Think Nationally. Act Rationally. Stop the Frack Attack in Dallas

by Downwinders on July 27, 2012

We want to extend a big ol' thank you to all those Barnett Shale residents who are in our nation's capital right now getting ready to attend the largest national rally on fracking ever held in the US.

Former DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman, Earthworks' Sharon Wilson, former Decatur resident and gas victim Tim Ruggiero, are all among those up in Washington, giving interviews and raising constructive hell with the Texas Congressional delegation. Along with Don Young and CANDO, Gary Hogan and the folks at the North Central Texas Communities Alliance, and Susan Read in Grand Prairie, these are the most stalwart heroes of our local Shale fight.

Going on seven years now, they've been taking on the Oil and Gas industry in Texas (spend a moment thinking about what that means) on behalf of not only their own neighborhoods, but ours as well. And they started without all the evidence we have now about the hazards of fracking – known and unknown. All they had was their common sense and intuition.

And it was very lonely. For so long it was only the Barnett Shale that was in play. Only the middle of the country, in places where the nation's press wasn't headquartered, where celebs didn't have their summer homes, where, it seemed, nobody that could help them, cared about them.

Traditional environmental groups who they thought might side with them were instead being funded by their opponents because "natural gas was so much cleaner than coal." Non-traditional ones, like Downwinders we're sorry to say, were just not paying enough attention or had their own full agendas. So this first generation of fracking opponents had to start from scratch, with none of the resources, expertise, or support that just about any other environmental cause could expect to receive.

But they kept at it. And they built a huge library of real world knowledge about fracking. Not the theoretical PR clams, but what actually happens to people and land when the rigs show up. Their knowledge was so essential that a budding film maker named Josh Fox knew he had to make the Barnett Shale one of the stops to talk with them for his new film "Gasland." Their knowledge was going national just like the drilling.

Because as usually happens, greed got the better of an industry. The gas companies couldn't stop with the Barnett, or other rural western plays. They had to go east, to Pennsylvania, to New York, within hours of Manhattan. They began to imperial the summer homes, or water sources, or views, or health of very rich and powerful people who have access to more resources than your average angry DFW resident. Fracking got more media attention. It got more research attention in academia. It's becoming a part of popular culture. David Letterman is now ranting about fracking.

And tomorrow's rally in DC makes it official – fracking is now a national environmental controversy that's forcing citizens to build a national environmental movement. At the center of that movement, and somewhere in the center of that crowd tomorrow, stands those folks from the Barnett Shale who are finally seeing their cause get the kind of attention it deserves. It will be a banner day. Better late than never.

How can you help that movement if you're not in DC this week? By exploiting every opportunity to use what we now know about Fracking thanks to those early activists.

The largest city in the Barnett Shale is in the final stretch of writing a new gas drilling ordinance. This Wednesday at 1 pm on the 6th floor of Dallas City Hall, the City Council will be receiving its second briefing on the hazards of fracking. We need you there to show the Council you're interested in seeing a strong and protective ordinance. In Dallas, we have a chance to make progress in making the industry begin to pay for its own pollution, to set precedents that will be important. We can win. We can make things better. We can honor those whose work has given us a multitude of evidence of harm by using it to grab this Dallas ordinance by the horns and make the most out of it. Want to support the national anti-fracking movement? Think Nationally. Act Rationally in Dallas.

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