IREJN is thrilled to announce that the Amalia and Nicola Giuliani Foundation for Religion and the Arts is the presenting sponsor for our new traveling art exhibit on fracking, entitled The Shalefield Stories.
The process of fracking for shale gas involves drilling deep into the earth and then injecting a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into the rock, which forces the gas to flow to the head of the well. Every step in the process of fracking causes tremendous damage to the environment and to public health. There are numerous negative impacts, for example, it takes seven million gallons of water to frack a single well and thirty percent of that water is lost forever in the recesses of the well. Fracking and drilling can go on for weeks, exposing both humans and animals to constant explosions and deafening noise. In addition, fracking fluid is considered proprietary, which means that the companies to not have to release the details. Fracking waste has been known to travel over a mile, contaminating wells and land and destroying the value of the homes that they sit on. In many cases, the houses become completely worthless due to contamination, but the homeowners have no recourse or legal opportunity to seek compensation.
The devastation wrought by natural gas companies has impacted the affected communities on every level. Land and homes have lost value, water has become dangerously toxic, unexplained illnesses and health issues plague entire communities. Despite all of this, the race for natural gas continues. Lured by the call of cheap energy, politicians and municipal leaders have disregarded the serious environmental and public health threats posed by fracking, allowing companies to seize mineral rights on private land.
The Shalefield Stories, a volunteer, collaborative project by concerned citizens, public health public researchers, environmental organizations, and grassroots groups organized by the non-profit organization, Friends of the Harmed, a project of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh, PA. The Shalefield Stories provides a voice to individuals and families who have been impacted by oil and gas development and aims to educate through firsthand experiences, testimonials, and up-to-date information and research. The Shalefield Stories is a compilation of first-hand accounts of how people have been harmed by oil and gas drilling and fracking across the country, with a special focus on communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Powerful and informative, each account tells a different personal story of loss – some people have lost their health and ability to work, some have found that, after years of diligently paying their bills, their homes have completely lost value, still others have watched as their livestock suffered and died after being poisoned by fracking waste. All feel betrayed by a government that is supposed to protect them and a legal system that has failed them. Each person provides a haunting narrative with a similar theme, one that calls for a halt to fracking and natural gas production.
IREJN has commissioned a traveling exhibit of fifteen narrative prints that will highlight the struggle and devastation faced by our brothers, sisters, and other plant and wild life due to fracking. The Shalefield Stories exhibit will be available to organizations, religious communities, and events throughout New England, with a special focus on Connecticut. It will be free to exhibit for our membership organizations. To find out more about how to schedule a showing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.