Green Party garners reaction across PA from natural gas protests

Yesterday, local Green Parties and Greens across Pennsylvania participated in protests against natural gas drilling in the state.  There was a protest at each regional Department of Environmental Protection, including one in the state capital, Harrisburg.  A press release announcing the protests can be found here.

I (Ross Levin) attended the rally in Norristown, which is the county seat of Montgomery County.  There were no more than twenty people there, but we made ourselves heard.  We stood outside the regional DEP building with signs and a microphone, and we told them that we want a moratorium on new gas drilling and significant studies and regulations for existing drills.  Green Party candidate for US Senate Mel Packer was there to speak, as were Green Party candidates for state representative Hugh Giordano and Ed Bonsell.  Most, if not all, of the attendees were Green Party members.

A video of the Norristown demonstration accompanies an article about it, which can be read in its entirety here.

A group of protestors stormed the Regional Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) offices on Earth Day, Thursday, to demand the resignation of DEP Secretary John Hanger and speak out against gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

Among the demands of the Green Party of Philadelphia, the group, which largely organized the demonstration, were an immediate moratorium on horizontal hydrofracturing in the commonwealth, a freeze on new Marcellus Shale drilling permits and an environmental impact statement assessed for state gas drilling…

“We’re here today because the DEP, which is supposed to protect people, is in fact protecting corporations,” said Giordano.

In Williamsport, the Sun-Gazette reported on one of the smaller of such protests:

Two activists opposing the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling showed up outside the state Department of Environmental Protection regional office here…

The group members demanded an immediate moratorium on all horizontal hydrofracturing, a suspension of drilling-related water withdrawals anywhere in the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin watersheds and, if necessary, the immediate resignation of DEP secretary John Hanger.

The event in Wilkes-Barre was one of the more well-attended and well-organized ones.  Greens such as Jay Sweeney, who was elected to be a township auditor in a partisan election last year and is running for state representative this year, and Carl Romanelli, who ran for US Senate in 2006 as a Green and was infamously charged with the legal fees for being thrown off the ballot, were in attendance, along with other Greens and people from different organizations.

From the Standard Speaker:

The Green Parties of Northeastern Pennsylvania coordinated a rally/protest on Public Square on Thursday, in the shadow of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s eastern regional office.

“I hope they’re listening across the street,” said Jay Sweeney of the Wyoming County Green Party. “No more permits, no more fracking, and we demand (DEP Secretary) John Hanger’s resignation. He is not the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce.”

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which involves sending millions of gallons of water deep into the earth to break up the shale and release natural gas, came under fire.

“From day one, the Pennsylvania Green Party has been opposed to allowing fracking and gas drilling in Pennsylvania,” Carl Romanelli, co-chairman of the Luzerne County Green Party and master of ceremonies, told the approximately 50 people gathered around.

And from the Times Leader:

Members of the Luzerne County Green Party held a rally on Public Square around lunchtime Thursday explaining their fears that gas companies drilling throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania will cause more environmental harm than good by drilling.

This year was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the international movement to bring awareness to economical issues.

Party co-chairman Carl Romanelli thinks the state needs to enact stiffer guidelines to protect the water resources because the gas drillers were given what he called a loophole in 2005 in the federal Clean Water Act.

For some additional information, see an opinion piece that I wrote yesterday (which does not reflect the views of IPR or anyone else but myself), “No Fracking Way!

4 thoughts on “Green Party garners reaction across PA from natural gas protests

  1. Ross Levin Post author

    BTW, if you watch that video, I’m the guy in the gray shirt with the big hair. Hugh is the one wearing a suit. Mel Packer speaks for a bit in it, and there are some other Greens in the video, too.

  2. charles

    Although most of the the people at the Norristown event were Green Party members, several other groups were represented as well, including Protect Our Waters and Energy Justice Network.

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