Last week, the Women’s Energy Leadership Coalition, a new group formed to speak about the value of shale gas development to upstate New York quality of life, went to Albany to show strong support for natural gas exploration. Both men and women took the trip up to tell their representatives the people of upstate are ready for natural gas. It was an inspiring and productive day, jam packed with activities, and the opportunity to be heard by the individuals paid to represent these constituents.
Women’s Energy Leadership Coalition
The Women’s Energy Leadership Coalition or WELC is a group formed to give a voice to the women of upstate New York. These mothers and grandmothers have spent the last four years educating themselves on natural gas development and after careful research and observation are ready to stand up for what they believe in and help to educate others on the benefits natural gas development will bring. Many of them have already been doing this and are now banding together with others.
The group is comprised of toxicologists, doctors, former and current elected officials, farmers, house wives, retirees, natural gas industry reps and even some high school and college students just to name a few of their backgrounds. Nicole and I went to their inaugural meeting a couple months ago and listened as each of these women told their story and why natural gas development is important to them. It was an awe-inspiring and eye opening meeting, as each brings something unique to the group.
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Please keep an eye out for their short film, “Silent No More,” which they previewed to kick off the day. The film tells the stories of several of the women in the group, and their journeys over the last four years.
Being Seen and Heard
The group spent the morning preparing for a march to the governor’s office and the Women’s Suffrage exhibit, an inspiring reminder of what women can accomplish when they work together for a common cause. They wanted anyone passing them to know what they stood for, so in the spirit of women’s movements, made sashes to wear representing their hopes for New York’s future with natural gas.
While making the sashes, the group was able to view the film, “The Empire State Divide,” developed by Karen Moreau and the Foundation for Land and Liberty. This short film goes through the decline of New York State and what led to its current status of economic despair. The women were then were able to speak with a few of the individuals interviewed in the film like Jennifer Huntington and Julie Lewis.
“The Empire State Divide” is partitioned into three segments and well worth the 22 minutes, so please take a moment to watch if you’ve never seen it before.
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WELC Exhibit and Informational Booth
Women and men took turns working at a booth to provide information on natural gas development to those walking through the somewhat ironically titled area known as the “well.” As part of that display, they put together an exhibit featuring the women of “Silent No More.” Here are some of the pictures of it.
Both the exhibit and booth were busy all day, as people stopped to gather more information on development and hear these women’s stories. One person, Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs from New York City, didn’t want to hear any information from these landowners whom she falsely claimed were paid to be there by the industry and were not her constituents. Here’s a video of just some of that interaction.
The group also had a television available as part of the exhibit where onlookers could watch “Silent No More” and “Women of the Marcellus,” showing the contrasts between the women of Upstate New York and those in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania in respect to natural gas. Here’s the”Women of the Marcellus” video in case you haven’t seen it.
The Press Conference
The group gathered on the second floor in the Capitol Building. This was extremely significant because they group gathered around a women’s suffrage memorial plaque to hold their press conference. At the press conference several people spoke about what natural gas means to them. They also discussed what changes they hope to make. With several of their sashes reading, “Silent No More” some went on to discuss what the saying actually represents. Watch the whole press conference below.
As landowners this group is no longer standing silently as the silent majority. They are now choosing to speak out and push in Albany, as the anti-gas crowd has done, to get their voices heard. Property rights for the United States of America go far below the Earth’s surface! Unlike any other country in the world, Americans own the ground under them to the core of the planet. Speaking out in support of natural gas goes deeper than just the idea of natural gas exploration – it’s speaking out for your property rights and your rights as an American.
Truthland Closes Out the Day
After a day packed full of educating others, participants sat down to a pre-screening of the new film, Truthland, about Shelly, a Pennsylvania school teacher and dairy farmer, who went out on a quest to find out the truth about natural gas exploration.
Shelly introduced the film to the group of individuals, many of which were from the area where she grew up and her family still lives in Broome County, New York.
You can watch the complete Truthland movie below and be sure to check out www.truthland.com to get a free DVD of the film, look for screenings in your area and view unedited videos of the interviews Shelly participated in.
The Women’s Energy Leadership Coalition has grown substantially and they are now making sure their voices are heard. The group successfully distributed over 200 DVDs of Truthland to all the legislators in Albany and hopes to get a good response from them all! Keep your eyes open for the Women’s Energy Leadership Coalition and get involved! Now is the time to step up and fight for our property rights!