Written by: LaMarcus Wilkerson
Students Against Violating the Environment (S.A.V.E.) is waiting for VSU President William McKinney to approve a committee that would support the Fossil Free campaign.
According to Danielle Jordan, the president of S.A.V.E., McKinney’s endorsement of the committee would move S.A.V.E. a step closer to their goal: to have VSU fully support the divestment efforts of the Fossil Free campaign.
The S.A.V.E. campaign has been ongoing since October and has support from the Student Government Association, the VSU Environmental Issues Committee, the faculty senate, the Sociology Club and the College Democrats.
Jordan said she’s not sure S.A.V.E will gain McKinney’s support; S.A.V.E. is also trying to get backing from the board of trustees, she said.
An important focus of the Fossil Free campaign is the Sabal Trail pipeline.
Sabal Trail is the pipeline that, if approved, will run from Alabama through Lowndes County and stretch to central Florida.
“We’re increasing our dependence on an outdated source of energy,” Jordan said.
The natural gas which travels through the pipeline is obtained through a process called fracking.
There are currently 500,000 active fracturing wells operating in the U.S., according to dangersoffracking.com.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals into a pipeline that reaches 10,000 feet below Earth’s surface.
The process extracts natural gas from the ground, and on average, 300,000 barrels are produced daily from fracking gigs across the country, which makes fossil-fuel extraction increasingly profitable.
The Fossil Free campaign, which has been joined by more than 400 educational and religious institutions, encourages local investors to sever ties with fossil-fuel extraction companies due to potential risks that can result from fracking.
According to dangersoffracking.com, the water used for fracking gigs contains numerous carcinogens and toxins like mercury, radium and lead, which are mixed with water and sand along with other dangerous substances.
Between 0.5 and 2.0 percent of the fracking mixture is made up of chemicals, according to Earthworks, a nonprofit organization committed to environmental health.
Proponents of fracking say the process has many advantages.
According to energyfromshale.org, the process produces natural energy that is used to cool homes, generate electricity and fuel vehicles. Fracking has created numerous jobs in local economies across the U.S., the website said.