February 4, 2015

In Fracking Hot Spots, Police And Gas Industry Share Intelligence On Activists

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February 4, 2015 | StateImpact Pennsylvania | Marie Cusick

StateImpact Pennsylvania reports that law enforcement in that state are swapping information about anti-fracking activists with energy companies as part of the Marcellus Shale Operators’ Crime Committee. Pittsburgh City Paper also covered this story last fall, reporting on how state troopers visit the homes of activists and question them about their activities. An anti-fracking activist in Colorado also reported feeling targeted for his political stance.

“Energy companies have a history of suppressing dissent in this country,” says Witold Walczack, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “Whether it’s coal, oil, or now natural gas.”

This isn’t new, at least not in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh City Paper reports that four years ago, the head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security stepped down after revelations that his department had hired a private security company to watch anti-fracking activists.