Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon tour Pa. gas drilling sites
Yoko Ono, left, and her son Sean Lennon chat aboard a bus on the way to visit fracking sites in Pennsylvania Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. They are touring natural-gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania and visiting with residents who say they've been harmed by the controversial extraction process known as fracking. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
MONTROSE, Pa. (AP) — Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon spoke out against fracking Thursday during a tour of natural-gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania, warning about what they view as the danger to air, water and human health.
The celebrities boarded a tour bus in New York City and headed to rural Susquehanna County to see gas wells, compressor stations and other evidence of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, and to visit with residents who say they have been negatively impacted by drilling.
Tom Shepstone of Energy In Depth, an industry group, trailed the sleek silver Mercedes tour bus — which had trouble negotiating an icy hill at one point and had to creep back down — and declared the celebrity visit to be a publicity stunt.
Yoko Ono, left, and her son Sean Lennon visit a fracking site in Franklin Forks, Pa, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. They are on a bus tour of natural-gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania and plan to visit with residents who say they've been harmed by the controversial extraction process known as fracking.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
"They don't pay mortgages here, they don't have to get jobs here, they don't have to pay taxes here, they don't have to support their families here. They just come up here to pick on this area and use it as part of their trendy cause," he said.
Ono and her son formed a group called "Artists Against Fracking" to oppose drilling in New York state, where they own a farm and where drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been on hold for several years while officials there develop regulations for the industry. Local anti-drilling activists led Thursday's tour in Pennsylvania, where thousands of wells have been drilled and fracked in recent years.
At one well pad, Lennon guided his 79-year-old mother over mud and ice so they could get a better look.