by Sasha Shyduroff, SSC Pennsylvania Organizer
Last week in a speech at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, PAGovernor Tom Corbett suggested that universities should allow drilling on their land to help fix financial problems. Governor Corbett said, “We need to think differently, and we need to act differently” (according to a spokesperson), but this idea doesn’t sound like new thinking. Instead it’s upholding the status quo of pandering to dirty energy corporations who have free reign over our state.
Only six of the fourteen state-owned universities sit on top of the Marcellus Shale. However, this sets a dangerous precedent for all campuses, public and private, on the Marcellus Shale who may open their campuses and lands for drilling.
Students and youth all across the state are enraged that our public health and safety are being put at risk. Rachel Reed, a student with Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition says, “No one wants to dodge explosions or choke on diesel pollution while walking to their next lecture. Attempting economic stability by putting students at risk will prove counterproductive when prospective pupils are scared off and graduates are too busy dying to pursue economy-stimulating careers."
Students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania have already been talking to their administration about this. During a march on April 20, 2011 21 to raise awareness of the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill students spoke with President Werner. Peter Roquemore, a senior at IUP says, “we made it clear that IUP students are committed to working with the University to find a real solution to the budget that does not involve drilling on university property”.
Ultimately, deep shale drilling in the Marcellus Shale shouldn’t be a “not in my backyard” issue. Pennsylvania’s Keystone Environmental Youth Coalition is demanding that the a moratorium on all deep shale drilling until full impact studies are done by the EPA and proper regulations to protect our water and public health are in place. Only when this happens, should we be talking about the financial impacts.