The fracking and petrochemical buildout in our region brings many hazards (detailed in this sign-on letter that I invite you to join in on -- you can sign as an individual or on behalf of an organization). One major component of the whole affair is an increasingly-complex system of pipelines. This May and June, we are taking a close look at some of the dangers, and learning how people are dealing with them. Last month we looked at problems with pipelines -- scars on the land, leaks and spills, landslides leading to explosions, and questionable construction methods. Now, for the 113th Sustainability Salon, we'll view pipelines from another angle. (photo above: A Pennsylvania pipeline site -- courtesy of FracTracker Alliance)
Last month, we learned about the hazards of the Falcon Pipeline (a nearly-completed 98-mile pipeline system being built to feed ethane from fracked gas to the Shell petrochemical facility near Monaca), and the Revolution (newly returned to operation after an explosion that rocked a neighborhood in Center Township). This time, we'll consider different approaches to level the playing field and empower citizens. Speakers will include:
Ginny Marcille-Kerslake is the Eastern Pennsylvania Organizer for Food and Water Watch, and a longtime pipeline activist. She will talk about her grassroots story, victories against the Mariner East II pipeline, and some of FWW's pipeline strategies.
Attorney Jen Clark of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services will survey legal issues surrounding the Falcon and other pipelines, and legal approaches for protecting public health.
Lois Bower-Bjornson is a dancer, a mom, and a field organizer for Clean Air Council, and also serves on the board of Center for Coalfield Justice. She has been fighting the health impacts of fracking and related infrastructure for years. Lois has spoken out on her family's experience in contexts from the Young Voices for the Planet educator workshops to her own Frackland Tours -- and has helped to pass legislation to control gas development in local towns.
Terrie Baumgardner is cofounder of Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community and an Outreach Coordinator for Clean Air Council. She'll introduce forthcoming legislation on setbacks (including all fracking infrastructure, not just wells) that is based on that organization's Protective Buffers Campaign, and aligns with the Attorney General’s Grand Jury report recommendations. These bills will need our amplification and support, and she'll tell us how! (even more information here)
Karen Feridun, a founder of Berks Gas Truth and Better Path Coalition, will talk about the reforms we need at the national level, in the way that FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) works (or doesn't).
And when it doesn't, communities need to speak up. The Line 3 Pipeline is slated to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the shores of Lake Superior, through the headwaters of the Mississippi River and the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples. Four Pittsburghers recently traveled to Minnesota to take part in the Treaty People Gathering, with direct-action trainings and blockades. Renzy, Javin, and two Shannons will share their reflections in a panel discussion.
If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden and solar installation (and now apiary!) as well as the many other green and interesting things around our place. If interested folks are online and everything is working smoothly by around 3:30, perhaps I can conduct a virtual tour.