Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Demonstrators during the September, 2014 People's Climate March. (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Protesters Welcome New Pennsylvania Governor to Office With Simple Message: Ban Fracking Now

The power of the people will win out over industry, organizer says.

Andrea Germanos

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's inauguration on Tuesday in a grassroots show of force against fracking.

The action, organized by the newly formed Pennsylvanians Against Fracking coalition, kicked off at a Harrisburg church, followed by a march to and rally at the inauguration site, where they chanted, "Fracking PA? Our Answer is No!"

Eight people were arrested by Capitol Police for disrupting Wolf's speech, NPR reports.

The demonstrators' presence apparently came as no surprise to the Democrat; from his prepared remarks:   "To the protesters here today, I say: help me develop these opportunities in a way that is clean, safe and sustainable."

But that proposition is "a non-starter," said Sam Bernhardt, senior Pennsylvania organizer of Food & Water Watch, one of co-founding members of Pennsylvanians Against Fracking.

"We know that there's no safe way to develop shale through high volume hydraulic fracturing," Bernhardt told Common Dreams. "There's no way to frack safely," he said.

That's why the coalition staged Tuesday's action, he continued, because their goal is to stop fracking in the state. "The governor is the one individual in Pennsylvania who can give us what we want," he said.

So far, Wolf has indicated which side he's chosen by saying he disagrees with New York's landmark fracking ban, has accepted money from the gas industry, and has appointed as members of his cabinet people who played a role in opening up the state to the industry, Bernhardt said.

But the coalition has no plans of losing steam, Bernhardt said. They intend to follow Wolf "wherever he goes" and show him that people in every corner of the state oppose fracking.

"We think if we can show the grassroots power, the people can win out over the gas industry."

Also present at the rally was Josh Fox, award-winning director of Gasland and Gasland Part II, who said in a media statement: "Governor Tom Wolf inherited insane policies on fracking but he does not have to continue these policies. The choice is Governor Wolf’s—listen to science and to the harmed citizens of Pennsylvania or be on the wrong side of history."

Twitter users captured parts of the demonstration:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Poll: Overwhelming Majority of US Voters Want Robust Regulation of Tech Companies

"When it comes to Big Tech's monopoly power and surveillance business model, the public is unified: They want action. They want to see the Big Tech companies broken up and users' privacy protected."

Brett Wilkins ·

228 Republicans Blasted for Brief Urging Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

"Every single politician who signed this amicus brief is actively working to strip away our fundamental freedoms and endanger pregnant people and families across the country."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Historic Victory': Bayer to End US Residential Sales of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

"As agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It's time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses."

Kenny Stancil ·

73 Major Corporations Paid Just 5.3% Federal Tax Rate Between 2018 and 2020: Report

Thirty-nine other companies paid no federal corporate tax during the three-year period, in which they collectively reaped over $120 billion in profits.

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Asks Congress to Act to Prevent Evictions—Just 3 Days Before Moratorium Expires

"These calls should have come weeks ago, not 72 hours before the moratorium expires."

Jake Johnson ·