This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Governor Wolf meets with anti-fracking experts

Pennsylvanians Against Fracking Urges Governor to Stop Fracking and Study Unaddressed Impacts

Harrisburg, Pa: Yesterday, frontline community members, scientists, and environmental advocates met with Governor Tom Wolf and members of his cabinet to urge him to halt shale gas extraction statewide to allow for a comprehensive assessment of its short- and long-term impacts on the Commonwealth. The meeting organized by Pennsylvanians Against Fracking included presentations by Dr. Robert Howarth of Cornell University, Dr. Yuri Gorby of Rensselaer Polytechnic, Jenny Lisak of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, Elaine Mamrek of Concerned Citizens Against the Easton Compressor, and Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth.

“It was encouraging to know that he’s willing to listen to citizens’ concerns. Now if only he would act now and soon before more Pennsylvanians are harmed. His policies shouldn’t be at the expense of healthy communities and healthy families. Pennsylvania families should be safeguarded, not sacrificed,” said Jenny Lisak, Co-Director of Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, a Pennsylvanians Against Fracking steering committee member.

“I was thankful for the welcoming reception we received from the Governor for this introductory meeting and am motivated by his offer to follow up with a more substantive, comprehensive engagement.  As this process moves forward, I strongly urge that the Governor focus on and address the  human health impacts currently being suffered by his citizens and take immediate action to protect them,” said Yuri Gorby, Ph.D., a Rensselaer Polytechnic microbiologist who has spent considerable time studying fracking’s impacts in Western Pennsylvania.

“Governor Wolf was very engaged and interested in what we had come to tell him.  He directly asked us what it would take to safely develop the gas.  The answer we gave is that so far, shale gas has not been developed in an acceptably safe manner anywhere,” said Robert Howarth, Ph.D., a Cornell earth systems scientist who, with his colleague, did groundbreaking research on methane migration and is well-known for his work on climate.

“In the end, shale gas makes no sense as a bridge fuel, since even with aggressive reduction of methane emissions, its greenhouse gas footprint will likely remain too large.  As the Governor and his staff continue to investigate the latest science on this topic and on the public health consequences, my hope is that Pennsylvania may join New York in banning this process and in moving to a 21st Century powered by renewable energy rather than extreme fossil fuels,” continued Dr. Howarth.

Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at