Groups such as Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, Gas Truth, and Marcellus Protest convened on the steps of the rotunda with several hundred protesters to speak out against shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
Many of those attending lobbying day met with their legislators to discuss budget issues. Members of public sector unions came out to lobby for their slice of the pie. But by far, the biggest spectacle came when citizens and activist organizations started up just before noon.
Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action and Gas Truth pitched up the crowd with chants. By noon the rotunda steps were lined with citizens. Unlike many of the talking points circulated by some groups and moderates, many of those who spoke today oppose drilling all together. For them, a moratorium is only the beginning.
Craig Sautner of Dimock, PA held up a jug of water contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas operations. He cited the moratorium for nine square miles around his house and said, "[Gas companies] should be banned from the state of Pennsylvania for good." He received loud applause. He and others hope to move the conversation from a severance tax or drilling fee, as some legislators have proposed, to a ban.
Some speakers, including Crystal Stroud whose drinking water contains dangerous levels chemicals like gross-alpha, strontium, and others, cited the Pennsylvania Constitution:
"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."But the conversation is the important part as Nathan Sooy makes clear in this brief interview:
Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution
After the rally, citizens were joined by Gasland director Josh Fox who joined other citizens in a sit-in outside of the governor's office. They were unable to meet with the governor.
You can read about the day's events at PennLive, WITF, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.