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Marcellus Shale Earth First! is hosting the 2012 Earth First! Round River Rendezvous July 1-7 which will culminate in direct action against fracking in the Marcellus Shale region that includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. The Rendezvous is an annual convergence of radical eco-activists with workshops and trainings — the exact location will be announced closer to July.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a relatively new process for oil and natural gas extraction spreading rampantly across the US. It involves drilling deep down into the earth*s crust, then drilling horizontally and injecting hundreds of thousands of gallons of very high pressure water mixed with various chemicals and sand which fractures rock formations near the drill, allowing extraction of oil and gas. Drillers use a variety of up to 539 chemicals in frack jobs, including toxic or carcinogenic ones like benzene, lead, ethylene glycol, methanol, boric acid, and 2-butoxyethanol. Companies have refused to disclose which chemicals they inject into particular wells, citing trade secret protection.
Fracking can cause water contamination if drilling fluid leaks into aquifers or if fluid that comes back to the surface is not disposed of properly. There are thousands of frack wells in dozens of states including the Marcellus and also Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, Louisiana and New Mexico. Some wells can use millions of gallons of water. Fluid that returns to the surface contains drill chemicals as well as toxic or radioactive metals leached from rock underground. Some of this fluid is ending up in local rivers.
The expansion of fracking is increasing supplies of domestic oil and gas, causing natural gas prices to plunge. This is leading to increased reliance on gas to generate electricity, instead of non-polluting technologies like wind or solar, which are having a hard time competing with cheap gas. Drillers claim gas is a “green solution” since burning gas to make electricity emits less carbon dioxide that burning coal, but having easy access to cheap gas is prolonging reliance on fossil fuels and will ultimately increase CO2 emissions and global climate change.
Fracking is exempted from both the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act and remains under-regulated. Due to the depressed economy, lack of EPA oversight, and especially strong-arming of the gas companies, fracking is expanding even as many local communities organize to prevent contamination.
Direct action in July will fit in with MSEF*s work with local groups to build effective resistance in rural areas against fracking. No drilling! No compromise!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, occupywellstreet.blogspot.com, or Marcellusearthfirst.rocus.org for info.