Share a recent experience. I attended the first Global Water, Oil and Gas Summit. This industry meeting really underscored the crisis because of the industry’s political power. There was no discussion of moving to renewables or using gas as a transition fuel. They intend to frack for every last drop of oil and gas—no mater what the impacts are.
Commercial evaporation pits that accept fluids from independent truckers for a fee.
Pipes: Gas boom is all about imports-- Gas prices in the US are depressed and gas use is likely to decline through 2015. But, internationally gas use is increasing. So the prices in Europe and Asia 4 to 6 times higher. This means many new pipelines and LNG export facilities... Huge 4 or 5 feet diameter—explosions and fires. Large, invasive projects. One of the most controversial is the Tennesseee, which stretches 14,000 miles from the Mexican border to Canada. It has many offshoots that will supply regions in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, Appalachia, the Midwest and Canada. For instance there are at least 4 pipeline projects, at various levels of completion and approval, destined for NJ because of planned LNG plants Both pipes and export facilities are risks for explosions and fires. Right now there are 13 planned from Tex up the east coast. We were part of a coalition that recently stopped one in NJ.
Briefly touch on some of the related issues. Sand: There is a gold rush on the strong silica sand used for fracking—mining for it is an entirely new industry sprouting up. It is a propping agent that keeps the fractures open so that gas can be released. Texas Midwestern states like MN, Il Michigan have it. Right now, Wisconsin is at the center of the boom. Mining is taking place in agricultural areas. The refining process uses large amounts of water and nasty chemicals. The dust causes lung cancer. Grassroots campaigns are forming in the areas being impacted—one of the strategies will be resolutions.
Picture from protest in Lublin area in Poland, where – according to Polish officials – everybody welcomes shale gas activities and the opportunities it brings.
Good news is that we have a growing movement… a large overlap between food activists and fractivists. This is true in NY—FWW organized this event at St.JohnDevine… Devine –Many grassroots activists, especially in the East, where the oil and gas industry is not entrenched—are fighting for a ban. We believe it’s really important to have people fighting for what we really want—not just better regulation. Whether we win or not, it creates more political space and allows negotiating room for the organizations working for stronger regulation. VT banned fracking recently. Last year we passed ban legislation in Nj>>>NY is one of the most important battleground—it’s a bellweather state on issues and the national media is there–The oil and gas industry has been aggressively pushing for Governor Cuomo to frack..The industry has spent $4.5 million just lobbying in NY, during the last 3 years. Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued draft regulations last summer that could open up a large percentage of the state to fracking. A huge movement to ban fracking has emerged in NY.As a result, the DEC received almost 70,000 public comments on their draft regulations—10 to 1 against.Although there is grassroots activity all over the state, it has not very well coordinated to put pressure on the Governor.
This benefit concert and rally in Albany was one of our first events).In the next couple weeks we will be rolling out a 1000 businesses against fracking. This will include farmers, wineries, breweries and restaurants.
We are also coordinating fast response social media actions focused on the Governor.Last week, the Governor sent out a test balloon saying he was considering limited fracking in the southern tier. During the last week we had an instant response:Flooded his office with callsStormed his Facebook pageHeld rallies across the state last week that generated a lot of great media coverageOrganized press event in Albany with all the green groups yesterday. We have fully expected that he might move ahead—our contingency plan is state legislation, which we are also organizing for.
One of the ways we are engaging people in NY and other places is by passing local resolutions that range from bans to disclosure of chemicals. Besides giving people a way to get involved, this part of a strategy to advocate for local control instates that have given jurisdictions this right in the state constitution or through legislatively. A number of groups are now talking about making local control campaigns a more central part of our work because it work to fight factory farms, fracking, animal waste incinerators and other site fights. In NY two of the bans have been challenged and have stood up in court-- in Dryden and Middlefield.
Moving forward: What’s needed on the ground are resources to create the political power to stop this. Of course research and assessments can be useful. But, the real battle is political. We need strong coordinated campaigns that build for national legislation and regulation. We need to fight for what we want, not just what can be negotiated.
Leaks, Spills, Explosions• Industry has
a poor track record:• High pressure injection causes leaks in well casing and blowouts of well equipment • Explosions have contaminated farmland and nearby waterways• Wastewater spills from trucks, storage bins and open wastewater pits • Cannot be fully prevented
Organizing Strategies to Build For
National Action• State ban bills• Local resolutions/ordinances• State legislation to give local control to municipalities to ban fracking in communities• State legislation to prevent import of fracking wastewater• Stopping pipelines, LNG terminal construction,