When talking to friends and neighbors about natural gas in their homes, I find that many are unaware of the dangers that fracked gas imposes on our natural environments and our communities.  Here in Washington state we are facing an onslaught of “natural”/fracked projects slated for development in places like Tacoma, Kalama and the Colstrip power plant.  Moreover, stakeholders from the natural gas industry are em­­­­­­­­­­­bedded in government advisory boards and have the resources to lobby our legislators and Governor Inslee much more readily than environmental organizations.  This confluence of factors does not bode well for those of us who call the Pacific Northwest home and who rely on our natural environment for things like food (think salmon), clean air and water, and our livelihoods.  Unfortunately, we too often take for granted the beauty of our natural surroundings and its relationship to our own health and safety.

WHY FRACKED GAS IS BAD

Yes, natural gas does burn more efficiently than coal at a rate of about 50 to 60%, but what many don’t realize is that 2/3rds of natural gas is fracked; that is, gas extracted from the process of drilling down into the earth with a high-pressure water mixture.  Fracked gas poses many dangers including triggering earthquakes, poisoning ground water, increasing cancer risks to those in the vicinity and methane leaking which significantly contributes to global warming.  Methane is more than 80% more potent than carbon.  For more reading on the relationships between fracked gas and our health and the environment, I’ve provided a list of links to diverse readings below.

Sadly, there is so much money being poured into “natural”/fracked gas projects rather than investments in renewables and training for clean energy jobs.  To justify these investments, we are often told to think about what is feasible today for our energy needs, but I choose to instead focus on a shared vision for a clean energy, equitable economy, one that relies on taking care of each other and our planet.  Our optimism, the strength of our scientific community and our approaches to innovative design are a recipe to accomplish most anything.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP STOP FRACKED GAS EXPANSION

Send a loud and clear message to the Australian-owned, for profit Puget Sound Energy (PSE) that you are against “natural”/fracked gas expansion.  You can stand with other like-minded citizens and participate in a day of action on Thursday, Sept 21.  Attend for the whole day or anytime between 9AM-5PM.  Find your local PSE action here: https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/pse

Here’s the FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/347627548994879/

You can also email PSE’s CEO directly here: http://350seattle.org/pse-petition/

PSE is moving swiftly to build a huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Tacoma, despite Puyallup tribal and local community opposition. They don’t have all their permits yet, so we still have the power to stop them.  We will also demand that PSE shut down its Colstrip power plant (one of the dirtiest power plants in the US), bypass gas conversion, and move to 100% renewables.

This event is sponsored by 350 Seattle in collaboration with Puyallup Water Warriors Movement and the Protectors for the Salish Sea.

-Behnosh Najafi
Mom and South Seattle resident

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Additional readings on fracked gas:

www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/article154972564.html
https://redefinetacoma.org/pse-lng
https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/puyallup-battle-lng-facility-tacoma/
http://350seattle.org/gas/