Monday, October 20, 2014

Pictures the Gas Thugs at the Marcellus Shale Operators Crime Committee May Not Want You To See

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee

Here are some pictures of mine you haven't seen:

Pictures the Gas Thugs at the Marcellus Shale Operators Crime Committee May Not Want You To See - an album on Flickr

They're the less photogenic, not exactly photographs, shots of the everyday, business as usual crimes against nature and humanity  committed  across Pennsylvania by the oil and gas industry.

These are not necessarily pictures of the spectacular--the drilling mud spills, the explosions, the truck accidents--and on and on.

Instead these are the pictures of the devastating and irreparable destruction that this psychopathic industry commits every single minute of every single day against the ecologies and their inhabitants, against precious and dwindling resources and  the communities that depend on them, against the future of all of our children and theirs.

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee

The tremendous irony is that the Marcellus Shale Operators Crime Committee exists as a partnership between Pennsylvania law enforcement and the gas thugs.

You've got that right.

As Adam Federman shows, MSOCC is "a little-known intelligence-sharing network that brings together law enforcement, including the FBI, Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security, the oil and gas industry, and private security firms. Established in late 2011 or early 2012, the Marcellus Shale Operators' Crime Committee (MSOCC) is a group of "professionals with a law-enforcement background who are interested in developing working relationships and networking on intelligence issues," according to an email sent to group members by James Hansel, regional security manager for Anadarko Petroleum"(State police documents show intelligence-sharing network between law enforcement and Marcellus Shale drillers | News | Pittsburgh City Paper).

MSOCC's charge, in other words, is to

(a) keep us from exposing the crimes committed by the gas industry via, say pictures,
(b) use the police to intimidate us into silence when we do expose them--effectively criminalizing the exercise of our first amendment rights, and
(c) silence us.

Federman continues, "[t]he MSOCC has taken a keen interest in environmental activists and anti-fracking groups, according to documents obtained through a state Right to Know request. The collaboration raises questions about the increasingly close ties between law enforcement and the natural-gas industry in Pennsylvania, and whether law enforcement has violated the civil liberties of protesters and environmental groups in its effort to protect the state's most controversial industry."

That's putting it mildly.

When an officer like Mike Hutson can show up at the door of an activist who has exercised her or his constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom to travel public roads and document what she or he sees, and when that officer can simply appear without a warrant--there can be no other reason than that he has been co-opted and corrupted by a "partnership" whose reason for being is to suppress civil liberty.

But it's not just that Officer Hutson should be ashamed--as he surely should be. It's that he represents an agency--the Pennsylvania State Police--a state--The Commonwealth--private security firms (a polite name for paid surveillance mercenaries)--and an industry that operate collectively as a repressive regime against the people.

And "regime"is the right term.

The State Police, the state, the private security firms, the industry--are in fact populated by all the same people (virtually all white, virtually all male) who swap places in the ever upward game move of career advance. To say that this is all about money is an understatement.

It is, of course, but that's only because it's all about power and arrogance and entitlement and greed--a lethal cocktail that filters down through to the water table, to our wells, through our pores, into our lungs, tearing up our eyes, infiltrating the placentas of our developing babies--literally.

And yet they dare to call us the criminals.

Theirs' is a new definition of "crime."

From the point of view of power and arrogance and entitlement and greed, "crime" is "telling the truth."

To that crime, I plead guilty.

My pictures tell the truth.

What is that truth?

That the term "industry" is far too polite a name for an enterprise that, like the zombies on The Walking Dead, will eat anything, consume anything without conscience or foresight in order to survive.

Gas thugs are not captains of industry; they're rapists and charlatans; they're voracious and--once they have their precious pipelines--they are best cast as an invading army of vampires ready to slurp the last drop of gas-blood from every "sweet spot" and every "not-so-sweet"; spot until their thirst is slated.

Or until we are at war over the last drop of clean water, using weapons fueled by the gas thugs to get to it.

These are violent images to be sure.

But they are not one iota more violent than the every day business as usual devastations captured by these pictures.

If only we could see that.

Wendy Lynne Lee

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Letter to Every Citizen and Family in the Path of the Gas Thug Pipelines: Why This Insanity Must Be Stopped

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee

Dear Pennsylvania citizen,

Whether or not you live along the right-of-way of  Williams Partners proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, and regardless whether you’ve been contacted by their aggressive landmen,  you need to be aware of several serious issues regarding this massive natural gas pipeline project. My message is simple: whether or not you live on or adjacent to the pipeline right-of-way, you could be impacted by this project in ways that endanger you property values, your health, and your community. Do you know that

·  the primary goal of the 42 inch, 177 mi. Atlantic Sunrise expansion of the TRANSCO is export to global markets via, for example, Dominion Energy’s planned 3.8 billion dollar Cove Point Liquefaction Project—recently approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over 650 registered comments, virtually all of them opposed?
·      the ecological costs—borne by taxpayers—of Williams’ pipeline project include forest fragmentation, soil compaction, escalated flooding potential, water and air pollution—including possible exposure to carcinogens as well as neurotoxins?
·      the Atlantic Sunrise expansion will require compressor stations attended by their own unique hazards—including the emission of ozone, volatile organic compounds and other toxins, as well as the potential for explosion? Do you know that the explosion radius of any one of these compressors can exceed a half-mile?
·      no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was required for issue of the permit at Cove Point?
·      Williams has a very disturbing record of pipeline leaks and explosions, several which have resulted in human casualties?
·      the natural gas industry’s own estimate is that –with this massive pipeline infrastructure in place—as many as 100,000 hydraulically fractured—fracked— wells could be on the horizon for Pennsylvanians?
·      the Department of Environmental Protection has finally released its report of at least 243 instances of drinking well contamination directly due to fracking since 2008? There are currently about 8200 operating unconventional gas wells in the state. Can you imagine the potential for contamination from 100,000?
·      FERC has approved three other LNG export projects, all in the Gulf of Mexico: the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project, the Freeport LNG Project, and the Cameron LNG Project. Are you aware that fourteen LNG export proposals are pending, but expect approval?
·      the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) inspects only 7% of the 305,000 miles of the natural gas pipeline currently operating in the U.S.?

The Atlantic Sunrise poses unacceptable risks not only to the environment, but to human health and welfare. In addition,

·      Do you know that if you’re directly on the pipeline right-of-way, it could

Ø  Endanger your property values?
Ø  Endanger you and your children’s health?
Ø  Endanger your ability to secure homeowner’s insurance, second mortgages, and market value for your property?
Ø  Endanger your basic right to determine the use of your property by threatening its appropriation through eminent domain?
Ø  Endanger the clean air and water upon which your community depends?

·      Do you know that even if you’re not directly on the pipeline right-of-way, it could

Ø  Endanger your property values?
Ø  Endanger you and your children’s health?
Ø  Endanger your ability to secure homeowner’s insurance, second mortgages, and market value for your property?
Ø  Endanger the clean air and water upon which your community depends?

Do not let this happen.

For more information, including the EIS and the FERC documents, please see: 

For opportunities to action, please see:

For a printable copy of this letter, please contact

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What Matters: Muncy Women’s Prison High School Graduation Remarks, September 18th, 2014

Wendy Lynne Lee, 3 yr.s old, 1963

Well more than a hundred years ago, the great philosopher John Locke argued that the unique identities of persons—of individuals like you and I—were woven out of our memories, sewn out of the stories we tell about ourselves. 

And while those stories may become, like tattered jeans, worn over time, or re-embroidered with a bit more sparkle and shine than their originals, what matters about them is that they’re ours—that no one else can tell them quite like I can tell mine—or you can tell yours.

Wendy Lynne Lee and her Mother,
Gloria Frances Lee, 1959

Here’s just a little bit of mine:

Crazy but true, I was actually trained for some years to follow my Aunt Evelyn into the ballet.  This was not because my family was especially affluent—we were the middle of the middle class. It wasn’t because I was good at toe-shoes; I wasn’t. 

It was because my parents—like many of yours—aspired to give their kids more than they had had. While I’m sure I didn’t recognize it at the time, I see now that that aspiration is elemental to my own identity. 

Indeed, the lesson I absorbed at my father’s knee was that we must justify our existence through the contributions we make to others. So, by the time I was 10, I had decided to be a writer. Not dancing. Not music. Words

Wendy Lynne Lee
Christmas, 1961

Good, bad, or ugly, that thread of identity—that narrative about my own narrative—is the very air and water of my existence. It is the road for my own contribution, sketched out in words, paved in pencil.

Nonetheless, for whatever my high-fallutin’ aspirations, reality is not a patient place. By the time I finished high school in 1977, I was already working. My dad had died at just 49 from brain cancer, and my mom—to whom I remain close—could not support me. 

My dad, Jack Everett Lee
So I married at 17 and promptly went to work as an assembly line laboror—a job that anyone smarter than a gopher would quickly discover was mind-numbing and body-destroying.  

The minimum wage was $2.56 an hour, and the only thing that spared me from being fired for union organizing to improve wages and working conditions was pregnancy and an early labor that, as an unforgettable 20th birthday surprise, produced identical twin sons.  

Wendy Lynne Lee
18 yrs. old, 1978

Truth is, I was ill-prepared for so much responsibility, and like just too many women, I found myself imprisoned in a marriage where that lethal combination of tradition and ignorance made me one more domestic battery statistic. 

By the Spring of 1980, I had fled—suitcase and diaper bag—from Utah to Colorado. I’m sure I didn’t realize it at the time, but I am one of the luckiest women in the world. I had somewhere to go—a mother who could offer me council and safety, compassion and security.

My mom, Gloria Frances Lee, 2014
Fast forward to August, 1982. I have just given birth to my third son, am surviving—but just barely—on welfare, food stamps, and a grant to go to college, and I live in an old Summer vacation cabin at the base of Pike’s Peak. 

Lindsay Lee-Lampshire, 1983
I have miraculously managed a quarter at Pike's Peak Community College in order to enter University of Colorado, and I’m terrified that factory labor has atrophied by brains, that I’ll be exposed as a fraud, and that I’ll never raise my kids out of poverty. 

But what was also becoming as clear to me as this very moment is that education offers an opportunity like no other. 

My family counseled me to the practical—cosmetology or hairdressing, or secretarial work—all the province of women, and way beyond my motor skills. My mother worried aloud that too much education might render me unmarriageable.  

But I saw something else, and while I know this might sound ridiculous or just clichéd, what I saw in the sheer beauty, bigness, and riotous variety that is the humanities—philosophy, English, anthropology, theater, poetry—was a world I could not only embrace, but to which I could contribute in some way that my kids could be proud of me.

Lindsay Lee-Lampshire, 1984
Life in that cabin, ah—life in that cabin. Four rooms, including a walled-in cement deck passing for a bedroom, a bathroom with no sink, a finicky space heater, a camper stove, and a mini-frig. 

Every school day I had to hike up and down the hillside steppes with a baby, a backpack, and sometimes the groceries, often in the snow, and always with hefty books. 

It would be an understatement to say that I had no social life—but what substituted for that was a sense of purpose, the intoxicating ideas with which I was becoming acquainted, and that I lived somewhere always beautiful and ever-changing.  

Living on the side of a mountain is an experience that is etched into my soul; it informs my commitments to the environment in ways both deep and enduring. I stayed in school, and I alternately forgave and expelled my third child’s father for choosing Micky Big Mouth and Southern Comfort over me, but I would be a liar if I told you that self-reliance wasn’t sometimes accompanied by loneliness, or that staking a claim to my independence was some easy thing. It wasn’t. 

Sunset, Pike's Peak, 2013
All the same, the stories you’ve heard or lived about how necessity is the mother of invention are mostly true, and at least for me that uniqueness of identity Locke talked about grew more out of the need to figure out things like food, heat, and more food than out of anything else.

Philosophy gave me a thousand ways to think about all these things. Among the best, hardest, bravest things I have ever done was to choose it not merely as a discipline but as a life worth living. It took a leap of faith to load my kids, my cats, and my then partner into a 1972 oil guzzling Chevy truck with everything I had in the world and $1500.00 dollars and drive it to Milwaukee for graduate school. 

There is no guarantee that such big gambles will pay off. But what there is is the promise that even if they don’t, we won’t get to old age wondering whether we should have taken that chance, made that leap, taken that road. 

Whatever else you do, don’t let that happen. 

Women make up less than a quarter of academic philosophers in the United States—but we are among its most vibrant and creative communities. Working my way through to the first undergraduate degree in my family, and then the first Ph.D. was at some points so hard I nearly quit in tears. I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation less than 10 ft. from a Super Nintendo. I gave birth to my fourth child less than two days before I taught my very first class. 

Carley Aurora
Lee-Lampshire, 2 yrs old
That first teaching day, however, was one of the most insightful of my life. I was so tired. She’d been the first I had delivered without a cesarean section, and she was still at the hospital awaiting a potential transfusion—but 10 minutes into that class I knew two things: first, that if I could weather that day this “academia thing” would likely never get any harder, and second, that being up in front of a room full of fresh faces—just like yours—was a blast. I don’t know that I have ever had a day better or harder than that.

However clichéd it may sound, what education has given me are choices I would never have had, a chance to be a role model to my kids, my students, my nieces and nephews that might never have come my way, and the opportunity to act for the public good that we should all have—but of which too few take advantage. 

Coming to Bloomsburg University in 1992—another truck drive—was both a real risk and a new adventure. But by then, I was up for it, and by the time I had taught and written and worked my ass off for tenure—and my first tattoo--I knew something about risk, namely, that failure really just is an opportunity to try something different, and that success isn’t an event—it’s a state of mind that gets you up on the good days and the bad ones.
Carley and Wendy, 2008

Although my administration might be happier were I a little less vocal, a little less demanding, the truth is that the more protected are our jobs, the more responsibility we have to speak out on issues that matter. 

Among those closest to my heart are issues that affect women, children, and nonhuman animals—those most vulnerable in our society whose voices are the least heard. Taking a stand on some of these is not necessarily a prescription for popularity, and as I have spoken out strongly for gay rights, women’s reproductive rights, animal welfare, and environmental integrity, I am sometimes the target of harassment and hate mail. 

Jack and Wendy, 1967
But the thing is that, once you’re equipped with the critical thinking skills a humanities education offers—once you can think and you come to see even just a little of what all there is to think about—you can’t go back.  

You won’t want to. 

Education is the most valuable and dangerous thing in the world. It equips you to see through the Bull Shit and the beautiful, the hype and the reality, the fleeting and the stuff that’s worth fighting for.  

But with that education comes the responsibility to be better, to do more, to contribute. 

No better example prepared me for this than Socrates’ “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and Marx’ “The purpose of philosophy is not merely to know the world but to change it for the better.”

These two ideas—that critical self-reflection is essential to actions we can live with, and that we have some duty to contribute—inform virtually everything I do. The most obvious of these, I suppose, is teaching—not a job as much as a privilege—no matter with what challenges my students present me. Every day, I get to “corrupt youth.” 

I get to introduce dangerous ideas to young folks, and I get to challenge their assumptions. I also get to write about all the things that matter to me, a few of which even matter to other people. 

If I have any single message for you as you move forward in your own precious lives, it’s this: listen to yourselves. 

Listen to the very best, foresightful versions of yourselves. Then read—everything you can. The world is messy, frustrating, contradictory—but it is never dull.  Then think. Hard.  What is your contribution? 

What do you have to say?

Thank you sincerely for having me today. I have given many speeches—but to date, this is surely the most important.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Selling Out a Movement to Guarantee a Seat at the Sacred Table of the Status Quo: Pennsylvanians Against Fracking

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, State Gamelands 75, PA

What follows are two items--intimately connected. 

First is an email exchange between myself and a representative from Food & Water Watch --an organization that claims to be anti-fracking but, in advocating for a moratorium that has no chance of becoming a reality, and in supporting the Democrat candidate for governor Tom Wolf who is avowedly pro-drilling, cannot make that claim with any force or consistency. 

The significance of Food and Water Watch here, however, is two-fold:

(1) FWW is one of the organizational conveners of a new coalition--Pennsylvanians Against Fracking (PAF, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking)--which cannot claim with any force to be against fracking. Indeed, they cannot coherently claim to support any position other than that conciliatory to the will of the Democratic Party--a party that, despite its hollow insistence to the contrary is as comfortable as the Republicans with 

(a) the ongoing liquidation of the state's ecological assets,
(b) the destruction and basic human rights violations of communities, and
(c) the surveillance of the Commonwealth's citizens

It's also interesting to note that there appears to be no website for PAF other than a Facebook page whose single post links to a Marcellus Drilling News story applauding the cooperation between the gas industry and anti-fracking activists (The One Issue on Which Anti- and Pro-Drillers Agree | Marcellus Drilling News). Indeed, the article presumably approved by PAF is a cheerlead for Breathe Easy Susquehanna County--a group which advocates sitting down with the gas companies to work out "best practices" for continued drilling.

(2) FWW--Colorado recently sold out Coloradans who they'd led to believe were in good hands because FWW had promised to champion a "statewide ballot initiative to bolster the authority of communities to ban oil and gas extraction." FWW not only caved to pressure intended to protect the seats of Democrats, but like Congressman Jared Polis, they were willing to settle for "feel good" measures like convening a stakeholder group that includes gas company representatives as if they were community members toward regulating--but not empowering communities towards self-determination.  What the Colorado case shows is that FWW is not about banning fracking--but about whatever pretense to regulation will insure it stays in the good graces of a two party system that is really a no party system (How Congressman Jared Polis and Food and Water Watch sold out Colorado | Colorado Statesman).

Indeed, if FWW were interested in achieving a ban--if this were PAF's goal--they'd join Shale Justice--the PA coalition and 5013c that vets applicant organizations for mission statements consistent with its mission. The fact, however, is that aspirant Big Greens (little greens) like PAF and its faux-coalition members cannot take this principled stand and keep their place at a table at which compromise is routinely served up along with deals--just like the one Polis agreed to.

The email exchange below is important in that it illustrates the emergence from within the anti-fracking movement of a new breed of appeaser/collaborator, really an old breed of opportunist who sees in the ongoing crisis the opportunity to cash in on the momentum this movement has generated over the last six years. But what makes this exchange particularly significant is that no one in this new faux-coalition could possibly believe that a moratorium on drilling is even remotely possible--and so we are left to wonder what are its real objectives. 

Here's the correspondence:


Hey Wendy-

I just left you a voicemail to this effect and am writing this email to follow up. It seems like you have a bunch of concerns and I wanted to try to address them over the phone, but without that route right now I'll start things off with this email.

I don't know where your information on this coalition is coming from but there are a bunch of things you've assumed that are just not true.

1.  Pennsylvanians Against Fracking will allow any group to join- anyone can fill out our online form, but we make follow up calls to any entity that signs on to verify who they are, and we also regularly
look over the list to make sure member organizations are appropriate. We will be creating a website, and we'll be listing members on that website, and there is no way you'll see CSSD [The Center for Sustainable Shale Development] or anything like that signed on. I don't know where that assumption comes from.

2.  Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is working to get Democrats elected and get a seat at their table- This is a coalition of 501c3 nonprofits that will not do any electoral activity, period. After the election, we'll be working to put pressure on whoever is elected to put a moratorium on fracking. I don't understand where the assumption that this coalition is in the pocket of Democrats comes from.

3.  The CELDF OpEd attacking Food & Water Watch- if you can explain to me how Food & Water Watch can be implicated in the backstabbing deal cut by Rep Polis, go for it, but the piece is just flat out baseless. Please explain to me how any of the article referenced is relevant to this situation. You write that you "have much more to say about this latest attempt to co-opt the anti-fracking movement." I'd appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me- we can disagree, but I'd like you to at least have your assumptions straight before making public statements.. There's no reason why a vibrant, robust anti-fracking movement can't have multiple coalitions pushing for different viewpoints.

Wendy Lynne Lee:

Let me address your points:

1. The sign on does not stipulate any vetting process whatsoever, so there is no way of knowing whether or what this is. Moreover, in so far as the principle conveners include both Food and Water Watch and Berks Gas Truth, there is no reason to believe that this coalition stands exclusively for a ban on fracking or its infrastructure. Indeed, if THAT were its goal, there already exists a coalition representing that position--Shale Justice. Why not simply join an already existing 5013c with grant backing?  Also, a follow up call is not a vetting process in any meaningful sense. At Shale Justice they ask for a mission statement, and it must affirm their commitment to the primary message. You make no
claim whatsoever about criteria for the sign-on, so you have no principled way of excluding CCSC, COGENT, BESC--or any other faux anti-cracking organization.

2. Working to get Democrats elected is precisely what we should NOT be doing, Sam. Tom Wolf is PRO-FRACKING. There are virtually NO Democrats who are anti-cracking, and this notion that electing Democrats will make some difference towards the end os a nightmare that many of us LIVE is
 fool-hardy at best. I appreciate you clarifying that point for me--but it is on that point precisely that you will receive the most criticism from folks like me. The argument made out by the Dems for a severance tax is ABSURD and it will HARM people. By leveling a tax upon which funding for education and other social programs will be based INSTITUTIONALIZES the gas industry. They will become part of the funding infrastructure of the state--there could be no better gift to them--and that is what YOUR
candidates support.

3. Thank you for making it clear that the real aim of this coalition is to get a seat at the table. That is a prescription perhaps for advancing the career aspirations of coalition members, but it is not a principled
stand to end fracking. And it will NOT achieve a moratorium. I voted with the Dems when it was still rational to think that achieving it could make a difference. That time is LONG past. The move to gain a seat at the table is nothing but conciliatory--and it will harm us all.

4. The CELDF article is very relevant because it demonstrates how clearly FWW is NOT about empowering communities, NOT about achieving a ban, and NOT about the defense of civil liberty--but, as you say, its about getting seats at the table for its own functionaries--and that's it.

5. The Civil Rights Movement could not brook BOTH a movement to end segregation and find some middle ground where African Americans could, say, go in the front door of the diner--but not vote. Ending segragation was all or none--either you were on board with that objective or you weren't. It would never have been remotely morally defensible to liberate some of the concentration camps during WWII--but sacrifice some others to the NAZIS. We will either come together as an international community to stem the tide of climate change--or we will all suffer, some far more than others, from the failure. The anti-fracking movement cannot brook BOTH the demand a BAN on the gas companies and simultaneously negotiate the terms of our surrender to them through regulation. So, no--there is room for many differing strategies, but there is NOT room for different objectives when those objectives stand directly contrary to each other. If you're for a ban, you cannot settle for regulation. If you're comfortable with the regulation required for getting a seat at the table, you have wholly jettisoned the struggle for a ban.

Perhaps you will label this "purist," but what it is is clear-headed and principled. I have no other agenda than to end fracking. Folks who are angling for a seat at the Democratic Party table do.


And we are NOT working to get a seat at the table.

Wendy Lynne Lee:

[L]et me make this simple: if your sign-on orgs were interested in achieving a BAN, you'd have all requested admission to Shale Justice. You didn't. Ergo, your objectives must be something else, and THAT can be derived from other actions and inactions. Just to trouble shoot--I am no longer in Shale Justice--I rotated off the executive board months ago to pursue other scholarly projects. So, I have no vested interest here either. I do have an interest in the truth and in insuring that people are not misled. Hence, my FB post.


This isn't about picking teams. There are many reasons why this coalition needed to be created. No coalition was working exclusively on a statewide level to stop fracking in Pennsylvania. My sense is Shale Justice has a much more expansive mission than that (local, state, national, international)- and that's Great. But what Shale Justice Coalition is and has been is not what Pennsylvanians Against Fracking aims to be.

As far as the other items-

1. Do we need to stipulate a vetting process? Once we have a list of members posted, you can tear it apart. But to insinuate we're designing this coalition to let the CSSDs of the world in is absurd.

2. We agree here. We want to stop fracking.

3. This coalition is about building power to stop fracking, period.

4. My question was more specific- I asked if you could explain to me how we can be implicated in the Polis deal. We fought hard for that ballot measure, and for several bans across the state. And we fought hard to keep Polis from stabbing us in the back. Can you explain to me how we "sold out Colorado?"

5. This is a straw man. We're not arguing for regulation. We're arguing for a halt to fracking as a means to get to a permanent ban. As far as the comparison with the civil rights movement, we must have studied different civil rights movements because the one I'm familiar with was chock full of diversity of strategies, tactics, and yes- objectives.

Wendy Lynne Lee:

This IS about picking teams--you can either be on the team that takes a principled stand against fracking OR you can be on the team that's willing to settle for regulation--but you CAN'T be on both teams; they're mutually exclusive.

Shale Justice is BOTH a statewide organization AND works in other states as well--indeed, we MUST seek to be expansive--otherwise we're not only acting merely parochially, we're broadcasting the message that we'd be comfortable with drilling elsewhere--just not here.

You're correct the PAF's aims are not those of SJ's--but that is what I find both troubling and misrepresented. PAF is not exclusively against fracking--that is a misrepresentation of its mission and the participatory orgs--including FWW.

1. Yes--you do need a vetting process. Otherwise any org CAN and will sign on--without it you represent nothing and no one. My suggestion of CSSD is not absurd--what prevents them from becoming a sign on? Where DO you draw the line?

2-3. I have no reason to think you want to stop fracking; indeed, supporting Democrat candidates--which is clearly where BGT stands--will not only not stop fracking--it will institutionalize it in the form of a tax base. If PAF wanted to stop fracking, it could not include FWW or BGT--neither of which have taken any such no compromise stand consistently.

4. I am going to leave Polis for now--but will return to this question tomorrow.

5.  Not a straw argument at all--my point is that the only objective worth defending in, for example, the civil rights movement was the one that ended segregation.

This really is pretty simple. If PAF's objective was to end fracking, its orgs would not have sought to reinvent the wheel, but would have joined SJ. Perhaps there are reasons of which I am not aware why its members opted against this obvious choice--but none of these can have anything to do with objectives.


As far as FWW's mission, clearly we can represent ourselves as against fracking because we apparently made it through SJC's vetting process.

1. I didn't say we don't need a vetting process, I said we don't need to share one [Emphasis--WLL]. I'm much more concerned with getting stuff done than worrying about who we're going to have to keep out of this coalition.

2-3. Who are the democratic candidates anyone is supporting?

4. Okay, eager to hear your response. I respect your opinion but this specific point is unquestionably a baseless attack on our organization.5. In retrospect sure. But there were all sorts of more radical and more moderate objectives within the movement. It oversimplifies the movement to say there was only one objective, or one worth fighting for. That diversity allows movements to thrive, and if we tear each other down we're really not going to get anywhere. There are ways to constructively criticize our movement from within.

Wendy Lynne Lee: 

It's irrelevant whether you made it through SJ's vetting process in the past. You would not now, and you did not decide to join. I can only assume that this is because you do not really stand for a ban--otherwise you would have signed on. This argument is hurting you, not helping you.

1. So--you think PAF can have a vetting process that is SECRET? WOW! So PAF is really a secret society with a public face? And the ends--whatever they are--justify these nefarious means? WOW!

2. BGT is clearly on the side of trying to persuade Tom Wolf on the moratorium. Or, let me rephrase that, BGT is clearly on the side of using the argument for the moratorium as a ploy to get invites to Tom Wolf functions. Moreover, if PAF is not about getting DEMS elected, what is its reason for being--the elections are just around the corner. Don't you think it obvious what this timing implies? And AGAIN--if PAF is about gaining a ban, THAT is Shale Justice.

5. No--you are simply wrong here. Just as there could be only one morally defensible objective for the civil rights movement--ending segregation. there is only one here--ending fracking. PAF does not and cannot stand for that. You confuse "objectivrs" with "objectives worth defending" and with "inconsistent objectives." To promote regulation is to promote fracking.

SO Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is essentially a SECRET SOCIETY--like Skull and Bones--that has no publicly accessible vetting process--but chooses its members according to private criteria (or none at all). And this really says it ALL: PAF exists to advance its objective of insuring its own people have a seat at the table in a Tom Wolf administration. And THAT isn't about fracking at ALL even if PAF claims otherwise. THAT is a psuedo-coalition that's merely using fracking as a hot-button issue to gain cache at that table. If any of its organizations were serious about seeing fracking banned, they would have joined Shale Justice. They didn't--so we can only conclude that they have other objectives--Ones that we will be no more privy to than their secret selection process--might as well just call that FRIENDS OF SOME FOLKS LOOKING TO ADVANCE THEIR POLITICAL CAREERS. This is dishonest, and it hurts people.


I don't see a moratorium as a means to regulation. I see it as a means to stop fracking, and a step towards banning fracking. I believe we state that in the coalition letter.

As far as why this coalition serves a unique purpose, I'd argue that it's practically unfeasible to run campaigns at every level of decision-making, and that to accomplish any goal, ban/moratorium/regs/whatever, you need to focus resources on one of those levels. That's what PAF is doing. That may be parochial, but the levers through which we make change happen are parochial.

Wendy Lynne Lee:

There was a time--now long past, as I have said already--when a moratorium might have had some positive effect. I VOTED with the Dems for that moratorium. I was at that Democratic Committee meeting with Karen Feridun speaking to the resolution. But that time is past for several reasons:

1. Tremendously much more damage since that time has been caused by this industry. We simply do not NEED a moratorium to "study" the damage. It's right in front of us every day. Hence THAT argument for a moratorium now sounds absurd.

2. If any sufficiently substantial number of Democrats were going to sign onto a moratorium--they would have already. They've had plenty of time. They didn't. They're not going to now (a) be) See (1), and (b) they do NOT want one.

3. The fact is that "the moratorium argument" is nothing more at this point than a device for leveraging this "coalition." None of you can seriously believe it stands a whisper of a chance--so I cannot take it seriously as anything other than a device for getting yourselves invited to Tom Wolf events, and subsequently getting yourselves seats at the Democrat administration tables. I think, in other words, this use of the moratorium argument simply a cynical ploy.

As for "practically unfeasible to run campaigns at every level of
decision-making...," that you string out goals "ban/moratorium/regs/whatever" is telling. It suggests you really don't get the Grand Canyon of difference between these utterly incompatible goals. Moreover, at least for one of them--the BAN--you had a coalition. If THAT was what you were after in PAF, you would have joined Shale Justice. That you continue to return to this theme only implies all the more that there are other reasons FWW didn't join Shale Justice--and that you don't want to lay these out for public inspection. I can only assume that this is because your objectives are NOT a ban.

The "levers through which we make change happen" are not necessarily parochial. we will not stem the tide of climate instability with any such approach. Moreover, what you really mean--as is clear from the context--is that you think change must be made through legislative/regulatory/within the laid out channels of law. But that law--as CELDF shows so clearly--is crafted FOR the corporations--not for either communities or private persons. It is a prescription for more of the same--fracking, CAFOs, Walmarts, etc. And I am sure you know that.

So, again, PAF is a cynical ploy to make sure its people get their seats at the tables of that legislation--but that will yield no moratorium--much less a ban--and you cannot NOT know it.


I'm not going to engage in any discussion with you while you post my emails, out of context and misconstrued, publicly. In the midst of our ongoing conversation to boot. Good luck, Wendy.

I hope CELDF gives you an answer to my question on that OpEd that's satisfactory for you.

Wendy Lynne Lee:

[T]his is a PUBLIC media. None of us have any reason or right to assume otherwise. Moreover, I have nothing to hide, and I assume you don't either. I posted your missive ver batim--no misrepresentation, no deletions, no additions. And then I posted my response. If you weren't worried about the strength of your arguments, there'd be no problem here.


You posted my comment without my immediate correction that there should be
a NOT in the second point, and you posted your comment knowing that my
intention was to communicate the opposite of what you responded to. That
is misleading, and out of context of where our conversation was at that
point in time.

I have nothing to hide, but I do generally assume that email
communications will not be shared publicly. I have nothing to hide, but
I'm not okay with 1 on 1 email conversations being shared without my
consent. Someone said something about civil liberties?

I think we're done here, but if you decide you actually want to know what
happened in Colorado you can call me. And please contact me by phone for
any future communications I don't feel comfortable communicating with you
by email.

Wendy Lynne Lee:

First, the fact is that you spoke the truth in the first post. I am more than happy to post the entire exchange--and let people judge for themselves. None of us have any justification in assuming that email is private. And none of us gets to demand consent. No civil liberties are violated in any fashion here--that is absurd--because you haven't the right to assume privacy, the right to consent--nope.


And there you have it. I think this exchange fairly epitomizes the implosion in the Pennsylvania anti-fracking movement--an implosion ignited not by any ideological divide, but by the hi-jacking of its momentum by those who aspire to be the sponsors of, as Chris Hedges likely rightly puts it, "the last gasp of the climate change liberals." "There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair," where those more interested in advancing their own fame and fortune replaces substance--at the cost of us all  (Chris Hedges: The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals - Chris Hedges - Truthdig).

Just like Pennsylvanians Against Fracking--anyone can join the People's Climate March.

Not just anyone can join the real resistance. For that--you have to have some guts.  I'll be there with a camera--on the look out for actions that might actually matter-- PopularResistance.Org, for example:
“The march is symbolic,” said Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance when I reached him by phone, “but we are past the time of symbolism. What we need is direct action against the United Nations during the meeting. This should include blockades and disruption of the meeting itself. We need to highlight the fact that the United Nations has sold out to corporate interests.
A bit too scary for folks who are looking forward to that cup-o-joe with Tom Wolf. But then again, why should the United nations be the only faux-representative of the people to sell out?