Bill McKibben, his 350.org cohorts, Gasland director Josh Fox, and a handful of Ohio environmental activists and groups are aiming to assemble the largest demonstration against natural-gas fracking in U.S. history. The action will happen in Columbus June 14–17, culminating on the last day with a takeover of the statehouse for “a people’s assembly,” the organizers explain in an invitation letter.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) wants to dramatically increase fracking in his state. Never mind that Ohio experienced a dozen earthquakes last year that scientists blame on fracking-related activities, including a 4.0-magnitude quake on Dec. 31. Never mind that new research by the U.S. Geological Survey connects earthquakes throughout the American heartland to fracking. Never mind that fracking is linked to water pollution, air pollution, and health problems for nearby residents. Never mind that fracking worsens climate change and dampens the market for clean energy. And never mind that 72 percent of Ohioans want to halt fracking until its impacts are further studied, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.
The protest organizers want to take advantage of Ohio’s swing-state status: “As the nation’s attention turns to Ohio for the election this fall, it is a fitting place to make a stand and say that this process must stop once and for all,” they say.
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