As part of an effort to prevent fracking in central North Carolina, a demonstration blocked a driveway at Momentive Specialty Chemicals in Morganton yesterday. Protesters from Croatan Earth First! temporarily prevented trucks from entering or exiting the facility. The group erected three slender tripod towers with an activist atop each (see photos here), while others lay down in the road and climbed on top of trucks. According to Croatan Earth First!, 10 people are currently in police custody.
The protesters targeted Momentive because it makes resin-treated proppants, a solid material that's used to keep a hydraulic fracture open. The protesters hoped to disrupt operations, according to an Earth First! Newswire posting:
“Even if you don’t have a rig in your area to shut down, you can affect the industry. Momentive and other companies that create proppants for the gas industry have facilities nationwide as well as internationally. It’s time to disrupt the chain of supply."
Morganton Public Safety Chief Mark Tolbert told the Associated Press that the factory continued to operate:
"The blockade began after the plant's employees had arrived for work, and production was able to continue during the protest. However, a tanker truck was stopped from leaving to deliver a shipment, Tolbert said."
North Carolina lawmakers are considering allowing fracking starting in 2015, when the current memorandum blocking its use expires.Fracking poses several serious environmental risks, including groundwater pollution and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.