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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 66,647

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Save the Susquehanna!

Save the Susquehanna!


“My role is to bring a message to non-Indian people along the Susquehanna and the rivers that are connected, like the Unadilla and Chenango. And my message is to work together to clean and protect these rivers. ….My goal is to teach people that the Susquehanna was my people's first highway. It is the actual bloodline of Mother Earth. My message is that the Susquehanna is sacred, and deserves our greatest respect.”
Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman; AHSKWA; 1997

In December, 2011, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission approved twenty new permit applications, allowing gas industries to withdraw massive amounts of the river's water for hydrofracking in Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, March 15, the SRBC will meet again, to consider passing sixty new permits. If passed, this would allow gas companies to withdraw 50 million gallons of water from the river daily.

Each water-transporting truck carries 4,000 gallons. Thus, this would mean over 12,000 new trucks carrying water from the Susquehanna, in addition to those permitted in December.

An average of one million gallons of water is required for every individual hydrofracking well. Each well also requires over 75,000 gallons of toxic chemicals, which are mixed into the water used to hydrofrack. As a result, one of the most significant evironmental dangers caused by hydrofracking for gas is millions of gallons of poisoned water: some will migrate to other water supplies under the ground, while more will be “disposed” of by discharging it into municipal waste treatment plants that are not equiped to deal with toxic industrial wastes. Thus, ground water supplies, as well as rivers, creeks, lakes, and ponds will be poisoned.

We need all concerned citizens to make four phone calls on Wednesday and Thursday. We are hoping to convince four politicians to tell their commissioners to vote “NO!” on all new water-withdrawal permits for hydrofracking in the Susquehanna River Basin – at least until a cumulative impact study is made.

The four politicians are:

1- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: 518-474-8390.
2- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett: 717-787-2500.
3- Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley: 410-974-3901.
4- President Barack Obama: 202-456-1111.

The fact that no cumulative impact study has been done suggests that the SRBC is serving the needs of the energy corporations, rather than protecting the Susquehanna River and the plant, animal, and human populations living in the river basin.

Please call all four of these politicians both days. Also, spread the word to other family members, friends, neighbors, or groups/individuals interested in protecting the integrity of our planet.

Thank you,
Patrick R. McElligott

My latest LTTE


In an article published in The Daily Star on Jan. 17 regarding hydrofracking, Richard Downey of the Unatego Landowners Association made a couple of comments about me that I have hoped to have an opportunity to respond to.

The first was: "This fellow sounds like he is way out on the bell-shaped curve." This is likely true. I believe that it is possible, if enough citizens participate, that we could re-establish the constitutional democracy in America.

Hence, in January, I was exercising my First Amendment rights. My goal has been to talk to three people: State Sen. Thomas Libous; N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and environmental attorney Robert Kennedy Jr., the governor's ex-brother-in-law, who sits on Cuomo's hydrofracking advisory board.

On Jan. 26, at a large rally at the NYS Capitol that featured a couple members of the NYS Assembly and Senate, I delivered a key-note speech. The focus of my presentation was the First Amendment. This led directly to my meeting with Sen. Libous, and then with two of his top aides.

This past week, I have set up a meeting between pro-environment grass roots citizens from Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego counties, with Robert Kennedy Jr., and others advising Cuomo. This important meeting will take place in March. My focus is, by no coincidence, the First Amendment.

Mr. Downey also said that I have "become a sideshow in a sideshow." My fondest dream has been to become an asterisk to a footnote to a sideshow to a sideshow. This may seem like a lofty goal … but with patience, even the smallest of turtles can climb the highest of mountains.
Patrick McElligott

Mount Upton


Satyagraha & the Unspeakable


When I announced my hunger strike on Martin Luther King Day in January, I based my speech on some of the writings of Thomas Merton. Although it was a bitter cold day, the group assembled outside of the State Office Building in Binghamton, NY, seemed to find my presentation interesting. When I finished, a gentleman came up and introduced himself to me: he was a Vietnam combat veteran, and had found Merton's teachings valuable in helping him to reintegrate into society. I found myself impressed at the fact that he had become a greater type of “warrior,” doing battle with the dark forces that Merton called “the Unspeakable.”

This week, during the course of driving my wife and I to a total of five lengthy medical appointments, I stopped at a bookstore for some new reading material. I picked up two good books. The first, by Bruce Miroff, a professor of political science at SUNY-Albany, is “The Liberals' Moment: The McGovern Insurgency and the Identity Crisis of the Democratic Party” (2007). Older forum members will recall the 1972 presidential election as disheartening. Ugly divisions within the Democratic Party, added to the post-60s fatigue and republican dirty tricks, resulted in the re-election of Richard Nixon. At that time, Nixon appeared to be the lowest life form that could possibly occupy the White House; both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush suggested there was a level beneath Nixon.

Younger forum members may recognize that there tends to be focus on that election than any other in recent history. Yet the cast of Democratic characters who played a role included both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, along with numerous others who played significant roles in national politics in every election since '72. Miroff produces a powerful argument about how the older established party leaders were more willing to force the nation to endure another Nixon term, than to join forces with the younger generation of insurgents who made McGovern's improbable nomination possible.

It's not a puff piece, though: Miroff shines a bright light on the errors of McGover, an honorable leader in a poisoned political atmosphere, and his campaign staff. It's fascinating reading for old activists. More, it is essential reading for all democratic/liberal/progressive grass roots activists today. (The McGovern campaign was the first that used the “new” technology of computers in the primary season!) It's said that wise people learn from others' mistakes; most people have to learn from their own mistakes; and that fools just never learn. We can all learn from this book.

The second book I got – which was recommended by a Good Friend who posts on this forum – is James Douglass's 2012 release, “Gandhi and the Unspeakable: His Final Experiment With Truth.” Douglass previously wrote “JFK and the Unspeakable”; he is currently working on books on the murders of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Douglass, who had a friendship with Thomas Merton, is an important author. I believe that both his JFK and Gandhi books are extremely important reads for those who are engaged in the struggle for social justice. By no coincidence, I also urge people to read books by and about Merton, Malcolm, Martin, and RFK.

As noted in previous essays here, I am currently involved in the grass roots effort to protect the environment – including all life forms therein – from the destructive forces of hydrofracking. Those forces include both the “energy industry” pushing hydrofracking, and the extremely damaging process itself. But it goes beyond that. As every person who has been or presently is involved in grass roots activism knows, there are frequent stumbling blocks presented by the inevitable differences in opinion among the grass roots group/groups. That is human nature: it took place in the Civil Rights and the Anti-War movements, and in virtually every social justice movement since.

Gandhi called for a New Awakening in the human potential for growth. Most of the distractions that groups face internally are the result of “personality” conflicts. People get their feelings hurt. People have fears and anxieties. People want recognition. Even more, there is rarely only one “correct” view of any given situation: for we are all individuals, who see things from our own unique frame of reference.

What Gandhi promoted was the casting of personality quirks aside, much as a seed discards its outer shell while germinating. As individuals, we need to allow our true essence to sprout and grow. Not because of what our opposition thinks of us, nor for our allies' alone. We are confronted with a form of societal decay so powerful – the Unspeakable – that can only be overcome by our very best efforts.

In New York, that Unspeakable has sought to take root by way of hydrofracking. There are, obviously, numerous other very important issues at stake in the struggle for social justice. Other states and other communities have their own Unspeakable struggles. What they have in common is the calling upon us – you and I – to bring forth the best potential within us. For, as Gandhi said, love is the only thing that even atom bombs cannot destroy.

H2O Man

Two New Friends

“The original instructions direct that we who walk about the earth are to express a great respect and affection and a gratitude toward all the spirits that create and support life. We give a greeting and thanksgiving to the many supporters of our own lives – the plants, the animals, the water, the air, and the sun. When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to anend.”
John Mohawk, Ha-de-no-sau-nee.


On Friday, I was bringing my best friend & wonderful wife home, after she spent a rough week in the hospital. As we approached our driveway, the vehicle in front of us began to slow down, and I noticed its blinker indicating it was also turning into our driveway. It had an out-of-state plate, which I did not recognize.

My driveway, which is a section of an old turnpike from the late 1700s, is long. When we reached the top, I got out to see who our visitors were, and what they wanted. It was two women, both retired university professors, who were looking for me. One, who taught English and literature, lived in central New York. In the early 1980s, I had been acquainted with her; we used to be an undefeated team in a once-popular board game known as Trivial Pursuit. The other, from the southwest, I recognized as one of the top archaeologists in North America.

They had sought me out because they had read an article that Will Pitt had posted on TruthOut, regarding my recent hunger strike. They had then followed the event on the internet site, Facebook. This pair of former-1960s politica;/social activists-turned university professors had come to offer any assistance that I might need in the struggle to protect the environment from the horrors of hydrofracking.

We talked for about 90 minutes, before I had to leave to a board meeting in Broome County, to plan future actions in the struggle. I opened the meeting with a traditional “greeting” that Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman had taught me. And then, I spoke about something that Gandhi taught: that when you are doing the right thing, for the right reasons, the right people will enter your life at exactly the right time.

And so it is.

Anti-Fracking Alert!

(Note: This is an alert going out in NYS. I told the author that I would post it on DU, in hope that people here -- including non-NYS residents -- would be willing to make the requested contacts.

I have a series of medical tests scheduled next week. I'm anticipating the "go-ahead" to engage in a second hunger strike, this time at Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s office. I hope to post an OP soon that documents why the grass roots is unhappy with Robert, who is splitting the coaltion of grass roots groups & the larger "environmental advocacy" corporations/organizations.

Thanks for your support! Your friend, Pat)


Governor Cuomo says a decision to allow Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracking might be made in as little as 8 short weeks!!!

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in their RDSGEIS comments to the DEC, suggest 2 disturbing alternatives, both of which could endanger the Southern Tier: 1) - A "Demonstration Project" alternative in which up to 300 wells could be drilled in 3 years prior to adopting a statewide HVHF drilling program and 2) - A "Special Places Off Limits to Drilling" alternative that would protect NYC, Syracuse, Catskills, Fingerlakes, Delaware River Water Gap and Cooperstown Corridor but NOT protect the Southern Tier.

The grassroots are 100% UNITED: No FRACKING Demonstration Project, and EQUAL PROTECTION FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Call and email Kate Sinding and Eric Goldstein (please see their contact info below) and
1. DEMAND that they retract the comments and
2. Publicly declare opposition to ANY Demonstration project, anywhere in NYS,
in an open letter to Gov. Cuomo.
4. Request that they sign the Defacto Moratorium Pledge. Accept No Excuses: Tell them that if they are truly interested in protecting us there is no reason for them to NOT sign the pledge!!!

The de facto moratorium pledge:
Given the irreparable harm that shale gas extraction could wreak on New York's environment and public health, I request that Governor Cuomo maintain DEC's de facto moratorium on Marcellus Shale horizontal hydrofracturing until there is a consensus among all local, state and federal authorities as well as potentially impacted parties that the 17 major shortcomings documented in the Withdraw the Revised Draft SGEIS Coalition Letter have been fully resolved.

The full coalition letter with over 22,000 signatures can be found at:

In addition to Robert F. Kennedy's position as lead attorney for NRDC and with Riverkeeper and Catskill Mountain Keeper, He and Kate Sinding also are members of Gov. Cuomo's Hydrofracking Advisory Panel. We Need EVERY ONE of the members of this panel to sign the pledge.

Please Call and Email at least these 4 of them. Be polite but firm:

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Esq.
Senior Attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council,
Clinical Professor/Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law's Environmental Litigation Clinic.
Chief Prosecuting Attorney, Riverkeeper
Webform: http://www.robertfkennedyjr.com/contact.html
Phone: 914-422-4343 (Pace University - please ask for his secretary, Mary Beth Postman)

Kate Sinding, Esq.
Deputy Director of the Urban Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Email: ksinding@nrdc.org
Phone: 212-727-2700

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo
New York State Assembly Representative, 126th District
Email: LupardoD@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: 607-723-9047 (Binghamton), 518-455-5431 (Albany)

Senator Thomas W. Libous
New York State Senator, 52nd District
Email: senator@senatorlibous.com
Phone: 607-773-8771 [may forward to Albany]

Eric A. Goldstein, Esq.
Environmental Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
Email: egoldstein@nrdc.org
Phone: 212-727-2700

Your Opinion, Please


“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take the life of another. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others.

“His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenselss, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.”
Totank Yotank (Sitting Bull); Hunkpapa Lakota

In the past two months, I have written a half-dozen or more papers for the grass roots groups I have been working with in New York and Pennsylvania. These are pro-environment, and anti-hydrofracking organizations.

While the pro-hydrofracking politicians refer to us as “tree-huggers,” and the internal gas corporation documents I've read call us “insurgents,” I tend to view us as human beings. We are university professors and high school students; doctors and lawyers; farmers and factory workers; young and old; and military veterans and other patriots.

One of the things I've noticed in the past year or so, is that many people who are becoming politically active today, do not have the past foundation of experience that some of us old-timers have. Thus, for example, I found that many intelligent people were hestitant to write a letter-to-the-editor, or had questions about the best way to approach a politician.

I made a few suggestions. There are two basic formats that increase the likelihood of a LTTE being published. If a letter to an elected representative includes a request for a personal response, to be used in LTTEs, a politician (or their staff) will usually send something more than a form letter. People can hold small “house parties” to compose letters to the press and politician. And on and on.

We are also having the experience of having more questionable individuals attempting to join our groups. This happens. A high-profile group will attrack an assortment of individuals. Some may be shy, or lack self-confidence. Some may have the types of personality disorders that disrupt group processes.And some may be from the dark side. How do you spot them? How do you deal with them? Again, some of us have experiences from the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and beyond.

How can relatively small groups best coordinate efforts with similar groups? What tensions are normal between such small groups, and some of the larger, more established environment advocacy organizations?

Other issues ranging from voter registration drives, civil disobedience, and other community organizing and political activism, also deserve close attention. These same general issues, by no coincidence, confront those grass roots groups that are engaged in other parts of the struggle for social justice. Indeed, these other groups can potentially be united to create an alliance that is essential for us to achieve in the Good Fight.

A few people have suggested that I write a small “grass roots community organizing” handbook. This might be distributed among other pro-environment, anti-hydrofracking organizations, and potentially other similar groups.

Hence, my question to you: What types of things do you think are important to include in such a book?

Thank you for your consideration.

H2O Man

Please Help! Important!

Dear Friends:

Josh Fox, the director of the powerful documentary “Gasland,” asked me this evening to get the following message out. This is something that everyone can do. And it is extremely important.

I'll add that “Gasland 2” is going to knock the socks off of the professional liars from the gas corporations, and their parrots and puppets in the government and media.

Please help us on this! It really is more important than I can say at this time. But I'm going to have more – much more – to say in the next few days.

Who knows? Maybe we'll have a DU interview with Josh Fox.

Thank you for your support on this.


NEWSFLASH. URGENT. Tomorrow there is an important fracking hearing in DC. The House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment will hold hearings on EPA's testing in Pavillion Wyoming. Josh and his crew are being told they cannot film the hearing. CALL OR EMAIL CONGRESS NOW! Tell them Josh should be allowed in to film the hearing. It's guaranteed in the first amendment! Call tonight thru tomorrow morning. Thank you! Please repost!
Committee Phone:
Committee Contact Form:
http://science.house.gov/contact-us/email-us (Entire Committee)
Email Us | Committee on Science - U.S. House of Representatives

When the Word is Given


On the eve of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day press conference/ rally in Binghamton, N.Y., where I announced a hunger strike, I read the introduction to Thomas Merton's 1964 book, “Gandhi on Non-Violence.” Dr. King was, of course, influenced by Gandhi and Christian theologians, such as Father Merton. Likewise, my hunger strike – undertaken to pressure NYS Senator Tom Libous to meet with a couple of the grass roots leaders of the pro-environment, anti-hydrofracking groups – was as a result of my understanding of these men's examples.

Merton wrote about Western Civilization as a One-Eyed Giant. This giant has succeeded in its attempts to master “matter,” but had failed to comprehend its meaning. The giant attempts to tame the wilderness, because he feels alone and uncomfortable in the Natural World. The One-Eyed Giant has fallen from grace.

The giant lacks the wisdom of his older sibling, the natural, Native People of the Earth. In order to reduce his high level of anxiety, the giant also attempts to tame the Native People. In the case of the United States, Dr. King wrote, “We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population.” This national policy is not a relic of the distant past.

I told the people at the rally about a time, in 1980, when Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons told a group of non-Indian people in Binghamton to be aware that, in a relatively short time, the combination of corporations and government would treat them in exactly the same manner that they currently treated the residents of Indian Territory. We witness this today, when corporate-government selects specific regions as “national sacrifice areas.” The large gas industries are fully aware, for example, that hydrofracking will destroy the land, air, and water in huge segments of upstate New York. They are equally aware that this environmental devastation will result in sky-rocketing cancer rates among today's younger generation. But profit motives dictate.

Merton wrote that, “It is true that neither the ancient wisdom nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone.” Certainly, modern science offers many benefits. The rally was held within walking distance of two good hospitals. Modern medicine brings about many miracles. Most of us have a member of our extended family who is fighting cancer. The medical community continues to make advances in the technology needed to treat such brutal diseases.

The medical community also has the wisdom to tell individuals not to increase the risks to their health by smoking. And in 2011, the Bassett Medical Group of Cooperstown, which is the largest health care provider in the three-county area, has come out against hydrofracking. Both their board of directors and their medical staff have issued position papers that document the risks that hydrofracking poses to the public's health.

Yet the One-Eyed Giant lacks the depth perception needed to see the long-term consequences of hydrofracking. The giant is blinded by gluttony, and can only see the illusion of immediate financial gratification. This simplistic view is contagious: the gas corporations have spread trhe virus of greed to politicians and to some land-owners who are desperate for income.

Those politicians and land-owners call the pro-environment, anti-hydrofracking community “tree-huggers.” In some of the gas corporations' internal documents, they refer to us as “insurgents.” This is so wrong. We are university professors and high school students; attornies and physicians; factory workers and farmers; military veterans and patriots. And we call upon the pro-hydrofracking community's sense of humanity, so that they might see that we are their friends and neighbors. We are not, to paraphrase Willard Romney, jealous of them. No, we are working for what we know is best for our communities.

In his December, 2011 letter, Senator Libous thanked me for sharing “the wisdom of Chief Paul Waterman” with him. But, he noted, his mind was already made up, and there was no chance of his changing his mind. As I spoke about this, at the Martin Luther King Day rally in Binghamton, the audience recognized how this fit Merton's One-Eyed Giant. One lady had brought documentation of how much the gas industries had contributed to Senator Libous. Small wonder that Libous would not want to talk with us.

A week later, I was able to participate in a large rally of pro-environment, anti-hydrofracking citizens, at the Capital Building in Albany, NY. I was honored to be among the speakers there, addressing about 750 people. I outlined the communications and failures to communicate between Senator Libous and myself. I spoke of my experiences while employed at the Chenango County Mental Health Clinic, where my duties included “community crises response.” I said that no matter if a crisis involved a single family, a neighborhood, or a community, that the failure to communicate respectfully always increases tensions. And more, that initiating some level of communication is always required to lessen tensions.

I spoke about a group of high school students, who were writing letters-to-the-editor of local newspapers, and taking up a petition to Senator Libous. Not all of these students were absolutely anti-hydrofracking. But they wanted to let Senator Libous know that his behavior was absolutely the opposite of what they were learning in their classes, about how government was supposed to work. They were saying that the Amendment 1 right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” was vital to our Constitutional democracy – and that this implies that elected officials listen to the citizens they are supposed to represent. Indeed, these students were organizing a rally, to be held at Senator Libous's Binghamton office.

Word travels quickly inside the Capital Building. A couple hours later, I was meeting with Tom Libous. He attempted to impress on me the amount of work he does on behalf of the students in his district. This confirmed my belief that he would not welcome the publicity that these high school students would bring about.

He also said that there were thousands of people in his district who are strongly opposed to hydrofracking, and that he couldn't possibly meet with every one of them. I noted that there were 750 such citizens there, most of whom were wearing “I Support Patrick's Hunger Strike” stickers, and carrying large signs that said the same thing ….and that all of them were asking him to meet with me. Libous would later tell an Albany reporter that our meeting was “cordial.” I would agree with that, but add that it made no sense to avoid meeting with me to begin with.

The struggle is not over. There will be more communications between myself and Senator Libous and his staff. However, to be fair and accurate, of the three people I have focused on – Libous, Governor Cuomo, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. – only Senator Libous has responded. Because my family is concerned about the toll this hunger strike took on my health, I have promised to take some time to heal. But I am examining the options for doing a second hunger strike, either outside Andrew Cuomo's office in Albany, or at Kennedy's office at Pace University. It's a shame that those two are less willing to talkto the grass roots leaders of the anti-hydrofracking community, than a republican politician who accepts thousands of dollars from the gas industry.

RFK, Jr., to meet with H2O Man et al


February 16, 2012

I spoke at length today with environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. We discussed a wide range of issues involving the controversy over hydrofracking.

There has been a growing divide between the large, nationally well-known environmental organizations, and the grass roots groups. I believe that a major factor has been the lack of communication between the different levels.

I believe that Robert and I are going to build that bridge between groups. We have set up a meeting, at Pace University, between representatives of the large organizations, and the grass roots groups.

There has been a lot of stress and tension in recent months. The gas industry is a very powerful, dark force. So we need to shine a bright light on that dark and destructive entity.

Patrick aka H2O Man
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