Wednesday, September 21, 2011

'Fracking' protesters say drilling jobs not worth environmental risks

September 20, 2011|By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Charlotte Bevins' long blond hair blows in the wind as she stands amid protesters, her eyes red and puffy from crying.

Just four months ago, Bevins' brother, Charles, lost his life in a drilling accident in central New York. He was 23, a father of two small children.

Gazing at the ground, Bevins tightens her grip on the handles of the baby stroller that cradles her young niece while hundreds of protesters lining the nearby streets wave signs and yell around her.

No fracking way. No fracking way. No fracking way, the crowd chants.

Bevins recently made the trek from West Virginia to Philadelphia, with her mother and her late brother's son and daughter, to join up with other protesters calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

The "Shale Outrage" rally took place outside a gas industry conference at the city's convention center this month.

Inside, industry lobbyists and gas company executives were touting the natural gas boom in northeastern Pennsylvania and networking with officials, including Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and former U.S. homeland security secretary.

Outside, the angry mob continues to chant and wave signs before marching to Gov. Tom Corbett's office near City Hall.

Ban fracking now. Ban fracking now. Ban fracking now, the crowd chants.

The rally not only targeted the shale gas conference attendees, but also served to drum up support and awareness for a critical public hearing on the issue on October 21.

It is the last public hearing before the Delaware River Basin Commission will vote on whether or not to open the Delaware River watershed to hydraulic fracturing.

Underneath the river basin is the mighty Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas deposits in the nation, found in parts of Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Fracking opponents received a boost last month when the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas.

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