Breakthroughs Takes on Fracking

Environment America Featured in Martin Sheen Expose on Dirty Drilling Released to Public Television Stations in 50 States

Environment California

Sacramento—This week, Martin Sheen’s Breakthroughs program released an expose on fracking featuring Environment America, the national arm of Environment California, to public television stations across the country.  As the debate over dirty drilling continues to mount, the Breakthroughs piece could reach as many as 60 million viewers in all 50 states.

“Fracking is taking a terrible toll on our environment and our health,” said Nathan Weaver, Preservation Advocate for Environment California. “People should see and hear the truth before they find themselves living next door to dirty drilling.”

Shot on location in Pennsylvania –an epicenter of the fracking frenzy – the Breakthroughs segment features

  • A Pennsylvania family whose well water was contaminated and granddaughter became ill after fracking operations commenced nearby;
  • Dr. Poune Saberi, who has examined health data from residents and workers nearby fracking operations and believes that the numerous, documented cases of residents becoming ill near drilling are likely “the tip of the iceberg;” and
  • Lou Allstadt, former Executive Vice President of Mobil, explaining how he came to see that fracking is inherently fraught with environmental destruction.

While the piece narrated by Mr. Sheen will be exclusively aired on public television stations, a longer unofficial version is available at the Environment California website and on YouTube.

With cases of water contamination and residents getting sick, along with other environmental damage, Environment America and its state affiliates are working to ban fracking, including keeping fracking out of new states like New York, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

Environment California is calling on Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking statewide. So far, over 200,000 Californians have signed petitions urging the Governor to act.

While public opinion is starting to turn, with 49% of Americans now saying they are opposed to more fracking according to a new Pew poll released this September, Environment America cites the well-heeled public relations and lobbying efforts by the oil and gas industry as a key influence in fracking’s quick expansion across the country despite clear environmental threats.  

“Today Breakthroughs has provided a small dose of the much-needed antidote to millions of dollars spent by the oil and gas industry to make this dirty drilling appear “clean” in the public’s mind,” said Weaver.

The Breakthroughs expose comes as the California Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGER) is working on regulations for fracking. This year, the legislature debated a number of bills to impose a moratorium on fracking, ultimately passing a weak regulatory bill that would continue to allow fracking.

At the federal level, the Breakthroughs expose comes as the Obama administration considers a rule for fracking on public lands, and as the oil and gas industry is seeking to expand fracking to several places which help provide drinking water for millions of Americans — including the White River National Forest in Colorado and the Delaware River basin, which provides drinking water for more than 15 million Americans.

 “When you listen to people living on the frontlines of fracking, health professionals, and even former industry executives, a clear warning sign emerges,” concluded Weaver. “It’s time to stop the fracking frenzy before it’s too late.”


Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.