Five Reasons to Call President Obama to Ban Fracking on Sept. 13

By Mark Schlosberg

Join thousands of Americans across the country who are calling on President Obama to tell him enough is enough – it’s time to ban fracking now. Photo by Pete Souza.

There are countless reasons fracking for natural gas and oil is a bad idea, and it’s about time President Obama heard the message loud and clear.

There is ample evidence that fracking (especially in shale) can contaminate waterways with toxic and radioactive chemicals; that fracking causes air pollution, which endangers public health; that it releases methane into drinking water allowing people to light their tap water on fire, rendering it undrinkable; that the methane released into the atmosphere from fracking can exacerbate climate change; and that big oil and gas companies are having an “Enron moment” and are playing financial roulette with the economics of shale gas drilling.

Yet still, President Obama and his administration are charging full speed ahead to support fracking. That’s why thousands of people across the country are calling President Obama on September 13 to tell him: BAN FRACKING NOW!

Why President Obama and why now? Here are five good reasons:

1) Obama’s energy policy relies on fracking Free-For-All. President Obama’s energy policy calls for the rapid expansion of domestic production of natural gas by increasing extraction of gas contained in shale.
The only way to get this gas from shale is by fracking, so in essence, his energy policy calls for more fracking across the country. We can’t rely on the underfunded state agencies and the increasingly underfunded Environmental Protection Agency to protect communities from fracking, particularly when the President supports it.

2) Clean drinking water for millions is at stake, pure and simple. The drinking water supply for 15.6 million Americans is in imminent danger. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is set to vote next month on whether to approve regulations that would allow 18,000 wells to be fracked in the basin in the states of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. More than 35,000 people across the country submitted comments telling the DRBC not to allow this. The Obama administration has a critical and influential vote on the commission and needs to hear the clear message that fracking is unacceptable. Given the many unanswered questions about the long-term public health and environmental impacts of fracking, it would be reckless to vote in favor of drilling in the basin.

3) Obama Administration fracking advisors are industry insiders. President Obama directed the Secretary of Energy to create a Natural Gas Subcommittee to come up with recommendations for how to improve the “safety and environmental performance” of fracking. Unfortunately, six out of the seven members of the panel have financial ties to the oil and gas industry.  While the report acknowledges the risks associated with fracking, unsurprisingly, their recommendations on fracking do not go nearly far enough to protect consumers and the environment from the risks associated with the controversial energy practice. For instance, the panel does not recommend that fracking be subject to basic environmental regulations like the Safe Drinking Water Act. It also recommends providing taxpayer dollars to support research to help the oil and gas industry improve the safety of shale gas drilling. President Obama needs to hear that taxpayer dollars should not subsidize research to benefit the profitable oil and gas companies.

4) A clean energy economy can’t be based on dirty fuels. We need a new clean energy policy that relies on renewable sustainable sources of energy. Obama’s current energy policy is not just dependent on fracking—it’s also dependent on dirty oil. More than 1,200 people were arrested in the last couple weeks in front of the White House protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring this dirty oil from the tar sands in Canada to the United States.  Instead of pouring resources into these energy projects dependent on dirty fossil fuels, we should invest resources in wind, solar, energy efficiency and mass transit, and build an energy policy that will create good quality long-term jobs and provide for a safe future.

5) Don’t let big oil and gas money buy our energy policy. The oil and gas industry is spending millions of dollars on slick TV ads and lobbyists to promote natural gas and fracking. At the same time these companies reap huge profits and pay little or no taxes, they are spending massive amounts of money to con the American public and shape our energy policy. We need to send a loud, clear and collective message to President Obama that the oil and gas industry doesn’t speak for us and that we expect him to protect our water, air and health from fracking.

For these reasons and many more, I’ll be joining thousands of other Americans across the country in calling President Obama, telling him enough is enough – it’s time to ban fracking now. Will you?

On Facebook? Help us spread the word about the Call In Day to Ban Fracking. Attend the Facebook event.