Dear Friends, I ask for your prayers as we here in upstate NY come towards the deadline for our public comment period on the DEC's guidelines for natural gas drilling, particularly using the procideure known as "hydrofracking" or around here, just "fracking."
As I try to read the immense document in order to come to some words to contribute to the public comment - mostly I'm speechless. The document is larger than my computer wants to download, and more than my brain can process.
I look at DEC maps that show the town I grew up in, where my mother and brother live, and that show the city we've now made our home. We live in a "high potential production area" and the devastation to our community is likely to be huge.
A Native American woman spoke on teh radio today about how the faith of her people means that they could never entertain the prospect of accepting the offers the gas companies have been trying to ply her nation with, and I felt sick, wishing that our Christian faith impelled the members of my nation to act the same way.
The Franciscan charism of our faith does, I think, speak to the sacred nature of this land we;ve been blessed with, and gives us the tools (Lady Poverty!) to see through the lure of money in this situation.
Please hold us in prayer as our community rocks through this difficult time, a time in which our DEC and our EPA fundings have so eroded that whatever protections we beg the state and nation to put in place for the welfare of our land and people, they will have trouble enforcing. We need wisdom and courage for lawmakers and regulators to stand strong in the face of industry giants. We need compassion for the poorest among us who are most tempted by the offer of money, and who risk sacrificing not only their land and their groundwater but their health as well. This is a matter not just of environmental impact but one of true social justice.