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Originally posted on 17.06.2014, on Health and Environment Alliance’s page:
Sandra Steingraber spoke about the health impacts of fracking at a public gathering in Pungesti, Romania on 11 June 2014, just prior to the walk along the village road that prompted police brutality.
On Wednesday 11 June, I traveled to the remote community of Pungeşti in eastern Romania’s Vaslui County. Rising from a field bordering the village of Siliştea, near the only public road in and out of the area, is a drill rig installed by Chevron for purposes of shale gas “exploration.” Villagers told me that drilling had commenced in May. This rig—the first shale gas well in all of Romania—went on line in spite of an intense, months-long oppositional campaign by locals that was joined and supported by activists from all over Romania. (more…)
(Please scroll down to the interview nr. 4 in the playlist of the youtube chanell of Epoch Times Romania, located in the upper left corner of the screen)
Sandra Steingraber visited Romania last week and was impressed by the resistance there. Furthermore, she saw water bubbling in the water wells along the road leading to the rig and cracks in the houses and a terrible unceassing noise.
Her conclusion is that in Pungesti and in Romania, the democratic process has been fractured in the name of energy security, but an energy security that is definitely not going to serve to the very ecologically leaving community in Pungesti, nor to Romania, who is already producing 130% of its gas needs.
She is also telling the story of the episode she has experienced there when she wanted to go to the rig, together with the villagers in Pungesti, yet they were prevented by the riot police defending the site, who has blocked the road with fences. When the people tried to pull away the fences and proceed to the rig, the riot police used tear gas.
Furthermore, the activists in the area organised a meeting inviting officials in the county, mayors, the president of the County Council (a very vocal Chevron lobby-ist) to listen to Sandra Steingraber’s on the fracking imacts. Even though they first accepted the invitation, none of them showed up at the meeting.
Another sign of how any serious talk about fracking is being blocked was the fact that the 15 minutes interview with Sandra Steingraber, due on Friday, 13th of June, upon her arrival from Pungesti, with a central television, was in the end turned into a 2 minutes minor news. This was short notice change and it came from a television who previously presented a lot of information against fracking, made huge audience on the subject and then, out of a sudden, pulled back from the subject in a very strange way.
Earlier las week, Sandra Steingraber met with a few members of the Romanian Parliament (from a small party and a independent member of the Parliament, Remus Cernea) and with the activists in Bucharest.
Sandra Steingraber week in Romania has been very honouring and inspiring for our fight and surely very informing for her. Earlier las week, Sandra Steingraber met with a few members of the Romanian Parliament (from a small party and a independent member of the Parliament, Remus Cernea) and with the activists in Bucharest.
The fight must carry on!
No fracking here, no fracking anywhere!
Sandra Steingraber, the co-founder of New Yorkers against Fracking visited Pungesti yesterday and she had the “chance” to see how the Romanian riot police is working…for the benefit of the local community. After having visited the Romanian Parliament, where she presented some key facts regarding the tremendous impacts of fracking in the USA, followed by a meeting with the fracktivists in Bucharest, she went straight to Pungesti, where she wanted to meet the villagers, for whose sufferings she wanted to appologise, as an American, just like the Company that is causing so many problems in Pungesti, Chevron. Here is an excerpt of an article in the local newspaper, Vremea Noua, from last night, after the situation turned very heated after the police blocked the road (a public road), and the people wanted to remove the fence from the road. Even though it was a regrettable situation (Sandra was not involved in the fight, she was some 20 meters behind where it all happened), Sandra Steingrabber and her colleagues could get an idea of the tense situation and the deprivations the community in Pungesti has gone through during the past months.
“The situation in Pungesti where the first drilling rig was installed for exploration and exploitation of shale gas was tense again. Tonight in the village was present Dr. Sandra Steingraber from U.S.A. She has presented a brief history of villagers’ unhappy experiences with shale gas extraction based on the method of hydraulic fracturing. After consulting with the villagers, the American biologist concluded that what happened in the U.S. happens in Romania: Chevron receiving servility from politicians and carrying out economic purposes despite the fact that this activity is bad for locals. After this meeting, Dr. Sandra Steingraber wanted to go to the area where the drilling rig is installed. At that time, the police blocked the road with fences. Approximately 50 villagers who were in the area tried to cross the fences but the “brave” riot policemen used tear gas in response, against villagers, mostly women and elderly!”
More pictures to be seen in the article
In the film you can see the riot police using tear gas.
21th of May, International Anti Chevron Day. Bucharest actions.
On the 21st of May, Romania joined the woldwide protests the disasters Chevron has caused all over the world where they have oil and gas operations, but also against its undemocratic, repressive means undermining the basics of democracy. The action was coordinated by the committee in Ecuador who has helped the 30.000 Ecuadorian peasants in their apparently never-ending fight against Chevron.
In Romania, we had protests organised in 4 locations, 2 of them in perimeters concerned by Chevron fracking operations, such as Pungesti and Mangalia, and Bucharest, the capital city, and another socially very active city in Transilvania, Sibiu.
The event in Bucharest focused on two types of actions:
one documented in the pictures, having a strong awareness raising dimension, by means of impactful images of the diasasters Chevron left all over the world. We had 30 series of 11 stickers with images placed in 30 bus stations in Bucharest.
The second action was a flash mob that was played in 2 locations in Bucharest, focusing on the “cosy” relationship politicians have with Chevron and “strategic investors”, in general.
Here is the link with the English subtitles.
On the occasion of the International Children Day, we talked to the children in Pungesti and we ask them what they wanted. They have struck us with their mature wishes. They just want to stay in Pungesti, lead the simple life they have led for years, be left alone, they want clean water and clean air. And they have made a very good point: we are not poor, we consider ourselves rich because we can produce our own food. In fact, they made another point: You have everything, if you are healthy.
And of course, free.
They are about to lose it all, all their future, all their hopes, this due to fracking and Chevron and to a state that has long forgotten why it is there for.