My name is Wendy Lynne Lee, and I’m a member of the Shale Justice Coalition. I’m an academic and a writer by profession, and a committed activist on behalf of social justice, animal welfare, and environmental integrity.
I also take a lot of pictures, and I have made it my project to document in words and photographs the drill pads, sand cans, compressors, open pits, the army of toxic waste tankers, the loss of habitat, the forest fragmentation, the creek and stream pollution, the substandard pipeline welds, the road destruction, the systematic decimation of plant, bird, mammal and aquatic wildlife, the spills, accidents, illnesses, and deaths caused directly or indirectly by industrialized fossil fuel extraction.
I am directly acquainted with the efforts of paid industry shills to silence and demonize public outcry, and I understand that for some, worn down by the ad hominems, the ridicule, and the industry lies, magnificent ecologies like Rock Run, the Clarence Moore Lands, Old Logger’s Path, and Devil’s Elbow Natural Area perhaps represent just one more ugly casualty in the quest for obscene profits.
But Loyalsock is more than just another casualty. Here’s why:
If we allow fracking and its polluting infrastructure here, there is nowhere left to call sacred.
And when there’s nothing left to conceive as sacred, there’s nothing left.
This is not because some places are more sacred than others; it’s not because we are prone, as the industry would have it, to some emotion that deters our capacity for reason and fact. It’s not even because “sacred” need have meaning beyond the tangible world.
It’s because if we allow for the industrialized extraction of one of the last truly wild places, we effectively concede any morally defensible claim we can ever make to care about an earth not wholly despoiled by human greed.
If we allow fracking here, we have literally no ground
upon which to take a stand anywhere.
And anywhere matters.
Anywhere includes the farms, the forests, the game lands, the parks, the communities, and our homes everywhere. Just as there is no negotiating with a psychopath, there is no negotiating with an industry who routinely resorts to bribery, economic coersion, extortion, manipulation, and green-washing to insure the smooth transition of verdant ecosystem to off-shore back account.
What I have seen over the last three years, what I have tried to document, read, research, and report makes clear to me—and to anyone who gives a tinker’s damn—is that the prospect of fracking in the Loyalsock, its neighboring lands, its far-flung regions, and the earth it forests is not merely immoral; it is absurd.
Industrialized extraction violates the very spirit of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Even more appalling, it undermines our wherewithal to act as responsible global citizens in the effort to mitigate climate change.
“Trust us” is the constant refrain we hear from the industry. “Clean, natural, abundant, and American!”
But we all know better.
In fact, we all know that this hearing is a charade and a farce—at least unless we the citizens demand that the Loyalsock’s DCNR marionettes, its elected representative puppets, and their corporate string-pullers listen—and then that they act on behalf of the Commonwealth.
What is even more absurd it that industrialized extraction is so wholly needless. We have alternatives. We are capable of significant conservation. What we lack is the political will and the courage to see the world liberated from the tyranny of Big Energy and the money-slimed collusion of government.
We must put an end to our resigned cynicism.
I am not here to ask nicely that my hiking trails not be obliterated.
I am here to demand an end to industrialized extraction.
No, Andarko. No, Inergy, No, CNYOG. You may not destroy the conditions of my and my children’s lives for the sake of your obscene profits.
You may not have the Loyalsock on my watch without resistance.
I, for one, will fight.
Wendy Lynne Lee