The Green Party of Pennsylvania denounces the statements of acting PA Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and called for him to resign. Last week, Mr. Hanger said the economic benefits of drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale were worth the 'inevitable' environmental damage, including poisoning of some residents' water sources. According to Reuters, "He acknowledged that some of the chemicals could be dangerous to human health but said that risk has to be weighed against the benefits that will come from the exploitation of what he called the 'enormous' gas reserves contained in the Marcellus Shale." The same article mentioned that there are reports that the northeast PA town of Dimock has contaminated well water resulting from the 'fracking' process used in gas drilling.
"John Hanger should hand in his resignation. He is not protecting our water," said Jay Sweeney, Green Party Wyoming County. "I attended a meeting a few weeks ago about this. Dimock residents were very upset that they are not getting results from DEP or their State Representative," Sweeney concluded. "He is overemphasizing the benefits of drilling for gas and is willing to trade long term water contamination for a short term increase in the supply of natural gas in a time of diminishing water supplies worldwide."
Green Party of Erie County Chairperson Tim Reim agreed. Reim said, "No more compromise with corporate polluters and their DEP apologists like John Hanger. His tenure with PennFuture was marked by the 'greenwashing' of corporation after corporation, all in the name of supposedly environmentally friendly actions that in effect left Pennsylvanians with a degraded environment and the polluting corporations with a fatter bottom line. John Hanger can be counted on to do one thing only, and that is what his corporate masters tell him to do. Hey, he needs a job after this DEP gig - where do you think he's going to work next?"
As head of the DEP and the top environmental official of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Mr. Hanger should be the strongest protector of the clean air and clean water to which the Pennsylvania Constitution states all Pennsylvanians have a right. He should be serving the interests of all Pennsylvanians. DEP's mission is to, "protect Pennsylvania's air, land and water from pollution and provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment, working as partners with individuals, organizations, governments and business to prevent pollution and restore natural resources." His stated willingness to sacrifice the rights of some Pennsylvanians to clean water from their own wells and their health at risk so that the natural gas industry can profit privately, in contradiction of the DEP mission, violates and shames his office. He should resign. The Green Party of Pennsylvania renews its call for the prohibition of the hydrofracturing or 'fracking' process, a severance tax on all mineral extraction in Pennsylvania, a ban on drilling on public lands without the consent of the residents of the commonwealth, and implementation of a program of conservation, efficiency and true clean energy technologies, issued in an October 2008 statement.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania, is an independent political party founded on the four pillars of grassroots democracy, social justice, ecological wisdom and nonviolence.
For more information contact Jay Sweeney, 570-587-3603
Tim Reim, 814-838-1193 Hillary Kane, 267-971-3559
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