Join Croatan Earth First! in opposing shale gas (fracking) at the DENR public hearing Tuesday March 27th in Chapel Hill

michelle's picture

This is a call out to pack the meeting on Tuesday March 27th.  Meet outside East Chapel Hill High School by 5:15 p.m. at 500 Weaver Dairy Rd.   It’s important to show up early to sign up to speak before the hordes of pro-gas people take up all the public statement time like in last week’s hearing in Sanford. Speakers are cut off after #50.  After signing up, join us outside for a demonstration. We’ll supply the banners, chants, and signs. No signs are allowed inside the meeting, so we recommend decorating or spray-painting a t-shirt to wear with anti-fracking slogans on it.   Here's a basic tutorial on how to stencil images on a shirt using paint or spraypaint: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HJ9csk2C3g


Many groups are taking part in the hearing including Clean Water for North Carolina, Cumnock Shale Preservation Society, The Sierra Club, Haw River Assembly, and many individuals living around the Piedmont. Talking points can be found here.  The hearing will begin inside at 6:30 p.m. and last until 9:30 p.m. Talking points in response to their study can be found here. We found it particularly disturbing that DENR had no plan for what to do with the millions of gallons toxic, “produced” water created in the process. There are no safe options. Deep well injection is illegal in NC, and the other option is shipping it out of state to ruin the water in other communities or sending it to water treatment facilities that admit they are not equipped to filter out these salts, chemicals, and radioactive materials.

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DENR Shale Gas Report Released

Contrary to the industry’s history and all common sense, DENR has concluded that fracking “can be done safely in NC,” … “as long as the right protections are in place.” We disagree! Every fracking operation around the country has shown the opposite to be true: spills, blow-outs, toxic chemicals in the aquifers and rivers, city water supplies contaminated, cattle deaths, drinking water wells contaminated, strange neurological diseases and cancers developing in affected communities… We are unwilling to accept these risks for a small economic boom that will bust in the following 40 years. That’s not even one lifetime, and the people and animals living in the Piedmont will the experiencing the consequences many years into the future. Natural Gas energy is an unacceptable trade-off  After this report, it’s important for every person who doesn’t want their land and water to be fracked to show up for these meetings and speak their mind. Join our demonstrations outside and go inside with a prepared speech. The land, water, animals, communities, and future generations in North Carolina are depending on you to speak out!

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Total votes: 7

13 Comments

Ed Harrison's picture

I'll be there

representing 7/9 of the Chapel Hill Town Council, which passed the resolution I brought to the table tonight opposing fracking unless extremely strong laws and regulations are in place. The word is -- wear blue, for clean water.  Ed Harrison

penny rich's picture

opposed

Gene Pease - not enough info. didn't agree with the argument presented last night.Matt CZ - didn't want to vote. Threatened to get up and leave before the vote was taken, but was told that if he left his vote is a yes vote. 

not voting

Matt didn't want to vote on something there had been no time to review and understand. He and Gene both felt like that. Matt asked if he could be excused from voting because he didn't understand the issues and Gene simply said he couldn't vote for something he didn't understand the full implications of.While I don't support fracking, I value council members who do not make decisions simply because it is the majority view.  

Laurin Easthom's picture

not voting

Yes Terri this is correct about Matt. Sitting up there, I didn't see Matt "threatening to get up and leave"...Matt asked Ralph procedurally if he had to vote because he didn't know enough about the issue generally.  I wondered immediately about this as it was happening because I have found myself in a position in the past of voting "no" on something because I didn't think the item should be voted on without more information (for me).  Gene actually had done some research on the subject (he cited general research on this) and he had an email out to council earlier in the week that he wasn't going to support the resolution.   

I was watching

Matt asked specifically what would happen if he left and he clearly stated that he didn't know enough to vote on the petition. Council members, I hope, don't vote for or against something simply because it comes with an "environmentalist" label or because someone else who is labelled an environmentalist says it's a good thing to vote on. 

How things are characterized

Geoff,The following is a transcription (which I think is about 95% accurate) of my exchange with the Town Attorney shortly before the vote.MEC: "Because I don't know enough about this I don't want to vote ... so is a Council member allowed to abstain unless they aren't present?"Town Attorney: "There are no abstentions so if you're not here and haven't been excused your vote is yes .... it's an agenda item." Council Member Rich's response to Damon's question asking who opposed the motion prompted you to ask "why did he (Matt Czajkowski) threaten to leave?  Seems strange".  I trust that you now have the facts to reach your own conclusion. Matt   

Some Additional Details

To my point of view there are some complexities regarding this question that lead me more to the position stated above by Ed, holding off until we have more info and proper regulations and safeguards.  I've published to columns on Chapelboro.com on fracking for anyone interested.  The first "To Frack or not to Frack" reviews the history and details of hydraulic fracturing as well as the Duke study on methane contamination of water supply.  The second "What a Fracking Mess"  is a summary of a draft EPA report issued in December of 2011 of significant water contamination in Pavillion, WY from a very poorly designed and implemented fracking operation. I am no expert in organizing protest actitivies, but I do believe that you can undermine your position with over-reach.  For example, the statement "Every fracking operation around the country has shown the opposite to be true" is not correct.  Fracking was invented in 1947 and approximately 90% of all wells in the US have been fracked since then.  Only a subset of these have resulted in contamination.I strongly agree with highlighting the management of the water extracted from the wells after fracturing.  The mismangement of this water represents a signficant risk to our water supply via spills or the utiliziation of water treatment facilities not adequate to handle them.  The technology to treat this water is known.  Any approval to proceed in NC should require the construction of an adequate facility rather than relying on nearby prexisting ones not designed for this service.The 40 year time line listed above is likely on the outer edge of the time frame.  Data suggests that the lifetime of shale gas wells are, on average, significantly less than this.   A risk not mentioned above is seismic activity.  The data linking fracking operations to increase earthquake activities is compelling.  The proximity of the proposed fracking operations and the Sheron Harris nuclear facility may be unmanageable.To me the overarching dilemma is this.  Over the coming decades we need to convert our energy systems and our economy to a non-fossil fuel basis.  This will require two key steps.  First we need massive improvements in energy efficiency so that our energy consumption per person is lowered by at least half.  Secondly we need to build solar electric, solar thermal, and wind energy facilities.  Building these facilities will require energy input.   If, in fact, NC does move forward with recovering natural gas via hydraulic fracturing I would like to see the legislation require that some of the energy and profit from the exercise be invested into alternative energy systems.  

Conflicting needs and interests

A few years ago, the Sierra Club pushed UNC to abandon coal as a fuel source. This was after Energy Services had already decided to purchase coal that was NOT mined through mountaintop removal. The Sierra Club representative on the chancellors energy committee (chaired by Tim Toben) strongly urged the university to use natural gas and/or renewables instead of coal.The problem with that proposal, as with the opposition of fracking, is that it does not leave any currently viable options for providing large volumes of energy except for nuclear power--and we know that is opposed too. So where does this leave us? Coal mining damages water sources and creates environmental justice problems; natural gas extraction is either through fracking or the Canadian shale oil fields; and nuclear has major waste disposal issues.Unless the majority of the country is willing to drastically change their lifestyles, we are stuck with one of these options for the near future. Jeff says that only a fraction of current fracking operations have caused contamination. But my understanding is that this is an issue like pharmaceuticals in the waste water--no contamination that we can accurately measure and knowingly attribute to fracking. To my way of thinking, water is the limiting resource. Without clean water we are sunk. So if the state wants to pursue fracking, we need to push for the technological development of tests and measurements that can accurately identify contaminants in the waterways over and above heavy metals, nitrogen, and other currently tested elements.In the meantime, the best way to oppose fracking, coal, and nuclear is to advocate FOR renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. 

Mark Chilton's picture

True, but some

True, but some not-so-drastic changes could reduce our energy demand significantly - more efficient cars, fuel-efficiency oriented planning, or even parking instead of using the drive-thru at the restaurant, etc.