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Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Susan Sarandon tour fracking sites (Photos)

01/18/2013 by Corinne Heller

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, the widow and son of late Beatles singer John Lennon, and actress Susan Sarandon recently toured Pennsylvania natural gas drilling sites to speak out against fracking.

The three longtime peace and environmental activists visited natural gas wells, compressor stations and residents affected by the practice in Pennsylvania on Thursday, January 17, according to the Associated Press. Ono and Sean are the founders of the "Artists Against Fracking" initiative," which includes at least 180 celebrity supporters.

On Thursday's tour, Sean, 37, guided his 79-year-old mother through the icy, muddy terrain, according to the Associated Press, which quoted Ono, who sporting her trademark sunglasses, as saying that the gas industry disregards the welfare of residents and only cares "about making money."

(Check out photos of Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon on their anti-fracking tour in Pennsylvania.)

She and her son own a farm in New York state. The state is expected to lift a suspension on fracking and implement new environmental regulations issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The group launched an inquiry into the practice and in 2011, released a report with guidelines on how to continue it but at the same time, reduce and avoid contamination of air and water.

The report also stated that the suspension could be lifted in five counties along the Pennsylvania border, according to New York TV station NY1.

"While saying that you're going to protect the New York City aquifers, you are admitting, one, that it's not safe, and you are also admitting that somehow, it's OK to drill near other people, rural communities, and poison their water," the outlet quoted Sean as saying during Thursday's tour.

Fracking involves drilling land and injecting a mix of water, sand and chemicals in a bid to free trapped gas. Opponants say it not only contaminates the environment, but also may be the cause of earthquakes -- a theory that remains under dispute.

Supporters say fracking stimulates oil and gas production and could help the economy. In last year's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called to "promote safe, responsible development of the near 100-year supply of natural gas, supporting more than 600,000 jobs while ensuring public health and safety."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation have until February 27 to finalize new fracking regulations, NY1 reported, quoting Sarandon as saying: "He has a lot of pressure on him because of the economy. There's just a lot of corporate influence in politics. That's just the way it works these days."

In 2010, Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner / The Hunk in the 2012 blockbuster "The Avengers," was reportedly placed on a terror advisory list for speaking out against fracking. The actor had organized screenings of a documentary about the practice -- "Gasland." He is one of the celebrities who support the "Artists Against Fracking" initiative.

Sean told the cable channel HLN in October 2012 that he was inspired to help launch Artists Against Fracking after Ono showed him the "Gasland" documentary.

"And then what happened is the property that I grew up on -- that my mom and dad had before I was born -- which is upstate New York, there's a pipeline there that's being proposed to go from Pennsylvania all the way to Susquehanna," he said. "That just made me feel compelled to act, because it's my home -- it's my drinking water."

"[Fracking] is a very dangerous thing, so at least people have to know that," Ono added. "And John [Lennon] and I always believed in telling the truth, so I just had to tell the truth. Also, in the beginning, it was just me standing alone, and what am I going to do about it? But now, Sean independently felt that this was very important, and he's joined me, and it's just great."

Several celebrity supporters who support the Artists Against Fracking initiative have close ties to Sean, Ono and Sarandon. The list includes Julian Lennon -- John's son from a previous marriage, Kyoko Chan Cox -- Ono's daughter from another relationship, former Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and Sarandon's ex-husband and actor Tim Robbins.

Check out the full list of celebrities who support the "Artists Against Fracking" initiative:

Abena Koomson
Adam Greene
Alec Baldwin
Amanda Palmer
Amy Ryan
Amy Sohn
Animal Liberation Orchestra
Anne Hathaway
Anthony Edwards
Beast Patrol
Beastie Boys
Beck
Ben Perowsky
Ben Tyree
Bethany Yarrow
Bill Frisell
Bill Migliore
Black Keys
Black Twig Pickers
Bon Iver
Bonnie Raitt
Brad Mehldau
Brazilian Girls
Carrie Fisher
Charlotte Kemp Muhl
Chris Maxwell
Cibo Matto
Cindy Sherman
Conor Oburst
Corn Mo
Dan Fogler
Darren Aronofsky
Daryl Hanna
David Byrne
David Crosby
David Fiuczynski
David Geffen
David Lang
David Sitek
Deborah Eisenberg
Deepak Chopra
Deerhoof
Devendra Banhart
Donald Fagen
Dub Trio
Dustin Yellin
Elephant Revival
Eric "Roscoe" Ambel
Flea
Flobots
FonLin Nyeu
Fred Armisen
G Tom Mac
Gene Ween
George Saunders
Glen Hansard
Gotham Chopra
Graham Nash
Greg Bissonette
Greg Rolie
Greta Seacat
Gwyneth Paltrow
Harper Simon
Hugh Jackman
Indigo Girls
Ingrid Sischy
Irina Lazareanu
Jackson Browne
Jake Hoffman
Jamie Saft
Janet Feder
Jay Dee Daugherty
Jeff Koons
Jenny Scheinman
Jesse Harris
Jimmy Fallon
Joe Walsh
Joel Hamilton
Joel Rafael
John Cameron
Mitchell
John Zorn
Johnny Irion
Jonathan Marc Sherman
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Josh Fox
Judy Kuhn
Julian Lage
Julian Lennon
Julianne Moore
Justin Bond

Karen Elson
Katelan Foisy
Kathleen Hanna
Keith Secola
Kim Gordon
Kronos Quartet
Kyoko Ono Cox
Lady Gaga
Lee Ranaldo
Lenny Kaye
Liv Tyler
Lowell Boyers
Malcolm Ford
Marina Abramovic
Mario Batali
Mark Rivera
Mark Ronson
Mark Ruffalo
Martha Colburn
Martha Stewart
Martha Wainwright
Medeski, Martin and Wood
Meredith Monk
MGMT
Michael Pollan
Mike Watt
Monica Heidimann
My Morning Jacket
Nadia Dajani
Nancy Shevell and Paul McCartney
Natalie Merchant
Nels Cline
Nico Muhly
Nicole Bonelli
Noah Emmerich
Patti Smith Group
Peter Coyote
Polyphonic Spree
Questlove
Ralph Gibson
Richard Gere
Richard Page
Ringo Starr
Roberta Flack
Roberto De Niro
Ron Delsner
Rosario Dawson
Rubblebucket
Rufus Cappadocia
Rufus Wainwright
Ryan Sawyer
Salman Rushdie
Sandra Brant
Sara Lee Guthrie
Scissor Sisters
Scott Amendola
Scott Harding
Sea Wolf
Sean Ono Lennon
Sim Redmond Band
St. Vincent
Stephanie and Warren Haynes
Steve Cardenas
Steve Lukather
Steve Shelley
Steven Tyler
Stuwart Hurwood
Susan Sarandon
Sxip Shirey
Talia Lugacy
The B-52's
The Flaming Lips
The Present
The Strokes
Thomas Bartlett
Three As Four
Thurston Moore
Tim Robbins
Todd Reynolds
Todd Rundgren
Tom Noonan
Tommy Hawk Wilson III
Tony Shanahan
Trevor Wilson
Tune-Yards
Uma Thurman
Vernon Reid
Vincent Gallo
Wallace Shawn
White Out
Wilco
Will Bernard
Yo La Tengo
Yoko Ono
Zooey Deschanel

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