Pubic concern about the effects of fracking is escalating, and the breadth of actions people across the country are taking to stop this dirty method of energy extraction sure show it. Last fall, four cities in Colorado, a state peppered with gas fields, voted to pass bans or moratoria; and earlier this month, thousands of concerned community members flocked to the largest anti-fracking rally in California’s history.
Among those leading the charge against fracking are four individuals personally affected by the process, (residents of Dimock, Pennsylvania; Parker County, Texas; and Pavillion, Wyoming) who, over the past year, have gone to great lengths to share their stories and expose the truth about the connection between fracking and water contamination. After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) abandoned water contamination investigations in their respective communities despite evidence that the contamination was likely linked to fracking, these four courageously devoted their lives to making sure that hundreds of others don’t find themselves in the same tragic situation.
Craig Stevens, Ray Kemble, Steve Lipsky and John Fenton have garnered a massive support network to boot. Last fall, Americans Against Fracking and Stop the Frack Attack gathered 250,000 petitions from concerned citizens across the country demanding that the EPA re-open the investigations it abandoned in the three communities. In January, over 200 groups sent a letter to President Obama with the same message. Despite immense pressure, his administration has turned a blind eye and worse yet, failed to meet with affected families.
Recently, these four folks spoke out at a briefing on Capitol Hill, only this time they called on Congress for help. As John Fenton so aptly framed it: “Congress, support the people you’re supposed to support.”
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the largest human-caused catastrophes in our history. Since then, the oil and gas industry has continued its quest to squeeze as many fossil fuels from the ground as possible, with little regard for public safety and the environment. Read the full article…
The movement against fracking is growing more powerful by the day. And in communities and states across the country – from Colorado to New York, Pennsylvania to California – grassroots activism and organizing is leading to real change. So it doesn’t surprise us that Big Oil and Gas corporations are engaging in their own special brand of “grassroots” organizing. We’re calling it “gasroots” organizing. Read the full article…
Water is life. Water is also a limited resource that’s under high demand. Here at Food & Water Watch, we’re fighting a global battle to protect the right to safe, clean, affordable water for everyone now, and for years to come. It’s a battle that we care deeply about and it pervades many of the issues we work on. That’s why tomorrow, on World Water Day, we’re inviting you to dive in and join us in the fight to promote sustainable water management, protect the human right to water and prevent the impending global water crisis. Here are five ways you can take action on World Water Day.
1. Add these two inspirational gems to your spring reading list: Blue Future and Ogallala Road. These profound, yet comprehensive books offer unique perspectives on the past and future of the water crisis:
Blue Future: Protecting Water For People and the Planet Foreverby internationally best-selling author and Food & Water Watch Board Chair, Maude Barlow, exposes the handful of corporate players whose greed is impeding the human right to water. The latest in Barlow’s best-selling series, Blue Future lays out the obstacles ahead in this looming water crisis, as well as the many victories that have been won by communities in the fight to protect their right to water.
Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoningby Julene Bair is a powerful personal history of her family’s western Kansas farm located on the Ogallala Aquifer. In the narrative, Bair reveals the struggles she grappled with when watching her family switch from dry-land farming to unsustainable irrigation. The story is a telling glimpse into one aspect of the world’s water saga. Visit her website for book events and appearances.
With the rise in fracking for shale gas, so too comes a rise in pipelines and other infrastructure used to get the product to market. One such pipeline, the Bluegrass Pipeline, is proposed to cut a swath through 15 counties in my home state of Ohio, and it’s a bad deal.
The pipeline would carry natural gas liquids (NGLs), a variable and hazardous mix of ethane, propane, butane and more, as opposed to the natural gas, which is composed mostly of methane, and used to heat homes. All of it comes from fracking, and it’s clear that the plan is to drill and frack much of the state, only to ship the product to the highest bidder overseas. Proposed to originate in the northeastern United States the pipeline would run through Ohio and Kentucky, where it would then connect with an existing pipeline that goes all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, targeting export and petrochemical markets.
The project, a joint venture of Williams Company and Boardwalk, is also hinging on three facilities proposed for construction at the end point – a storage facility, a plant to separate all the different NGLs and an export facility. Read the full article…
It was slick business as usual last week in the Maryland Environmental Matters Committee. If you blinked, you might have missed your chance to count the votes on HB 409.
On Friday, March 7, a bill that would have banned the treatment, storage, discharge and disposal of fracking wastewater or “flow back” in Maryland was up for a vote in the committee. The bill was sponsored by Del. Shane Robinson and had 33 additional cosponsors, including eight members of the committee. Yet, even with that level of support, leadership dismissed the bill as if it were an unserious piece of legislation.
The legislation is necessary because the state’s wastewater facilities are not equipped to handle or process many of the chemicals that would turn up in fracking fluid, so the bill was designed to protect Maryland’s wastewater systems from fracking associated risks. And while there is currently no fracking wastewater coming into Maryland, fracking wastewater was treated in Baltimore in 2010 and there is no law in place to prevent this happening again when there’s a new administration in 2015. Read the full article…
In the battle over the future of U.S. energy policy, the oil and gas industry has presented many bogus justifications for pursuing fracking. Playing on the public’s genuine patriotism, energy independence is trotted out as the most compelling argument. This rings even more hollow in the current debate about using natural gas as a bargaining chip in the crisis unfolding in the Ukraine
The Obama administration is considering sending fracked gas overseas in what the New York Times recently described as a “lever against Russia” in the escalating tensions in Eastern Europe. This move is clearly a result of influence pedaling by energy companies—an industry so money-grubbing that even tragic geopolitical events are fodder for increasing profits.
Companies like ExxonMobile should not control U.S. foreign policy, and we should not sacrifice communities across the United States for illusory policy objectives that are really about increasing market share for a few energy giants. It is irresponsible to push for more fracking—a process that dramatically increases methane emissions in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Inserting natural gas into the narrative about the imploding situation in the Ukraine will only lead to more global instability, and in the long run, undermine any national security goals that proponents claim will be achieved.
By this time, our leaders should know that allowing outdated, polluting fossil fuels guide our foreign policy strategies is a bankrupt one. Pressure on the Obama administration to allow exports of natural gas to commence demonstrates the cynical willingness of the industry to use an international calamity to achieve its long-term policy goals. The arguments in favor of export demonstrate the dishonesty of the oil and gas industry’s claims that fracked gas is the key to U.S. energy independence.
We’re not standing for this, and neither should you. Please join us in telling the Obama administration that we cannot let the escalating crisis in Ukraine become an excuse for more fracking in the United States.
The movement to protect communities from fracking has closely been following the curious case of Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, who has attracted attention this week for his involvement in what appears to be an anti-fracking lawsuit. In what many are considering the height of hypocrisy, Tillerson has joined former U.S. Congressional Representative Dick Armey in an effort to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower in their neighborhood intended to supply water to fracking sites.
We live in an era of heightened environmental consciousness and concern, and our world leaders are just starting to catch on. President Obama said it loud and clear during his 2014 State of the Union Address: “Climate change is a fact…When our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.” But are words enough?
On this President’s day, we should recognize those who have done well for our country and those who have done well for our planet. But we should also consider how our current president’s environmental legacy would be written. It is certain that President Obama’s legacy will be defined not only by what he did for the people, but by what he did for the environment – the air, water and land that we all depend upon. Yet, a president’s legacy is characterized by momentous feats and also failures. The question is: which side of the spectrum will he be on? Read the full article…
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.