Livestream of the whole event: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/26361300
Online Gallery of Pictures: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/10/22/2430466/fracking-protestors-chain-themselves.html
Seven members of Croatan Earth First! and participants from our Piedmont Direct Action Camp locked together today, barricading the front of North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) building in downtown Raleigh. Providing physical, active resistance against fracking in North Carolina, CEF! has chosen DENR for an action as they are responsible for helping legalize fracking, and will be responsible for regulating it. They have also hired a corrupt Mining and Energy Commission board, which includes people with vested interests in hydraulic fracturing occuring. We are letting them know that this farce won’t stand! No compromise in defense of Mother Earth!
In addition, a sizeable demonstration was being held around the lock down, with several large banners, signs, literature, etc. Police actively cleared the site, and closed off the road, labeling the entire block a crime scene. Press was being prevented from approaching the site. In a negotiation made with the police, press was allowed inside to do interviews and take photos if the blockaders agreed to unlock later. The protesters decided to unlock as a tactical decision to walk away without arrests and save our legal funds for future events. After the action the blockaders and about 30 others went on a unpermitted march through Raleigh to the state capital building.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday October 22, 2012
Croatan Earth First! Locks Down NC DENR For Complicity In Fracking
Raleigh, NC – This morning multiple people locked themselves to the front of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources headquarters at 217 W. Jones St. in protest of the state’s continued path towards the legalization of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for natural gas. Environmentalists across the state have organized and campaigned against hydrofracking legislation for over a year, which resulted in a veto of SB 820 this past summer by Beverly Perdue. The legislature overrode the veto shortly after during a controversial vote in which a mistaken ballot was cast for legalization, and the voter was refused a recast.
“All legal channels of protest have been exhausted,” says Earth First!er Emily Smith at the rally outside the action. “We’ve learned that the legislature and regulators will not protect the water we drink and air we breathe. It’s time for the public to take other types of action to stop hydrofracking. “ This past Spring NC DENR released a report that grossly underestimated the possible environmental risks of fracking. Since then, they have been working with the newly formed Mining and Energy Commission which includes several members that are closely linked to oil & gas: Ray Covington, a partner at NC Oil & Gas, who profits financially from an increase in leased lands for fracking; Chairman Jim Womack, a Lee County Commissioner and an oil industry supporter who claimed at a DENR public meeting that you were more likely to be hit by a meteor than have water contaminated by fracking; and Charles Holbrook a former employee of Chevron Oil.
“Having people who support and benefit from oil and gas extraction on a regulatory commission is like a fox guarding the henhouse.” The EPA recently released a study that confirmed contamination of the water aquifer in Pavillion, Wyoming with fracking fluids, but DENR has done nothing to modify their report. “We’re not going to let industry destroy North Carolina like they have Pennsylvania,” says Smith referring to the numerous spills that have occurred in the highly fracked Marcellus Shale—including 4,700 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled this year in Bradford County and a 30-foot methane geyser which erupted in Tioga county, PA. A blowout at one of Chesapeake Energy’s rigs in Wyoming this year burned escaping methane for several days and more than 70 residents had to be evacuated. “Fracking is not only contaminating our land and water irreversibly, but it’s spewing massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.”
Today’s action came about after The Piedmont Direct Action camp which occurred this past weekend in Pittsboro, NC and taught direct action skills to roughly 100 people. For more information see www.croatanearthfirst.com
Other Mainstream Coverage from Channel 5: http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/image/11687052/?ref_id=11687044