By Walker Foley
Pennsylvania lies at the heart of the fracking controversy in the Marcellus Shale. Activists recently discovered that the Department of Environmental Protection covered up 161 cases confirming water contamination linked to fracking. Gag laws silence doctors treating sickened patients, stifling their contributions to greater medical understanding of the process’s effects on public health. Moreover, no one knows exactly what is in the chemical cocktail used in fracking, as that information is considered a trade secret. Despite this, party leadership on both sides of the aisle walks almost hand in hand on the issue. Both are seemingly pro-fracking, and many accept industry campaign contributions.
But Karen Feridun of the group Berks Gas Truth achieved the unthinkable, shaking up the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s pro-fracking platform. Together with Sue Lyons, Feridun was instrumental in convincing the state’s Democratic party to support a moratorium on fracking—much to the chagrin of many of its leaders.
I recently had the chance to speak with Karen on her recent victory. We hope her story can inspire and aid similar actions in other communities.