August 25th, 2011
By Rich Bindell
The New Jersey Legislature can override Governor Christie's conditional veto of the fracking ban. Click on the photo to take action!
Just moments ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie surprised many when he conditionally vetoed a fracking ban that was approved by the State Legislature earlier this summer and instead called for a one-year moratorium on fracking in the Garden State, potentially ruining New Jersey’s chance to become the first state to ban fracking. This completed a roller coaster of a day for water advocates closely following the situation in New Jersey.
As of this morning, it looked like Governor Christie was going to propose a five-year moratorium on fracking instead of signing the ban. This decision was met with mixed emotions. Although it would have fallen short of an outright ban, this would have been considered a victory that spared New Jersey from the dangers of fracking in the near future and bought another five years to prove even more conclusively that this was the right decision, possibly pushing the state to commit to a ban. Read the full article…
August 17th, 2011
By Wenonah Hauter
Sometimes reality is stranger than science fiction. That’s the case with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—a dangerous technology that’s much like setting off a giant pipe bomb four or five miles underground. Millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand are injected deep into shale rock formations at high pressures to break open the rock and release the gas.
The promoters say its safe. Or that’s what the oil and gas industry would have you think, anyway. But behind the scenes, the industry is fighting tooth and nail to keep fracking unregulated, and its claims of safety, economic prosperity and energy security often go unquestioned. Their high-dollar campaign to put a happy face on this risky practice is designed to challenge the growing movement to ban fracking that’s heating up across the country: people are saying no to this risky technology that, if pursued, will negatively impact our health, water, and economy.
Here are some of the ways the oil and gas industry is attempting to “buy” public sentiment and a positive policy environment for its newest darling—shale gas fracking: Read the full article…
July 13th, 2011
By Rich Bindell
I desperately want to be funny enough that Stephen Colbert invites Food & Water Watch on his show to talk about fracking. Wow, that’s a lot of pressure. He recently devoted another segment of his show to talking about fracking. Last time, he had former Pennsylvania Governor and current pro-fracker Tom Ridge on the program to talk about delicious natural gas. On Monday, he highlighted the latest craze in children’s entertainment since Colorforms: Talisman Terry the Frackosaurus, “the funniest energy extraction-based character since Mountaintop Mining Manny.”
Colbert compared fracking to Alka-Seltzer, saying, “It’s like giving the earth an Alka-Seltzer if the Alka-Seltzer shattered your internal organs so oil companies could harvest your juices.” Do you see how tough it would be for a hard-hitting consumer rights organization to be that funny? We’re supposed to be serious!
Be sure and check out the segment for yourself and keep your eyes peeled right here as we continue to update you on what’s happening with Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York and his plan to lift the moratorium on fracking.
It seems that Talisman Terry is going the way of the dinosaurs. Following widespread criticism, including Colbert’s lampooning, Fox News reports today the natural gas company is pulling its coloring book featuring the Paleozoic industry shill.
If only natural gas fracking would meet a similar fate.
By Rich Bindell
Timing is everything. All eyes associated with shale gas drilling have been glued to New York State as residents, politicians, the gas industry and water advocates grapple with the future of energy and how it will play out in this portion of the Marcellus Shale. Specifically, we are watching Governor Andrew Cuomo as he prepares to lift the moratorium on fracking in 85 percent of the shale in the state. Funny then that we now discover that his girlfriend has unclear ties to the oil and gas industry. Timing.
The Wall Street Journal recently noted (subscribers only) that Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend, Sandra Lee, was a guest speaker at a “conference of petroleum executives” last March, though no specific companies or groups were identified. While she is not obligated to disclose this information, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the Governor to have industry ties while making a decision that will affect the nation in such a profound way. It also doesn’t reflect well on Lee that Star Talent, Inc., who initially blogged about the speaking engagement, apparently, recently changed the description of the audience from “petroleum” to “corporate” executives. Read the full article…
July 11th, 2011
Governor Andrew Cuomo needs to make a decision. Will he listen to the voices of industry that want to take advantage of New York’s natural resources? Or will he listen to the voices of New York residents, including the farmers, scientists, environmentalists, economists and representatives of the business sector who are against fracking for natural gas? Like any politician, Cuomo needs a reason to take action. Tell him that YOU are one of the reasons. Watch our video and share our national campaign with the New Yorkers in your life. Read the full article…
July 1st, 2011
Zut alors! France is making us look bad again, and this time it’s going to take a lot more than Freedom Fries to get them back. Today French senators banned hydraulic fracturing, allowing France to become the first nation in the world to outlaw the use of hydraulic fracturing for extracting natural gas and oil.
Quelle dommage… are we really going to let France beat us? This is the United States of America, where freedom isn’t free. What can we do to catch up? Read the full article…
June 29th, 2011
By Rich Bindell and Anna Waterfield
Wow! So much has been happening on the fracking front in the last few days that we’ll have to perform some blog surgery and connect a few ideas together in one entry as kind of an update. Things are moving pretty quickly around here, so stay with us!
We Need You To “Like” Andrew Cuomo
As the fracking debate continues to heat up in New York State, Food & Water Watch and Frack Action are taking our movement to ban the process directly to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and we need your help. We’re asking people to post messages to his Facebook wall, telling him to be a leader in New York and beyond by banning fracking. Our hope is that, if enough people post to his page, we will give him enough reasons to step in and ban fracking.
There has been a fierce shift in momentum regarding public sentiment on fracking as of late because people are quickly becoming more informed on this issue. As our recent report the Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking points out, over the past 18 months, 10 studies have documented the severe public health and environmental risks associated with the process.
As far as New York State is concerned, we are currently at a crossroads where we can either allow the natural gas industry to bully legislators into accepting a system of meaningless regulations or we can loudly voice our opposition to fracking and demand a ban.
Of course, if Cuomo wants to be a leader, he better act quickly. We already have 60 resolutions banning fracking in various parts of the country and we are very close to passing one in New Jersey as this blog is being written. Let’s hope that Cuomo gets New York on this list! Read the full article…
June 21st, 2011
By Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
I almost gagged on my coffee when I finally got around to reading the corporate sponsored pro-fracking propaganda by MIT on natural gas, entitled, “The Future of Natural Gas.” Isn’t this academic institution embarrassed to sell its reputation to corporations?
I guess not, because right on its website, MIT advertises its enormous corporate funding for research and its proud affiliation with the oil and gas industry. Read its philosophy for yourself: Read the full article…
June 16th, 2011
By Stephanie English
Stephanie English lives in Duke’s Center, PA, right in the heart of the Marcellus Shale. As part of this week’s blog series on fracking to support our new report, “The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking,” Stephanie tells us the story of how her and her partner tried to find a plot of land to farm.
Stephanie English, her partner Andy and their son Sylvan want to lay down roots and start a farm in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. But you can't build a farm close to fracking wells, and they are surrounded by them.
Two years ago, my partner Andy and I had the opportunity to move back to our native Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania and New York. Andy had found an organic farm job only 18 miles from where we grew up, and I had the opportunity to help a friend create a local goods store. Our son Sylvan would be much closer to his grandparents and great-grandparents. We could finally bring our farming experiences back to benefit our home region, and begin looking for farmland of our own. It seemed like a dream come true. Read the full article…
June 14th, 2011
Natural gas advocate Tom Ridge and comedian Stephen Colbert prepare to watch the simultaneous rinsing and grilling of vegetables.
By Rich Bindell
Last week, former Pennsylvania Governor and former Secretary of Homeland Security and current natural gas advocate Tom Ridge stopped by The Colbert Report to talk with host Stephen Colbert about fracking. While it was fun to watch Colbert subtly lay into Ridge about the various dangerous chemicals used in fracking, it was almost scary to see Ridge stick to his pro-industry messaging throughout the interview.
Ridge focused his argument on the past, reminding us for the umpteenth time that natural gas drilling has been going on since the forties and that there has been no connection between fracking and water contamination — both Ridge and T. Boone Pickens seem to refer to the more than one million wells that have been fracked without problems.
But, it’s important to distinguish between natural gas drilling and the new technologies used for fracking shale. The new generation of fracking is much more powerful and dangerous for public health and the environment. Ridge and Pickens can talk about the 40’s all they want — it’s a different type of extraction process, and accidents are happening, such as the recent Chesapeake Energy spill in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Read the full article…