Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Defining Moment – What Comes First, Your Water and Air or a False Promise of Cheap Energy

 One of the defining moments of our time and for our region is here today.  Will we trade the water, air, food and health of thousands of communities and millions of people to smash gas from the ancient rocks that are part of our earth’s foundation?

Many are rightfully raising their voices up against this injustice, which is happening in many parts of the country but not yet in the Delaware River basin.  They are pointing to the tyranny that would allow private profits of big business like Hess and Exxon and Chesapeake to once again be built upon the forced sacrifice of hard-working people, communities and environments.

But raising our voices isn’t enough.

In 2000, when the Supreme Court decided who would become the next President of the United States many people spoke out in anger and demanded change but in the end nothing really happened.

When we learned conclusively that this country’s leaders deliberately lied in order to take this country into war many spoke up in outrage and shame but in the end nothing changed.

When the opportunity to provide genuine health care for all people in this country -- including those so desperately in need due to the misfortune of illness, or accident or corporate malfeasance – was dashed because of the “Don’t’ Kill Granny” marketing scheme, many rose up and spoke out, but when all was said and done the path of the politicians didn’t really change.

In 2009, when the Army Corps exempted itself out of its obligation to comply with federal and state laws before instituting a $277 million dollar deepening project that puts at risk the safety, ecology, economy, beauty and health of our Delaware Estuary many spoke up but the arrogance of the Army Corps won out and the project began its slow stumble forward.[1]

And then we had the government bailouts.  Bailouts for corporations and banks who had run scams and questionable businesses practices that robbed people of their retirements and lost them their jobs, while at the same time providing record salaries for the very corporate leaders who had engaged in these bad practices.  And the very government leaders that were happy to bailout their rich corporate buddies are now working against unemployment benefits, social security, medicare and the unions that were created to protect and serve our citizens when in times of need.  And so now the voices are once again building against the injustices.  And yet the media and the politicians don’t seem to be listening – trying to mischaracterize or minimize the very legitimate and deeply held concerns of the communities who are speaking out. 

With drilling we have so many well-informed, passionate, convincing, credible, well-spoken and well intentioned voices speaking out and taking action to spread the word about the dangers of gas drilling – and this time, we must continue to strive until something does in fact change! 

We are now coming to a moment of truth – if the Governors of the four states and the President of the United States, through the Army Corps, convenes on 11/21 to vote to begin drilling and fracking in the Delaware Watershed, we must send a message loud and clear that these votes against our rights to clean water and air will not be tolerated. We must make sure our politicians at all levels know – if you hand over our water, our air, our lands and our health to the drillers on 11/21, the voices will not quiet, they will grow louder, and the political consequences will be swift, resilient, and ongoing. 

The protests around fossil fuels are growing in this nation and a strong diverse movement has formed.  On November 6th, over ten thousand citizens encircled the White House to say no to tar sands mining.  On 11/21, we need thousands to again stand up in solidarity to draw a line of protection for our River and to say no drilling in the Delaware River Basin.

What action can you take now?
ü  Come to the Trenton War Memorial on 11/21 and legally exercise your first amendment rights to help show our politicians that their decision on that day does matter and, if wrong, will have political and legal consequences.
ü  Bring everyone in your community you can come in contact with into the fold on this issue.
ü  Help us counter the false television advertising that right now is going unchallenged across the airwaves – gives one path to help us raise the funds needed for our message of truth and hope.
ü  Between now and 11/21 take every action you learn about that is being crafted and carried out to get the Governors and the President to make the right choice. Start by calling each of the Governors and tell them to vote on 11/21 – Don’t Drill the Delaware - Gov Christie - 609-292-6000; Governor Cuomo -518-474-8390; Gov Corbett – 717-787-2500; Gov Markell-302-577-3210; And the white house 202-456-1111

[1] The Delaware Riverkeeper Network along, with environmental colleagues National Wildlife Federation, NJ Environmental Federation, Delaware Nature Society and Clean Water Action, have filed legal action against the Army Corps in order to try to stop their violations of law and the dangerous precedent they are seeking to set – oral argument will be held in January before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.