Dear President Obama: Big Oil and Safe Water Just Don’t Mix
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.”
In order to protect our water – an invaluable and limited resource ‑ from dangerous oil and natural gas operations, the federal government must wake up, listen to the community members on the front lines of fracking and take real action now. To start, the Obama administration needs to give those residents whose water has been contaminated by nearby drilling operations the justice they deserve and re-open the three water contamination investigations that the EPA abandoned.
Let’s continue to show our support for victims of fracking-related water contamination, because the fight is not yet over.
On May 8, Food & Water Watch, Americans Against Fracking and the Stop The Frack Attack network will hold rallies outside regional EPA offices in Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco, and outside of EPA’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. to urge President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to reopen the water contamination investigations. Join us this spring as we continue to stand by Craig, Ray, Steve and John, who represent hundreds of communities whose local water supply is threatened by fracking. Stay tuned for specific event details. In the meantime, you can make your voice heard here, and you can join a call sponsored by Americans Against Fracking to learn more about ways to get involved in the movement to ban fracking.