Westmoreland hearing about fracking shows ‘democracy at work’

For almost four hours on Wednesday, there was “democracy at work” in Westmoreland County as residents first stood outside, in the blustering cold, to wave signs protesting the possibility of fracking in their waterside community, then gave their opinions at a public hearing.

Darryl Fisher, chairman of Westmoreland Board of Supervisors and a Baptist preacher, told residents how proud he was of the respectful way they made their points, and that “this is how the process should work.”

An hour and a half before the 6 p.m. board meeting, about 65 residents gathered on State Route 3 in Montross—in front of the old courthouse where the road takes a hard right—and waved signs of protest against gas and oil drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That’s the act of injecting chemical and waters, deep underground, to loosen trapped gas and oil.

The protesters’ signs stated: “Don’t Frack With My Crabs” or “No Fracking Way,” “Farmers Not Frackers” or “Tourism or Fracking? You Can’t Have Both. Ban Fracking.”

Fisher said he got a good feeling when he saw them.

“That’s democracy at work,” he told the crowd of about 80 people in the board meeting room. “You have freedom of speech, freedom of expression and you do it in an organized fashion to get your point across without infringing on anybody else’s rights.”

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