Stewart Acuff

May 14

The Death-cycle of Fracking

Yesterday I wrote about my Goddaughter Elizabeth Arnold, who bravely interrupted the Pennsylvania Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Debate, and forced the candidates to focus on the issue of fracking as you can see in the video. Elizabeth has been leading a campaign to get them to commit to put a moratorium on fracking if elected.

Arnold_Liz-0700-2-1Written by Elizabeth Arnold

I’m not particularly brave, I just feel that there is nothing anyone could do to me worse than what they are doing to our planet and to the families who can no longer live in their homes. When I rushed the stage I held up a list of 1700 families impacted by fracking. The List of the Harmed is compiled by Jenny Lysak and is now up to over 6,000 families. My printer stopped printing at 1700.

I actually hate the spotlight, but someone had to do it. I could not sit by and let this critical issue go unaddressed. About half way through the ‘debate’ I realized they were not even going to discuss fracking. I was sitting in the front row, very close to the stage steps. I had heard the candidates use the phrase “haven’t answered the tough questions” repeatedly and suddenly I just bolted on to stage without realizing the notes I had been scribbling were still in my left hand. I blanked on everything I was going to say and just winged it. Only later when watching the video did I hear what words actually came out of my mouth. There are many things I wish I had said, but hopefully my ‘inappropriate behavior’ creates some real discussion on a subject the candidates avoid like the plague, while we live the scourge.

The female moderator was beaming at me while the candidates just held fake smiles. But they are use to it. I’ve been bird-dogging them since November. They must have seen it coming. Security didn’t seem too threatened by me. One of the guards who hauled me out commended me saying “Great job.”

They weren’t sure what to do with me, but since I wouldn’t stop talking about children waking up with nose-bleeds, people passing out from the fumes while taking a shower, families being told not to light their stoves because their houses may explode, families living without water three years later — they just wanted me to leave before I depressed them further.

Then I walked out into the spring air and talked to supporters. I spoke with Craig Stevens, who also got thrown out for speaking up after they hauled me out.

Craig is a 6th generation landowner from Northeast PA. He is a lifelong conservative Tea Party Republican. He leased his land and has a pipeline running through his backyard. He now spends a lot of time visiting the offices of politicians all over the country to tell them how horrible fracking is and why we need to ban it.

He is considering voting Democrat for the first time in his life, because of our horrible Gov. Corbett. Unfortunately the Democrats are not much better on this issue (everyone is, of course, better than Corbett!)

I have seen the anti-fracking movement grow exponentially in Pennsylvania over the past four years. Public opinion has become more anti-fracking in PA as people learn about the practice, and as more people are directly impacted by the death-cycle of fracking. Yet there has been little discussion in the media or in political offices about whether this practice should be permitted and how we can ensure Pennsylvanians are safe and prosperous.

If fracking could be done safely (which has yet to be proven), then we would need to insure that the state benefits, which it has not. When they first started fracking PA heavily back in 2007/2008, many thought it could be done safely if tightly regulated. The NE PA group ‘Responsible Drilling Alliance’ is now just ‘RDA’ and has dropped the underlying meaning, because they have decided there is no such thing as responsible drilling. We haven’t seen it anywhere in the country.

Fracking is more than just the drill pad. It requires noxious loud compressor stations, pipelines, water withdraw facilities, endless 24/7 truck traffic on roads still often used by horse and buggy, fracking waste dumped in the middle of the night (or in plain sight on the roads as ‘de-icer,’ which eats away at the underside of cars), mining the bluffs of the Mississippi for sand, workers developing silicosis, chemical production for the toxic frack fluid cocktail, injection wells to get rid of the millions of gallons of contaminated radioactive water that flowbacks with the gas when a well is fracked. And now they are trying to permit Liquid Natural Gas export facilities, which is a dangerous, harmful process that would allow all our gas to be shipped overseas.

We are not asking for much, just a chance for PA to protect our long-term economic and environmental health. No one should live without clean drinking water and a safe environment. No part of PA should be a for-profit sacrifice zone. It’s about time the well-being of all Pennsylvanians is addressed in public forums where candidates give clear and precise answers on how they will advance the common good. Don’t be shy about demanding action.

Elizabeth Arnold is an electrician by day and activist by night. She lives in Philadelphia and has been organizing with amazing activists from across PA since the Bush-era. Together they are organizing for the long haul. They are starting a campaign house in NE PA where youth can spend their summers learning and working in communities directly impacted by fracking. She is a proud #FrackingFighter.

Photo source:

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Steve Todd

    May 14, 2014


    any of we Dem voters and activists are very frustrated and disappointed by the arrogance with which 100% of our primary candidates (except Max Myers) have addressed the concerns Liz expresses. A call for a moratorium is in our PA Democratic Party Platform, which these candidates are running under.

    Thank you, Liz for asking. After all: NONE of these candidates live in, visited or spend any time in the sacrifice zones of the PA gaslands.

    If elected, I’ve long pledged to “Acknowledge and respond to harm from fracking.” Please see my website, and write me in if you live in the Hershey/Hummelstown/Middletown area of Dauphin County, PA.

  2. Carolyn Knapp

    May 15, 2014


    Liz: Thank you for speaking out for ALL that have been harmed by the natural gas industry in the Commonwealth- “inappropriate behavior’ like “beauty” is in the eye of the “beholder” and I believe we need more people willing to do what you do, just because it is the right thing to do!

  3. Kim Fraczek

    May 15, 2014


    Incredible work. Great job! You did what needed to be done. Your enormous international anti-fracking community stands with you. (And so impressed with the guard who said “great job”, now we just have to encourage guards and police to stand with us when we shut down the infrastructure)

    • admin

      May 15, 2014


      Thanks so much for all who have congratulated Elizabeth Arnold and expressed gratitude to her. She is a remarkable young woman and I am greatly blessed that she is in my life. Her action against fracking is an example to all of us to act and act now to save our planet and our people.

  4. Anne Ryan

    May 15, 2014


    This is why I am now a member of the Green Party.

  5. Jenny

    May 15, 2014


    If only we were all so brave as Liz or even half has involved. Voluminous thanks to Liz. How can we get those candidates to visit our impacted communities and answer the hard questions? In a world where hope for a future on a habitable planet fades by the minute, it seems so surreal to have candidates that are afraid to deal with the issues that are so important. We’re repeatedly warned that fossil fuels must stay in the ground; naturals gas contributes no less than 4 types of greenhouse gases, CH4, CO2, NOx and VOC’s and further contributes to the climate crisis through deforestation and the manufacturing and use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, yet all our candidates (save for the Green Party candidate Paul Glover,) are all for turning PA into a pincushion with the injection of trillions of gallons of chemical laden soup through our fresh water aquifers and exporting fossil fuels to all parts of the globe… sigh

Leave a comment