WTAE Pittsburgh- Community, family of pipeline explosion victim rally for change
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 16, 2015
Diane Sipe, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, 724-272-4539
Karen Feridun, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, 610-678-7726
Salem Residents, Coalition Call For No More Natural Gas Infrastructure; Renewable Energy Now
Family of Texas Eastern Explosion Victim Joins Action
Salem Township, PA– Local residents including the family of James Baker gathered just yards from the scene of the April 29th Texas Eastern pipeline explosion on Monday to call on Governor Wolf to put a halt to natural gas infrastructure development and lead the transition to clean, renewable, and safe energy. The event occurs just days after Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Transmission line exploded here in Salem Township, hospitalizing Mr. Baker.
“I understand there are people whose jobs are at stake here, but there are also lives at stake,” said Helen Baker, mother of James Baker. “People who are working [on pipelines]- their lives are also at stake.”
“Governor Wolf must reckon with the fact that continued natural gas development will lead to more scenes of scorched earth like those left in the wake of the tragedy, whether they’re caused by future explosions or by the sizzling temperatures and record droughts that will increase as the planet’s temperature continues to rise,” said Diane Sipe, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, one of the organizers of today’s protest.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described the site of the explosion as being “saturated” with natural gas infrastructure, noting that a 39 square mile natural gas storage facility sits beneath the four pipelines, a compressor station, injection wells, a natural gas power plant, and natural gas wells in the area.
“At the Salem Township meeting with Spectra Energy and Dominion on May 11, someone in the audience asked Spectra officials: ‘Why are our lives being put on the line for your profit?’ It was a great question that got a non-answer,” said Dawn Law, Salem Township resident. “I understand corporations exist to make the most while spending the least, but the fact that our government has no restrictions against laying high pressure transmission lines within feet of residences (Sunoco has an 8-inch and is planning 16- and 20-inch lines next to mine and six other residences nearby) is unconscionable.”
Protesters noted that just days before the explosion, Governor Wolf allowed a fiscal code bill to pass that included a provision to move $12 million from alternative energy to pipeline incentivization.
“Engineers were put on this earth to ask ‘what if.’ This industry is not listening to their engineers. Safe energy should be put above profit,” said Lisa Segina, Salem Township resident.
“I hold the government on federal, state, county and local levels responsible for the accidents and deaths because of unfettered development being allowed by government,” said Law.
“Governor Wolf can and must do better. He has a choice. Continue taking the Commonwealth down the path of unsustainable, dangerous, and sometimes deadly fossil fuel extraction or lead the transition to clean, renewable, and safe energy for Pennsylvania. His choice will be his legacy,” said Karen Feridun, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking.
Organized by Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, Berks Gas Truth, Citizens To Preserve Ligonier Valley, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Marcellus Protest, Mountain Watershed Association, Protect PT, Thomas Merton Center, Upper Burrell Citizens Against Marcellus Pollution.