Video by Josh Fox of Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Susan Sarandon & Arun Gandhi’s visit to Philadelphia on behalf of Artists Against Fracking to find out what Fracking and the Gas Industry has done to the homes and families in the area.

Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon hold water from Ray Kemble's kitchen sink.

Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon hold water from Ray Kemble’s kitchen sink.

“I was there. I saw it. It made me cry.”


A letter from Yoko Ono, written while visiting Pennsylvania communities impacted by fracking.

After being invited to visit Pennsylvania by residents who have experienced the impacts of fracking, my son Sean and I decided to go see the harms of fracking up close. Our friend Susan Sarandon came with us, and we had the incredible honor of being joined by Mahatma Ghandi’s grandson, Arun Ghandi, as well. We also invited members of the media.

Driving into the quaint town of Montrose, PA, I could hardly have anticipated how upsetting the next stops on our tour would be: a gas pad of four drills and a hissing pressure release, a giant compressor station under construction, large trucks full of sand and toxic chemicals rumbling down narrow dirt roads, and a drilling rig reaching to the sky.

To see such a beautiful landscape ruined was disturbing enough, but not nearly as bad as the heart-break of meeting those whose health, homes and lives have been forever changed because of fracking: Vera Scroggins, Craig Stevens, Rebecca Roter, Frank Finan, Ray Kemble and the Manning family. They welcomed us into their homes with complete hospitality, and Tammy Manning even baked us delicious muffins.

And they told us their stories. How they can no longer drink the water from their own wells because they have been poisoned by fracking pollution. These American families are suffering from suddenly not having clean water for the essentials of healthy living. They are not able to use their well water to drink, cook with, wash dishes, bathe or do laundry. They are buying water every day. Can you believe it?

They cannot move to a healthier place to raise their families because the value of their house plummeted when the water went bad — and they cannot afford to relocate. They have to open their windows when they run the water to prevent methane gas from building up and risk explosion. It is a terrible fate, and there is no way to reverse what has happened to them. And it is outrageous that the gas companies accuse these honorable, defenseless people of lying — we saw the brown smelly water ourselves in homes right next to fracking sites. The fact that the water was nasty brown around their houses really scared me.

I hope that Gov. Cuomo will take the same tour that I did before he makes any decisions about whether to allow fracking in New York. And though it is too late to stop the harm that has already come to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, I hope that Gov. Corbett of Pennsylvania will visit the same families and sites that I did, and stop the industry from running rough-shod over that beautiful state.

I urge President Obama to make that trip too and put aside any notion of depending on fracking instead of truly clean energy. As industry documents prove, these wells crack and leak, more and more over time. It cannot be prevented and once it happens, it cannot be fixed thousands of feet under the ground. Please, go see for yourselves.

It was a staggering realization that this is now happening in the USA… the country of power and wealth. Why is this national tragedy being kept quiet? Why aren’t any politicians doing anything about it? These families, on top of their terrible fate, are subjected to nasty rumours that they are not people to be believed. It is not only destroying their lives but their spirits as well. I was there. I saw it. It made me cry.


Yoko Ono
Friday 18 January, 2013
Dimock, Pennsylvania, USA.


Sign the petition to ban fracking in New York HERE


Yoko Susan & Sean

Yoko Ono with Susan Sarandon & Sean Lennon in Philadelphia visiting homes, landscapes & water ruined by fracking in Pennsylvania.

Manning Family

Yoko and Sean with the Manning family whose well water and home was poisoned by Fracking.
Accompanying us is author Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson (right).
You can read more about The Manning’s story in Tammy Manning’s own words here:

Our family has had contaminated water since December of 2011. I not only represent my family, but others in our community also. There are currently 3 homes in our area that have water buffaloes and 4 with vented wells due to high levels of methane and heavy metals.

We bought our home in November of 2010 and l had lived there a for a little over one year when the problems began. All of a sudden our water turned dark grey and then we noticed that it was actually erupting from the well head with a lot of force. You would hear it begin to hiss and then the water would spray out three to four feet in a circle around the well. We were instructed by the township to call the gas company that was drilling and fracking in our area.

A man from the company came and said he was not sure what was going on. He sent the DEP and a man from another company to our home to do testing…

The second company they had sent to our home was to test the air quality inside the home. He told us, as his methane detector was sounding off, that the levels were so high that we should not use the kitchen stove, as it could start a flash fire, and we should leave the bathroom window and door open and fan going during showers, as methane could build up and cause an explosion risk. He also told us the utility companies and fire department would have to be notified of our levels.

I asked him if we could continue living in our home. He said it was not for him to decide.

We were concerned that our well might explode and it is very close to the house. So to keep the pressure from building up, we ran the water constantly. Our granddaughter’s bedroom is above the kitchen and she began vomiting in the morning when she first woke up. She wasn’t running a fever and after vomiting she was fine. We thought she was just waking up hungry so we left crackers on her night stand.

By March our methane levels had nearly doubled. The DEP asked the gas company to vent our well and give us a water buffalo and disconnect our well entirely. Once the well was disconnected, our granddaughter was fine.

The Friday before our well was vented the DEP tested the free gas coming our of our well and said it was 82% methane coming out. I was quite concerned.

Also, besides the methane, we had carbon monoxide coming our of faucet. Our water tests also showed very high unnatural levels of some dangerous heavy metals. We bought camp showers for bathing our grandchildren as we were advised that the metals can pose serious health problems and can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled, not just ingested.

The closest well to us is 4000 feet away. Is a gas lease more important to people than clean water, fresh air, and uncontaminated food? Please open your eyes!! We are destroying the precious resources that God has provided us with to sustain life. Mother earth is suffering. How can she take care of us if we do not take care of her?


Ray Kemble

We are in Dimock, PA with Ray Kemble whose well water was, and still is, ruined by fracking.

Ray worked for the gas industry until a well was sunk 500 feet from his front porch.

Ray’s well water became contaminated soon after the hydrofracking began and now his house and land are worth nothing because the water is toxic.

The gas company denies it contaminated Ray’s water. His water was fine before the drilling began.

This is Ray’s story:

Ray Kemble's water

Look how brown his water is in this bottle.
Do you think this water looks safe enough to drink?
Would you drink it?

Excerpts from this week’s Facebook & Twitter Q&A with Yoko Ono

Suz Zeller
Good Morning Yoko / Thank you for yours and Sean’s work to help stop fracking in NY state Are policy makers open for discussion on the fracking issue? Is something being done about it ? Thank you again for all you do ☮Peace ♥Love ☼ Light
Just know that we’re doing our bestest! yoko

Sam Allison
How far have you progressed in trying to stop Fracking in New York? Love what you and Sean are doing, it is very inspiring!
We’re just doing our best.

Dan Bartell
Can we go to North Dakota, and bring Ray Kemble with us and ask the EPA to drink the water there? The flares that are created there are brighter than the evening lights in Houston, TX (and there is no city where the lights are) because of the fracking that has popped up there in the past 2 years. What can we as a world community do to stop this practice, and how will we go about it?
We, you, all of us must show what is really happening by sending our photos of the drinking water which is not drinkable now to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. (Tag the pictures #frackedwater and tell us your story in the text). We have to give the world proof that fracking is terrible. While we are not saying it, the gas companies are pulling the wool over people’s eyes and lying as much as they can. And they can, because we are not saying anything. Each day we don’t tell the truth, the gas companies lies are being believed by the people.

David Dickhout
GOOD MORNING Yoko! Thank you so much for your activist work now in the area of fracking. I live in Ontario, Canada and i lost my water well in Canada to work that was done by my neighbour. My water turned brown as well. I had a hydrologist come in and confirm a drop in pressure ruined my well. I had to have a new one drilled a quite a cost. Bob Marley said you dont miss your water untill you lose your well. I appreciate your work in helping people. Thank you so much. I was wondering if you have looked at Fracking in Canada as well? Dave.
Hi, Dave! Right now, I am trying to reach as many states as possible. They are all writing to me and telling me the terrible predicament they are facing. The world doesn’t even know what is really happening, because the gas companies are lying through their teeth, so to speak. We must speak out and tell what is really happening.

Cathie Stimac
Dear Yoko, you are a superstar. You could easliy check out and live the life of luxury and sweet obliviousness to all that is wrong or even right with our world. I think I know the answer, but after all these years, please tell us, why do you still care about humanity? What keeps you motivated? Thank you for all you do.
My heart motivates me seeing the injustice done to people by fracking. My body motivates me because I don’t want the well on my land to start spewing black bubbles you can’t possibly drink.

Amy Splitt
If you were teaching a class of 6-year-old kids, what would you ask them to do on the first day of school? If it were a class of college first-year students, would the assignment be any different, and if so, how? PS: I love you, Yoko! Your openness and challenging spirit inspire me always.
We just have to keep on telling the truth of what’s happening as a result of fracking. We have to tell people by videos, photos, and words, so it gets to the point that nobody can believe the lies that are being told to try and prevent the world from knowing what is really happening. And what is happening is criminal.

More at Yoko’s weekly Q&A.

The Guardian

Fracking debate draws Yoko, Lennon and Sarandon to rural battlegrounds

Artists Against Fracking board bus for magical mystery tour of Pennsylvania as New York and New Jersey decisions draw near

by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian

Yoko Ono might not seem the most likely bus traveller. NorthernPennsylvania, on a cold, snowy January day, might not seem a likely destination.

Yet the threat of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and its impact on the farm she and John Lennon bought in New York spurred Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, into action. On Thursday the pair, a group of activists and the actress Susan Sarandon formed an improbable troupe for a road trip through towns which have been affected by fracking.

The expedition travelled under the banner of Artists Against Fracking, the group Ono and Lennon set up last summer, when governor Andrew Cuomo was originally due to rule on whether to allow fracking in New York State. Thanks no doubt to the star power of its founders, the group quickly managed to attract backing – from regular celebrity activists such as Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo to Alec Baldwin, the two living Beatles and Robert DeNiro. They also earned the support of the Scissor Sisters.

“It was an incredible response,” Ono said, as the bus picked its way along narrow lanes. “All these artists are starting to come together. These days artists are very much into, and very sensitive to what is happening in society, not just what is happening with their work.”

It was the potential impact of fracking on rural parts of New York State that prompted Lennon and Ono to get involved in the anti-fracking cause last summer. Cuomo eventually delayed his decision, pending further investigation into the practice; he is now due to rule on whether to allow fracking as early as 27 February, following a four-and-a-half year ban.

Ono and Lennon clambered aboard the bus – in fact a relatively luxurious coach – on Thursday as part of their bid to persuade the governor against the practice. Ono and Lennon still spend time at their rural farm, which was bought in the years before John Lennon died. While the farm might have inspired Ono to take up the cause, she said the campaign now went beyond that.

“It’s not just for me, but for New York State and New York City as well. But also when we lose this game we’re losing not just for New York State but for the United States and for Britain. I’m getting letters from Britain saying, ‘Yoko, please do something, they’re starting to frack here.'”

The pair keep secret the exact location of their farm, where Ono and John Lennon famously tended a herd of cows, but they will say that it is in prime fracking territory. The pair established Artists Against Fracking in August and organised the bus tour to show the impact fracking has had in Pennsylvania.

Fracking involves drilling a hole into shale rock deep underground, then blasting in water mixed with sand and chemicals. This creates fissures in the rock, releasing natural gas that is captured in a well at the surface. Problems can arise if the cement casing around the well-hole is inadequate, allowing chemicals to leak into water supplies. Those who support fracking say that with tougher regulation and stricter controls on the drilling process the practice is safe, although opponents argue that this is too much to risk.

“Our water was bubbling in our well”

The home of Michael and Tammy Manning in Franklin Forks was one of the bus tour’s first stops – after four attempts to climb a particularly icy hill. The couple say the water in their home, which is sourced from their own well, like many homes’ water supply in this region, became contaminated after fracking was carried out nearby.

“Our water was bubbling in our well. It looked like a full running boil in our well,” said Tammy Manning, 45. Four generations of their family live in the house, a two-storey wood-paneled structure set in perhaps an acre of land. Video taken by Matthew Manning and shown as the anti-fracking entourage crammed into the Mannings’ small living room showed water spurting out of the top of their well as from a fire hydrant. Inside the house, the water ran brown.

Pennsylvania’s department of environmental protection tested the Mannings’ exploding well soon after it began erupting. It found extremely high levels of methane, and told the family to keep all windows and doors open when running the taps or taking a shower – any build-up of the gas could be dangerous. The Mannings said they have received little help beyond that, and have to buy mineral water for drinking and cooking. They shower in tainted water.

“We don’t want to have to leave,” Tammy Manning said. “We just bought the house. But if we’ve no water what can we do.” The reality is that the family has few options. “I don’t think we can sell it with no water. We’re stuck.”

Supporters of fracking argue that the process can produce cheap fuel, promote energy independence and create jobs. The roads of Susquehanna County were certainly busy on Thursday, activists on the bus shouting out “sand truck” or “water truck” time and again, as heavy goods vehicles bearing the key elements of fracking passed by.

Some spoke of the tension within small towns and villages that has been caused by differing opinions over fracking. Companies pay good money for access to mineral rights, but one or two neighbours resisting the deal can deter companies from becoming involved with a whole street or community.

Representing the 1%?

As the bus arrived in Dimock, where the department of environmental protection ruled in 2010 that fracking wells drilled by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp had leaked into 18 drinking wells, a man who identified himself as living locally shouted and gesticulated animatedly at the members of Activists Against Fracking as they disembarked. The man, who left before the Guardian could ask his name, insisted loudly that money from fracking had paid for his wife’s cancer treatment.

He was not the only fly in the ointment. Filmmaker Phelim McAleer, a vocal critic of those opposed to fracking and something of a courter of controversy, approached the bus with a cameraman, loudly accusing Ono, Lennon and Sarandon of acting in the interests of the “1%” in their opposition to the practice.

As McAleer jogged and jostled for position, heckling Ono, Lennon and Sarandon and being heckled back by activists, the Irish filmmaker – who made the news recently after accusing Matt Damon, the actor whose new film, Promised Land, deals with the subject of frackingof being a “liar” – became separated from his trilby hat, which he had to collect from the muddy slush.

McAleer shouted to the group that the drinking water in Dimock was safe, citing EPA studies that activists say are incorrect. In any case, Cabot Oil and Gas Corp agreed in December 2010 to pay a $4.6m settlement that required it to fix its leaking wells. The Pennsylvania DEP ruled that Cabot could resume fracking near Dimock in August last year.

McAleer’s arrival marked the only time Ono took advantage of a large V12 Mercedes-Benz which an aide drove behind the coach for the entire trip, and which might raise some questions over the environmental soundness of the exercise. Ono got into the back of the black car as McAleer made himself known nearby, later popping her head out of the window to check all was clear before clambering back on to the bus for the ride home.

“I’m not an activist by nature”

Artists Against Fracking have already given Cuomo plenty to consider ahead of his February ruling. In addition to the clutch of celebrity supporters, the group and other anti-fracking organisations collected 200,000 messages during a 30-day public consultation period in December and January. Ono and Lennon helped to deliver the messages to the governor in Albany on 11 January.

The campaign could have an impact in New Jersey too. The Garden State’s year-long moratorium on fracking expired on Thursday, and governor Chris Christie is due to make an announcement on the immediate future of the process before the end of the month.

“I’m not an activist by nature, I’m a musician. What I’m interested in is making music and art,” Lennon said on the bus. “I had no desire to be spending any of my time researching things like benzene, methane and uranium and well-pits and well-casings and what percentage of well-casings fail over how many years.”

Lennon said he had been moved by the stories of people who face having to leave their homes because of a lack of clean water, but like those people, he had the sense of a personal threat. His family’s farm draws fresh water, unfiltered, from its own well, just like the Mannings’ house and the homes in Dimock. To Lennon, fracking poses a risk to the farm at which he can remember spending time with his father as a young boy.

“It would actually change my life,” he said. “I think on some level I might have to consider leaving. I’m so into nature and the country, and having a place in the country where I could drink my own water was really essential to my feeling safe, it means a lot to me. So if that changes, I might leave.”

Lennon said he was unsure if he would leave New York, or leave the US entirely – he has both American and British passports and describes himself as an Anglophile. “But I don’t want to be in a place where I feel like I can’t drink clean water,” he said.


Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon Lead a Tour Through Fracking Country

‘I’m ready to tell the world this is happening, and this is what they’re doing,’ Ono says

by Patrick Doyle, Rolling Stone. Photos by Jessica Lehrman.


All Aboard!

Sean Lennon snaps a photo of a bus transporting journalists, Susan Sarandon and his mother, Yoko Ono, as we wound through Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna County. We’re here to witness real-life scenes of fracking, the controversial process in which gas-soaked rocks are blasted apart a mile underground to extract gas, which has come under fire for water contamination, pollution, health risks and economic fallout. Ono and Lennon formed Artists Against Fracking – recruiting more than 200 artists, including Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga – after they heard that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering allowing fracking in the state. (Cuomo must decide by February 27th.) “This is the only industry on the verge of being greenlighted in a global way,” Lennon told Rolling Stone. “If that happens, we will be choosing the dark side of the force. We will be ushering in another generation of fuel dependency, which will tip the earth’s climate into an irrevocable, unlivable temperature and sell out the next generation for some short-term financial benefits. 

This is the great modern struggle of our time.”


Give Me Some Truth

Journalists, artists (Susan Sarandon, Gasland director Josh Fox, Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda) and locals packed a coach bus to Montrose, Pennsylvania to tour fracking sites. “The truth is not being known,” said Yoko Ono. “We’re responsible for not bringing it out in the world, shouting about it. I’m ready to tell the world this is happening, and this is what they’re doing.”


Tour De Frack

Ono and Lennon at our first stop, the Hollenbeck gas well on Franklin Forks Road, where local Vera Scroggins says her neighbors complain of noise, trucks, water contamination and nasty smells at all hours. Our arrival was delayed when a WPX Energy representative stopped his car in front of our bus before we headed down the road. “People are saying, ‘Oh, they’re just a bunch of artists who don’t know anything,” says Ono, “But I really wanted to show what is happening and the Pennsylvania people were saying, ‘Please come and see it.’ Of course I had to go.”


Stand Up

Lennon became interested in hydraulic fracturing last July when gas companies held a meeting to propose destroying land to make room for a pipeline for fracking in Delaware County, N.Y, where his family has had a country home since he was a kid. “We had a town meeting where they are trying to make this happen,” he says. “I was terrified. They spoke to these silver-haired old lady farmers and nice old couples with organic farms where I live very rudely, saying we’re going to do this, going to do this, I actually raised my hand and said I thought you said you hadn’t gotten permission yet.”


The Manning House

We visit the Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania home of Tammy and Matt Manning, who sued natural gas drilling company WPX after their well water came back positive for high levels of methane after hydrofracking began near their house. “One day my wife flushed the toilet and she hollered, ‘Our water’s black,'” said Matt Manning. “Our well had highly explosive levels of methane. The gas company claims it’s natural migration. But there’s people living in my town for 20 years. All of a sudden their water goes bad and our water goes bad, and it’s only a matter of days after they frack the two wells on either side of us? Put two and two together.” For the past year, Matt Manning has picked up gallon jugs of water for his family to use in everyday life.



“She’s the hippest woman I know,” Lennon says of his mother. “She reads like three books a week. She gave me Gasland and taught me about mountaintop removal, which is the way they’re destroying the national parks by bombing the mountaintops to get coal out of them. She’s really got a special personality.”


On Record

The duo answer reporters’ questions inside the Manning home. “They’re trying to be powerful and lay out what they’re going through, you know?” says Ono. “It’s just so sad.” Adds Lennon, “They buy bottled water, which must be really expensive.”


Rocky Horror

Sarandon and Ono chat about the dangers of fracking with local reporters. “As a New Yorker, it’s a disaster,” says Sarandon. “If you’re a celebrity, using your celebrity as opposed to having it use you makes you kind of feel a little bit more in control of your life. . . . Being an actor, you use your imagination and you use empathy. That’s the root of acting. That’s my job, so it’s a natural fit.”



Local resident Frank Finan (far left) shows Lennon, Cibbo Matto’s Yuka Honda, Sarandon and Gasland director Josh Fox videos he took with a multi-thousand-dollar infrared camera to document the devastation caused by fracking, including toxic water and flaring waste gas. “His wife has passed away and he funded that project with his savings,” says Lennon. “He’s not wealthy, just so devastated about what happened in this community.”


Fire on the Mountain

Lennon watches some of Finan’s fracking videos taken with an infrared camera. “The EPA hasn’t even done that – now you could see these lurching fumes that [come] from these compressor stations from these fracking sites,” says Lennon. “It’s really disturbing.”


Here to Stay

“My granddaughter was getting sick from the gas,” says Matt Manning of his home’s well water. “As soon as they unhooked that well, the problem went away. But I can’t move because my house is worthless now. I can’t sell it, rent it, nothing.”


Private Property

At the home of Craig Stevens, who says he learned his 95-year-old grandmother signed a 10-year lease with the Chesapeake Energy Corp. – the second-largest producer of natural gas – on his family’s 115-acre private property. He says the company has dumped 100,000 gallons of waste there.


Walking on Thin Ice

“A scarcity of love is starting to happen in society, and we just have to stop that,” said Ono. “People are just ruining other people’s land, and that’s a criminal thing to do. I really think that at one point, we just have to make sure that people understand that this is not just happening – it’s a criminal act.”


Cool, Cool Water

Ono and Lennon ceremoniously presented gallons of clean water to resident Ray Kemble, a former gas company worker whose water became contaminated after drilling took place 500 feet from his home. “This has turned neighbors against neighbors, towns against towns,” he said.


Name That Color

Kemble displays his contaminated well water to Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mohandas Gandhi), Ono, Lennon and Sarandon. “Do you think this water looks safe enough to drink?” said Ono.


The Great Divide

Ray Kemble’s home in Dimock, Pennsylvania features several anti-fracking signs.


Tour Guide

“If you look around you, there’s so much snow and so much wilderness. This is not a place we should be delivering water on trucks,” said Lennon during a speech on the bus. “If we’re trucking in water to places blanketed by water, then we’re in trouble.”


City With No Children

A natural gas compressor station under construction on Route 29. “I didn’t realize how big the compressor stations were,” says Lennon. “I had always heard stories about them hissing all night, but I didn’t realize they were little cities of industrial ugliness. That first compressor station we came across was overwhelmingly ugly to look at.”



The group arrives at a natural gas compressor station on Route 29 in Susquehanna County. “Mom, see that thing that looks like a ski trail?” Lennon said. (See it in the last image.) “It’s a pipeline and it will never have trees again.”


Open All Night

Before the three-hour trip back to New York City, we wrapped the day at Southwestern Energy’s site in New Milford, Pennsylvania. “It was not only depressing,” said Lennon on the way back. “I felt a lot of sadness for the families because I know that could be my farm and I know the whole state of New York could be like that. It makes me want to weep. One of the reasons I like New York is because Manhattan water comes from the ground upstate. I don’t want to be in Iran where you need to desalinate ocean water to brush your teeth – and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

Yoko Ono, left, and her son Sean Lennon chat aboard a bus on the way to visit fracking sites in Pennsylvania, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. They are on a tour of natural-gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania and plan to visit with residents who say they've been harmed by the controversial extraction process known as fracking. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Yoko Ono, left, and her son Sean Lennon chat aboard a bus on the way to visit fracking sites in Pennsylvania, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. They are on a tour of natural-gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania and plan to visit with residents who say they’ve been harmed by the controversial extraction process known as fracking. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon tour PA gas drilling sites

by Associated Press

Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon spoke out against fracking Thursday during a tour of natural-gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania, warning about what they view as the danger to air, water and human health.

The celebrities boarded a tour bus in New York City and headed to rural Susquehanna County to see gas wells, compressor stations and other evidence of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, and to visit with residents who say they have been negatively impacted by drilling.

Tom Shepstone of Energy In Depth, an industry group, trailed the sleek silver Mercedes tour bus which had trouble negotiating an icy hill at one point and had to creep back down and declared the celebrity visit to be a publicity stunt.

“They don’t pay mortgages here, they don’t have to get jobs here, they don’t have to pay taxes here, they don’t have to support their families here. They just come up here to pick on this area and use it as part of their trendy cause,” he said.

Ono and her son formed a group called “Artists Against Fracking” to oppose drilling in New York state, where they own a farm and where drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been on hold for several years while officials there develop regulations for the industry. Local anti-drilling activists led Thursday’s tour in Pennsylvania, where thousands of wells have been drilled and fracked in recent years.

At one well pad, Lennon guided his 79-year-old mother over mud and ice so they could get a better look.

“We hope that what’s happened here will be a lesson for New Yorkers,” he said. “I hope that New Yorkers will learn from this and tell Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo that it’s not something we have to do.”

Ono accused the gas industry of disregarding residents’ welfare. “They care about making money,” she said.

Drillers use the fracking technique to stimulate oil and gas production. It involves the high-pressure injection of millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemical additives, deep underground to break apart shale rock and free the gas trapped inside it. The industry and many federal and state officials say fracking is safe when done properly, but environmental groups and some scientists contend the risk of contamination is too great.

The stars met with Matthew and Tammy Manning, who blame the high level of methane in their well water on a natural gas driller, WPX Energy. The driller is paying to deliver replacement water while state environmental officials investigate the cause.

“They say it’s safe, but it’s not,” Matthew Manning told Ono, Lennon and Sarandon. “When there are problems, nobody wants to admit it.”

After listening to the couple’s story, Sarandon said, “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.”

Industry officials say the methane in the Mannings’ water is naturally occurring shallow gas not production gas from the Marcellus formation and contend their well was flooded and suffered mechanical failure.

WNEPTV: Celebrity Fracking Bus Tour Causes Commotion

Ono, Gandhi, Lennon, Sarandon speak about Fracking in Susquehanna

THE SKY IS PINK by Josh Fox and the GASLAND Team from JFOX on Vimeo.

‘The Sky Is Pink’ by Josh Fox and the Gasland team.

PINK LINKS: Selected Compiled Research

The Sky Is Pink- Annotated industry documents featured in the film:

Affirming GASLAND- Our responses to industry charges against GASLAND

Flaming Faucets,2933,509857,00.html

Well Failures/Gas Leaks

Well Construction/Integrity

Climate Change

Breast Cancer

Pittsburgh Fracking Ban

Water Contamination


‘Drilling Down’

PR/Hill and Knowlton

State Government Documents

‘Reality Tour’ Marcellus Shale

Merchants of Doubt

Colbert Report

Gas Industry Conference