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Kids Speak Up On Fracking

A while back, I was invited to a D.C. elementary school to watch 5th graders deliver a presentation about drinking water.

These students were proposing a “Water Bill of Rights” stating that people have the right to know what’s in their groundwater and that it’s safe to drink. Sounds like a good idea to me.

One group of students had done a special project—on fracking. After considering both sides of the issue, and learning that the chemicals used in fracking are often secret, many of the students decided it wasn’t a good idea. Afterwards, I asked them to tell me—in their own words—why they felt that way.

Here’s what they said:

I was reminded of that day when news of the fracking industry’s attempt to silence a 7- and 10-year-old sister and brother with a gag order went worldwide.

For those who missed my earlier post: After a fracking operation popped up next door to their home in Pennsylvania, Stephanie and Chris Hallowich and their two children started getting bloody noses, sore throats and headaches. They sued the companies operating next door and the companies agreed to settle the lawsuit on one condition: Stephanie and Chris could never speak out about fracking again. Then the companies went one step further. Their attorney told a judge (in a transcript released last week) that Stephanie and Chris’ 7- and 10-year-old daughter and son would also have to remain silent about fracking. For the rest of their lives.

It’s perhaps the most egregious example of an industry-wide campaign to silence its critics. Oil and gas companies force their victims to sign non-disclosure agreements; the people most impacted by fracking must sacrifice their right to speak out in order to escape from harm.

Which means that those of us who still can speak out, must.

Tags:  fracking, gas, water

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