Madeleine Lombard: Students create film about fracked gas, get eye-opener on issue

  • Black smoke streams away from the flame of an oil storage tank flare stack in Texas’s Permian Basin on Nov. 1, 2018. Black smoke is a sign something is wrong and evidence that a flare is polluting. DALLAS MORNING NEWS/TNS/Ryan Michalesko

Published: 3/29/2019 11:40:36 AM

I’m a senior at Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield. As part of our expeditionary learning project this year, my senior class produced a 47-minute documentary, “Under Pressure,” about our state’s dependence on fracked gas.

We traveled to the Merrimack Valley to interview survivors of the tragic gas explosions, emergency responders, scientists, gas company representatives, elected officials, and grassroots activists. My understanding of this issue now goes way beyond headlines.

Fracked gas is not “natural,” nor is it a “bridge fuel” as it has been cleverly spun. Tracked from extraction to end use, gas is dirtier than coal. It is a harmful indoor pollutant. It does not support a shift to clean energy; it delays it. The fracked gas industry makes false claims of “capacity shortages” as an excuse to build bigger pipelines and expand use.

Let’s not fall for their tactics. If your home is hooked on gas, what’s preventing you from reducing dependence? Cost? My family is about to cut $10,000 in utility bills over 10 years through two incentive programs — Solarize Hot Water and Solar Access — that will reduce our gas reliance with the help of energy efficient technology and solar panels. These savings are available to you.

Making the personal switch is a great start, but not enough. Educate yourself by watching our documentary. Finally, press your elected officials to resist pipeline expansion and pass stronger clean energy policy — and not just to benefit homeowners, but to help people who rent too.

Madeleine Lombard

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