Activists on Six Continents to Urge Global Leaders to Ban Fracking
October 19 Day of Action Will Unite Stakeholders Around the World to Call for Sustainable Energy Solutions
Washington, D.C.—On Saturday, October 19, thousands of people concerned about the threat that drilling and fracking for oil and gas poses to the environment, communities and their shared resources will unite through approximately 250 actions on six continents for the second annual Global Frackdown. A coordinated international day of action against fracking, the Global Frackdown will gather concerned citizens in over 25 countries who will send a message to elected officials around the world that they want a future powered by clean, renewable energy, not polluting fossil fuels. Initiated by Food & Water Watch, over 350 advocacy, environmental and public health organizations including 350.org, Environment America, MoveOn.org, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, Breast Cancer Action, Energy Action Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity and Environmental Action are expected to participate in the Global Frackdown.
“Fracking is a global issue with significant policy and political implications both in the United States and overseas,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “In January, President Obama promised to take ‘bold action’ on climate change, but his plans to accelerate drilling and fracking will only exacerbate the problem. It’s time for him to be a leader on the global stage and reject fracking as many communities around the world have already done.”
“The Global Frackdown shows that the movement for a ban on fracking is truly worldwide. To frack or not to frack comes down to this simple choice: do we want another fifty years of dependency and addiction to toxic fossil fuels, or do we want to move on, worldwide, to renewable energy,” said Josh Fox, the director of Gasland and Advisory Board Member for Americans Against Fracking. “From every perspective be it water and air contamination, global climate change or the health of our democracies worldwide, we need to break from the past. The Global Frackdown is one of many powerful moments where the world is saying we need to move on.”
In New York City, a broad coalition of groups will unite at the New York City Wine & Food Festival to articulate how fracking affects food systems and to ask Governor Andrew Cuomo to listen to the science and ban fracking in the state. Meanwhile, Californians Against Fracking will convene a rally in Oakland to urge Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking. In Culver City, California, a coalition of organizations will hold a rally, followed by a five-mile bike ride and walking brigade, to raise aware of the effects of fracking in the Los Angeles Basin and to support a moratorium on fracking in the city of Los Angeles.
“Our elected leaders—from President Obama to small town city council members—should take notice: fracking is bad for our neighborhoods, bad for our drinking water, bad for the climate and bad for their own legacies, and MoveOn members and allies are holding them accountable,” said Victoria Kaplan, campaign director at MoveOn.org Civic Action.
A recent poll released by the Pew Research Group finds that opposition to fracking has grown significantly across most regions and demographic groups. Overall, 49 percent are opposed to increased fracking, while only 44 percent support it. As scientific studies continue to confirm the inherent dangers of fracking to the environment and public health, the American people are seeing through the millions of dollars being spent on advertising by the oil and gas industry, and are increasingly opposing fracking.
“Each fracking operation opens dozens of pathways for polluting our water, our air and our land,” observed John Rumpler, senior attorney at Environment America and co-author of the recent report, Fracking by the Numbers: Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level. “Multiply those threats by tens of thousands of wells and waste disposal sites, and we have an environmental nightmare in the making. The prudent course is to stop this dirty drilling before more damage is done.”
Polls in key states such as New York, California and Pennsylvania show similarly high levels of opposition to fracking. A recent poll released by Siena College finds that 45 percent of New York voters oppose the state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to move forward with fracking in the Southern Tier, the part of New York that extends above Pennsylvania. Only 37 percent said they would support such a move. Meanwhile, in California, 53 percent of likely voters polled by the Public Policy Institute of California said they’re against the expansion of fracking in the state. According to a poll conducted by The Center of Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan in conjunction with the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, almost two-thirds of Pennsylvanians support a moratorium on fracking until its effects can be better studied.
“Thousands of young activists are converging in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Power Shift 2013, and will join the Global Frackdown, because our generation is determined to use its people power to move beyond fracking,” said Whit Jones, campaign director for Power Shift. “The thousands of young people at Power Shift 2013 are fighting fracking in their communities, and we’re uniting to demand that the Obama Administration and EPA stand up to fracking too.”
Last week, the European Parliament voted to require energy companies to conduct environmental audits before commencing drilling and fracking, and a French court upheld a ban on fracking. Bulgaria and some Swiss and German states have also adopted a ban or a moratorium on fracking activities. Other European Union member states, such as the Czech Republic, Romania and Germany are considering a moratorium on fracking until an adequate regulatory framework has been is in place for unconventional energy projects such as shale gas. To date, 383 communities in the United States have passed measures against fracking.
“On October 19, all of us have an opportunity to make our voices heard about the health and environmental effects of fracking, and the often corrupt process that allows energy companies to take private land and taxpayer-owned assets for fracking and big profits at our expense,” said Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America. “It’s time to stand up for the rights of citizens and stand up to big energy. Show up, be counted and let’s win this fight.”
In August, a million Americans signed petitions objecting to the Obama Administration’s plans to frack on federal lands. Nearly 650,00 of those petitions were collected by Americans Against Fracking member organizations, and called for a complete ban. Weeks later, Food & Water Watch, MoveOn.org, Environmental Action, and other allied organizations in Americans Against Fracking and the Stop the Frack Attack Network collected over 250,000 petitions asking the Obama Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen investigations into the possible link between drilling and fracking and water contamination in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.
“All over the world people are rising up to say, ‘Instead of fracking for ever dirtier fuel, it’s time to tap the endless energy of the wind and sun,’” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.
Contact: Anna Ghosh, Food & Water Watch, (510) 922-0075; [email protected]