Why We’re Organizing for a Ban on Fracking
By Mark Schlosberg, Food & Water Watch National Organizing Director
There is a growing grassroots movement against fracking for natural gas. From New York to California, Michigan to New York, Ohio to New Jersey, citizens are rising up against big oil and gas companies whose insatiable quest for profits is poisoning our water and air and threatening public health. As outlined in our report, The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking, released today, Food & Water Watch is calling for a ban on fracking shale because we believe it’s the right policy response to a risky and dangerous practice. Pushing for a ban is also the only clear path to achieving meaningful protections for public health and the environment.
Communities who are opposing fracking are doing it because the practice is currently poisoning their air and water or because plans for fracking in the future threaten the same. More than 50 municipalities across the country have passed resolutions or ordinances against fracking, many of which have successfully banned fracking or have made their initial call for a ban. As a policy matter, a ban is the only way to ensure our essential resources are protected against the harms of fracking.
Pushing for a ban also makes sense from an organizing perspective. As a movement, we need to be clear that fracking and its grave impacts are unacceptable. We need to draw a clear line that provides a real solution to people’s problems. We also need our demands to be strong and unequivocal.
We’ve seen in other fights how positions get compromised and watered down through legislative processes or negotiation, and ultimately fail to protect communities from harm. If the anti-fracking movement pushes for regulation as a top line ask, not only would this not solve all the problems caused by fracking, but whatever regulation did end up being adopted would inevitably be weakened and compromised. It’s critical that we communicate in a clear, loud, and unified voice that oil and gas companies shouldn’t be fracking shale. Period.
Further, if we just ask for regulation, we’d be missing out on opportunities to ban the practice altogether at the state level. Building in some areas towards a ban will take more time. Right now, however, there are real opportunities to ban fracking in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, among other places. As a movement, we should not settle for less.
Proposals like the FRAC Act and other state measures that require disclosure of fracking fluids are certainly steps in the right direction. In fact, we support many of these measures. But they will not, by themselves, stop fracking from polluting our water and air; they will not stop fracking from using trillions of gallons of water, often in semi-arid regions; and they will not lead us to a clean energy economy.
The grassroots movement against fracking is strong and growing every day. We need to seize this unique opportunity to mobilize for a ban. This won’t be easy – the oil and gas industry is very powerful, has a lot of money, and will fight very hard to protect and expand their already exorbitant profits. If we win, we will have stopped a dirty and polluting extraction method in its tracks. But even if we are not successful in achieving a national ban, organizing around it will stop fracking in some places and lead to more meaningful national protections for the public — things that wouldn’t happen if we didn’t try for a ban.
You can join us, and tens of thousands of others across the country, in fighting for a ban by signing the petition to ban fracking. Then, get out in the community and talk with friends and neighbors about organizing a resolution to ban fracking, get involved in state efforts, and sign up to volunteer. Its time to tell our elected officials to stand up to big oil and gas companies and Ban Fracking Now.
Get the guide to find out how to get a resolution to ban fracking passed.