Monday, September 10, 2012


Until you see it for yourself, you can't fully appreciate what fracking does to a community. As Patti and I drove deep into the hills of Pennsylvania just south of the New York border, the first thing we noticed was the trucks on the road.

It's not just that they're really big. It's that there are so many of them. One after another, they race along tiny back roads, gears grinding, exhaust stacks belching and engines roaring as they head to or from fracking sites carrying steel tubes, diesel engines, silica sand, fracking chemicals, fresh water or toxic waste - destined for who knows where?

White pickup trucks dart around the countryside like large beetles carrying men in hard hats with grim expressions. (White, signifying purity, seems to be the color of choice for oil and gas companies and their ubiquitous security teams that keep onlookers and other undesirables - like us - far away from actual fracking sites.)

All over Susquehanna County, large swaths of forest and pastures are being hacked out and excavated to make way for giant pipelines used to connect the gas wells with sprawling compressor sites miles away. These gashes in the landscape serve as an apt metaphor for what's going on inside the community, as fracking - and the money it might bring to some - has divided families, neighbors and towns in a battle over the right of some to endanger the environment for all.

We met some truly amazing individuals on our visit to Susquehanna County - brave, inspiring individuals who are standing up for what's right, refusing to back down in the face of almost inconceivable odds. We were humbled to be in their presence and witness their strength of character.

We're creating some radio spots featuring the voices of the people we met in Pennsylvania. We hope their stories can inform the debate on fracking in New York.

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