Outside Marcellus Shale Coalition's Conference, Chants of "Shut Them Down"
As energy executives met inside the Philadelphia Convention Center’s carpeted, air-conditioned halls this afternoon, anti-drilling activists braved the heat and humidity to deliver a clear, loud message: don’t frack with us.
Several hundred people lined a street next to the convention center to protest hydraulic fracturing – they’re worried the poisonous chemicals drillers are injecting deep underground will contaminate drinking water in Philadelphia and other communities.
The “Shale Gas Outrage” rally was headlined by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox, who urged the crowd to go to any means necessary, to borrow a term, to stop hydraulic fracturing in eastern Pennsylvania. He said he’s worried the Delaware River Basin Commission will open the doors for drilling within its jurisdiction at an October 21 meeting. “If that happens,” Fox told the cheering crowd, “we’ll shut it down.” If the commission lifts its effective moratorium and approves new drilling, he said, “it’s time to get in the paddy wagon.” Fox proudly told the audience of his recent arrest at Washington, DC protests against the newly-approved Keystone Pipeline.
Meantime, back in the convention center, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon questioned drilling opponents’ facts, and accused them of “living in a fantasy world without fossil fuels.”
After McClendon’s speech wrapped up, curious conference-goers gravitated toward the windows to observe the protests. Many took pictures, as they watched people chant, “shut them down!” and “no fracking way!”