In many ways, fracking is the environmental issue of our time. It’s an issue that touches on every aspect of our lives — the water we drink, the air we breathe, the health of our communities — and it is also impacting the global climate on which we all depend. It pits the largest corporate interests — big oil and gas companies and the political leaders who support them — against people and the environment in a long-term struggle for survival.
It is an issue that has captivated the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and across the globe.
And it is an area in which, despite the massive resources of the Frackopoly — the cabal of oil and gas interests promoting this practice — we as a movement are making tremendous strides as our collective power continues to grow.
Food & Water Watch is proud to work shoulder to shoulder with communities across the country and across the world in this effort. With mounting evidence about the harms of fracking and the immediacy of the impending climate crisis, this report lays out the urgent case for a ban on fracking.
In 2009, we became alarmed about the threat that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) posed to our water resources. Communities around the country were already raising the alarm about the ill effects that fracking was having, from increased truck traffic to spills and even tap water that could be lit on fire thanks to methane leaks from fracking wells into water sources.
Meanwhile, many national environmental groups were touting natural gas as a “bridge fuel” — a better means of producing energy from fossil fuels than coal, a source that everyone knew we had to move away from urgently to reduce the carbon emissions that were heating the planet at a dangerous rate.
Communities that were already feeling the effects of the technology, or that were fighting the coming wave of fracking, felt betrayed that the place they lived could become one of the sacrificial zones — with many environmentalists’ blessing. Over the next few years, scientific evidence would mount that not only is fracking not climate friendly, but it has the potential to unleash massive amounts of methane that will contribute to climate disaster.
So we began our work on fracking with Not So Fast, Natural Gas, our report that raised serious questions about fracking safety and the natural gas rush being promoted by industry and government. That report, released in 2010, called for a series of regulatory reforms, but the evidence continued to mount.
The next year, after looking at even greater evidence of the inherent problems with fracking, and realizing how inadequately the states were regulating the oil and gas industry and enforcing those regulations, Food & Water Watch became the first national organization to call for a complete ban on fracking, and we released the report The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking.
Since the release of that report in 2011, more than 150 additional studies have been conducted on a range of issues — from water pollution to climate change, air pollution to earthquakes — reinforcing the case that fracking is simply too unsafe to pursue. In the face of such studies, and following the lead of grassroots organizations that have been at the forefront of this movement, a consensus is emerging among
those working against fracking that a ban is the only solution. Not only are federal and state officials not regulating the practice of fracking, it is so dangerous and the potential so great that it cannot be regulated, even if there were the political will.