May 31st, 2012
By Kate Fried
If you go to the movies this summer, you may get an eyefull from the oil and gas industry.
Summers can be oppressively hot in Washington, D.C., and for relief from the heat and humidity, I enjoy nothing more than retreating to a dark, cool movie theater to take in some of the season’s best cinema and forget my troubles, at least for a few hours.
In doing so, I do not expect, nor do I particularly relish, the prospect of being subjected to blatant, misguided, corporate propaganda. Unfortunately, it seems that the oil and gas industry has other plans for me and my fellow theatergoers this summer. According to Fuel Fix, the American Clean Skies Foundation is shelling out big bucks to create and place an ad campaign touting natural gas as a replacement for conventional fuel. You may recall that American Clean Skies is funded by none other than Chesapeake Energy, which is battling a credibility problem these days due to its CEO and former board chair’s history of sketchy financial holdings.
Of course, this information alone isn’t enough to make you spill your popcorn. After all, the oil and gas industry has been buying up the airwaves for ages, trying to sell us on all sorts of distortions, chief among them, the fact that shale gas development will deliver us from our economic woes. We’ve already refuted that crazy claim here. Read the full article…
May 30th, 2012
By Mark Schlosberg
We have a wonderful opportunity to grow the movement to ban fracking and here’s why we need your help today: for every dollar donated before June 10, a generous donor will match your donation so we can continue our work to fight fracking.
Food & Water Watch was the first national organization to fight for a ban on fracking, and we’ve worked with communities in Colorado, Ohio, New York, Alabama, California and beyond to stop this dangerous practice that threatens human health, our communities, and our environment. Vermont recently became the first state to introduce, pass and enact into law a bill to ban fracking. It’s also exciting to note that over 200 communities now have passed measures against fracking.
But there is much more to do. Read the full article…
May 25th, 2012
By Seth Gladstone
The groundswell of opposition to the dirty and dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York has come from all corners of the state and from all types of people. Parents have raised alarm over the prospect of fracking just feet from their children’s schools and playgrounds. Business owners have voiced concern over a loss of revenue from tourists and local patrons who could be frightened off by the drilling. Farmers wonder what will become of their pristine fields and pastures, and New Yorkers of all stripes are fearful of the potential for chemical spills, contaminated drinking water and even earthquakes - all sad symptoms of fracking in neighboring states.
But mixed in with all these concerned voices are a few that really hit home – those of children. Among the thousands of letters that Governor Cuomo has received asking him to ban fracking in New York, those from the young campers at the Eden Village Camp in Putnam Valley stand out.
“Dear Governor Cuomo,” begins one letter, handwritten, and not without the occasional spelling mistake. “I have just a moment ago learned about fracking. I just want to ask you, do you like digging holes in the ground? Are you okay with filling the ground, lakes and rivers with chemicals?” The letter concludes asking Cuomo to “bring awareness to this, and make the state, country and world a little happier and healthier.” Sometimes kids just say it the best. Read the full article…
May 24th, 2012
By Alison Grass
Alabama isn’t called Alabama the Beautiful without reason. Anyone who has visited the state can attest to that. Then again, I may be partial to its splendor, seeing as how I am from Alabama and grew up across the street from endless fields of farmland, spending my childhood days climbing tall trees in the woods behind our house. Alabama has a rich and diverse geography. Open spaces are laden in valleys and rivers that roll through sloping hills. The Appalachian Valley characterizes several portions of the state, whereas the southern region consists of coastal plains, the Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico’s sunny beachside.
When I recently found out that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service plan to auction 43,000 acres of public land in the Talladega and Conecuh Nation Forests for potential oil and gas drilling, I grew concerned and wanted to know more. Read the full article…
May 11th, 2012
By Kate Fried
Image courtesy of 2012 Erie Rising (www.erierising.com)
While many of us shower our moms with flowers, cards and special outings on Mothers Day, a group of women in Erie, Colorado has a much more urgent request: that the oil and gas giant Encana call off its plans to frack next to their kids’ schools. Encana intends to frack just a stone’s throw from several local schools as early as May 26.
Fearful of potential health problems associated with fracking, the moms of Erie Rising recently wrote a letter to Encana pleading with the company to help safeguard their childrens’ safety by not fracking within 600 yards of their schools. The fact that anyone would have the audacity to forge ahead with such a plan is almost unthinkable, but given the oil and gas industry’s recent attempts to frack near vital drinking water sources, daycare centers and hospitals, this reality is sadly unsurprising.
Food & Water Watch is working with the courageous moms of Erie to hault Encana’s dastardly plan in its tracks. As we stand with the moms of Erie Rising, we hope you will read their letter to Encana, featured below. Help stop the well in Erie by speaking out today. After that, be sure to visit our Fracking Action Center for information on more ways to get involved. Read the full article…
May 9th, 2012
By Kate Fried
An intriguing revelation has emerged recently that further illustrates the vast web of hype surrounding the oil and gas industry’s fracking agenda. While the industry has sworn up and down that fracking doesn’t endanger drinking water resources, and while we of course know better, important new research published by an independent hydrogeologist adds credence to the mounting body of evidence that pokes holes in the industry’s already flimsy claims.
The research uses mathematical modeling to contradict the oil and gas industry talking point that fracking can’t endanger water supplies because there are impermeable layers of rock between any water supply and the rock being fracked. The modeling shows that contaminants could reach aquifers within a decade after fracking by traveling through a network of different pathways, pushed along by ordinary pressure forces. The different pathways include wells with failed well casings, new fractures created during fracking and existing natural fractures and faults. Read the full article…
April 26th, 2012
By Darcey Rakestraw
After I wrote a blog last week about banned pesticides and nuclear fallout in tea—looking at how the Fukushima disaster and use of banned pesticides in the growing of tea might affect consumers—I immediately wanted to work on a blog showing the other side of the coin: how environmental disasters harm the very farmers that seek to bring us our food sustainably.
That’s why we work on energy issues like fracking. The oil and gas industry injects millions of gallons of a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure to fracture rocks deep below ground and release oil or natural gas, posing a risk to not only surface waterways (from spills or inadequate treatment of waste) but also groundwater resources. Read the full article…
April 23rd, 2012
By Lane Brooks
Food & Water Watch is rolling out its presence on Pinterest, and if you haven’t yet pinned something from us, then surf right over to our Pinterest boards and check out what we have in store for you.
If you are into Pinterest, you’ve probably already stopped reading and clicked the link. If you are still with me, you may wonder: What is Pinterest? It’s one of the fastest growing new sites on the web. It’s comprised of pictures you post about things that interest you, and lets you see what other people who share your interests are also looking at. Is it a place to connect with your friends and family? Not really—you already know what they are up to from other social media sites. This is a place to easily, quickly and simply discover new things that interest you—through the power of images.
Do you like to cook? Check out recipes from other cooks. Do you like to travel? Check out new spots or someone else’s take on one of your old favorites. Are your interests more specific like collecting thimbles or stitching needlepoint or watching birds? You will be surprised at how many people are doing the same things you are. As a friend of Food & Water Watch, we know that some of your interests can be found on Pinterest:
Ending fracking? Check.
Stopping GMO foods? Check.
Checking in on other activists are doing? Check.
Taking back the tap? Check.
You might be surprised by how many other people are pinning images related to these causes. Conveniently, you can find all of these passions on one Pinterest page. And, naturally, we have a section devoted to good food, too, because what’s a Pinterest page with out that? We hope you will check us out and follow us.
April 19th, 2012
By Rich Bindell
Pennsylvania’s license plates used to read, “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.” Thanks to Governor Tom Corbett and new legislation that’s friendly to shale drilling, they ought to make new plates that read, “Fracking’s Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.” While the state continues to push for more drilling, the residents and environment continue to suffer.
The oil and gas industry has now given us something new to add to the list of negative impacts caused by shale gas drilling: home displacement. The immediate threat of relocation for Piatt Township, Pennsylvania residents in the Riverdale Mobile Home Village continues to add to the frustration and anger that many citizens have toward the gas industry for constantly turning communities into victims, all for a handsome profit–in this case for a private water company called Aqua America.
Aqua America bought the land on which the residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Village lived and they plan to build a water withdrawal facility there after receiving approval from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to withdraw 3 million gallons of water from the river basin. The facility would supply Range Resources and another gas company with the water needed to drill and frack for natural gas.
As soon as Aqua America purchased the land, they quickly terminated all Riverdale leases, giving them merely two months to vacate their homes. In one fell swoop, 37 taxpaying homeowners were suddenly homeless. Is this what the industry means when they promise that shale gas drilling will offer communities a better local economy? Read the full article…
April 17th, 2012
By Hugh MacMillan
If you won’t be getting a refund this year, like I won’t, you’ve probably just finalized your tax return and signed a sizable check. I don’t necessarily agree with many of the things that U.S. taxpayer funds support, but that’s democracy, and the benefits of our democracy are manifold.
But it is especially hard for me to stomach the enormous U.S. tax expenditures that pad the record-setting profits of the oil and gas industry. The tax breaks enjoyed by the industry do nothing to lower the price of gas, but we taxpayers are left to fill the gaping hole these tax breaks create in federal revenues.
The tax breaks are many. Here are several that make it cheaper for the oil and gas industry to frack:
- Expensing of intangible drilling costs: The oil and gas industry can deduct up to 100 percent of what they spend to make and haul fracking fluids, and can do so in the year they use the fluid (in other words, they don’t have to spread the deduction over the life of a new well.) By giving the oil and gas industry this deduction up front in the first year, and not making them spread it out over several years like all other businesses have to do, we taxpayers are essentially giving the industry an interest free loan to frack.
- Percentage depletion allowance: Alternatively, many oil and gas companies are allowed to recover the total cost of drilling and fracking a new well based on their revenues, not based on what they actually spent to prepare the well for production. This is called percentage depletion (as opposed to cost depletion), and it means that a company that drills and fracks a well that gushes with oil and/or gas could recover, as a percentage of revenues from the well, more than it actually cost to drill and frack the well.
These and other taxpayer giveaways to the oil and gas industry will likely add up to an estimated $11 billion in Fiscal Year 2013. Of course, this is in addition to the costs that drilling and fracking pose to public health and the environment.