Activist Wednesday: No Fracking Way! Part Deux
Posted December 5, 2012on:
Many of us have weighed in about the holidays and how we feel various degrees of excitement or “bah humbug” about them. Well, count me in on the thankfulness side, because I feel like this has been a banner year for activism!
I’ll do more of a summary before the New Year, but let me just use one example: Fracking in New York has been stopped again! Our water is safe for now.
New York started 2012 promising to open vast areas of countryside in five Southern Tier counties to industrial gas drilling. In the face of unprecedented opposition—including a record 66,000 comments sent by people like you—New York ended the year in retreat. Fracking regulations for the Delaware River Basin were not finalized and New York has agreed to review fracking’s impact on public health, a key Riverkeeper concern.
There’s a lot going on with fracking. Matt Damon is making a movie about it that is freaking frackers out.
The premiere of a Hollywood film featuring hydraulic fracturing is months away, but the energy industry already is preparing for battle.
“Promised Land” stars Matt Damon as a gas-company salesman trying to lease natural-gas drilling rights in rural Pennsylvania, where fracking has become a widespread, though sometimes controversial, technique to release natural gas from shale deposits.
Worried that the movie will portray fracking in a negative light, the [energy] industry is working up responses that it says could include bombarding film reviewers with scientific studies, distributing leaflets to moviegoers and mounting a “truth-squad” effort on Twitter and FaceBook.
“We’ve been surprised at the emergence of what looks like a concerted campaign targeting the film even before anyone’s seen it,” said James Schamus, chief executive of Focus Features, a unit of Comcast Corp.’s Universal that produced and will distribute “Promised Land” in collaboration with Participant Media LLC. The film was written by Mr. Damon and actor John Krasinski and directed by Gus Van Sant.
Mr. Schamus might find it surprising that the oil and gas industry would be so threatened by the movie, but I don’t. Given the fact that it has spent untold millions (perhaps billions) on obscuring the very real and toxic effects of consuming and creating oil and gas products, it seems to me that the oil and gas industry’s actions are quite predictable. The bullies are back in action, trying to stay in business just long enough to enjoy their private islands in the Caribbean before they’re washed away by rising ocean levels.
Whatever the “truth squad” efforts produce will be just more sludge, fueled by the darkest of dark money. Awareness of how bad fracking is for the environment is growing. People are coming out in unprecedented numbers to protect their water against it, and it’s no wonder: the ramifications keep being revealed as worse and worse.
Despite the alarming water crisis the world is facing, private interests are polluting, exploiting and selling water — a resource essential for all life. A 2009 publication, sponsored by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and several for-profit multinational companies, predicted that by 2030 global freshwater demand would exceed available supplies by 40 percent.1 In addition to the increasing pollution and overuse of the available freshwater supply, climate change will exacerbate water shortages worldwide. In fact, a UN-Water report said, “…climate change is expected to account for about 20 percent of the global increase in water scarcity.”2
Yet the oil and gas industry continues to contribute to climate change and the water crisis by drilling and fracking for fossil fuels and siphoning off the water in our aquifers and watersheds. Water resources need to be protected, and the public’s best interest should be put before the interests of multinational corporations.
Heavens, what an old-fashioned thought! Thank goodness that old-fashioned is, like, totally “in” for the holidays. (Don’t believe me? Then why is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on right now? HMMMMMMM?)
Yup, I’m definitely feeling festive this year. Chanukkah starts on Saturday at sundown, and since I don’t like Adam Sandler or “Dreidl Dreidl Dreidl” all that much, I’ll leave you with one of my favorites from Barbra. Oh, sure, it’s not about Chanukkah, but it’s soooooo Jewish. She is even lighting candles…
Enjoy! This is an open thread.
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