There’s a tremendous success story that can be connected to IREJN and a husband and wife duo. Gary and Gloria Bent have attended numerous IREJN Climate Conferences. The call to action resulted in Gary and Gloria becoming founding members of Eastern CT Green Action, with 100 members now in 20 eastern CT towns.
First on the agenda was fracking waste. Gloria, President of the League of Women Voters, and Gary, the League’s Climate Specialist and coordinator for ECGA, collaborated with Food & Water Watch and held fracking forums. Locals learned that efforts to pass a state law banning fracking waste resulted in a temporary moratorium for waste from hydraulic fracturing for gas only. The law also mandates that DEEP submit regulations for review, as early as this summer.
Our corner of Creation, one of the smallest and most densely populated states, is on a path for permanent contamination. The chemicals used for fracking and toxins that come out of the ground and mix with wastes are known to cause multiple cancers, organ damage, birth defects, embryo toxicity, neurological, developmental and reproductive problems. Radium226 remains radioactive for 4,000 years, decays into lead and is known to cause breast, bone and liver cancers, and is associated with childhood and adult leukemia.
Billions of gallons of toxic waste from 10,000 fracked wells in Pennsylvania alone has been shipped to 8 states, and 80,000 more wells are predicted. Duke researchers confirmed over 6,600 fracking waste spills reported in only 4 states; More than half of the spills occur when moving and handling this waste. The EPA has determined more than half of spills at waste treatment facilities occur due to worker error and equipment failure combined. Regulations simply cannot prevent this. Commissioner Klee and his staff err in believing their rules on paper will keep CT safe.
No Frack Waste grassroots citizens groups formed across CT. Subsequent IREJN workshops brought several more persons forward. Now eleven towns and cities have passed local ordinances, and residents in more than 40 towns have interest and are actively moving ordinances forward.. ECGA and FWW continue to collaborate, providing forums, training sessions, help with materials and petitioning.
Faith communities that form the IREJN coalition are being called upon to help. Faith leaders, green and social justice committees, and congregants can help collect signatures for a local ordinance in your community. These local bans prohibit all oil & gas drilling, extraction and storage wastes. Many CT towns follow a legal petition process, and a minimum of 50 signatures on a specialized form can arrange for a town meeting and vote in several weeks. Gary & Gloria collected petition signatures during several church coffee hours and spear-headed passage in their community.
This localized caring for Creation encourages legislators to act. Several bills were submitted by Representatives from towns that passed ordinances. House Bill 6329 “An Act Concerning Hydraulic Fracturing in CT” is active now. It has loopholes, but is still needed to pass to stop DEEP’s regulations.
Please take ten seconds and call your Senator and Representative at the State Capitol in Hartford. Please leave a message with their aides, “Please support House Bill 6329 and stop DEEP from submitting regulations for hydraulic fracturing waste from gas wells. Please show strong leadership by signing on as a co-sponsor for this bill.” So far, 13 of 187 legislators are co-sponsors.
Thank you for all your faith community does to care for Creation. To help with these localized and effective efforts, please contact Jen Siskind, Local Coordinator, Food & Water Watch at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you.