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article imageOp-Ed: Yoko Ono & 'Artists Against Fracking' visit Pennsylvania

By Anne Sewell     Jan 25, 2013 in Environment
Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, started a petition against fracking in New York. They were then invited to visit communities in Pennsylvania to see the actual impacts and effects of fracking, up close and personal.
Together with their friend Susan Sarandon, and honored by being joined by Mahatma Ghandi's grandson, Arun Ghandi, they headed off to Pennsylvania to find out for themselves the effects of this controversial method of gas extraction. They also invited members of the press to travel along with them.
They drove into the quaint town of Montrose, PA, only to be upset by the sight of a gas pad of four drills, with a hissing pressure release. There was a giant compressor station under construction, a drilling rig which reached to the sky, and a whole load of huge trucks, full of sand and toxic chemicals running around on narrow dirt roads. Not so quaint after all.
However, the sight of the beautiful landscape being ruined was not all, as the group then met the residents, whose homes and lives have been forever changed because of fracking.
Among the people they met were Vera Scroggins, Craig Stevens, Rebecca Roter, Frank Finan, Ray Kemble and the Manning family. The video above includes an interview with Tammy Manning about the pollution of their well and ground water.
None of these residents can drink water from their own wells any more, even though they are on their own properties, due to the poisoning of the fracking process. They cannot use their well water to drink, to wash dishes, to bathe, do laundry or to cook food. In effect, these families have to buy water every day, despite the fact that they have their own wells, on their own properties, that used to supply them with fresh healthy water.
As Manning says in the video, they have to run the water to prevent methane gas from building up and possibly causing an explosion. When they do this, they have to ensure that their windows are open, as the gas could then poison them. It is a dreadful situation, and there is apparently no way to reverse this.
Sean Lennon  Yoko Ono  and Arun Ghandi visit with families impacted by dirty fracking operations in ...
Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Arun Ghandi visit with families impacted by dirty fracking operations in PA.
Artists against Fracking
"Our water was bubbling in our well. It looked like a full running boil in our well," said Tammy Manning, 45.
"We don't want to have to leave," she added. "We just bought the house. But if we've no water what can we do."
Naturally, when their water went bad, their property values declined, making it difficult to even sell and move to a healthier place to raise their families. "I don't think we can sell it with no water. We're stuck," said Manning.
What makes it worse is that the gas companies are accusing these defenseless people of lying. However, the Artists against Fracking group saw the brown smelly water in the homes they visited, and even took samples away with them.
Yoko Ono  Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon hold water from Ray Kemble s kitchen sink.
Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon hold water from Ray Kemble's kitchen sink.
Artists against Fracking
During their visit to Pennsylvania, the Guardian reports that the group was somewhat attacked by filmmaker, Phelim McAleer, in Dimock, who is pro-fracking. McAleer apparently approached the group's bus with a cameraman. McAleer apparently then loudly accused Ono, Lennon and Sarandon of acting in the interests of the "1%" in their opposition to the practice.
The Irish filmmaker then apparently lost his trilby hat in the mud when he heckled the activists and got heckled back. McAleer was also in the news recently after accusing Matt Damon, star of the new film, Promised Land which deals with the subject of fracking, of being a "liar."
Apparently a panel discussion about the movie featured Damon and Damon said that the movie wasn’t political. “I don’t want to call Matt Damon a liar but he’s a liar, really,” McAleer said. “It’s a deeply political movie and it’s deeply disingenuous for Matt Damon to say otherwise. … Matt Damon isn’t telling the truth.”
In the latest incident in Pennsylvania, McAleer shouted at them and cited EPA studies, that the group says are incorrect, saying that the drinking water in Dimock was safe.
Yoko Ono sincerely hopes that Governor Cuomo will make the same tour as they did before making any decisions on whether to allow fracking in New York.
While its too late for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Ono is hoping that Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania will visit the same families and homes as the group did, to stop the industry from spreading further in that beautiful state.
Ono and Artists against Fracking are also urging President Obama to take a trip to Pennsylvania and to set aside any notion he may have of depending on fracking instead of true clean energy. Ono says that industry documents prove that these wells crack and leak, more and more over time. This cannot be prevented and once it occurs, cannot be fixed, thousands of feet below ground.
Anyone who wishes to prevent this same awful situation happening in New York can sign the petition here, and learn more about the dangers of fracking here.
Video: Actor Mark Ruffalo talks against fracking in New York:
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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