Shannon in Pennsylvania: Suddenly Downstream

Why I'm Coming to Columbus — Duncan @ 4:14 pm

This post was written by Shannon P, who lives in Pennsylvania, but is coming to Columbus in June to tell Gov. Kasich: Don’t Frack Ohio. To join her and thousands of others in Columbus, click here to sign up for the action

At 42, I’m suddenly an activist. I never thought I would be. I never thought I would have to be.

I live in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, where 44,000 barrels of fracking waste water were dumped in our local Neshaminy Creek, with no notice to our community. Our homes are 4 hours from the nearest fracking wells, so this water was trucked in and dumped on us. The trucks that dumped the water drove off to whatever other jobs they were called for, but their legacy continues.

There was no notice to residents, but there was also no notice given to “Aqua” our public water provider. My Aqua records show, not testing was done for the MANY carcinogenic chemicals well known to fracking wastewater during the dumping. Upon learning this, I was terrified to use my water. I asked friends and neighbors if they knew about the incident, but no one did. No one knew what fracking was. But that was about to change.

Our Neshaminy creek not only feeds our public water supply, it also feeds the Delaware River ecosystem, a National Wild and Scenic River landmark. Oh yes, and the drinking water supply for 15 million people.

After the dumping, our water reports showed elevated levels of heavy metals. So I got involved.

I volunteered with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to stand on the street and get petitions signed, to make flyers, to write and call state and local representatives, and to attend key events. I learned most people don’t know what fracking is, how it impacts their local laws, or what they can do to understand how it’s changing their family’s future.

I hope to share what I’ve learned about our experience here in Pennsylvania with citizens from all 50 states.

People talk about fracking as if it’s a done deal. “You’re never gonna stop it”, they’ll say. But the fact is, this horizontal drilling practice is new, has just begun, and is only ramping up at lightning speed with the help of corrupt politicians who want to see more drilling money in their pockets.. This is only the beginning.

This is only the beginning of a huge industry and more people need to know what is happening to their land, water and air and what has happened to their laws. This practice will put renewable energy back 20 years, and we can’t afford to have that happen.

Here are the questions we need to answer: Where do you want your money spent? Who do you want to control our land? How do you want to pay for your energy?

And most importantly: What will we say to those of us who are downstream? What will you do when YOU are downstream?

  1. Tim Kearney says:

    There should a complete moratorium on fracking in PA.  Does not anyone remember the coal industry legacy?  Centralia? Slag heaps? Poisonous coal mine water seepage into our creeks and ground water?  Sinking homes in my mother’s home town of Coaldale?  No bonds! No clean-up! No one held accountable! No relief! 

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