[This post is for day three of the Stop Fracked Gas Exports Blogathon and social media week. Read other posts here. Follow twitter posts #StopGasExports. The blog blitz will make clear why we need to show up for the mega rally Sunday, July 13, at FERC’s DC headquarters. Speakers include Mike Tidwell, Sandra Steingraber and Tim DeChristopher. So, be there.]

In December, I spoke briefly on the phone with a Dominion spokesman. Near the end of our conversation, I mentioned concerns about fracking. “Oh, we won’t be doing any fracking at Cove Point,” he rushed to assure me.

We know that no fracking will take place at Dominion’s Cove Point facility.

That remark, however, shows Dominion’s duplicity throughout this approval process. Its stance has been that the shale-gas liquefaction and export facility proposed for Cove Point has nothing to do with fracking. And yet, this project has everything to do with fracking. That is the only source of the gas. To approve the project is to require the fracking.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed us in its review of Dominion’s plans. FERC accepted Dominion’s mantra that this facility has nothing to do with fracking, in Maryland or elsewhere. Or at least nothing measurable. Because Dominion couldn’t be sure where and how many wells would be drilled, FERC concluded that all this fretting about fracking was mere conjecture. “[D]etails, including the timing, location, and number of additional production wells that may or may not be drilled, are speculative,” FERC said on page 25 of its review. “As such, impacts associated with the production of natural gas … are not reasonably foreseeable or quantifiable.”

And with that shrug of its regulatory shoulders, FERC dismissed all harm from this project of fracking, pipelines and compressor stations next to our homes and schools, parks and rivers. Even as the List of the Harmed steadily grows. Even as research mounts about the threats to our health, especially for pregnant mothers and children. Even as illness and water contamination from methane, radon and hormone-disrupting chemicals comes to light despite industry’s efforts to hide behind nondisclosure agreements. Even as health professionals repeatedly call for a fracking moratorium.

In addition, FERC’s review says that methane, which leaks at every stage of gas exploitation and transmission, is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. That ratio is over 100 years, an arbitrary and useless time frame. We don’t have 100 years. Over 20 years, according to the International Panel on Climate Change, methane is at least 84 times more powerful than CO2. FERC needs to redo the math.

If FERC had conducted its highest level of review and bothered to calculate the damage to our health, economy, environment and climate from fracking millions of metric tons of gas a year to ship to Asia, the agency could not have approved this project.

Once upon a time, FERC’s approval of every energy project imaginable raised few questions. That template no longer works. Because of the twin threats from our poisoned planet and climate change, we can no longer afford to have FERC be the handmaiden to the fossil fuel industry. On Sunday, July 13, we’ll tell President Obama and FERC to get this right. 

–elisabeth hoffman


a tale of two walls

June 2, 2014

wall and boxes

A mock vapor-cloud wall suggests what’s at stake from Dominion’s plans for Cove Point. //photo from Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community.

Outside was the mock vapor-cloud wall.

Listed on the mock wall were the air pollutants and carcinogens that Dominion’s proposed plant would routinely or accidentally send from its compound into the lungs of playing children and their parents. Forming part of the mock wall were boxes with labels, each written on by opponents of Dominion’s plans: Wall of Shame, Wall of Poisons, Wall of Cancer, Wall of Decreased Property Values, Wall of Corruption.

Inside the Patuxent High School auditorium in Lusby was the seemingly impenetrable wall of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Also possibly mock, as two FERC staff members and a court reporter — instead of the commissioners — sat at a table on the stage Saturday for this single public hearing on the environmental review of Dominion’s planned facility that would liquefy and export fracked gas. FERC concluded in May that the facility would pose no significant risks.

Outside, Dominion erected a tent and catered pulled-pork sandwiches and side dishes for its mostly blue-shirted supporters.

Between the Dominion tent and Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s mock vapor wall, Chesapeake Earth First! and Food Not Bombs set up a card table and handed out brown bag lunches with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an apple and a banana to the mostly red-shirted opponents waiting in line to enter the school.

Initially, opponents of the project and the real vapor wall had wanted to set up the replica in another spot opposite Dominion’s tent. But an officer had rejected the idea.

“This is their event. This is their expansion,” the officer told Lusby resident Tracey Eno. By “their,” he meant Dominion’s.

“Whose event?” Eno said, incredulous. “This is everyone’s event.”

Back inside, the FERC staff seemed earnest enough and extended the hearing an extra 90 minutes, until 7:30 p.m., giving everyone who had signed up a chance to speak. Anyone who could wait that long, anyway. Drew Cobbs’ name was called out in the late afternoon, but the executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council was long gone.

One of the FERC staff, Environmental Project Manager Joanne Wachholder, became tearful while praising the patience of 13-year-old Katie Murphy, who spoke late in the day.

“Please stop this expansion. You might just save some lives,” Katie said.

“I’m so glad you got to talk,” Wachholder said, rising and walking to the edge of the stage to offer a box of doughnuts to the girl.

Mostly, the staff listened intently, took notes and kept track of time, cutting off the very few who went beyond the allotted three minutes.

Those in favor called Dominion a “great corporate citizen” and the project a source of jobs and tax revenues and perhaps a pool for the high school. “This is about jobs, about good family-sustaining jobs,” said Mark Coles of the Building and Trades Council. Tax revenues would pay for teachers and public safety, said Brad Karbowsky, a Huntingtown resident and member of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. Kelvin Simmons of the Lusby Business Association said he had confidence that Dominion would protect the Chesapeake Bay. “All construction jobs are temporary,” said Austin Pacheo, whether 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months. These jobs, he said, would last three years.

Where proponents see jobs, those opposed see poisoned air, the threat of a catastrophic fire, and increased fracking with accompanying pipelines and compressor stations. They pressed FERC to conduct its most thorough environmental review and said the risks to safety, health and the climate of this venture far outweighed jobs, tax revenue and corporate benevolence. Most were from Lusby and Southern Maryland, but some had traveled from Montgomery, Howard and Frederick counties, Baltimore and Virginia.

“Come to my house, sit on my front porch swing and look across the street and imagine the future of my home,” said Rachel Heinhorst, whose front door is a hundred yards from Dominion’s front door. Her three children play football, soccer, Frisbee and catch fireflies less than 200 yards from where the boilers and turbines would be.

Coming from the plant, she said, would be nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, hazardous air pollutants. “My children will be breathing dangerous levels of these pollutants every day. They will know what is across the street, because we will have to explain emergency preparedness, and they will be scared. My daughter will be scared. She will look at me and want me to assure something that I cannot. I cannot say that I can protect my children from this, but you can.”

just wall

“Dominion and the Calvert County commissioners focus on two things:  jobs and tax revenue,” Tracey Eno said. “That’s all they’ve got. They never talk about the risks.” Such as, Eno said, “Risk of death by asphyxiation in the event of a flammable vapor cloud; 20.4 tons of air pollution emitted every year; 275,000 gallons of water used every day; constant noise for the next 20 years or more; up to 85 more tankers polluting the [Chesapeake] Bay each year; foreign ballast water bringing invasive species to the Chesapeake; more traffic; increased greenhouse gases; terrorist target. Does Homeland Security know about this?”

Don’t sacrifice people for profits, Eno said. “Everyone says ‘money talks’ and ‘this is a done deal.’ It’s ‘David and Goliath.’ … I want you to at least know who your decision will affect and how unfair this is.”


Bill Peil lists the hazardous and cancer-causing chemicals that would come from the plant. //photo by @johnzangas DCMediaGroup

“Who would put 20 tons of toxic and hazardous pollutants on a neighbor’s lawn?” asked Bill Peil of Dunkirk. Hearing no takers, he continued: “That’s what’s going to happen every year” if Dominion’s plans proceed. And that would be in a routine year, never mind an accident. Many of the pollutants are carcinogens, he said. “Unfortunately, the word carcinogen is not mentioned” in FERC’s environmental review.

“This is not about jobs,” said Marcia Greenberg of St. Mary’s City. Although everyone is concerned about jobs, she said, “Dominion has turned this into a discussion about jobs.” She voiced her outrage that the commissioners weren’t present. They have “a huge responsibility” to balance the facts in this divided community, she said.

Several speakers noted that the environmental assessment omitted the population of Lusby: 2,473 live within a mile of the plant, according to Calvert County emergency planners. The evacuation plan is not so much a way out as a way in for emergency crews, Eleanor Callahan of Lusby complained: The plan “maroons residents.”

“No jurisdiction can handle a fire” of the sort that could happen at Cove Point, said Mickey Shymansky, a DC firefighter and Lusby resident. In April, he resigned his post as local assistant fire chief because he thought the department was understaffed and ill-trained to handle an accident at the export plant. “I am so brokenhearted,” he said. His brother was a firefighter at the Pentagon when terrorists attacked on 9/11. “We cannot have that here. Please hear my words. When I’m at work protecting the nation’s capital, who’s going to protect my family?”

For six and a half hours, the FERC staff called on speakers according to names on sign-up sheets at the entrance to the school auditorium. By the end, 105 people had spoken, 38 in favor, 67 opposed and urging the more stringent environment impact statement. Dominion said on its Facebook page that 75 to 80 percent were in favor. Which is wrong even if Dominion counts the 50 comment sheets that one proponent turned in.

Wachholder, from FERC, had sharp remarks for only one speaker: Mike Tidwell, executive director of Chesapeake Climate Action Council.

The day before, Tidwell told the FERC staff, the state Public Service Commission had ruled that the proposed project would provide no “net benefit” for Marylanders. For causing higher utility bills, the PSC ordered Dominion to pay $400,000 a year for 20 years to help compensate low-income families. For contributing to climate change, Dominion would have to pay another $40 million over five years into a fund for renewable energy. But the PSC approved the permit for the on-site power plant.

“It’s inconceivable that FERC doesn’t see the hazard” of this plan, Tidwell said. “FERC seems to not want to see how hazardous this is….Why wouldn’t FERC want to quantify the risk?” He criticized FERC’s failure to consider the consequences of fracking: “If fracking weren’t happening, what would Dominion export?” He called FERC’s environmental assessment a failure and said the people in Garrett and Frederick and other counties across the state want a similar public hearing.

“NO. We are not doing that,” Wachholder said sternly.

Tracey Eno says she remains an optimist. That David and Goliath battle? We all know how that turned out, she said. “All we need is one stone.”

— elisabeth hoffman


The hearing is underway.//photo by @johnzangas DCMediaGroup

protesters decry cove point

February 21, 2014

yearwood large

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood tells the crowd that the “Free State” should be renamed the “Fossil-Free State.”

A boisterous, determined, chanting, sign-waving crowd of at least 700 people from across the state and beyond converged on sunny Baltimore today to say that Dominion Resources’ planned Cove Point export facility for fracked gas is a threat to our health, our economy, our climate and our future.

“Maryland is here today because Maryland is at risk,” shouted Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, at the rally at the War Memorial Plaza downtown.

Nearby, the Public Service Commission was considering whether Virginia-based Dominion’s planned 130-megawatt gas-fired power plant and liquefaction facility would be in the “public interest.”

Outside, the protesters from around Maryland and neighboring states shouted, No, it would not be in their interest — or in the interest of future generations. “Listen to our voice; Dominion’s not our choice!” No, they said, it would not be in their interest to frack the countryside to get the gas for this enterprise. Because no matter how much Dominion says this facility has nothing to do with fracking, it has everything to do with fracking.

mike tidwell large

“Make this [fight] a part of your life until we win,” Mike Tidwell urged the crowd.

Tidwell compared the fight against Cove Point to the one decades ago against tobacco companies. The evidence in the surgeon general’s report on the dangers of smoking changed everything. “We have a new Camel cigarette threat,” he said. Like the tobacco companies, Dominion is insisting that lighting something on fire — fracked gas — is good for Maryland. Of the state’s 23 counties, 19 lie atop shale basins, he said. He demanded that the PSC “serve the public by rejecting this radical Cove Point plan.” And he urged U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin to “get our back” and demand the fullest environmental review of the project

“This is where Maryland makes its climate change stand,” said state Del. Heather Mizeur, a candidate for governor who for years has questioned the safety of fracking. “If I were in charge of this state, I would say no to Cove Point,” she said to cheers. If the plant were built, Maryland would see “rising pollution, rising prices and rising tides.”

tutman large

“This is what dissent looks like. This is what democracy looks like,” Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman told the protesters.

Fred Tutman, the Patuxent Riverkeeper, rebuked Dominion for trying to buy off communities by “passing out money instead of straight answers.” Marylanders won’t “swap our environmental future for cash,” he said.

Many unanswered questions remain about the project, said Rebecca Ruggles of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. What are the health effects, she asked, of more pipeline explosions, more asthma cases, radon in the shale gas, water contamination and climate change?

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus encouraged Maryland to update its motto from Free State, in honor of its role in abolishing slavery, to Fossil-Free State. “This is our lunch-counter moment for the 21st century,” he said. “We must stop Cove Point.” He had the crowd chanting: “Thank God Almighty, we will be fossil free at last.”

“When you say no to Cove Point, you are saying no on behalf of yourselves, your communities and your natural resources,” said Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth in Pennsylvania. “But you are also doing it for my state, my community, my natural resources.” Cabot Oil & Gas, the fracking company that left families in Dimock, Pa., without drinking water, has already signed a deal to send fracked gas to Cove Point, she said.

After the first round of speakers, protesters marched several blocks to the Public Service Commission, chanting, “Hey, O’Malley, what the frack. Get Dominion off our back!” and “Hey, O’Malley, lead on climate; it’s time to break your Cove Point silence!” And they yelled loudly so that the lawyers on the 23rd floor would hear them. They carried signs with a butterfly, salamander and fish. They hoisted little windmills that spun in the breeze. Some carried a huge inflatable pipeline with the sign “No Cove Point.” One sign said, “Fracking + Cove Point = Unacceptable Risk.” Another said, “Cove Point = Climate Disaster.” A banner from Frederick said: Fracking isn’t a bridge. It’s a dead end.”

Students came from Frostburg State, St. Mary’s College, Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Maryland and other schools. Parents, some pushing strollers, and workers and retirees came from as far as Garrett and Calvert counties. Some protesters also traveled from New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania. Clare Zdziebko lives four houses beyond the Dominion Cove Point property line in Lusby. She pushed her nearly 2-year-old son, Dominick, in a stroller. “He needs clean air and clean water,” she said.

After the march to the PSC came several more speakers. Ashok Chandwaney, a student at St. Mary’s, told the crowd he feared the world that his 15-month-old niece will inherit: “I wonder what the world will look like when she’s my age.” He said we are on the cusp of a climate catastrophe and he doesn’t want Dominion to be able to build this facility on a piece of land that will be submerged by climate change.

“We are united here today as one Maryland,” said Nadine Grabania, a winemaker who lives in Garrett County. “I’m here to ask you to promise me you will never think of Garrett or Calvert counties — or anyplace where the shale gas industry wants to do its risky business — as ‘elsewhere.’ ”

“We will not be silent,” said Ted Cady, whose town of Myersville in Frederick County is fighting a compressor station for fracked gas. “We will act. We will ensure the future health and safety of our children.”

lois gibbs at rally large

“Polite people get poisoned,” Lois Gibbs told the crowd.

And Lois Gibbs, who led residents at New York state’s Love Canal in the 1970s, reminded the crowd that “facts will not win this fight.” For every fact you point out, industry will have an answer, she said. Those at Love Canal did not win “because we played nice,” she said. “Polite people get poisoned. Polite people get polluted.” When you brush your teeth and wash your face at night, also tweet O’Malley. Tweet your legislators. “Facts are critically important,” she said, but if we are going to win this fight we need to email and tweet and take vacation time for rallies.

“We’ve got a big fight ahead of us,” Tidwell said. “Make this a part of your life until we win. … Let’s go fight!”

—  elisabeth hoffman

marching large

Protesters march toward the Public Service Commission.

counties banners large student with signstudents with signs

paige art large

Paige Shuttleworth (left), who designed this banner and costumes, stands with protester Diane Wittner.

ann and ron at rally

Ann Coren and Ron Meservey carry HoCo ClimateChange’s new banner.



The Walk for Our Grandchildren started Friday near Camp David.

In January, I walked into the icy Potomac to help fight climate change.

This week, I’ll be walking into the hottest month, 60 miles in 6 days, to help fight climate change.

On average, I guess I’ll be comfortable.

On average, the Earth is not comfortable.

The hottest decade since records have been kept was 2001-2010. June was month No. 340 (28 years) of warmer-than-average global temperatures. Our too-warm planet is reacting with deadly heat waves, melting Arctic ice, loss of snow in the Northern Hemisphere, glacier loss on Greenland and Antarctica, Hurricane Katrina, as well as historic cyclones, droughts, forest fires and floods.

And so, I’m walking, along with many others, including two from Climate Change Initiative of Howard County, Liz Feighner and Lore Rosenthal. We embark tomorrow from Harpers Ferry, (where we will camp tonight) on the Walk for Our Grandchildren to help secure a habitable climate for future generations.

Some walkers started 40 miles ago, at Camp David, including Mike Tidwell from Chesapeake Climate Action Network who wrote about why he’s walking in the Baltimore Sun.

Mike Bagdes-Canning —  a warrior against fracking, member of Marcellus Outreach Butler, prime mover in the Tour de Frack last summer and a grandfather —  also started from Camp David.


Ann Marie Nau speaks to walkers passing through Myersville on the Walk for Our Grandchildren.

They stayed Friday night in Myersville, MD, where residents are fighting a compressor station for Pennsylvania’s fracked natural gas. They camped in the yard of Tammy Mangan, treasurer of Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community (MCRC), and walked through town yesterday, stopping at the elementary school that’s a mile from the proposed compressor station site. Ann Marie Nau, MCRC’s vice president, also spoke at a press conference about the walk. Myersville residents got word Friday that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had ordered the state Department of the Environment to issue the required air quality permit for the compressor station or find a zoning reason to deny it, one that’s not pre-empted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). MCRC is still appealing the FERC certificate and has one lawsuit waiting for a date out there somewhere.

Liz, Lore and I are starting from Harpers Ferry, walking the remaining 60 or so miles to DC in time for a rally at the White House July 27.

Why are we sweating for this sweltering planet?

From Liz:

I am walking to call attention to the urgency that climate change is a real and present danger. I worry that if we don’t change our ways immediately, future generations will pay the price because of our inaction.  We are blowing up mountains to extract coal, pumping toxic chemicals in the ground to extract natural gas and strip-mining millions of acres of boreal forest to extract tar sands oil, leaving behind a toxic brew.  Meanwhile, we reached a very sobering milestone – 400 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere for the first time in human history.  Concentration levels this high have not been seen on Earth for millions of years. 

We are leaving an environmental debt to future generations that will burden them beyond our imagination. This is a debt we apparently have no intention of repaying, judging from the rate we are ravaging this Earth and destroying our planet. 

 As a new grandmother, I want my grandchildren to live in a beautiful and healthy environment, not one ravaged by our addiction to fossil fuels. I want to be proud of our legacy and I want our children to be grateful that we took action for their future. A Native American proverb says it all: “We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors: we borrow it from our children.”

Here’s an article about Lore’s activism and her decision to walk the walk.

And here’s my statement, previously posted on CCAN’s website:

My parents married in November 1945, just months after the end of World War II. My father had worked in the Navy developing radar; my mother used coupons to buy rationed food and fabric, gasoline and tires. At the war’s end, after their work and sacrifice, they decided it was safe to get married. As much as was possible, they could count on a future for themselves and their children.

My children were born in 1984 and 1994. I can’t know what their future holds, but my actions now — while we still have time to avert the worst climate changes — will shape their world.

This is our time to do whatever we can to ensure a future for our children, our grandchildren and generations to come. Even if that requires a WWII-like effort.

Our fight today is with the fossil fuels industry. Its executives, and the politicians who do their bidding, would have us go a little greener even as they carry on with ever more extreme technologies, spewing carbon and other greenhouse gases into our superheated atmosphere, with calamitous results for life on our planet.

Already, we are feeling the blowback, in the form of extreme storms and raging forest fires, long-term drought and deadly heat waves, melting glaciers and rising seas, acidic oceans and mass extinctions. Our burning of fossil fuels has also polluted our air, damaged our water and become the basis for pesticides, herbicides, plastics and other toxic chemicals that are making us and our planet sick. Enough already.

In that spirit, I will participate later this month in the Walk for Our Grandchildren, part of’s Summer Heat campaign to raise awareness about climate change and push President Obama to keep his promise to future generations. As scientist James Hansen says, we are in a climate emergency.

For nearly 30 years, I worked in newsrooms, as a reporter, copy editor and page designer. I was barred by ethics rules from even writing a letter to a legislator. I was also part of a business that quoted scientists about climate change, but for too long simultaneously undercut them by quoting bought-and-paid-for deniers and spreading misinformation, all in the name of fairness.

Now, I am making up for lost time.

I live in Howard County, Md., and see the urgency most clearly in the battle against fracking in the western part of the state. Residents describe feeling colonized as the landmen arrived to buy up leases for the gas beneath their feet. Maryland is still studying whether to allow fracking. Even with no fracking in the state, though, residents in the small town of Myersville are fighting a compressor station in their backyard for Pennsylvania’s fracked gas. If we build an economy on fracked gas, we will all face some combination of drilling rigs, compressor stations, pipelines, fractured forests, air and land pollution, methane leaks that accelerate climate change, and toxic chemicals and gases wandering around in our exploded bedrock looking for a way into our drinking water.

As our climate heads for dangerous tipping points, we must work toward our own tipping point – the point when our actions will bring about the enormous changes necessary to protect our children, future generations and the ecosystem that sustains all life on Earth. This country has a long history of protest. Alice Paul and other suffragists picketed in front of the White House for 2½ years in their demand for the vote. Some were jailed, beaten and force-fed. Civil rights activists rode buses into the segregated South, sat-in at lunch counters, faced beatings, tear gas and high-pressure water hoses, all in the name of justice. Each action built on the ones before.

We don’t know which of our actions will change hearts, minds and politics. But each is absolutely necessary, in the name of climate justice for those who come after us.

When we reach the rally at the White House Saturday, July 27, we’ll tell President Obama to keep his promise to free us from the tyranny of oil and reject that planet-melting Keystone XL pipeline. If you can, please join us along the walk or head for the rally. Our children, all children, are counting on it.

Social media for the walk:  Like 2013 Walk for Our Grandchildren on Facebook. Follow on twitter at 2013 W4OG(@_Grandchildren). We’re using the hashtag #walk4grandkids both places. President Obama, keep your promises! #NoKXL!

—elisabeth hoffman

outbursts in Annapolis

February 27, 2013

senate fracking hearing photo

We looked excited before we knew what was ahead: about six hours of waiting and a harsh rebuke. //photo by Megan Jenny of Chesapeake Climate Action Network

At least half a dozen Western Maryland residents rose in the dark, left home as an ice storm approached, traveled 200 miles to Annapolis and waited, along with environmental and health activists, for nearly six hours yesterday to testify in favor of a moratorium on fracking in the state.

For their trouble, they were screamed at repeatedly by state Sen. Joanne Benson, a member of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

“We are going through an exercise in futility,” she shrieked. And then she yelled again: “We are going through an exercise in futility here. It’s a dead issue.” And, “Nothing is going to happen.” And “The decision has already been made.” (Oddly, Benson is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 514 that would ban fracking in Maryland.)

Before that, the chairwoman of the committee, Sen. Joan Carter Conway, also lacerated Sens. Jamin Raskin and Robert Zirkin for co-sponsoring the bill, Senate Bill 601, that would create a legislative moratorium in the state and put into law the governor’s executive order requiring studies.

“We all know there will be no fracking in Maryland,” she shouted. She said she had a letter from the attorney general in which he had assured her that Maryland was at no risk from industry lawsuits. “We have no liability,” she said. The governor has put $1.5 million in the budget to study fracking, and until the study is done, she said, “There will be no fracking in Maryland.” The state will not issue permits, she said. For good measure, she added again, “You cannot frack in the state of Maryland” until the studies are done.

Zirkin defended the bill, asking for “the imprimatur of the General Assembly” on the governor’s executive order, which expires in 2014. He said Maryland has only a “backdoor moratorium” that industry could challenge. Already, Dominion has sued the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the town of Myersville for rejecting a permit for a compressor station for natural gas. That suit involves “the same game with the same players,” Zirkin said.

Raskin said the moratorium is like a yellow light in Maryland: “Let’s guarantee we don’t frack until we do the studies.”

But Conway disputed that the Myersville case had any relevance to the fracking debate. She clearly wanted to dismiss the entire discussion. She said that the governor has included money for the study and that previous bills have liability covered. If fracking is ever permitted, “we are very protected,” she insisted.

Nevertheless, the testimony proceeded, with numerous witnesses imploring Conway to let the bill come to a vote in the panel and send it to the full Senate. For most of the testimony, Conway and Benson disappeared from the room. So this is what democracy looks like.

“Those who came from Garrett County came with the sincerest of intentions,” said Nadine Grabania, who owns Deep Creek Cellars with her husband, Paul Roberts. “We are asking for protection.”

She said she doesn’t want the studies to be rushed to completion before the executive order expires next year. “Give us a bit of a guarantee,” she said. “We just want the bill brought to a vote.”

Without protections of a moratorium, she said, “powerful interests who stand to gain will just bulldoze us. “

Ina Hicks, born 83 years ago near the Youghiogheny River in Garrett and still living nearby, said she wants the river to stay pristine. “Until these things are law, your wonderful chairwoman – she isn’t God,” she said. “We are talking about humongous corporations who can bring in tons of lawyers to do whatever they want with my home.” She said she was approached by a landman who gave her his phone number on a scrap of paper torn from his legal pad. She refused to lease to her land for fracking, but others did.

Mike Tidwell, executive director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said the bill is a “reasonable, common-sense” approach. “Do we have sufficient legal protections?” he asked. “With all due deference, that is an open question.”

He also cited results of a new CCAN-commissioned poll released Monday showing that 76 percent of Western Marylanders support environmental and health studies. Those counties are on top of the Marcellus Shale, but other shale lies under Charles, Anne Arundel and Calvert counties and the Chesapeake Bay, so this is not just a Western Maryland concern, he said. (The poll showed that 78 percent of Marylanders believe the General Assembly should require safety and environmental studies.)

“All we are asking for is added insurance,” he said.

Matia Vanderbilt said she had been to Annapolis to testify on various fracking bills for the past 3 years, with only the governor’s executive order to show for her efforts. “That is all we have. His word and the 2014 deadline approaching.”

“The gas industry works hard to kill our bills,” she said, and in 2014 a new governor could pressure MDE to issue permits. “This is our only insurance,” she said. If not for its importance, “we wouldn’t leave our county in the middle of an ice storm,” she said.

Linda Herdering, who owns Husky Power Dogsledding, said, “Our voices need to be heard, and our reason is that we don’t feel safe. You can yell at us, but [circumstances] can change.”

“Thirteen hours ago, I left my house to be here,” said James “Smokey” Stanton of the Youghiogheny River Watershed Association. The moratorium bill “strengthens the executive order.”

Richelle Brown of the Sierra Club said she had talked with people near fracking sites in West Virginia. “I wish I could convey to you the misery they have undergone.” she said. “When the frackers came, the misery started.  …. Western Maryland deserves the strongest protection,” she said.

Katie Huffling of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments said the American Nurses Association and Maryland Nurses Association back a moratorium on fracking until further studies are completed.

Those opposed to the moratorium, who also waited for hours but at least didn’t get yelled at, said the executive order was sufficient and that Maryland was walking away from jobs. They criticized the moratorium as just one more delay. “This is not simply a yellow light; it’s a red light. I wonder if the light will ever be green, ” said Merlin Beitzel, vice chairman of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

“This bill sends the wrong message,” said James Raley, a Garrett County commissioner who is also a member of the state’s Marcellus Shale advisory commission. Trained workers go to Pennsylvania and West Virginia rather than getting jobs in the industry in Maryland. “We don’t need a moratorium.”

Jeffrey Kupfer, a senior adviser at Chevron and a member of the study commission, called the bill “a solution looking for a problem.”

Billy Bishoff of the Garrett County Farm Bureau said, “The call for more studies is simply more smoke.”

Shawn Bender, division manager at Beitzel Corp., president of the Garrett County Farm Bureau and member of the commission, said, “We’re confident … we can come up with the gold standard.”

One big question our pro-moratorium contingent had was why the Senate committee members scheduled so many controversial bills to be heard in one day. At the start of the hearings, we were told the quick bills would go first. Well, none of the bills was quick. Many people signed up on both sides of a bill designed to reduce the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals used for meat; a bill to ban the selling and buying of shark fins (yes, some in the restaurant business want to retain the right to sell shark fins); and the so-called bag bill, designed to encourage reusable cloth bags and setting a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags at stores. Donna Dempsey, from the 1984-ishly named American Progressive Bag Alliance, criticized made-in-Chinese-sweatshop reusable cloth bags that would also carry germs and make people sick. Made-in-America-of natural-gas plastic bags are the “most economical” and “most sustainable,” she asserted. And their manufacture creates jobs. Sen. Paul Pinsky aptly called out the Alice-in-Wonderland aspects of that and similar testimony, saying he was having flashbacks to the cigarette industry’s threat of job losses. “We’ve got global warming,” he said, and noted the energy consumed to produce, collect and process even recycled plastic bags. “You’re holding onto a technology we are going past,” he told the bag people.

Those in favor and those opposed to the fracking moratorium found common ground on Senate Bill 766, which would protect Marylanders from fly-by-night, unscrupulous landmen wanting landowners to sign leases to frack land. If passed, the law would require the landmen to registered in the state.

And about 8 p.m., we also got the news that the Senate Finance Committee had passed Senate Bill 275, the Offshore Wind Energy Bill, sending it to the full Senate for a vote. The House of Delegates approved its version of the bill Feb 22. A bit of good news to end the day.

–elisabeth hoffman

the bridge to a hotter future

December 10, 2012

Conference speakers and participants want a fracking moratorium in Maryland.
Holding the banner are, from left, Mike Tidwell, Dana Shimrock,
Heather Mizeur, Joe Romm and CCAN organizers Megan Jenny and Kelly Trout.
//photo from Delegate Mizeur’s facebook page.

The fossil fuels economy is a Ponzi scheme, author and blogger Joe Romm said Saturday at Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s statewide Conference on Fracking Risks and Action in Maryland. Instead of the typical Ponzi scheme, in which we stay rich by fooling the next guy, “we are staying rich by taking and destroying resources our kids would depend on. … We are hurting our kids … so this is much worse than other Ponzi schemes.” We are depleting the water, air and land, he said – behavior that has to collapse eventually. And natural gas, once thought to be the bridge fuel to the future, is instead a “bridge to nowhere” and just a part of this Ponzi scheme. “We have to stop building fossil fuels infrastructure this decade,” he said.

Romm was one of four speakers on a morning panel at the all-day conference at the University of Baltimore that examined the risks of hydraulic fracturing and laid out the case for a moratorium on the drilling process in Maryland unless it can be shown to be safe.

Mike Tidwell, executive director of CCAN, said the gas industry always points to winners but overlooks the losers. “How many losers? We don’t know.” That’s why Maryland first needs a thorough study of the economic, environmental and health effects, from tourism to tap water to truck traffic, he said.

Delegate Heather Mizeur, who delivered a keynote address at the conference, emphasized that Maryland is the only state that sits on top of Marcellus Shale but hasn’t rushed into fracking. “We have the opportunity to act first,” she said, instead of having to clean up an environmental mess afterward. “We will not drill first and ask questions later.”

Fracking involves drilling about a mile underground and then turning the drill and heading another mile or so sideways through shale rock. Drillers use explosives to begin shattering the rock, then send a mixture of water, silica sand and a top secret combination of toxic and often carcinogenic chemicals under high pressure to crack open the rock and release bubbles of methane trapped there. The gas and some of the toxic brew comes back up the pipe, along with radium that had been locked safely underground. Sometimes that waste is injected into underground wells, a practice linked to earthquakes. Other times it sits in wastewater pits or is spread on roads. It also has been sent through waste-treatment plants and returned in questionable condition to drinking water sources.

An executive order by Gov. Martin O’Malley stands in the way of drilling in Maryland, for now. He set up a commission to study fracking and recommend regulations, but natural gas industry lobbyists have successfully argued against a fee on land leased for drilling that would have funded a comprehensive study. Mizeur called the executive order a “temporary reprieve.”

A legislative moratorium “will not happen without you,” she told the more than 200 people attending the conference. “I’m asking each of you to make this fight your own.”

“We can keep something bad from ever happening,” she said.

In the afternoon, those at the conference could attend two of three breakout sessions: how to make the fracking moratorium happen; debunking fracking myths; and fracking’s cost to the environment and clean energy alternatives.

(At least half a dozen CCICH members attended the conference, so I hope others will include comments about the sessions they attended or any other parts of the conference. I attended the latter two sessions.)

The morning panel members, as well as those during afternoon sessions, talked about the health, climate, community and legal ramifications of fracking. Others spoke of advances in renewable energy, such as solar and wind. Emma’s Revolution made an unscheduled appearance, singing “Feel the Wind,” a song the two musicians wrote to encourage Maryland legislators to pass offshore wind legislation.

Several speakers talked of the folly of building the infrastructure for a global natural gas economy that, according to the International Energy Agency, will warm the planet a catastrophic 6 degrees C (for those of us in the U.S., that’s about 11 degrees F). Ted Glick, national program coordinator of CCAN, called natural gas a “bridge fuel to worldwide climate catastrophe.” (During a Mitt Romney campaign stop in Virginia shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Glick hoisted a banner that said “End Climate Silence” and yelled, “What about climate? That’s what caused this monster storm,” before being drowned out by audience boos and chants of “USA! USA!” and hauled out of the area.) Glick said that if fracking expands worldwide, the atmosphere would be headed for 650 parts per million of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by the end of the century, far above the 350 ppm that made civilization possible. Although the burning of natural gas emits less CO2 than coal or oil, it emits methane during drilling and venting, from compressor stations and along leaking pipelines. Shorter-lived methane is about 20 times more efficient at trapping heat than CO2, but averaged over 20 years, it is 72 times worse for the climate, Glick said.

Suzanne Jacobson, a nurse at Frederick MemorialHospital, and Veronica Coptis, a community organizer for Mountain Watershed Association in southwest Pennsylvania outlined the health problems in communities living with fracking. Doug Shields, the former Pittsburgh councilman, talked about leading that city’s efforts to pass a ban on fracking based on community rights rather than zoning. So far, no company has sued. He said the nation needs political leadership similar to that shown by President Kennedy, who set a timeframe for getting to the moon.

Panel member Dana Shimrock leased 50 acres of her land in Western Maryland, a decision she now regrets. For a year, she resisted industry representatives, but as her neighbors signed leases, she eventually relented, thinking that fracking would be similar to conventional gas drilling. When she asked what was in the fluid used to frack wells, she was told water and sand. No mention was made of the hazardous chemicals. She also was told the drilling footprint would be about an acre. In reality, the footprint of Pennsylvania drill pads is six to 10 acres, she said. She received $5 an acre, but the lease was eventually flipped for $10,000 an acre. The CEO of Chief Oil & Gas is very wealthy, she said, but he made his money from flipping leases, not from extracting natural gas. She has also learned much about those harmed by fracking in Pennsylvania, including an organic farmer whose land is now nearly worthless. “Banks don’t want to have anything to do with land with leases,” she said, or even adjacent properties.

Paul Roberts, a farmer and winery owner in GarrettCounty and founder of Citizen Shale, has not leased his family’s land, but the narrow road that runs in front of his house would be filled with diesel trucks hauling millions of gallons of water and fracking waste. The nearby land would be covered with well pads, each with eight or so wells, along with compressor stations and pipelines. “You’re probably thinking this is a personal thing,” he said, “We’re over it being personal. … If we go down this road and subject another generation to fossil fuels, it’s game over for the planet.”

Invoking Bill Clinton, he said the arithmetic of shale gas doesn’t add up. To produce enough natural gas to fill half the energy needs of the nation by 2035, as the industry plans to do, 35,000 to 40,000 wells would have to be drilled every year. In 2012, however, 18,000 to 20,000 were drilled, far short of the goal. Yet those wells already have brought environmental degradation to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and states in the southwest United States. He said we would have to fell every fifth tree in Pennsylvania to meet the goal. Also, because natural gas is not easily stored, the industry has to increase demand by promoting gas for vehicles, even though this would require an enormous investment in infrastructure, and try to set up ports for export. At the same time, however, the Energy Information Administration has drastically lowered estimates of how much gas is contained in the Marcellus Shale.

Because of low gas prices, many drillers have let leases lapse in Western Maryland. Chevron is the lone company remaining, he said. “We have time to make the right decision,” Roberts said.

Diana Dascalu-Joffe, the senior general counsel of CCAN, discussed the myth that the industry is highly regulated. The so-called Halliburton loophole, for example, exempts the gas industry from oversight provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and others. In addition, Maryland regulations for the oil and gas industry haven’t been amended since 1993, so they don’t even address fracking. Maryland also has trade secret exemptions that would fail to protect workers or communities. Under existing laws, she said, the Maryland Department of the Environment has the “discretion” to allow drilling permits within 1,000 feet of water sources, streams, schools, populations. She said MDE should not have the ability to allow drilling so close to those areas. “An unregulated industry is a dangerous industry,” she said.

Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, seemed sharp but also a bit weary on what he said was his 1,867th talk—a factoid he knows because he’s working on an autobiography. “We talk about saving the planet, but it’s our civilization that’s in danger,” he said. The environmental trends show trouble on many fronts, from aquifer depletion, deforestation, climate change and overpopulation.

Food, he said, is the weak link. The combination of population growth and people “moving up the food chain” to diets high in meat, milk and eggs has put extreme pressure on earth’s resources, particularly water. Many countries are overpumping aquifers, so water will be the main constraint for more food.

Farmers also face climate change. As a former farmer, Brown said, he always faced the variability of weather. Eventually normal would return. “Now there’s no normal to go back to. Farmers don’t know how to plan,” he said. For each 1 degree C rise in average global temperatures, grain yields decline 10 percent. Agriculture evolved during 11,000 years of climate stability, he said. “That climate system is no more.” Soil erosion, a byproduct of overplowing and overgrazing, will be another constraint on food production. Grain prices are already rising, and families in Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and other nations plan for foodless days.

We need to stabilize the climate, but cutting carbon and other greenhouse emissions 80 percent by 2050 is too late, he said. Instead we need a massive mobilization to cut emissions 80 percent by 2020. He sees hope in many places: coal plants are closing, auto sizes peaked in 2007 and cities are instituting bike sharing programs. Wind farms provide 40 to 50 percent of the energy in three German states and 20 percent of the electricity in Iowa and South Dakota. He said wind energy can “scale up” like no other energy form, from 100 megawatts to 10,000 megawatts. “We are now in the early phase of what I call the great transition” from fossil fuels, he said, and he’s confident that wind energy will “become the centerpiece of the new energy economy.”

He said we will need a massive restructuring similar to 1942, when this nation shifted to a wartime footing. “If we could restructure the U.S. industrial economy in 1942 … then certainly we can restructure the energy economy today.”

“Time is our scarcest resource,” he said, because we need to shift to this new energy economy “before climate change spirals out of control.” He urged everyone to have a stake in future civilization. “We can’t sit around and hope someone will save the future for us.”

Read a Washington Post article about the conference here.

–elisabeth hoffman





A protester cools off in the fountain at Franklin Square.
//photo by Liz Visser.

The Stop the Frack Attack march ended fittingly, with perhaps a dozen hot, sticky protesters slipping into the basin in Franklin Square and splashing around under the fountains. Some raised soggy signs that said, “Keep the Frack out of my Water.” Someone yelled, “Whose water?” and the crowd around the edges of the pool yelled back, “Our water!” “Whose water?” “Our water!”

This day in the nation’s capital was about water. About protecting it from the certain damage done by hydraulic fracturing. We couldn’t stop thinking about water. And the relentless sun only served to remind us how much we need clean water. Water to drink, water spritzed on us by sympathetic bystanders. Water from ice cubes handed out by volunteers along the march route so we could rub them on our arms and faces and necks.

And a chant rose up from the crowd:

Poison water

poison air

we get sick

and they don’t care

“Anyone thirsty?” “Gasland” filmmaker Josh Fox deadpanned to the crowd. “Here. I brought some water from Pennsylvania.”

From Maryland, Ohio, New York, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas, Michigan and other states, and even Australia, people concerned about fracking’s effects or already harmed listened Saturday afternoon to speakers and music and then marched from the U.S. Capitol to the offices of the American Petroleum Institute. Although people in numerous states have protested locally, Stop the Frack Attack was the first national rally against fracking.

Our Maryland contingent had a pre-rally at Spirit of Justice Park, a few blocks from the main rally on the west lawn of the Capitol. As we stood in the shade of a few trees, Mike Tidwell, director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, listed some of the planet’s warnings: last month’s derecho storm that brought all the impacts of a hurricane but none of the warning, our winter that never was, last fall’s damaging Tropical Storm Lee, a March that broke warm temperature records for April, flooding in Beijing, droughts out West. Everywhere, it’s “too hot, too dry, too wet,” he said.

Driving all this extreme energy is extreme energy extraction, from “barbaric” mountaintop removal that crushes communities before the extracted coal is even burned; to drilling in the ocean with rigs the size of the Eiffel Tower; to tar sands oil extraction that requires “peeling back” the surface of land; to fracking, which causes forest fragmentation, contaminated water, earthquakes from reinjecting toxic wastewater, endless truck traffic over country roads and water from faucets that bursts into flame. And if we burn all that natural gas from shale, Tidwell said, and send all that methane into the atmosphere, we will raise the temperature of the planet 6 degrees F by 2100. What we thought was a bridge fuel to renewables is instead going to cook the planet and wreck the climate.


CCIHC members attended the Stop the Frack Attack rally.
//photo by Ruth Alice White

He said that Delegate Heather Mizeur will introduce a bill in the next General Assembly that will call for a statutory moratorium on fracking. Garrett County and parts of Allegany in Western Maryland lie atop the Marcellus Shale. Unless the oil and gas companies can prove that no harm will result, fracking wouldn’t be allowed, Tidwell said. In the last General Assembly, the American Petroleum Institute “parachuted in and told our legislators that Western Maryland doesn’t care about clean water,” he said, “and Montgomery County doesn’t care about climate change.” As a result, 11 bills that would have regulated fracking died during the session.

API will call us radical, Tidwell said, “but what could possibly be more radical than changing the atmosphere?”

We marched together to the main rally, where hundreds, maybe thousands, had gathered. Some people huddled at the tree-lined edges of the lawn, desperate for a bit of shade. But then one of the rally organizers said that unlike the oil and gas industry, everyone should “get out of the shadows.” So, into the sunlight we moved.

“We are standing together for justice in our country’s oil and gas communities,” said Gwen Lachelt of EARTHWORKS. “We are honoring Americans who bear the impacts of energy development. We want a new energy economy.”

Kari Matsko, a landowner from the Marcellus Shale region of Ohio, was among the harmed. Six years ago, she told the protesters, she awoke in severe pain, unable to move. She was in her 30s and had been healthy; a series of tests produced no diagnosis. But her home was 2,500 feet from a hydraulic fracturing site, and her windows had been open during those July days. Soon, she learned that a neighbor’s children had been rushed to the hospital the same week. That family lived 1,000 feet from the drilling site. Hydrogen sulfide gas, a natural byproduct of some wells, was the culprit. It can cause symptoms from dizziness and headaches to breathing difficulties and even death. We have all seen the warnings that accompany television ads for medications, Kari said, but the oil and gas industry, in its promotions for natural gas, never says “may cause imminent death.”

A sign along the way:

It’s hard to live well next to a live well.

Laura Amos of Colorado came with her daughter Lauren. “Ten years ago, the gas companies proved that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong,” she said. Her family’s water well blew up during drilling on her land, she wrote in an EARTHWORKS essay. The water in their previously abundant well turned gray and bubbly and smelled awful. They didn’t even own the mineral rights.

The industry turned their neighborhood into an industrial zone, she said. “We’re afraid to drink our water. We’re afraid to breathe the air. We’re afraid to let our kids play outside.”

“We found out you’re not good neighbors,” she said of the oil and gas industry. “We’re afraid of living with you, but we are not afraid of you.”

Water is our right. 

Josh Fox asked the crowd if anyone had been to a fracking site. Some hands went up.

Well, everyone has now, he announced, “because this is the biggest frack site in the country.” The Washington Monument looks a lot like a drilling rig, he said. After much investigating, he’s figured out that T. Boone Pickens and other oil and gas executives must have drilled down through that monument, then drilled horizontally under the Capitol and injected money. Lots of it. And with that money, they bought exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act and other environmental laws. We might not have an extra $747 million to buy back our government, Fox said, but “we have bodies, and we have minds and we have hearts.”

Fox also had some advice. He had spoken with a landowner in Arkansas whose artesian well had been contaminated from fracking. The landowner spoke not of “America” but of “our America.” “Who’s going to fight for our America?” he would ask. That landowner also said to never look at the size of the enemy.” If you think you can win, you will.

The solution, Fox said, is solar and wind energy. “We can do this now, and in the process we can change the world.”

“We can take back our power. We can take back our America,” Fox said.

“We are fighting the biggest fight human beings have ever fought,” said Bill McKibben, founder of The fight will be close and hard, and we will have to go to the core, the heart of the oil and gas industry, he said: “If [they’re] taking away our planet and our future, we’re taking away their money. … Money is the only thing that hurts them.” He seemed dismayed that more people weren’t there to fill the lawn. Next time we will, he said.

Jameson Lisak from Pennsylvania spoke in particular to the teens and 20-somethings in the crowd, saying, “It’s for us that everyone is fighting.” He and his generation wonder what life will hold if the water is contaminated and the climate damaged. “I don’t want to be here [at the rally]. … None of us wants to be here,” he said, “but we don’t have the option to sit at home safe … because we fear losing our water, we fear losing our land, we fear losing our health.”

Respect existence or expect resistance. 

Catherine Thomasson, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said the protesters would save more lives than doctors, because changing policy saves lives. She encouraged everyone to get five more people to fight fracking. “We’re here to demand change,” she said.

In 2009, Doug Shields was a Pittsburgh councilman when the mayor started rhapsodizing about the jobs from fracking. The mayor assured the council members, “We would prepare for well fires and pollution and other disasters.”

“I’d say, ‘I’d rather not.’ ” Shields said. “We want to prepare for future generations.” Pittsburgh is now a frack-free zone, having passed legislation making it the first city east of the Mississippi to ban the drilling.

The oil and gas industry has always said it needed predictability and uniformity, Shields said. So does he. “I like to be able to predict that when I turn the faucet on, that water will come out,” he said. “I need predictability. And I need uniformity of the application of our laws.” He decried the “arrogance of the oil and gas industry” and its friends in government. “We don’t have an oil and gas problem. We’ve got a democracy problem here.”

I stand with Dimock.

And then we marched and chanted to the front of the impassive, glass-windowed headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute on L St NW. Some protesters held signs up to the doors. Others knocked over a replica paper drill erected for the protest. A participant was supposed to leave a gallon of fracked and brown faucet water that no one would dare drink, but no one from API was there to receive it.

Heading to Franklin Park and buses or the Metro home, protesters listened to Ohio folksinger Zach Freidhof, who had biked to the protest from Williamsport, MD, with Tour de Frack. From atop the Bus for Progress, he sang what should be the anthem to the anti-fracking movement, although the sound was not quite loud enough. “I Want a Future Too” needs a bigger audience, so here it is once again: 

I Want a Future Too
(c) Z. Freidhof 2012

Dont tell me that its alright
I know the truth inside
Don’t tell me about oversight
I know the truth you hide

This heres a beautiful place
This heres my only home
No time to make mistakes
No time to get it wrong

I don’t want your poison
I don’t want your money and crew
I don’t want your future
I want a future too

Don’t tell me that the waters safe
That the smell wont sicken me
Don’t wanna explode my place
Trying to make some tea

Well this heres a beautiful place
Its home to more than just me
Once you break this place
No fix we’ll ever see


Ohh oh-oh oh oh ohh oh-oh oh

Don’t tell me about the jobs
That youre gonna bring
This town needs sustainable work
Not raping and pillaging

This heres a beautiful place
Our own liitle Shangri-la
You wont move into this place
So take your trucks & get off our lawn

I want t a future too

Ohh oh-oh oh oh ohh oh-oh oh …

–elisabeth hoffman