This protest was small compared to previous ones. A handful of people dressed for the weather. Protestors included parents and grandparents who are concerned about Rex Energy plans to drill several natural gas well about 1/2 mile from the high school.
Earlier in December 2015, a Pennsylvania Judge upheld a local zoning ordinance which would allow Rex Energy to drill.
A man shows up and begins by harassing the peaceful protestors, calling them hippies, telling them to “get a job”, and complains about his taxes. This rhetoric is all too familiar to many of those who oppose the activities of the fossil fuel industry.
This is where things took a decidedly racist turn.
Jefferson describes the incident:
I was photographing a peaceful protest aimed at Rex Energy in Mars, Pa. At one point during the day a worker showed up. He started by insulting the protesters. Then he turned his attention to me. I just let him talk and kept the camera rolling.
A video of the incident may be seen here: One Of The Many Face of Racism in America . (Contains profanity and racial slurs.)
The man who uttered the racist slurs has been identified as an employee of MMC Land Management. Late last night the following appeared on MMC Land Management Facebook page:
The Way We Live
Jefferson is one of the thousand average citizens who have donated their own time, energy and money to stop destructive fossil fuel industry.
For the past year, Jefferson has been documenting average people across the country fighting to end extreme energy extraction and address climate change. His filming of the peaceful protest in Mars is part of his upcoming documentary “The Way We Live”.
His plan for the completed film, which will be 90 min., is to distribute the movie to anyone who needs it free of charge. The point is to bring awareness to THE WAY WE LIVE and the way people fight against big corporations that put our health and safety at risk.
Release date is expected to be January 1, 2016.
He needs YOUR HELP. You can help with your donations at https://www.gofundme.com/efdyno .
As drilling expands in Pennsylvania, wells have gotten closer to schools. A 2013 report from the environmental group Penn Environment found 26 wells permitted in the state within a half-mile from a school.
Regulators have taken notice. The Department of Environmental Protection has proposed changes to Chapter 78, the state’s oil and gas regulations, which would add schools and playgrounds to a list of protected “public resources”–like archaeological sites, parks, and game lands.
The rule would allow the DEP to impose conditions on drilling near schools, though the department must prove the conditions are necessary. Those rules would kick in only if the area of disturbance for a well pad is within 200 feet of a school or playground.
Pipelines and related facilities, like compressor stations, are also making their way through residential neighborhoods and near schools. This has given growth to even more local grassroots groups seeking to stop the industrialization of their communities.
With our local, state and federal government snugly tucked into the pockets of the fossil fuel industry, it’s up to us, the real people to stand up for ourselves.
©2015 by Dory Hippauf