EDMOND, Okla. — Constitution Hall on the University of Oklahoma campus was packed Tuesday afternoon, but it may have been the speaker rather than concern over earthquakes and water that drew the crowd.
Many attending unabashedly admitted they were there to listen to keynote speaker Erin Brockovich, advocate and environmental activist, rather than participation in the public forum “Earthquakes, Injection Wells and our Water.”
The event, hosted by State Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-92, started as a forum but at times turned into a rally and call to arms as Brockovich encouraged the audience educate themselves and speak out before it is too late.
Brockovich told the audience she spent her childhood and summers in Ponca City growing up under the watchful gaze of the Pioneer Woman statue and legend that gave her a spirit of a pioneering woman.
She said she returned to Oklahoma because of the people who have approached her via her website, bringing their concerns to her attention.
The forum on earthquakes became more about what the quakes and the people she said who are causing them are doing to a way of life for the residents of Edmond and throughout Oklahoma.
“You are fearful and concerned, and you don’t know what the earthquakes mean,” Brockovich said. “I am here to provide information, awareness and tools for you to take control of your health and welfare and property and what you should do.”
We are dealing with a human issue, Brockovich told the audience as she shared the story of her father who worked for big industry.
“He would say, ‘I dare anyone to say we should not have safe drinking water anywhere in the United States,’” Brockovich said.
She said for too long things happening in Oklahoma and in Edmond have been driven by people in power with influence and money but with little concern for what they are doing to the environment.
“The only things that should matter are public health and safety and clean water. Politics should not come into play,” Brockovich said.
She said she has been traveling across the country for 22 years giving encouragement and advice to those who asked for it.
“People are fed up, and people need to start using their voice. The moment has come. We as a people need to turn the dial. We are entitled to clean water,” she said.
She added it is time for the people responsible for what is happening to step up to the plate stop the earthquakes.
“Big companies are no longer solution driven. They make decisions on the dollar amount they will be making. Health and safety and the welfare of the people and safe water to drink has to be the name of the game,” she said.
“This is not my story; it is your story,” Brockovich said. “Oklahoma is known as the Earthquake Capitol with 5,800 earthquakes recorded in 2015."
Brockovich said her passion begins with each person stepping up. She added she is working on a People’s Reporting Registry.
“Many government agencies don’t have a national reporting place and information falls into an abyss,” Brockovich said. “There is no place to report if the water is brown or black or gray.
“This problem is not a Republican or Democrat problem; it is not a problem for the rich or poor, but it is a human problem.
“My life’s calling is to let you know we have fallen into apathy. This is a pivotal moment. We will begin to save ourselves; we will be our own hero. We will take back our own land as we provide health, welfare and clean water.”
Brockovich was joined by guest panelists including Scott Poynter, Casey Camp-Horinek, Todd Halihan, Robert Jackman and Johnson Bridgwater.