Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh arranged for an event on the Drexel campus last Thursday. Titled LNG Exports: Exploring the possibilities in Philadelphia, it entailed a keynote presentation by Cheniere Energy, opportunities for the nation & Philadelphia in LNG production & export, plus 3 panels on LNG & energy infrastructure, market analysis & investment, site preparation.
Here’s what we found about Cheniere Energy: Poster-boy For The Shale Gas Hallucination, which, summarized, states that “the shale gas story is not about an economic miracle, the wonders of technology, the prowess of job creators. Instead, it’s a place where the cheap capital enabled by central banks goes to die.”
Several residents went, and found that most of the attendees at this forum did not live in our region. That the panelists were likewise from all around the US. That there was no representation from public health professionals, nor any mention of public health. Who will speak for the people? When citizens began questioning Councilman Oh, the reply was… I don’t work for you. So the questions, and the attacks, on industry continued. And yes, security was called to protect industry from citizens, and one by one, the citizens were escorted out.
Some of what happened was covered by the media. Jon Hurdle of StateImpactPA wrote Shale Gas Opponents Shout Down Industry Speaker at Philadelphia LNG Session; Andrew Maykuth of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote Anti-drilling protest interrupts Drexel energy forum; and someone from the Marcellus Drilling industry wrote “Peaceful” Protesters Removed from LNG Export Hearing in Philly.
I do hope Councilman Oh heard us. And plans to gain a balanced education around this subject by inviting public health professionals and those in the renewable energy field to a future forum. We, as citizens of greater Philadelphia, have concerns. Concerns about air quality from increased emissions. Concerns about water quality when we hear about a tunnel under the Delaware river. Concerns about pipelines coming through our properties, bringing the Marcellus gas into our region. Concerns about trains exploding from the increased volume of dirty fossil fuels headed our way.
We invite Councilman Oh, and all of City Council to look to the future. A future with reduced greenhouse gases, a future with solar panels or greenery on every roof, a future with fewer cars and more rapid transit, a bright green future for future generations. We can do it. We must do it.