Washington, D.C. – Today, more than 100 families personally affected by fracking sent a letter to President Obama asking for him to meet with them in advance of the Democratic National Convention, where impacted people from across the country will be coming to participate in a march calling for a ban on fracking and extreme fossil fuel extraction and a swift transition to renewables.
“We are here to ask you and ranking EPA officials to meet with our families to hear the personal testimonies – how they have been harmed by the oil and gas industry, and how they have been abandoned by local, state, and federal agencies and officials,” says the letter, coordinated by Friends of the Harmed, an all-volunteer, direct-service organization providing relief to families affected by fracking in Pennsylvania with support from Food & Water Watch, the first national advocacy organization to call for a ban on fracking.
“Your trip to Flint, Michigan, the veto against the Keystone XL Pipeline, and recent statements around action on climate change show you care and understand people have a right to clean water, clean air, and a healthy planet,” says the letter, which asks President Obama to meet with the many affected families who will be coming across the country to march at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to demand a “Clean Energy Revolution.”
“President Obama should take the opportunity to provide bold leadership and acknowledge that fracking comes at a cost to families and to communities,” said Dana Dolney, Director of Friends of the Harmed and publisher of Shalefield Stories. “It’s not too late to provide leadership on fracking as part of his lasting legacy for the history books.”
"I've seen firsthand the appalling lack of federal and tribal action to prevent, mitigate, and enforce regulations on the oil industry that not only effects the land, air, water and our health, but also led to an increase in violence—in particular, violence against Native women— and there is little justice because, by law, tribal and non-tribal law enforcement cannot exert criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives on tribal land," said Cedar Wilkie Gillette, a member of the MHA Nation in North Dakota.
“We’re labeled as radicals,” said Lois Bower-Bjornson, a mother of four from Washington County, Pa. “But it’s the industry that is being allowed to radically alter our future and our lives with no consequences."
Late last week, the DNC Platform drafting committee voted to leave a ban on fracking out of the DNC platform, to the disappointment of climate activists and affected communities alike.
“Pennsylvania, the host state of the DNC, has been ravaged by fracking, yet President Obama and the Democratic establishment continues to ignore the negative impacts it has on people there and across the country,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Direct service organizations like Friends of the Harmed should not be the only place for affected communities in Pennsylvania to turn. We need our federal and state agencies to stop sweeping fracking harms under the rug.”
Friends of the Harmed has compiled two publications that include personal testimonials of affected individuals. Shalefield Stories, Vol. 2 is available for a small donation to Friends of the Harmed. All public donations go into a direct aid fund to provide relief to impacted families in the gas fields of the Marcellus in the form of replacement water, air filters and independent testing. For more information, visit shalefieldstories.org.
Contact: Seth Gladstone, sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 347.778.2866