Washington, D.C.—The global grassroots movement to protect public health and the environment from the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) will intensify this weekend as concerned citizens around the world come together for the Global Frackdown. The first coordinated international day of action against fracking, the Global Frackdown will unite activists on five continents through over 150 events on September 22 to call for a ban on fracking in their communities, and to advocate for the development of clean, sustainable energy solutions. Initiated by Food & Water Watch, over 150 consumer, environmental and public health organizations including CREDO Action, Environment America, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth and 350.org are expected to participate in the Global Frackdown.
“Fracking and drilling for oil and gas poses a direct and immediate threat to our drinking water, our health and our communities,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “While big oil and gas continues its spin campaign to obscure the dangers of this toxic, polluting process, people around the world are taking a stand through the Global Frackdown.”
Worldwide, opposition to drilling and fracking has escalated dramatically over the past year, and the oil and gas industry has intensified its public relations campaign to obscure the dangers of fracking from the public. Earlier this year, The American Petroleum Institute launched its Vote 4 Energy campaign, an astroturf effort to promote drilling and fracking during the 2012 election and promote candidates who support the oil and gas industry’s agenda.
“It should be a no-brainer—if fracking causes your tap water to light on fire, it should be banned,” said Zack Malitz, campaign manager at CREDO Action. “We’re telling environmental regulators, politicians and governments all around the world that no community should be sacrificed so that the fossil fuel industry can make more money. We need to ban fracking now.”
To date, over 270 municipalities in the United States have taken action against fracking, and Vermont, France and Bulgaria have stopped the process. There is a moratorium on fracking in the Czech Republic, Romania, the German state of North Rhine Westphalia, New Jersey and New York. This week, it was also announced that the oil and gas company OMV would also halt drilling in Austria, due to escalating public opposition.
“The events taking place around the world as part of the Global Frackdown prove that people are tired of the lies from big oil and gas,” said Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America. “Time and again, studies prove fracking is unsafe—for our communities, our families and our country. We’ve learned our lessons from Love Canal and the Horizon oil spill—when money is involved, corporations lie to the people to keep their profits up. It’s time to end the lies.”
“Fracking operations are contaminating drinking water sources and making nearby families sick,” added John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America. “This dirty drilling has to stop.”
Over 150 events are planned for the Global Frackdown, and each will challenge local decision makers to oppose fracking. Major actions in the United States include a rally in the Los Angeles County community of Culver City, which shares part of the largest urban oil field in the country; a rally and human sign near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge; a rally in Longmont, Colo. to promote a ballot measure that would make Longmont the first Colorado city to ban fracking; actions across Ohio, including rallies in Cincinnati and Mansfield; and several actions in New York where Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to consider opening up the state to fracking.
Major actions overseas include a rally on the steps of the European Parliament; demonstrations in front of Parliament buildings in South Africa, Bulgaria and the Czech republic; marches in Argentina; grassroots activities in Paris and the south of France; and screenings of the film Gasland in Spain.
“This past summer, we’ve gotten one stark reminder after another of the human and economic costs of a climate system starting to spiral out of control,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. “Substituting one bad fossil for another doesn’t solve the climate crisis. But the good news is that communities all over the world aren’t buying what the oil and gas industry is selling: more extreme energy fueling more extreme weather. They’re organizing inspiring actions all over the world to turn up the heat on the fossil fuel industry and its bought-and-paid-for political cronies.”
An increasingly controversial form of energy extraction, fracking involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with carcinogenic chemicals underground to release natural gas and oil from tight rock formations. Drilling and fracking has been linked to water contamination and climate change, and the process has been responsible for industrializing rural areas, destroying property values and undermining local economies.
“Big oil’s plan to frack the world will keep us addicted to fossil fuels at a critical moment when we need to immediately transition to clean, safe, renewable energy,” concluded Duncan Meisel, anti-fracking campaigner at 350.org. “This is the world’s richest industry, and they’re doing all they can to buy off politicians in order to frack our communities, but this event shows that the entire world is ready to stand up to stop them.”
For a full list of events and partners, visit www.globalfrackdown.org.
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-2500, kfried(at)fwwatch.org