PA Faith Groups Call for ‘Moraltorium’

StateImpact Pennsylvania: Opponents question climate benefits, morality of natural gas

[Harrisburg, PA, March 21, 2016] – Faith leaders from across Pennsylvania are gathering in Harrisburg on Monday, March 21, 2016 to say that Pennsylvania’s energy policy is a moral issue.

Participants are urging Pennsylvania’s elected officials to: (1) enact a MORALtorium on new hydraulic fracturing wells and development of related infrastructure; (2) provide full funding for examination of existing wells and cleanup of contaminated wells; (3) support renewable energy and the jobs that come with it; and (3) support transition and retraining of workers for the renewable energy sector.

Rabbi Daniel Swartz, President of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, says, “We’re being fracked. Frackers inject a toxic stew of chemicals into the earth to split apart shale. And too many forces today are trying to inject a toxic stew of hate and xenophobia to split apart our society. But we will not let the earth be torn asunder, and we will stand united to protect all of humankind.”

Pat Lupo, OSB (Benedictine Sisters), adds, “Pennsylvania cannot continue to ignore the fracking issue. Fracking poisons our environment, threatens our health, especially the health of our children and is destroying our natural resources. It is time to cast this dangerous practice aside and transition to clean, renewable energy that does not put our lives at risk.”

The day includes lobby training (9 am) and an interfaith worship service (10:15 am) at Historic Grace United Methodist Church, 216 State St., Harrisburg, followed by a rally in the Capitol Rotunda (11 am) and visits with legislators in the afternoon. In addition to the actions described above, advocates are asking each legislator visited to sign a letter to Governor Wolf stating that he/she supports the faith community’s call for a MORALtorium on new unconventional drilling.

George Hoguet, Order of Interbeing, and Co-Founder of the Earth Holder Sangha Pittsburgh, says, “The deep and devastating impact of hydraulic fracking on humans, many species, and the water of our planet is now known. We have seen in New York and in California that with a combination of strong political will and clear awareness of the devastatingly destructive nature of hydraulic fracturing, it is possible to ban fracking and move towards an economy increasingly based on renewable energy.” Donald A. Brown, Scholar in Residence and Professor at Widener University, reminds us that “The enormous threat of climate change to the world requires Pennsylvania to replace natural gas with non-fossil energy as quickly as possible.”

Seventeen organizations have signed on in support of the day and the effort, and the worship service and press conference include participants from many of the sponsoring organizations. Featured speakers include: The Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, Lutheran pastor and adjunct instructor at Lebanon Valley College and Susquehanna University; Donald A. Brown; Renard Cohen, Director of Groundswell Rising; and Rabbi Daniel Swartz.