – which establishes certain constraints that deny us the goals of our activism – but that our thinking is colonized by a culture that is created by those who benefit from the way that the system operates.
  
4. On the issue of land application of sewage sludge, we’ve been colonized that a bad is a good, through language used to frame the issue.
  
5. On the issue of the corporatization of agriculture, we’ve been colonized that a bad is a good, through language used to frame the issue.
  
6. Both the regulatory system of law and the culture produce a system of activism that cannot stop a corporate minority from governing community majorities, and that the regulatory system of law and culture effectively drives us like cattle down to a point of activism where we cannot win the issue that we’re working on.
  
7. A regulatory system of law governs employer-employee relationships, and that regulatory system of law codifies the rights of the employer over the employee.
  
8. Regulatory systems of law were created not to protect health, safety, and welfare, but as a governmental barrier to prevent majority governance.
  
9. The traditional use of the regulatory system of law, and the operation of today’s regulatory agencies, are not mistakes or errors, but a logical use of the law to assert minority control over majorities.
 
10. Law itself has a long history of being used by a minority to govern, that it was used by William the Conqueror to create an English structure of law; and that the mere existence of Constitutions does not guarantee democratic government.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Therefore, it's important for people to understand that the "regulatory system" is designed only to regulate the rate of damage to public health and the environment, not the amount of damage. Hence the terms: "necessary sacrifice", and "unintended consequences".
That is not to say that citizens should not get involved with the FERC regulatory process. You should to get on record. You just have to also act outside the FERC process on the local municipality level to zone it out, or make it too expensive for the operator.

Myself, along with other members of the Shale Justice Coalition are now on the CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) PACRN (PA Community Rights Network) board working with communities along the 176 mile path of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project by Williams Midstream. So far, we've got three municipalities to begin enacting community bill of rights ordinances. *Now, the industry, and most local solicitors will claim that these ordinances "will be challenged, inspire law suits, and be overturned", however, in the communities in PA, TX, LA, where Community Bill of Rights have been established, this has not happened. The reason is, the "community bill of rights" brings into question "corporate personhood", and that is NOT a can of worms the industry wants to risk opening.  
 
For more information visit these web sites:
The Shale Justice Coalition  http://shalejustice.org/
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) http://www.celdf.org/

Sunday, June 1, 2014

DEP-Regulating the Natural Gas Industry in Pennsylvania - Not Protecting the Environment

DEP-Regulating the Natural Gas Industry in Pennsylvania - Not Protecting the Environment  

First, watch this ridiculous and misleading video propaganda,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27xMOiwvrLk
Published on May 7, 2014
by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA/DEP) 
"DEP staff share their personal experiences conducting the important work of DEP's Oil and Gas Program across Pennsylvania."

Then read my comments I emailed directly to:
Scott Perry, <scperry@pa.gov>
Chris Abruzzo, <cabruzzo@pa.gov>
Dan Spadoni, <dspadoni@pa.gov>
Patrick Henderson, <phenderson@pa.gov>
Arthur Weiland, <weilandart@gmail.com>
and of course, the Governor of Pennzoil, Tom Corbett, <Governor@pa.gov>

I encourage those who read this and share my concerns and criticisms also email these individuals and tell them what you think of them, which is why I posted their email addresses.

Regulating the Natural Gas Industry in Pennsylvania - Seriously?

Regardless of what this agencies name implies, the job of the DEP is to issues permits that allow activity to be conducted that is detrimental to the environment, the ecological integrity, and ultimately public health and safety.

What the DEP "regulates" is the rate of damage done to the environment, not the amount of damage.
The egregious half-truths and misinformation in this video is over-the-top.

Here's an example of their half-truths:
"We're never going to take that casing out of there. That casing will always be there"

FACT:
What was not mentioned was that the integrity of that casing will be compromised over time. 7% of well casings fail immediately - only 50% of the "squeeze jobs" that industry uses to attempt to repair that casing are successful - eventually all well casings will fail. The only issue is 'when'.
 
Misinformation:
"We want people to know that the DEP has 'world-class' regulations in place."
Apparently, every state that allows O&G extraction has those same specious 'world-class regulations'.... or at least makes that same arbitrary claim, and has the same complaints, contamination issues, reported illnesses, and ecological devastation that we're seeing in the shale fields of Pennsylvania.
 
FACT:
The DEP has made it their policy to "partner with the O&G industry". It doesn't take much to realize that it is never in the best interest of one partner to regulate the other. On the contrary, it is in the best interest of any partnership to watch each others back, and in this case, run regulatory interference.

Many of the DEP's revised regulations are practically carbon copies of the regulations that have been established in other states that have been written, conceived, and suggested by industry lobbyists. [The "fox guarding the hen house" syndrome on steroids.]

It is interesting, and quite telling, albeit no surprising, that the 'comments and ratings' on this YouTube PR video have been "disabled". Fortunately, we can still access the video, copy the link, and expose it for misleading piece of propaganda it is on blogs, social media, email blasts, op-ed pieces, and in newsletters.

We will also publish this link right along side the 161 "documented cases of contamination" that the DEP was forced to reveal under the RTK law, the list of violations the industry has racked-up in the last six years, and the scandalously low "fines" that the DEP has imposed on the O&G operators.

Sunday Times review of DEP drilling records reveals water damage, murky testing methods

By laura Legere (Staff Writer) Published: May 19, 2013

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/sunday-times-review-of-dep-drilling-records-reveals-water-damage-murky-testing-methods-1.1491547

Then, there's also that ever spinning "revolving door" between the O&G industry and the DEP regulators. After all, who better to know how to skirt the rules and regulations then the "regulators" themselves? 

What really puzzles me is... How do these bastards sleep at night? Aren't they even concerned about how this is going to affect their children and grandchildren?

I guess it takes a special breed of self-serving political reptiles to be that cold-blooded.

So.... stay tuned. Instant Karma's gonna get them and bite them right in the g-ass. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest column from Berks Gas Truth: by Karen Feridun

Guest column from Berks Gas Truth: Response to Schwank Mayor's support to tax on fracking


The science on fracking is in. Shale gas development is contaminating our water, polluting our air, contributing to climate change at a higher rate than previously understood, causing earthquakes, making us sick, and more. Recent studies have even linked fracking to birth defects in Colorado and right here in Pennsylvania.

None of this comes as news to the countless Pennsylvanians whose lives have been turned upside down by fracking and the industrial build-out that has followed. Right now, there are Pennsylvanians who can’t drink their water, can’t use it to clean, can’t even use it to flush their toilets. Right now, public health physicians are documenting cases of frack rash, respiratory problems, nosebleeds, headaches, stomach problems, neurological disorders, depression, and even certain cancers in Pennsylvanians who live near fracking. Right now, Pennsylvanians whose homes have been impacted by gas operations are finding that they owe much more on their homes than they’re now worth.
To me, these aren’t faceless people I’ve read about or anonymous people I’ve seen on tv. My work on fracking has introduced me to many of these people. Some have become close friends. And so, when I hear my state senator and my mayor declare their support of a severance tax on drilling, I can only shake my head.
It would appear that the environment, our health and our safety have no representation in government. The Republicans have been willing to give it all away; the Democrats want to sell it.
Senator Judy Schwank could give no more of a ringing endorsement of natural gas industrialization than to say that it’s “here to stay” in her remarks at the press conference she held last week to announce her support of a severance tax bill about to be introduced by Senator John Yudichak (D-14). Well, Senator, it’s only here to stay as long as elected officials do nothing to stop it.
Rather than stop it, however, Democratic leaders and candidates at every level of government are lining up behind natural gas, despite the more than 270 peer reviewed studies that point to its harms, many of them irreparable. President Obama has ignored the science in favor of fast tracking liquefied natural gas exports to foreign markets. So much for that cheap domestic energy source you’ve heard so much about. Here in Pennsylvania, however, the discussion has centered on the severance tax now that Democrats are counting on a change in leadership in 2014.
Senator Schwank’s colorful props included a chart that shows how the severance tax would be spent. Education receives the biggest cut, $375 million, while economic development and job creation would get a combined $195 million. By the way, wasn’t the shale gas boom supposed to create jobs? An analysis from the Multi-State Research Collaborative puts the total number of Marcellus Shale jobs created from 2005 – 2012 at 22,441.
The remaining $150 million goes to the environment. Well, at least they’re allotting some funds to clean up the mess drilling has left behind. Oh wait, that’s not the plan. It sounds like the $150 million will be used much as the current impact fee has been used, as shiny, jangling keys to divert people from the environmental devastation occurring throughout the drilling region. “If they’ve got money left over to plant buffers along waterways and restore wetlands in my community, the environment must be in pretty good shape in the gas fields.”
Such diversions are just cheap political stunts, however. The real damage is done by the allocation of severance tax dollars to pay for important programs. Rather than take bold steps to halt drilling in the face of compelling evidence, your Democratic legislators are proposing a plan that will institutionalize it.
Their plan is consistent with those being proposed by all of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates who want to pay for education with a severance tax. It is a proposal that is simultaneously pro-education and anti-child. Children are being adversely affected by shale gas development every day. Children are among the people relying on replacement water. Children are among those whose health problems are being documented. We’re only beginning to learn about the risk of birth defects related to fracking. Children are suffering the insults as well as the injuries gas drilling brings. Last year, 7 and 10 year old children were dragged through a protracted legal case when a drilling company imposed lifetime gag orders on them so that their parents could negotiate a settlement that would allow them to move their children out of the contaminated home that had lost its value. And, of course, children everywhere will inherit the long term impacts, and costs, of gas drilling.
As those more than 270 peer reviewed studies remind us, we didn’t know a fraction of what we should have known before we let the first unconventional well go in more than a decade ago. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille summed it up beautifully in the landmark Act 13 ruling last December, “By any responsible account, the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.”
And the best Democrats can do is tax it?
Karen Feridun, a resident of Kutztown, is founder of Berks Gas Truth, president of the Kutztown Area Democratic Club and holds membership in numerous other groups.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: The 'Benefits' of Fracking?

On March 27, 2014 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart did a satirical piece on the 'benefits of fracking' featuring real Bradford County, PA residents Christine Pepper, Carol French, Dan Natt, Carolyn Knapp, and Triple Divide documentary film makers, Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.
Photo: My brother and Melissa on the daily show ��

Truth in humor: The segment was intended to be quite funny - and it was, but more importantly a satire to bring national attention to the very real harm and abuse being levied on the residents of rural Pennsylvania, and everywhere that unconventional shale gas/oil extraction is taking place.

It also highlights the misleading "talking points" the industry relies on to promote their agenda as expressed by shale gas shill for the drill, Marita Noon, executive director of Energy Makes America Great, and Citizens for Responsible Energy.

(*If they were truly about "responsible energy", they would be promoting clean, safe, sustainable, renewable energy sources - but they're not.)

Ms. Noon claims that "fracking is safe and environmental groups use fear, uncertainty, and doubt to plant ideas into people's minds".

As someone living in the shale fields of the Marcellus in NE PA, I can assure you that there is no need for anyone to "plant ideas into people's minds".

The evidence of the negative, toxic, and destructive impacts of this extreme form of fossil fuel extraction surround our communities. Water contamination (161 confirmed cases documented by the PA Department of Environmental Protection), reduction in air quality, forest fragmentation, well blow-outs, pipeline leaks, failed well casings that are causing migration of methane, and toxic chemicals into fresh water aquifers, eminent domain abuse, loss of property value, heavy industrial truck traffic/traffic accidents,, damaged road ways, sickness, death, threats to public health and safety of our communities, the loss of a sense of security and peace in the sanctuary of our homes, etc., and all of the activity one would expect to see in any extreme industrial zone.

The problem is that this is not being restricted to "industrial zones". Instead, it is being inflicted upon what was once quite, rural, bedroom communities, family farms, and state lands that are supposed to be protected and preserved for recreational use in the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania".

These are the issues that industry operatives like Marita Noon doesn't want to address.

The oil and gas industry is NOT our "good neighbors", and have little to no respect for the communities they occupy.

If any individual, organization, or foreign entity inflicted the harm this industry has inflicted on the people of rural Pennsylvania, they would rightfully be charged with committing acts of terrorism, and prosecuted.

However, thanks to the revisions in the 2005 US Energy Policy Bill - drafted and sponsored by Vice President Dick Cheney [a former Halliburton CEO], the oil and gas industry was made exempt from many EPA regulations, as well as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Superfund Laws, they are not held to the same standards as every other industry. They have also lobbied to have many of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process deemed as "proprietary trade secrets" making it nearly impossible to hold them responsible for the unavoidable damage they cause by conducting this extreme industrial process.

Although I have never met Christine Pepper, I do know, Carol French, Carolyn Knapp (Christine's mother), and Dan Natt, and can vouch for their integrity, as I have witnessed much of the harm they've had to endure. These people are salt of the earth farmers. They are people of unimpeachable character. They know their land, they understand how to care for it, and they know when something is wrong. They are not what anyone would consider "tree huggers, or hysterical environmentalists". They are people whose right to clean water, clean air, and safety within their homes have been violated.

I also know documentary film makers Joshua Pribanic, and Melissa Troutman, personally, have had them as guests in my home, and can testify to their honesty, integrity, as well as their professionalism as journalists.

I suggest you watch this segment of the Daily Show, and while it's okay to smile and laugh the humor in which it is presented, keep in mind that these are real people who have been abused by the oil and gas industry.

The Daily Show: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/w5j292/the-benefits-of-fracking

I also recommend checking out Josh and Melissa's superbly done documentary Triple Divide for a more sober view of the impact this industry is having on the environment, the ecology, the aesthetic beauty, and the lives of the people of the Pennsylvania shale field extraction zones.

Triple Divide: http://tripledividefilm.org/

And remember... don't believe the industry's PR rhetoric, or the shills for the drills "talking points". Do your own homework! Visit the regions where this is happening, talk to the people who are living this industrial nightmare, see things for yourself, and most importantly, think for yourself.

John Trallo
Vice Chair Executive Committee,
Shale Justice Coalition
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vera Scroggins v Cabot Oil and Gas

They say that we should never underestimate the ability of a small group of people, or an individual, to make a huge difference.

That is especially true when it's the right "small group", or a strong and committed "individual". 

That is what can be said about Vera Scroggins. A Susquehanna County, PA grandmother and self-declared citizen journalist who decided to take on the oil and gas industry by documenting the destruction and abuse by Cabot Oil and Gas, and offering "toxic tours" to anyone who wanted to see unconventional gas drilling - aka: fracking - for themselves first hand.

Vera had been doing this for over five years. Showing average people, documentary film makers, journalists, celebrities, community leaders, and politicians, from around the world what fracking really looks like and the devastating effect it has had, and continues to have, on people living in shalefields of Northeast Pennsylvania.

Vera's decision to take on what is arguably the most powerful industry in the world, does not come without taking risks and personal sacrifice. Risk and sacrifices Vera was willing make.

Why? Because like many of us who have made the choice to stand-up and speak out, Vera cares about people, her children, her grandchildren, the future of Pennsylvania, and the planet.

Last year, as Vera's toxic tours and YouTube videos began to get national and international recognition, Cabot Oil and Gas - the company that poisoned an entire aquifer, destroyed the drinking water supply for much of Dimock, PA, and diminished the property value, quality of life, and threatened the health of more than 20 families on Carter Road, as documented in Josh Fox's documentary "Gasland", decided to attempt to silence Vera.

Vera hadn't broken any law, hadn't interfered with the company's operations, or in any way posed a threat to Cabot, or anyone else. Therefore Cabot, in a desperate attempt to intimidate Vera and send a message to other concerned citizens who were speaking out against this extreme natural gas extraction process, filed and won an injunction against Vera barring her from setting foot on 312.5 square miles of Pennsylvania, including restaurants, shopping centers, doctor's offices, and many other public places most people regularly frequent.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/29/vera-scroggins-fracking-activist-pennsylvania   

This outrageous injustice levied on this 62 year old grandmother/activist and founder of the grassroots organization, Citizens for Clean Water, didn't go un-noticed.

This violation of her 1st amendment right of free speech, and her constitutional right to mobility caught the attention of ACLU attorneys who have stepped up to defend Vera, pro-bono.

On Monday, March 24, 2014, Vera had another day in court, this time to appeal this ridiculous and unjust injunction and violation of her rights.

Although no final decision was made, her attorneys made a strong case in her favor. There was an outpouring of support for Vera from citizens and activists from across the state and beyond who showed up in court to witness her appeal.

Why is this case so important? If Cabot gets away with this bogus 'slap suit' against Vera Scroggins, it will set a dangerous precedent and the oil and gas industry will use this as a legal precedent to silence anyone who dares to tell the truth about their activities.

We can not allow that to happen. Vera deserves our full public support. If Cabot gets away with silencing Vera, who is going to be next?

I, along with many others, was proud to stand with her and the crowd of other socially, environmentally, and morally responsible citizens at the Montrose Court house today, and intend to be there with her in solidarity when the judge announces his final decision.

We all need to stand in support of each other if we are to win this battle for our children, and our children's children and stop this industry from advancing. I refuse to accept, or believe this fight to protect our families and our way of life is a lost cause.

At a press conference following the hearing on Monday, Vera and her attorneys spoke to the press and answered questions.

To hear this press conference and hear Vera's own words as to why she does what she does, and will continue to speak out, click on this link to the video: "Vera Scroggins v Cabot Oil and Gas on my Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKazb8AiJEs&list=UUEWwQRI3qXtuLt6p30OusQQ   

To view a complete set of still photos taken by my Shale Justice Coalition colleague, Dr. Wendy Lynne Lee, go to:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendylynnelee/sets/72157642865631153/