Moving Beyond Dirty Energy

I encourage every reader of this post, pro-Obama or not, to call the Obama For America campaign HQ in Chicago at 312-698-3670, send the campaign a comment online, Tweet the president @BarackObama, comment on his national campaign's Facebook page and the page for your state, "I'm from [your state] and I am opposed to fracking for natural gas. I want the President to vote "no" on more fracking water withdrawals on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission at their next meeting on September 20. We will be watching."

On September 20, as thousands of anti-fracking protesters, including founder Bill McKibben, mass outside of the Marcellus Shale Coalition's industry conference in Philadelphia for the Shale Gas Outrage rally and march, President Obama has an important decision to make that day regarding his policy on natural gas.

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I encourage every reader of this post, pro-Obama or not, to call the Obama For America campaign HQ in Chicago at 312-698-3670 and tell them, "I'm from [your state] and I am opposed to fracking for natural gas.

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I'm writing from Charlotte, NC where the Democratic National Convention is in full-swing.

You can feel it in the convention hall, in the streets, and on Facebook--the pressure is mounting for Duke Energy to stop playing dirty politics and dump ALEC for funding voter suppression.

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Cross-posted at

As excited motorists, bicyclists, and people on foot passed by, local citizens and I held up a banner telling the president than his "all of the above energy will not stop climate change." Even the air tingled with excitement, as the crowd's cheers echoed from the pavillion and the ever-present security forces barely hid their anticipation. After getting politely removed to a nearby location on Market, I knew that the moment I was waiting for, when the president was see the message for more clean energy, was near.

At around 3 PM, there was a hushed, anticipated silence and in a couple seconds police motorcycles appeared right in front of us. Holding the banner with a volunteer, I knew that in just a minute the president would drive right by. With cries of "he's here!" the crowd cheered as the president's motorcade roared by. As the president's vehicle came and went, I smiled in approval, knowing that the president had just seen my banner calling for wind and solar. The day's mission was accomplished. Indeed, after the speech, Obama for America's Virginia team sent out the tweet: "POTUS: Ignoring inequalities don't make them go away. Denying climate change won't make it stop."

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Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp – are the sounds of Power Vote fellows advancing toward the Prudential Building in Chicago holding signs that read “Yes we can, move beyond coal” and “Yes we can, stop fracking.” The enthusiastic chants for a clean and just future resonate within the on lookers as a sea of green shirts assembles in front of the building and a feeling of empowerment washes over my soul.

The sensation of having thousands of other young people out there working toward the same goal of shutting down dirty politics is encouraging. People in Ohio and Pennsylvania have had an intruder, exposed as fracking, come in through their back doors and threaten the lives of thousands. Denver and Georgia face too many accounts of folks that suffer from malignant air quality conditions. Florida is stuck with a power plant that has been broken multiple times yet continues to be approved for repair. It is time that we approach our current politicians with assertion and command because they are not even hiding their intentions anymore. This is our country as much as it is theirs and what I hear from the people is that we desperately need a reassuring plan for a clean future.

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[Video by Frank Finan: Volunteer firefighters respond to the Chief Oil’s Phelps gas well explosion in Lathrop Township last night]

" home in northeastern PA, is not a place that I feel safe. No one should ever have to say that." - Kelly Finan

Susquehanna County, PA is under a major assault by the drilling industry. Yesterday, the Corbett Administration’s Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection authorized Cabot Oil and Gas to begin hydraulically fracturing again in Dimock at seven Marcellus Shale wells that were drilled but not stimulated with "fracking" in 2010. From the Scranton Times:

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The last few days in Montana must have made Big Coal very, very nervous.

First, around 100 people gathered outside the Montana Capitol on August 13th to protest state decision makers’ support for coal export projects, which would see Montana become an international coal colony so Big Coal can profit while coal trains and mines expose our communities to poisons. We then stormed into the Capitol building itself, dropping off letters for State Land Board members Governor Brian Schweitzer and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

Then, over the course of a week, 23 activists (myself included) were arrested at the State Capitol protesting coal exports, in one of the largest acts of nonviolent civil disobedience Montana has seen in recent years. As far as anyone I’ve talked to has been able to tell, it’s the biggest climate-related civil disobedience the state has seen, period.

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