Inspired by a 1968 initiative planned by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the multiracial coalition will involve 40 days of protests and direct actions to highlight the issues of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism. Organizers are pitching it as one of the largest waves of nonviolent direct action in U.S. history.
About 41 million Americans live below the official poverty line, the majority of them white. Organizers with the Poor People’s Campaign say official measures of poverty are too narrow, and the number of poor and low-income Americans expands to 140 million if food, clothing, housing and utility costs, as well as government assistance programs, are taken into account.
Politicians and energy industry enthusiasts have touted fracking as the path to US energy independence, while environmentalists have battled against the proliferation of fracking and the resultant damage to the Earth. Despite environmental concerns, 18 states have jumped onto the fracking bandwagon (map.)
Fracking now is being blamed for an outbreak of earthquakes in North Texas, the explosion (pun intended) of crude oil train disasters across the country, and water contamination in four states. (Fracking accident map pictured here.)
North Texans are blaming the earthquakes on the growth of fracking and the proliferation of injection wells in the area. Fracking (AKA hydraulic fracturing) is a controversial technique which involves injecting a highly pressurized slurry of water and chemicals deep into the Earth in order to fracture rock and extract natural gas and petroleum.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), crude oil shipments by rail have skyrocketed by 400% since 2005. For example, fracking in North Dakota's Brakken shale area has resulted in booming oil production– 1 million gallons per day or 5% of the country's oil consumption. Ninety percent of Brakken crude is shipped by rail; both the Casselton and Phildelphia trains were carrying crude from Brakken.
This huge increase in rail transportation of crude oil has resulted in a rash of explosive train derailments. In fact, more oil — 1.15 million gallons– spilled from derailed trains in 2013 than in the previous four decades combined.
As a result, the NTSB is calling for tougher regulations, including a prohibition against rail transportation of flammable crude oil through urban centers. (Duh.)
Drinking Is Dangerous
Environmentalists warned us about potential groundwater contamination due to fracking, when the controversial practice was first introduced.
Fast forward a few years, and now the Associated Press is reporting contaminated well water in four states that jumped into the fracking oil boom early on. Hundreds of residents of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas have filed official complaints about contaminated well water, due to gas and oil production.
How much more death, destruction, and environmental damage must we suffer in the name of jobs and oil?
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