September 21st, 2012

Why It’s Time for a Global Frackdown

By Mark Schlosberg

The oil and gas industry knows it has a fracking problem. Oil and gas companies and their apologists are spending tens of millions of dollars on misleading propaganda touting the supposed benefits of fracking and natural gas as a so-called “bridge fuel.” They are spending millions more lobbying elected officials to open new lands to fracking. They are even trying to convince the public that natural gas is clean energy.

Tomorrow, communities across the world are fighting back with one unified message: our movement is growing, our movement is strong, and we do not accept fracking and its impacts on our water, air, health and communities. It’s time to ban fracking now.

The September 22 Global Frackdown, the first international day of action to ban fracking, will be marked with actions in over 20 countries, on five continents. Many of the actions will take place in states or countries where communities are under attack from fracking. Others will occur in places where decision makers are considering whether or not to lift bans or moratoria that are already in place.

With so much at stake, some actions for the Global Frackdown are already underway. In Canada yesterday, the Council of Canadians delivered 10,000 petitions to Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent. Later that day, the Quebec Natural Resources Minister signaled she would move to ban fracking in that that province. Other actions have already taken place in Brussels outside the European Parliament, New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois and Michigan.

Yesterday, 1,000 people gathered in Pennsylvania for Protecting Our Water’s Shale Gas Outrage demonstration to protest a major industry conference and call for a halt to fracking.

Tomorrow, major actions will take place across the United States and throughout the world. Some of the larger ones include:

  • A dozen actions across New York, where Governor Cuomo appears to be on the verge of opening up parts of New York to fracking, including rallies in New York City, Long Island and Buffalo;
  • A series of actions across Ohio, including rallies in Mansfield and Cincinnati, a city that earlier this year, passed a local ban on injection wells;
  • A street theater action in Chicago, where frackers have more recently targeted the southern part of the state for fracking;
  • A “Rally Round Longmont” in Colorado, where residents are trying to pass a fracking ban on the November ballot, and where the governor recently sued the city over fracking regulations;
  • Rallies in Culver City in Los Angeles County and San Francisco. Fracking is essentially unregulated in California, and the state government recently conducted a series of public hearings on the issue.

Internationally, there will be actions across France, where Prime Minister Holland recently reaffirmed that the country will keep a fracking ban in place; in the Czech Republic, where there is currently a moratorium on fracking; and a host of actions in other European countries. In South Africa, where the government recently announced it would lift the county’s moratorium on fracking, a major demonstration will take place outside Parliament in Cape Town. There will also be actions in Argentina and Australia.

The oil and gas industry may have a lot of money, but they are scared of our movement because our movement threatens their bloated profits and their ability to promote dirty fuels without regard for the environment or fracking’s impacts on communities.

Today, the Washington Times devoted an entire editorial to slamming the Global Frackdown. Let’s face it: fracking proponents wouldn’t devote limited time or space to such a rant unless we were getting somewhere. They wouldn’t bother unless they recognized the growing power of our movement, or unless they feared that we might actually win, stop fracking and protect our communities.

Tomorrow is the day we send that message. From California to New York, from Ohio to Colorado, from France to Bulgaria, to the Ukraine and Argentina, to Australia and South Africa, we’re telling the industry and elected representatives that do their bidding that nough is enough. It’s time to ban fracking now.

Find out more and get involved at

Mark Schlosberg of the organizing director of Food & Water Watch.


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