FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2012
CONTACT: Annie Lukins, Jonathan Sidney; (216) 586-4890; firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerned Residents Mic-Check Rigged Congressional Hearing on Fracking
Show $3M Connection Between Campaign Contributions and Favors to Big Oil
STEUBENVILLE, OH – A dozen anti-fracking Ohio and Pennsylvania residents were escorted from today’s congressional field hearing on natural gas after interrupting the proceedings and attempting to present members of the committee with a $3 million check representing the money spent by industry just on members of one congressional subcommittee.
Held by the Congressional Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, today’s event was the latest in a series of field hearings designed to promote hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking”) as a solution to the economic and energy crises. Also in Steubenville only weeks ago Ohio Governor John Kasich held his State of the State address where he lauded the fracking industry and was met with protests and a ‘mic-check’ that disrupted the speech.
“What we witnessed today was the best Congressional field hearing that oil and gas money can buy.” -Diana Ludwig
Residents pointed out that Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Bill Johnson (R-OH), have collectively received a total of at least $267,084 in campaign contributions from oil and gas corporations and therefore clearly have a conflict of interest that makes them unfit for reviewing the human health, environmental, and economic impacts of fracking.
Although not invited to testify, residents handed out pamphlets containing testimony regarding fracking’s environmental devastation, as well as the Subcommittee’s history of taking donations from the oil and gas industry, amounting to a sum of approximately $3 million split between 18 members of the Subcommittee. This is part of the $747 million spent by the industry for fracking as part of a 10-year lobbying campaign to persuade federal authorities to ignore the dangers of fracking as reported by Common Cause in their report “Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets.”
Lamborn, Thompson, and Johnson repeatedly claimed that fracking has never been linked to a proven case of groundwater contamination, each time eliciting laughter from audience members who replied by shouting: “tell that to Dimock,” referring to the Pennsylvania town notorious for its fracking-contaminated water.
During Ohio Oil and Gas Association executive vice president Tom Stewart’s testimony, a resident of Youngstown, OH and professor of geology Susie Beiersdorfer led the dissidents in a mic-check: “Members of the Subcommittee have received $3 million from the oil and gas industry. That is why Congress lets fracking poison our water and land.”
The protesters then attempted to present a giant check for $3 million from the “Ohio Water Drinkers Association” and were forcibly removed by security, shouting “We can’t drink money” and “We will not be bought” as they left the room. Afterward, protesters held an impromptu press conference immediately outside of the building.
Diana Ludwig of Youngstown, OH, told reporters: “What we witnessed today was the best Congressional field hearing that oil and gas money can buy. They say fracking is safe, but the benzene is in the ground and they can’t take it out.”
 Citations for all campaign contribution data found at