Washington, D.C. – Thousands of concerned citizens, students, and residents living on the frontlines of fracking are standing up together today to say “No” to the dirty form of oil and gas drilling affecting communities across the country. Environment America and its state affiliates are participating in events across the country, including a rally in Pittsburgh at the annual Powershift student conference. The events are centered around the second annual Global Frackdown, a worldwide day of action with more than 250 actions on six continents.
“Fracking is an environmental nightmare–from contaminated water in New Mexico to residents getting sick in Pennsylvania to tons of global warming pollution released,” 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. “As the truth gets out about all the damage done by this dirty drilling, more and more people are calling for a ban on fracking.”
Among hundreds of actions by various organizations worldwide, state affiliates of Environment America are participating in several Global Frackdown actions in the U.S.--including:
- In California, on the heels of Governor Brown signing a weak bill on fracking, Environment California is coordinating with student activists on several University of California campuses to respond “Oh Frack No.” Seeking to fashion a West Coast version of Yoko Ono’s Artists Against Fracking, Environment California is also teaming up with Food & Water Watch and Americans Against Fracking to engage Hollywood celebrities to speak out against fracking.
- In New Jersey, our activists and students are attending events in New Brunswick and Highland Park, two towns that have banned fracking.
- In Wisconsin, our volunteers are organizing citizens to write hand-written letters to state legislators to stop frack sand mining, which is threatening land, water and farms in the western part of the state.
- In Colorado, New York, New Mexico, and North Carolina, our volunteers are asking citizens to sign petitions calling on our leaders to take action to stop fracking.
- In Massachusetts, activists are heading to a farmers’ market to let local farmers know about the threat of fracking to water, soil, and livestock.
- In Pennsylvania, PennEnvironment is addressing thousands of students gathered in Pittsburgh for the Powershift conference—coordinating a march and rally in support of residents living on the frontlines of fracking and distributing Student Frack Packs for action when they get back to campus.
“Pennsylvania is ground-zero for the damaging impacts of fracking. We've already seen our forests destroyed and countless homeowners and communities affected by water and air pollution. For the sake of our health, clean water, and the future of our forests and parks, we need action," said Erika Staaf, clean water advocate for PennEnvironment, before Saturday's rally at Powershift in Pittsburgh. “For four years and counting, our state officials have failed to protect our water and our health here in Pennsylvania. We are grateful to have so many people standing with us today in Pittsburgh calling for national action to stop fracking.”
A recent Environment America Research & Policy Center report "Fracking by the Numbers,” found that fracking operations generated 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in 2012 — enough to flood Washington, D.C., in a 22-foot deep toxic lagoon.
With the evidence of fracking damage mounting, public opposition is growing. This summer, more than 1 million public comments were submitted to the Obama administration rejecting its proposed rule for fracking on public lands as far too weak. In addition, a new Pew poll released last month showed that 49% of Americans are opposed to fracking, up from 38% in March – a dramatic shift in public opinion.
This year’s Global Frackdown 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.
Environment America is urging President Obama to ban fracking in such areas, as even the administration’s own advisory panel recommended “[p]reservation of unique and/or sensitive areas as off-limits to drilling.” In light of the billions of gallons of toxic waste produced by fracking, Environment America is also calling on federal officials to ban open waste pits and close the loophole that exempts this waste from our nation’s hazardous waste law. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17) has introduced the CLEANER Act, H.R. 2825, to close that loophole.