|Updated: 4/01/2011 10:39 pm
||Published: 4/01/2011 10:35 pm
CONWAY, AR - Respect property rights, disclose all chemicals being used, follow the Clean Air Act, and stop injection wells. Thos are just some of the demands of the protestors outside of Southwestern Energy.
The protestors numbered more than 100 people. They are a group of concerned citizens who want to start open dialogue with one of the corporations that is drilling in the Fayetteville Shale. They started the day outside of Southwestern Energy in Conway and then moved to Hendrix College to hear an environmental lawyer speak about the impacts the injection wells are having in central Arkansas.
“People have had their land damaged, their farm animals poisoned, there’s a lot of effects that have been going on and people in the last year or so have just started to speak about it,” says protest organizer Matt Moran.
They made plenty of noise on Friday about water quality, air pollution, and earthquakes, but they worry that no one is listening. Although Southwestern has agreed to open a dialogue, organizers of Friday’s protest say that so far, it is all talk and no action.
“We think it’s important to keep the pressure on,” say Moran.
“Our state is better off from the development of the Fayetteville Shale,” says Conway Chamber of Commerce member Jamie Gates. “Southwestern energy and the other folks in this state have been good actors. We’ve seen a lot of positive out of the development of the Fayetteville Shale.”
But that is just not a good enough excuse for protestor Jack White. “When it’s real close to home, and the wind shifts, you’d better run for cover.”
Moran remains undeterred. “We will be out her until we cause some changes.”
On Saturday, groups will gather again in Heber Springs in hopes of gathering bigger numbers. They want to continue to put pressure on natural gas companies until their demands are heard and regulations are changed.