Just down the road was a Consol bill board proclaiming coal is clean and safe, there was a Haliburton fracking fluid facility, and only a few miles away was the old, polluting Homer City coal-fired power plant. That did not stop the Coalition for a Healthy County (CHC) and the Sierra Club from having a stall at the Indiana County Fair in Indiana PA during the last week of August. The following account is from Gerald Smith, a principal member of CHC.
This year fairgoers at the Indiana County Fair took concrete action to protect our health the air, waters around us. The Coalition for a Healthy County(CHC) teamed up with the Sierra Club for a booth that educated folks on the hazards of coal mining, and Marcellus Shale gas drilling. People then signed the Sierra Club’s Clean Air Pledge, as well as a letter to the Indiana County commissioners asking them to develop a comprehensive plan for regulating shale gas drilling in the county, including a ban on fracking in sensitive areas. And kids got a balloon!
We had lots of CHC and Sierra Club volunteers from all over the county eager to work the booth, and all reported having some very good conversations with folks. The volunteers found that even if people had connections with either the coal or natural gas industry, they were willing to say that they had concerns, and were willing to sign the pledge, and the letter to the commissioners. For both the shale gas and air pollution campaigns the fair was a huge success; ten volunteers got new experience tabling, and CHC greatly expanded it’s presence in the county, collecting nearly 100 letters, and adding 50 local residents to our mailing list.