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Groups Solicit the UN to Recognize Fracking as a Human Rights Issue

Washington, D.C. and Brussels— This week Washington D.C.-based Food & Water Watch and its European program Food & Water Europe brought hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to the attention of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where UN observers are weighing in on Catarina De Albuquerque’s report on the human right to water and sanitation.

Over 5,000 Calls Made to the White House from Citizens Concerned About Fracking

Washington, D.C. and Brussels— This week Washington D.C.-based Food & Water Watch and its European program Food & Water Europe brought hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to the attention of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where UN observers are weighing in on Catarina De Albuquerque’s report on the human right to water and sanitation.

In her U.S. assessment, De Albuquerque, the special rapporteur for the human right to water and sanitation, reported on water contamination found in the U.S. from fracking and recommended “a holistic consideration of the right to water by factoring it into policies having an impact on water quality, ranging from agriculture to chemical use in products to energy production activities.”

“Now that the human right to water is legally binding and has been officially recognized by the UN General Assembly, and De Albuquerque has determined that fracking could further imperil the human right to water in the U.S., we believe that the U.S. should stand behind its commitment to safeguarding this precious right to water and ban fracking,” said Darcey O’Callaghan, International Policy Director at Food & Water Watch.

According to Food & Water Watch’s recent joint letter with UNANIMA International to the UN Human Rights Commission, fracking isn’t only a problem in the U.S. The oil and gas industry has its sights set on fracking in Europe, with the U.S. energy information administration forecasting 187 trillion cubic feet of gas resources available in Poland, followed closely by France at 180 trillion cubic feet. France, however, following strong civil society protests, currently has a moratorium against fracking.

“Poland is the Marcellus Shale of Europe,” said Gabriella Zanzanaini, Director of European Affairs for Food & Water Europe. “Energy security is a real concern for Poland, given its current reliance on Russia, but the government and citizens should also be aware that fracking can cause explosions, well contamination and public health effects that could be devastating to rural communities—as communities in the U.S. have experienced.”

The joint letter was delivered the same week over 5,000 Americans from all 50 states flooded White House phone lines to tell President Obama to ban fracking. Spearheaded by Food & Water Watch, United for Action, and Center for Health, Environment and Justice, nearly 50 organizations across the country and individuals in every state called on Obama to ban fracking.

“President Obama has got an energy problem on his hands,” says Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “Citizens, many of whom helped to get him elected, are becoming increasingly worried about fracking and other dirty energy schemes the administration is assessing, like the Keystone XL pipeline. Our water resources should not be sacrificed for energy, and he’s hearing this in no uncertain terms from people all over the country.”

“Fracking is not clean, or green,” says Lois Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. “We don’t have to look any further than Dimock, Pennsylvania or Dish, Texas to see the devastating effects of fracking, and we must ban the practice to ensure that no other communities are made unsafe or unlivable in its wake.”

“There are hundreds of reasons not to frack, any one of which provides sufficient reason to stop hydraulic fracturing,” says David Braun, co-founder of United for Action and the National Grassroots Coalition. “However, we don’t just have one good reason, we don’t just have five, but we’ve got hundreds. So why are we doing it?”

Contact: Gabriella Zanzanaini, +32 488409662, [email protected]

Food & Water Europe is the European program of Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization based in the United States that works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, afford- able, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.