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Amy Mall’s Blog

Thousands of Americans unite in Washington to demand new rules for oil and gas development

Amy Mall

Posted July 28, 2012 in Health and the Environment

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Thousands of Americans from across the country united in Washington, D.C. today to rally in front of the U.S. Capitol and march through the streets to express their outrage about environmental harms from oil and gas development.

People traveled to Washington from North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, California, and probably more. Some even biked 400 miles to get to Washington. Citizens came from different political views, energy perspectives, generations, and backgrounds. Some were mineral owners, former oil and gas industry workers, farmers, and nurses. They voiced their concerns about clean water, clean air, global warming, toxic waste, and worker safety.

People joined together to show that this is an issue that crosses party lines and state borders. All Americans agree on the importance of clean air, clean water, healthy children, and safe communities. Everyone who rallied and marched today shares these desires and agrees on the need for drastic change in the direction of our energy policy--starting with a change in the rules for oil and gas development, including fracking. It was an amazing gathering of Americans who share a vision of a clean energy future. Below are a few of my photos from today.

 

Despite the brutal heat and humidity, about 5,000 people attended today's march and rally (by the way, to the right in the photo is the bike lane I am fortunate enough to be able to take to work every day):

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Bill McKibben was one of the speakers at the rally, along with citizens from Wyoming, Ohio, Colorado, Montana, and Texas--telling how oil and gas development damaged the health of their families, their communities, and their livelihoods, and other speakers including religious leaders from diverse faiths, filmmaker Josh Fox, Sierra Club President Allison Chin, and Catherine Thomasson, Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility:

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Participants marched from the U.S. Capitol to the offices of the American Petroleum Institute and America's Natural Gas Alliance--the lobbyists in Washington for the oil and gas industry:

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Participants from Bulter County, Pennsylvania, brought contaminated water from homes near natural gas production sites:

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Marchers called on Washington policymakers to invest in green jobs, including jobs in energy efficiency:

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Marchers voiced their support for renewable energy:

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The Bevins family of West Virginia came to share the story of their beloved son and brother, Charles Bevins III, who was killed last year in an accident in New York State where a well site was being prepared for drilling. According to his family, the operator of this wellpad cut corners and did not ensure workers were properly trained. It took one hour for emergency responders to get to him. As his family so aptly put it: "A life lost in the rush to drill." This rush to drill is leaving too many casualties in its wake:

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A few more photos:

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Comments

Vera ScrogginsJul 29 2012 08:36 AM

It was an honor and privilege to stand there with others to promote truly green energy over the destructive aspects of gas drilling...

Amy MallJul 29 2012 09:36 AM

Vera, thank you for coming to Washington. I felt the very same way.

Mark McCloskeyJul 29 2012 12:19 PM

Thank you for sharing these images.

louise lefebvreJul 29 2012 12:25 PM

I live in Quebec and I worried for your country and my country...this industry must stop...it is changing the climat and I thing this gaz industry is responsable of the dry climat of this summer

Dona SymanJul 29 2012 04:56 PM

We need to invest in a renewable energy infrastructure! The natural gas industry is evil, they quietly got those leases before the general public even knew what they were up to or the negative impact it would have on our lives. Evil!

terica luxtonJul 29 2012 09:29 PM

Wow this is the best coverage I have found on the event. I googled "DC frack protest july 2012 and got nothing worth posting on our page at https://www.facebook.com/LeeCoNcSayNoToFracking
but will be sharing your blog. Thanks for being there and sharing your adventure.
terica in NC

JoeVerdealJul 29 2012 10:00 PM

Horizontal drilling is absolutely vital to the future of our country. The "anti-frackers" beliefs are founded on bad science and their own whipped up hysteria. The development of American shale resources shall not be stopped....or delayed!!!

Laurie SJul 30 2012 12:13 AM

Noticeably absent from this report and the pics are the sentiments, many of which were clearly displayed in signs and banners, to BAN FRACKING NOW. That's where the movement is.

Andrea P.Jul 30 2012 12:41 AM

Thank you to everyone who braved the heat and marched!! I passed a former CCC camp while hiking in the woods - wouldn't it be great if our government created jobs in conservation again?

Lizzie RubensteinJul 30 2012 01:19 AM

Why hasn't any of this been on the news?! This was the first NATIONAL anti-fracking demonstration, yet no coverage!! Thank you so much for posting this, Amy! It was amazing and inspirational to be there yesterday!

Sharon WilsonJul 30 2012 03:04 AM

Thanks for being the media, Amy. It was great to see you, march with you and sweat with you. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement and the ice down my shirt when I nearly went down due to the horrible heat.

The greatest thing about the rally was the solidarity. We all want the same thing even if our path to get there is slightly different.

KathrynJul 30 2012 08:05 AM

I am proud to have been a part of this Rally ! It was amazing to see so many (THOUSANDS!) of folks who took the time - spent their own money and braved a long walk in the heat to support our right to clean water and air!! Thank you all!

Briget ShieldlsJul 30 2012 02:57 PM

Thank you Amy for posting this. It was a great weekend and so good to finally meet so many people I have been corresponding with for the past 3+ years in this struggle. I look forward to working with all of you to continue this fight. We will NOT give up until Fracking in America is Stopped.

Diane BeenyJul 30 2012 10:18 PM

What a fantastic and memorable day and such a passionate outpouring from people from all over. Met so many amazing people and I had a GREAT time chanting and singing from the roof of the Bus for Progress!! Thank you everyone who organized and/or was part of this incredible day and let's keep this momentum going! Love 2all!! We must work together to create a saner healthier greener world for everyone!

Mark OheJul 31 2012 09:30 AM

The message from the VAST majority at this rally and march was NOT "Please give us new rules." The message was "WE DEMAND A BAN!" It's time that the NRDC woke up to this fact. The movement has quickly progressed far beyond the NRDC's soft message.

Sharon WilsonAug 2 2012 03:31 PM

Dear Mark Ohe,

I live in Texas and had a farm in the same county where Mitchell Energy learned to frack oil and gas from the shale. We are saturated with drilling here so, while we very much want to see an end to fracking, asking for a ban is not realistic for us.

Asking for a ban in NY and other places where it has not already happened is totally realistic and appropriate and we Texans support you in that. What we most need right now is better rules so we can lessen the suffering.

We CAN all work together and support each other in the message that works best for our area. Please join me in that.

BTW, there has been a pipeline from Wise County, my backyard, to NY for about a decade.

Amy MallAug 2 2012 11:16 PM

Thanks for all the comments everyone! I agree it was an amazing and inspirational gathering.

Mark and Laurie: The blog title was not intended to leave anyone out; a ban would have to be implemented via a rule of some sort, but the blog post did not get into details. Rather it focused on the fact that thousands of people came to Washington to protest destruction and harm in their communities, as Sharon points out. I found one more photo in my camera and I am posting it to the blog--it is from Doddridge County, West Virginia -- I blogged about a spill there in 2009 when used frack fluid leaked out of a pit and into a creek, turning the water a rust color.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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