Sharon Wilson is a Texan, known online as TXSharon, who has been on a multi-year mission to protect her community from the horrors of natural gas fracking drilling. A homeowner living on the Barnett Shale, she has been waging a fight for the health of her family and environment at ground zero of the natural gas industry’s expansion into America.
Now she’s continuing that fight by risking arrest by participating in civil disobedience at the tar sands action this August. (To join her, click here to sign up)
“It’s already hotter than the hinges of hell here in Texas, and the tar sands are so dirty, I’m worried it will just push us over the edge. I don’t remember it ever being over 100 degrees in June. That’s scary to me.”
“At some point, it has to stop. People are starting to call me from East Texas scared because they’re getting threats that their land is going to be seized under eminent domain. At some point we have to say this has gone far enough, we’re not going to follow you off this cliff. If we don’t push back now with some dramatic action, being very loud then we’re not going to stop. We’re going to go off that cliff.”
Sharon sees the struggle against natural gas industry and the tar sands as deeply connected.
“At any action we take that says ‘no’ to another dirty fossil fuel, it will help us here in the Barnett Shale. It’s like when other areas outlaw franking, that can only help us – immediately it may make things worse, but in the long run it will help us because maybe Texans will say if they can do it, we can do it. Maybe it will give Texans the courage to stand up and speak out. We can see that we can have better, that we don’t need to be sacrificed for shale down here.”
Sharon decided to get involved after reading and interview with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson where she said that President Obama wasn’t taking action on climate change because environmentalists are “not marching on Washington the way they did on Earth Day in the 70s,”
“I really hope that Lisa Jackson is going to make good on what she alluded to. If we do our part, then I expect that Obama and the EPA to do their part. This is coming at great cost to me. I am a single mother, it’s not going to be cheap to fly to DC and get a hotel – but I feel like I need to do my part. I want them to do theirs.”
Being an outspoken critic of the gas industry in North Texas isn’t always easy. But when it comes to defending what’s right, Sharon refuses to back down. She’s received enough mean spirited comments on her excellent blog to dedicate a whole page of her site simply to displaying and defying empty threats and insults.
But despite the vitriol from the industry, Sharon points out that a huge part of her community is incredibly grateful for those who are willing and able to speak out for a clean future.
“I’m pissed off. I’m not brave or anything. If it came to some of those heroic scenes in the movies, swooping in to save everyone, I’m not your chick, but I am so pissed off at what the industry is doing with their mafia style tactics, it drives me to not back down. It is hard to find people who are not intimidated.”
“I live in the middle of the Barnett Shale and so there are a lot of people who are horribly impacted by this so called clean energy that’s supposed to be our bridge fuel. Those people whose children are getting unexplained nosebleeds and asthma attacks in their sleep – they are pretty happy that I’m doing this. They’re very grateful.”