Please take a few minutes to review the below letter to Governor Tom Wolf and click here if you wish to add your name to the letter. Deadline for signing the letter is noon on Tuesday (November 8th).
Lancaster County community members dedicating “The Stand,” a blockade and encampment site to protect their land, water, and homes against the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (October 2016).
An Open Letter to Governor Tom Wolf
Dear Mr. Wolf,
The board of Lancaster Against Pipelines writes this letter as a public denunciation of your recent decision to provide $24 million in grant money to expedite gas pipeline projects in Pennsylvania. Even more shocking is the fact that your new Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) is funded by siphoning money out of the Alternative Energy Investment Act, which was established to support clean energy projects in PA.
Snatching what little money has been set aside for renewable energy projects, only to further subsidize dirty fossil fuel use in the form of fracked gas, is scandalous. It also represents a shocking level of tone-deafness to the voices of local communities throughout our state.
Here in Lancaster County, thousands of community members have spent the past three years working to derail the proposed Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline project. Why? Because the ASP would perpetuate the environmentally disastrous process of hydraulic fracturing, the poisonous and earthquake-causing process of wastewater disposal, the forced construction of pipelines through resistant communities, and the horrifying atmospheric impacts of methane leaks.
Mr. Wolf, local communities are not interested in exchanging the health and safety of our families, friends, and neighbors for corporate profits. Why are you?
Here’s one snapshot of how local communities are rejecting the fracked-gas industry in PA. Last month, 200 community members gathered on an Amish-operated farm in Lancaster County along the Conestoga River to openly reject the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline through our neighborhoods. Local families built a physical blockade on this farm, directly in the pipeline’s path. Plans are already in place to establish a long-term, large-scale encampment on this site if FERC foolishly approves the pipeline later this year.
Three candidates running for PA state office, from your own party, were there to support Lancaster County’s blockade of the ASP: Greg Paulson (Senate District 13), Dale Hamby (House District 100), and Nick Selch (House District 41). They clearly understand something you don’t—namely, that local communities in PA have rejected the backward looking, dystopian vision of another dirty fossil fuel industry that’s trading our health, safety, and future for short-term corporate profits.
Why aren’t you standing with us?
And Lancaster County is hardly alone in rejecting the gas industry. Citing our constitutional rights to clean air and clean water, municipalities all over PA have begun using local Rights Based Ordinances to shield themselves from unwanted gas industry harms. Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, West Homestead, and Stroudsburg—among others—have all passed fracking bans. State College and West Chester have not only banned fracking, but injection wells and new pipelines, too. Highland Township votes November 8 on whether to ban injection wells. Grant Township reinforced their ban on frack-waste injection wells by legalizing the right of residents to use non-violent direct action to enforce this ban if necessary.
Why are our local communities forced to pass such laws? It’s precisely due to actions like yours, Mr. Wolf, as our state and federal officials fail to protect us against massive, unwanted, industrial harms—most notably those coming from gas infrastructure projects.
Mr. Wolf: With PIPE, you’re not only failing to protect us. In truth, you are actively supporting the very harms we’re desperately working to stop. While local communities have been busy banning dirty gas practices in PA, you’ve been looting PA’s clean energy coffers to expand it! Whose interests are you protecting?
Nowhere has the fracking & pipeline industry’s true nature been more clearly exposed than at Standing Rock, North Dakota. The nation—indeed, the world—has watched in horror as elders and children, women and men have endured riot police, the National Guard, armored vehicles, helicopters, 24-hour surveillance, mace, rubber bullets, baton beatings, attack dogs, sound canons, strip searches, and mass arrests. Their crime? Peacefully protecting their own drinking water and sacred homeland from a pipeline they don’t need or want.
It’s time for our elected officials to stop protecting the industry, and to start protecting the people.
Mr. Wolf: While you pander to the industry ahead of Tuesday’s election, we’ll be here with our families in Lancaster County, fiercely fighting to protect what we love the most. The national tide has already turned. And, unless you change course, you’ll be left standing on the wrong side of history.
On behalf of our local communities & in passionate defense of our land, our water, and our children’s future:
The Board of Lancaster Against Pipelines
Lancaster County, PA