Less than a week after Pennsylvania farmers called for a moratorium on unconventional gas extraction, a large gathering of Pennsylvania Lutherans has also formally passed a resolution calling for a statewide halt on shale gas drilling.
While the tri-state Susquehanna River Basin Commission has taken no action to slow, stop, or even significantly regulate high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, this Lutheran Synod, based entirely in the heavily fracked Susquehanna River Basin, now stands for a moratorium.
The Upper Susquehanna Synod passed three resolutions regarding horizontal slickwater hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” this past weekend, on June 14th and 15th. The synod’s annual meeting brings together clergy and lay delegates from 131 Evangelical Lutheran Church congregations throughout a 10-county region of central and northern Pennsylvania,
One resolution called for the synod to establish a task force to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the justice issues surrounding the natural gas industry. These justice issues include ecological protection; public health endangerment; and impacts on local communities such as housing, school districts, forced pooling, crime, violence against women, and exploitation of rural and impoverished families.
The second resolution takes a public stance on the issue, calling for a statewide moratorium on the issuing of future permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing until long-range, comprehensive studies have been completed regarding the cumulative air and water pollution, water resource depletion, public health endangerment, and other possible impacts from the drilling and fracturing processes.