January 19, 2013 9:07:56 PM
Anyone who is concerned about the recent news that hydrofracking is happening in Lowndes County may very well feel overwhelmed or helpless as though facing an incoming tidal wave. Maybe we ask, "What can I do?" Or maybe we're confused and don't know who to trust. "The people with the oil and gas industry say it's safe. The Caledonia board of aldermen seem to think it's safe. Other people say it's terrible. Who should I trust?"
The good news is that we're not helpless and there is a great deal each of us can do. We can start talking about the issue with our friends, neighbors, people at church. Write a letter to the newspaper or to the city council expressing our thoughts and feelings. Join the discussion on The Dispatch Website. Every little effort counts, and we may soon find ourselves part of a very big tidal wave rolling in a direction of our own choosing.
It would be wonderful to hold a town meeting to exchange thoughts, feelings and information on the issue. I bet everyone who knows about it has an opinion. Why not hold public screenings of films like "Gasland" or "Split Estate" or to have speakers (not just industry spokespeople) telling how fracking has affected other communities?
So far around the country the effort against hydrofracking has been initiated by the citizens. This will likely be the case in Lowndes County, should we choose to resist it. A very good resource for getting things going is otsegoadvocacy.org.
Since it does look like hydrofracking is happening in Lowndes County, we should have a plan for handling accidents, should they occur. We should decide up front what we will and won't allow. Will fracking be allowed to continue if there is a single instance of water contamination? Will the oil company be responsible for paying for wear and tear on the roads? Will the air around the frack site be monitored for noxious gases?
Lots to think about. But isn't this what democracy is all about?