Guest post by Tim Spiese of Lancaster Against Pipelines.

I was recently asked why I am attending the Peoples Climate March in Washington D.C. this coming Saturday. There are many reasons, and each one of them alone is reason enough to join tens of thousands of people to surround the White House on the 100th day under the Trump administration. But let me be more specific:

I am member of Lancaster Against Pipelines. We are a grassroots movement fighting the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. This pipeline would transport fracked gas from the Marcellus shale regions of Pennsylvania to export facilities across the region. We know there is no need for this gas, as the U.S. experiences a glut of gas supplies. Additionally, the idea of exporting this gas is dubious at best, given the introduction of LNG exports from other countries. The development of massive 42 inch high pressure gas pipelines to export facilities only serves the bottom line of corporations, ignoring the very people who will bear the brunt of these unnecessary and unwelcome intrusions.

As Donald Trump flees the White House to visit the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA, many people fighting the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, and a host of other gas pipelines in the region, will travel to the Capitol to join tens of thousands of people across the country to let our elected officials know that we will not be ignored, and that climate change must be addressed now. As a Pennsylvanian, I find it sadly ironic that Trump chose the Farm Show Complex as his venue to publicly deny that his first 100 days represent attacks on our communities and climate.  In Lancaster County alone, the pipeline would cut through dozens of preserved farms boasting the best non-irrigated soil in the world. Once these farms are lost to industrial development they will never be farms again.

There are four main points that have led me to oppose and mobilize to stop this pipeline:

  1. Locally, the people of Lancaster and surrounding counties have little to no say about whether this pipeline will be built here.  Landowners would have their hard earned property taken from them through eminent domain, but they would still pay taxes, endure lower property values, will not be able to do what they want with their property. All this while living with the inevitable threat of a leak or explosion. That in itself is enough to bring me to Washington.
  2. On a regional level, this pipeline promotes and facilitates the continuation and expansion of fracking in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. While states like Maryland and New York have banned fracking in light of concerns over clean air, clean water and an increase in a variety of illnesses like asthma and cancer, Pennsylvania’s governor and legislators are ignoring the warnings in pursuit of profit and jobs.
  3. Nationally, Donald Trump and his administration has chosen to move backwards in haste with regards to America being a leader of nations. Make no mistake, our country’s energy future is with renewable energy. Innovations are occurring daily that destroy the myth that we can never wean ourselves away from fossil fuels. And yet, in his first 100 days, Trump has hamstrung the EPA; made baseless promises to bring back coal; attempted to dismantle the Clean Power Plan; threatened to pull out of the Paris climate agreement; and deny the scientific facts of climate change as a present danger. All of these backward moves have a negative impact on our climate and communities.
  4. All of the legitimate reason mean nothing if fossil fuel companies drive us toward an uninhabitable planet. The expansion of gas infrastructure and continuing or increasing fracking in the Marcellus region are in direct conflict with what the U.S. and nearly 200 nations agreed to do if we hope to have any chance to tackle the climate crisis.

It is not just property rights and social justice that bring me to Washington. It is not just fracking that brings me to Washington. It is not just failed energy and environmental policies driven by corrupt politicians and insatiable corporate greed that bring me to Washington. It is all of these things.

For these reasons and more, I’ll be joining tens of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 29th for the Peoples Climate March for jobs, justice, and climate.


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