Monday, May 6, 2013

Eco-Movement Convergence

An article in The Nation magazine contains the story of the convergence of three social movements: the Occupy, anti-pipeline and anti-fracking movements. I have seen these kinds of convergences before and noted one on this blog two years ago. In 2011, Climate Justice Heathrow, a movement to stop the expansion of London's Heathrow airport, and Transition Heathrow, came together to form Grow Heathrow. The two groups took over an abandoned greenhouse that would have been torn down by the airport expansion, and turned it into a productive social enterprise. 

In The Nation article, the Occupy movement has worked it's way into the anti-pipeline movement, but in this case, it's a proposed methane gas pipeline to bring fracked shale gas from the Marcellus Shale plays to New York City. 

A massive new pipeline that will carry hydrofracked gas is being constructed in New York City. The pipeline, built by subsidiaries of Spectra Energy, will carry the gas from the Marcellus Shale, a bed that lies under Pennsylvania and New York State, into New York City’s gas infrastructure. Naturally, the construction of such a pipeline, carrying controversial highly pressurized gas, has been met with resistance.
In the spring of 2012, Occupy the Pipeline emerged, raising health and safety concerns about the pipeline.
For starters, the group states the Marcellus shale has seventy times the average radioactivity of natural gas and possesses extremely high radon content. Worse, monitoring radon content doesn’t appear to be a priority for federal regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated radon risk assessment is “outside their purview.” High radon levels have been linked to increases in the risk of lung cancer among non-smokers, a claim Occupy the Pipeline restates in a video that was recently picked up by Upworthy (the video currently has been viewed over 470,000 times.

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