- (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Yoko Ono, Susan Sarandon, and Sean Lennon joined together to speak about the dangers of fracking after taking a tour of drilling sites in Pennsylvania and speaking with residents.
"We hope that what's happened here will be a lesson for New Yorkers," Lennon told the Associated Press. "I hope that New Yorkers will learn from this and tell Gov. Cuomo that it's not something we have to do."
Right now New York officials are considering using natural-gas drilling in order to provide fuel and "lower" costs for residents. Fracking is a controversial means of drilling for fuel and has caused a great divide between those who see it as a "natural" means of obtaining necessary fuel and those who see it as completely destructive to the environment and people around the sites.
"They say it's safe but it's not," Penn. resident Matthew Manning told the celebrities. "When there are problems, nobody wants to admit it."
Manning described living with high levels of methane in his family's well, which provides their water. WPX Energy is now providing replacement water while the drilling continues and environmental officials investigate the situation.
"She [Manning's wife] was waking up in the morning getting sick, throwing up, but she'd only throw up once, and she'd be fine the rest of the day. Shortly after they installed the water buffalo [replacement water], that problem disappeared and she never did that again," Manning told WBNG-TV.
"If it's been decided that these people are expendable, and that the people in this area are expendable, there's nothing to stop (the industry) from thinking that they can sacrifice other people in other places. It's horrifying and very sad," Sarandon commented.
While many residents welcomed the celebrities with open arms, others were not so pleased.
"This is a publicity stunt as far as we're concerned," Tom Shepstone of the Northeast Marcellus Initiative told WBNG-TV. "It's an example of some people who have absolutely no stake in the matter, come up here and they're simply taking advantage of a trendy cause."
"I don't think the evidence is on their side, the evidence is on our side with the EPA decisions that have come down and their investigations, with the results across the country we can say it's a safe process," Shepstone concluded.
Sarandon, Ono, and Lennon are part of a group known as Artists Against Fracking, which fights against fracking across the country.
"There are so many different ways to get energy but water is just water; it's just a God-given gift. I'm just in awe of this blindness that could destroy the environment this way, just to make money and to walk over families like this," Sarandon said.