For Immediate Release: June 25, 2014
Citizens Interrupt Southwestern Energy Presentation over Fracking Projects on Elsipogtog First Nations Land
Chicago, IL–Two protesters interrupted a Southwest Energy (SWN) presentation Wednesday at the Global Hunter Securities 100 conference in Chicago by taking off their shirts and unfurling a banner to an audience of investors that read, “The people resist SWN, you lose your shirt!” The banner referred to how increasing public resistance SWN’s controversial hydraulic fracturing projects in Elsipogtog first nations land, the state forests of Pennsylvania and other locations is successful in slowing down and preventing projects and therefore makes them unwise investments.
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” involves forcing large amounts of water or other substances deep underground to break shale rock to release trapped oil and gas. Fracking has raised the ire of people globally due to air and water pollution, earthquakes and large amounts of greenhouse gases that are tied to the process. Attempts to frack Elsipogtog first nations land have been met with fierce opposition from the Mi’kmaq people during the past year. Canada has given permits to SWN to frack, but Elsipogtog lands were never ceded. In October of 2013, SWN brought in police to uphold an injunction and arrested 40 people that were among many more resisting attempts to frack in their community. Less than a week ago, more road blockades to halt fracking activity resulted in 12 arrests. Community resistance has resulted in delaying SWN’s activity.
“A recent scientific study found that that public resistance to these oil and gas projects is successful because it delays them and costs the company money. Sometimes they end up canceling the project.” said J. one of the participants in today’s action referring to a study titled Cost of Company-Community Conflict in the Extractive Sector. In Pennsylvania, SWN is moving forward with unpopular plans to frack in Loyalsock State Forest. This mostly intact forest will become fragmented and further impacted by fracking well pads, pipeline and roads. Just this month, more than 200 people rallied at the Pennsylvania state house to call for an end to fracking in Pennsylvania state parks and forests.
When asked why she interrupted the SWN presentation Gloria Fallon of Rising Tide Chicago said, “We are here today to stand in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people, residents in Pennsylvania and all other communities impacted by Southwestern Energy’s destructive projects. We are working to prevent hydraulic fracturing in Illinois as well. Nobody should have to live near dirty, dangerous fracking.”