Public officials swear an oath to protect the people they serve. But what happens when your officials make decisions that put your health, home, or life at risk? UPDATE (March 30, 2015 11:00 AM Eastern): According to 9-year […]
Triple Divide is a tremendously moving film. To hear landowners and farmers speak of having their land rights and human rights violated was powerful and upsetting. I appreciate their willingness to honestly describe what they're going through. Their testimonies, along with the demonstration at the beginning of the film of how fracking representatives approach landowners, give audiences an idea of our collective vulnerability to the manipulations and deceptions of an uncaring and immoral industry. However, at the end of the film, one man's clarion call reminds us that we can always develop our collective strength. I love the bold and inspiring declaration of the landowner who says he will not succumb without a fight. That's what we all have to do to the extent that we are able: intelligently and peacefully resist. I think it's great that the film emphasizes the importance of high quality and exceptional streams and bodies of water that are being threatened by fracking operations and a lack of state protection. Perhaps the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) should be prosecuted for failing to punish industry/ company violations of the commonwealth laws in its state and endangering these vital water sources, aquifers, and thus the public health. Hopefully, residents will place more pressure on the DEP to execute its responsibilities in a more transparent and timely fashion. Triana Energy should refer to themselves not as "21st Century Explorers" but as 21st Century Colonizers. In fact, all of the natural gas companies depicted in the film could be labeled as 21st Century Colonizers as their profit-driven and short-term interests drive their destructive exploitation of already established communities.
I drove through Pennsylvania on the turnpike early Saturday. Past the billboards for “Affordable coal energy: Increasingly green and always red, white and blue” and “Wind dies, sun sets. You need reliable, affordable, clean coal electricity.” Past the giant wind turbines on the mountain ridge near Somerset. I picked up my brother in Pittsburgh, a frack-free zone, and headed for the western Pennsylvania premier of the film “Triple Divide” at the Butler Area Public Library. This part of the state is not frack-free. “Triple Divide” the documentary is impressive and disturbing storytelling about the free-for-all that is fracking in Pennsylvania. Triple divide the natural phenomenon sends the waters in fracked Potter County, Pa., into three North American watersheds. At this juncture, the Allegheny River heads west to the Ohio River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico, the Genesee River finds its way north to Lake Ontario, and the west branch of the Susquehanna River winds southeast through Maryland and into the Chesapeake Bay. As filmmaker Melissa Troutman says in the movie’s narration, “For the triple divide, everything is downstream.” These rivers form the ecological foundation for life in the region, not to mention providing drinking water for millions in and beyond the region.
Fracking can leave an unsightly, uneven, and dangerous trail - altered earth, polluted water, toxic waste, and neighbors with reported health problems ranging from dizziness to death. Jenny Lisak, co-director of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air (PACWA), curates reports of people impacted by shale gas extraction and development in the “List of the Harmed.” The list is ever-growing and gives names, locations, and symptoms as reported by those exposed to the shale gas industry’s negative effects. As of March 20th, 2013 there are 1,123 reported incidents on the “List of the Harmed.” FracTracker, a nonprofit that offers shale gas-related data storage, analyses, and mapping, recently visualized the “List of the Harmed” in an interactive map. “Part of the reason the FracTracker Alliance wanted to map the list is because it helps people understand the geographic distribution of incidents. We find that putting data on a map provides people with an intuitive understanding of impacts that are being felt in their communities in ways that columns and rows of raw data sometimes do not convey,” explains Matt Kelso, Manager of Data and Technology at FracTracker.