Social Justice Calendar
Community Forum on Fracking
Sponsored by Community Forum, Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Sunday, September 22, 2013
3327 Old Conejo Road, Newbury Park, CA
A Community Forum in Newbury Park on Sunday, Sept. 22 will address health and environmental issues surrounding fracking, the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure to fracture shale rocks and extract oil and natural gas. Lance Simmens, state director of Gasland Grassroots, will discuss what Californians should know about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at the 7 p.m. forum at the Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. His organization is spreading awareness about issues raised in the documentary film “Gasland Part II,” which aired on HBO in July. The film by Josh Fox revisits communities in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming where his 2010 film “Gasland” showed residents near fracking sites coping with polluted water and chronic illnesses. The most dramatic footage showed drinking water so contaminated that it could be set afire out of the tap. Simmens served as a senior advisor to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell for eight years during a fracking boom in the state. “My personal interactions with many citizens and communities throughout the state led me to seriously question what we do not know about fracking,” Simmens wrote in a Huffington Post blog last March. Fracking has begun in the Baldwin Hills oil field in Southern California. Simmens says his goal with Gasland Grassroots is to help California avoid the mistakes made in Pennsylvania relating to water quality and quantity, air contamination, public health impacts, earthquake risks and climate change. President Obama has hailed advances in extracting natural gas as a way to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. His administration is developing steps to regulate the process on federal lands. “What we do not know about fracking deserves maximizing scientific scrutiny,” Simmens wrote in his March blog. “If we sacrifice our water, air, and health quality we impose a life sentence upon future generations.” Simmens is an adjunct professor of public policy at Santa Monica College. He served as communications director for the California High Speed Rail Authority and before that headed the Pennsylvania Governor’s Task force on Wind and Solar Energy Development. He was one of the first climate change leaders trained by Al Gore and the Climate Project in 2006, and he has delivered more than 100 presentations on climate change around the world. Simmens is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has published more than 300 articles. He has written a novel on the perils of fracking that is to be released next year. The Community Forum is open to the public and free; donations will be accepted. The Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is located at 3327 Old Conejo Road in Newbury Park. For information, visit forum.cvuuf.org or call (805) 374-9818.
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