Local anti-drilling protesters to rally during Corbett inauguration
The crowd of well-wishers watching Gov.-elect Tom Corbett take office on Tuesday will be joined in the capital city by a group with a less welcoming message.
Hundreds of protestors, including several busloads from Northeast Pennsylvania, will be in Harrisburg on Tuesday to tell Corbett to halt gas drilling in the state.
The rally will include several speakers from the region, including Dimock residents whose drinking water was affected by drilling, the head of the Luzerne County-based Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition and Virginia Cody, the Factoryville resident who first brought attention to the now-abandoned program by a state Department of Homeland Security contractor to surveil anti-drilling protests and message boards.
Buses for the protest have been chartered from Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre and Honesdale, among other places.
Participants in the rally say they need to deliver a loud message in order to compete with what they see as the influence of industry, which campaign finance records show donated more than a million dollars to Corbett's campaign.
"Gov. Corbett has been insulated from the people," Cody said. "He needs to know we're here and that we are being grossly affected by this industry. I don't think he's ever been given the real story."
The protest is being hosted by Gas Truth of Central Pennsylvania in Soldiers Grove between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Protestors at the "rally for clean water, air and communities" plan to advocate for an immediate moratorium on drilling and greater oversight of the industry. They also plan to argue against forced pooling, an industry-backed proposal that would require landowners who refuse to sign gas leases to allow operators to drill for gas beneath their land.
Supporters of the idea call it a conservation measure that allows for the orderly production of gas without building unnecessary well pads.
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