6 Reasons to Celebrate the Growth of the Ban Fracking Movement
It's hard to recall a moment since last November's election sweep in Colorado as indicative of both the breadth and growing power of the movement to protect communities from fracking. Through a series of outrageous developments, we've also seen recently, the hypocrisy of big oil and gas and the government officials that promote their interests. Following an amazing few weeks of activism, fractivists everywhere have plenty of reasons to celebrate these days.
1. California Rising: The movement to ban fracking in California is growing at an incredible pace, and elected officials are starting to respond. Last Friday, following a packed hearing that reflected the diversity of Los Angeles, the City Council passed a motion to write a moratorium on fracking. This makes L.A. the largest city in the country to pass such a measure, and also follows the launch of California Farmers Against Fracking. Several other cities and counties are considering bans or moratoriums, and all of this helps build momentum to the big rally in Sacramento on March 15, where activists across the state will call on Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking.
2. Colorado Fight Goes Statewide: In the last two years, Food & Water Watch has worked to support allies on the ground in Colorado to pass ballot measures to ban or place moratoriums on fracking, which is threatening major population centers across the state. Following recent victories in Fort Collins, Broomfield, Lafayette and Boulder, last Monday we joined local allies to launch Local Control Colorado, a statewide measure that would affirm the power of communities to ban or otherwise restrict fracking. We've also learned that a measure to protect communities from fracking in Broomfield, which had been challenged in the courts, was upheld.
3. Connecticut Moves on Fracking Waste: While it has not received the attention of fights in California, New York or Colorado, there is a move in Connecticut to ban the disposal of fracking waste in the state. We've been working closely with Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Grassroots Environmental Education, and others, and last Friday, the legislature held its first hearing on the measure, taking testimony in front of a packed house of residents opposed to fracking waste. This was the first step in the legislative process, and the first committee vote should be later in March.
4. Pizza Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry: One of the most overlooked aspects of the dangers of fracking are the effects it imposes on workers. Jobs in the oil and gas industry are very risky, with high injury rates. Last week, after a gas well exploded in Green County, Pennsylvania injuring one worker and killing another, Chevron decided an apology was in order. But instead of taking the matter seriously, they instead had the gall to offer residents a free pizza and large soda as an apparent gesture of goodwill. Local residents were not amused, and our friends at Berks Gas Truth and Environmental Action organized a series of actions calling on Chevron to apologize. This was a major success, garnering more than 12,000 signature on a petition and significant media coverage, and further exposing the lack of regard major oil and gas companies have for communities.
5. Exxon CEO Hypocrisy Exposed: A lawsuit challenging a water tower intended to supply water to fracking sites has also attracted national attention. Notable here was that it was brought in part by Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon. Apparently its okay with Exxon if fracking poisons water, pollutes the air, ravages communities and destroys our climate, but if activities related to fracking interfere with the view out Tillerson's kitchen window, or the value of his 83-acre horse ranch, well, then, that's just not acceptable.
6. Governor Kasich—Fracking Hypocrite: Speaking of hypocrisy, it was recently revealed that Ohio Governor John Kasich's Department of Natural Resources was plotting a public relations plan to ease fracking in state parks. It envisioned coordinating with allies such as Halliburton and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, and named a long list of "eco-left adversaries" including two members of the state legislature. Once this was revealed, Kasich claimed he was not in favor of fracking in state parks because the regulatory framework was insufficient. This raises a key question—if fracking is not safe in state parks, why it is safe in our communities? The public pushed back, urging Kasich to come clean and release all information related to this incident.
These developments show that the movement to ban fracking grows stronger by the day. Fracking, and all the public health, environmental, economic and safety concerns that come with it, are not what our nation needs. Oil and gas are shortsighted, unsustainable energy sources. We all deserve a just, sustainable, frack-free future, so let's keep fighting for one.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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