Green Party of PA notes pro-drilling stance of Shale panel

Green Party of PA notes pro-drilling stance of Shale panel: Asks League

of Women Voters to invite real environmental proponents and people from affected communities

The League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County is hosting a forum on Marcellus Share, Wednesday, January 20 at the University of Scranton. All three panelists are known to support natural gas extraction.

The League of Women Voters, in partnership with Scranton University's Task Force on Sustainability, invited speakers from the natural gas industry, the state Department of Environmental Protection (sic) and Penn-Future.

The panel, as constituted, provides an opportunity for the corporations profiting from unsustainable energy production and fossil fuel extraction to team up with the state agency that issues permits for the drilling and a so-called environmental advocacy non-profit that supports the drilling and advocates for an extraction tax, not a halt to the environmental destruction.

Noticeably absent from the list of invited speakers are citizens from communities where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has ruined aquifers, land value, surface water, and where the poisoned waste water is being dumped. Nor would it be enough for the League to include token opposition to the gas rush. The subtext of this event suggests that the invited panelists constitute the mainstream point of view. As such, the League appears to have loaned its resources and good name to a propaganda effort intended to normalize the idea that Pennsylvania's municipalities are simply resource colonies to be exploited, and that those unlucky enough to live above the Marcellus Shale formation must adjust to their communities being treated as sacrifice zones.

Penn-Future will host its own "Marcellus Shale Muster" on January 30th "to build a strong coalition in support of a natural gas extraction tax and protection of public forest and park land." Putting a tax on environmental destruction, like cap and trade, is not environmental protection, but the commoditization of the ecosystem. The League’s choice of Penn-Future as the "environmental" voice on their panel is more than curious.

The League, though perhaps intending to advance non-partisan, "neutral" venues for debates and discussions, clearly requires a practical education about the partnership between resource colonizers of Pennsylvania communities like - Chesapeake and Range Resources corporations, the regulatory agencies, and green-washing "environmental" advocacy non-profits like Penn-Future.

Jay Sweeney, Secretary of the Wyoming County Green Party and Auditor of Falls Township said, "I have nothing but admiration for the work the League of Women Voters has done for democracy in this country. I am also glad to see the League has decided to put forth the effort to get a pulse of the people on drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale. However, I must express my grave disappointment in the lack of an opposition point of view in the upcoming forum at the University of Scranton."

The Green Party has actively criticized expanded natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania since 2008. The Party is particularly concerned about the effects of the hydrofracturing procedure used to extract natural gas on water - both in terms of overall usage and contamination.

Green Party of Pennsylvania