By Lee Stewart
I first learned about the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force when I attended an anti-fracking rally at a farm show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf convened the task force to advise him on how to deal with fracked gas infrastructure build out across the commonwealth. In the state’s Delaware River Watershed, for example, there are a whopping 10 proposed pipelines! That makes the two major proposed pipelines in my home state of Virginia look like nothing.
Calling the task force by it’s proper name, though, is probably too generous. With 92% of it’s non-governmental members having ties to the fracking industry, the name Pipeline Infrastructure Task FARCE seems more fitting. Not once has this task force questioned the need for such infrastructure. Nor have they listened to public concerns regarding the health and environmental impacts of these projects, let alone addressed them .
When the task force convened on January 20th for its final session, a group of more than 25 individuals, including myself, stood up, jumped over tables, and took over the meeting by occupying space in the center of the room. Largely made up of people in Pennsylvania who stand to bear the negative health and environmental impacts of fracked gas infrastructure build out, we called ourselves the People’s Task Force. For taking our rightful place at the center of the discussion, in this case quite literally, seven folks were arrested. Now, these seven folks need our help paying the costs and fees associated with their arrests. To read more about The People’s Task Force 7, see the video from this action, and to send them some financial love, please click HERE.
Lee Stewart has been a member of the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice since August 2015. Lee participated in the 2013 Walk for our Grandchildren and the 2014 Great Climate March from California to Washington, D.C. (3,000 miles). He currently organizes primarily with Beyond Extreme Energy #BXE and Popular Resistance.