Thousands of Americans from across the country united in Washington, D.C. today to rally in front of the U.S. Capitol and march through the streets to express their outrage about environmental harms from oil and gas development.
People traveled to Washington from North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, California, and probably more. Some even biked 400 miles to get to Washington. Citizens came from different political views, energy perspectives, generations, and backgrounds. Some were mineral owners, former oil and gas industry workers, farmers, and nurses. They voiced their concerns about clean water, clean air, global warming, toxic waste, and worker safety.
People joined together to show that this is an issue that crosses party lines and state borders. All Americans agree on the importance of clean air, clean water, healthy children, and safe communities. Everyone who rallied and marched today shares these desires and agrees on the need for drastic change in the direction of our energy policy--starting with a change in the rules for oil and gas development, including fracking. It was an amazing gathering of Americans who share a vision of a clean energy future. Below are a few of my photos from today.
Despite the brutal heat and humidity, about 5,000 people attended today's march and rally (by the way, to the right in the photo is the bike lane I am fortunate enough to be able to take to work every day):
Bill McKibben was one of the speakers at the rally, along with citizens from Wyoming, Ohio, Colorado, Montana, and Texas--telling how oil and gas development damaged the health of their families, their communities, and their livelihoods, and other speakers including religious leaders from diverse faiths, filmmaker Josh Fox, Sierra Club President Allison Chin, and Catherine Thomasson, Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility:
Participants marched from the U.S. Capitol to the offices of the American Petroleum Institute and America's Natural Gas Alliance--the lobbyists in Washington for the oil and gas industry:
Participants from Bulter County, Pennsylvania, brought contaminated water from homes near natural gas production sites:
Marchers called on Washington policymakers to invest in green jobs, including jobs in energy efficiency:
Marchers voiced their support for renewable energy:
The Bevins family of West Virginia came to share the story of their beloved son and brother, Charles Bevins III, who was killed last year in an accident in New York State where a well site was being prepared for drilling. According to his family, the operator of this wellpad cut corners and did not ensure workers were properly trained. It took one hour for emergency responders to get to him. As his family so aptly put it: "A life lost in the rush to drill." This rush to drill is leaving too many casualties in its wake:
A few more photos: