When the air catches fire

Thanks to Josh Fox and his documentary Gasland, lighting one’s water on fire has become the iconic image of the danger and devastation posed by fracking for natural gas. But what if the air is also catching fire?

For communities in the Marcellus Shale region, that fear became a reality last Thursday when the Lathrop compressor station in Springville, PA, exploded, shaking citizens’ homes and filling the sky with black smoke for several hours. Although the cause of the explosion is not yet known, pressure is mounting for a complete investigation that could lead to a halting of operations at the Lathrop station until it is deemed safe, as well as a push for closer review of other compressor stations using similar equipment.

Waging Nonviolence sat down with organizers from the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council to learn more about these efforts and how they were informed by impassioned citizen-journalists, who arrived on the scene moments after the explosion.

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