BENEFITING: SUSTAINABLE MARKETS FOUNDATION
EVENT DATE: Jul 14, 2013
On Saturday July 14th, I will participate in the Musselman Half Ironman triathlon on the shores of Seneca Lake. In conjunction with this race, I am launching a personal fundraising campaign to:
1) Raise funds to assist the local Seneca Lake residents in their fight to protect our beloved Seneca Lake and surrounding Finger Lakes region from the threat of fracking and its related infrastructure (Specifically the controversial LPG storage facility in Reading, NY).
2) Help grow awareness around the looming danger of opening our land to franking and therefore industrializing our region.
The money raised in this effort will be donated to the local nonprofit group called Gas Free Seneca; in the name of public health advocate and environmental activist, Dr. Sandra Steingraber. I have utmost respect for Dr. Steingraber and encourage you to hear her story. She is a mother, cancer survivor and really smart professor at an Ivy League university. She is so adamantly opposed to the LPG storage facility and fracking that she recently joined a protest on the grounds of the LPG facility and ended up in jail for 10 days. What does this tell you?
What is the MusselMan Half Ironman? At 7:00am on July 14th, I will join a group of athletes for a chilly 1.2 mile swim in Seneca Lake, followed by a 56 mile bike ride through rolling hills (ouch!) and a 13.1 mile run. This is my first Half Ironman race and I anticipate it will take more than 5 hours of non-stop motion (and pain).
Most of my friends and family are aware of my passion for the Finger Lakes region and particularly Seneca Lake. I spent every summer of my life (37 years) swimming in these pristine waters and enjoying the peaceful, small-town life afforded by this region. My great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the late 1800s and chose to put down their roots in Watkins Glen, at the south end of the lake. My grandparents, parents, and extended family members continue to return to Seneca Lake every summer. Seneca Lake really means a lot to me! ;-)
This beautiful slice of life is in danger. The oil and gas companies want to access the gas trapped thousands of feet beneath the ground (and make $$).
LPG storage facility…What's that? Inergy LLC from Kansas City, MO has big plans for Reading, NY. Their goal is to create a hub for gas transportation and storage of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) for the Northeast United States. Plans include a 14 acre open brine pit, just above Seneca Lake, 60' burning smoke stack, billions of cubic feet of methane released into the environment and the "air we breathe". Thousands of gallons of liquified petroleum gas will live within the protected Seneca Lake watershed and remain buried underneath Seneca Lake. Trucks will also carry explosive gas to and from this epicenter of their planned frack zone of Pennsylvania and New York, if they get their way!
Fracking - What's the big deal? How is it connected to the LPG storage facility slated for the shores of Seneca Lake? Fracking is a dirty word…don't say it around your children. ;-) Give it a quick google search and you'll learn a lot. It's scary. Seriously, it is short for hydraulic fracturing. This is NOT your grandparents gas well. The industry claims gas production has occurred around Seneca Lake for the past 40 years and they want you to believe it's safe. This method of gas drilling involves injecting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water (per well) deep into earth and fracturing the shale bedrock. You guessed it…to release methane gas (and possible radioactive elements meant to remain deep below our earth)! The gas industry claims that a thin cement liner will protect the gas from seeping into our water table (and who knows where else). The industry reports a high incidence of leakage...perhaps 1 out of every 6 will leak during it's lifetime.
There is a significant grassroots movement happening in New York State to reject fracking and it's supporting infrastructure like the LPG storage facility. One of the key advocates is Sandra Steingraber. Other states like PA, WV, OH, and most recently my adopted state of IL, have opened their doors to the gas industry and "fracking". You don't have to look very hard to hear the outcry of the people living in these states. Listen to the everyday people with families and not the politicians. Many trusting people in these states regret their decisions to lease their lands and several are trying to "get out". Many report methane-laced water wells (and flammable water pouring from their kitchen tap), 24 hour truck traffic, 24 hour drilling within earshot of their homes and schools, gas explosions, dead farm animals and family pets who drink from the groundwater nearby frack wells, and negative impacts on everyday citizens' health. The gas industry inevitably settles with these stricken people, and subsequently move a water buffalo into their front yard, and put a "gag order" so they can't share their experience with the press.
I have invested a lot of time in the past two years reading about fracking and it's impact to people and the environment. I am frightened of the prospect of this industry coming to my hometown. This fundraiser is an opportunity for me to give back and make a difference in the grassroots effort to protect the beautiful region where I grew up. I strongly believe fracking and the LPG storage facility is too great a threat to the Finger Lakes way of life and health of the people living around Seneca Lake. If we allowed it to happen, we're paying Russian Roulette with our water table. If we poison our drinking water and aquifers deep below the ground, what will we have?
It's important that we protect our way of life, drinking water, clean air, and the thriving tourism business dependent on a healthy wine industry, beautiful scenery, quiet country roads, family farms, and friendly villages. It is just a matter of time before our drinking water and beloved Seneca Lake is poisoned by this careless industry. Look at the history of the oil and gas industry (Exxon Valdez, BP in the Gulf, and hundreds of spills each day). They can't be trusted to look out for our best interest. The industrialization of our region will line the pockets of just a few people and spoil the common good for many.
Please support me in the upcoming Musselman triathlon and in supporting our local people in fighting Fracking and the LPG storage facility on the west shore of Seneca Lake.