A Successful Fracking Protest in Pennsylvania

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In July 2012, Earth First! activsts successfully shut down a fracking operation in Pennsylvania’s Moshannon State Forest.

A nation addicted to petroleum and natural gas will find a fix, no matter how desperate. Though hydraulic fracturing contaminates ground water, pollutes the air, and scars the land, it’s been difficult to stop. Gas and oil companies have even won subsidies and exceptions to public health protections to continue fracking. But in July, Earth Island Journal (July 9, 2012) reported that protestors from Marcellus Earth First! succeeded in temporarily shutting down a fracking site in Moshannon State Forest in Pennsylvania.

Tree sitters hung above the access road while groups of protestors stood behind roadblocks of gathered branches, obstructing access and halting a drill rig. Police arrested three activists and dispersed the blockade around 9 p.m. By then, the drill rig had retreated, likely creating “a costly disruption for a handful of wells in the area,” writes Marcellus Earth First! (July 10, 2012) The fracking protest victory was momentous for U.S. opponents of hydro-fracking.

This was one in a series of Pennsylvania protests, where more than half the state’s forests have been leased for fracking. Activists are emerging elsewhere, too. In Ohio, where most of Pennsylvania’s toxic and radioactive wastewater is hauled after drilling, one woman chained herself to concrete barrels, delaying operations at that well.

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