The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Democratic Governors Received $3.5 Million in Dirty Energy Money in Last Five Years
By Rich Bindell
As fracking has made its way through several states, those concerned with its inherent dangers have vehemently voiced their opposition to the practice, but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. While communities across the country have pleaded for bans and long-term moratoriums on the practice, many state leaders have pushed forward with weak regulations, most of which have been created through consultation with industry. It’s obvious that industry, with its misleading promises relating to new jobs and improved local economies, has serious influence when it comes to state-level politics. But just how much influence do they have?
While it’s pretty evident that the oil and gas industry has long had strong support from within the Republican Party, what might not be obvious is how much financial support the industry has given to the Democrats, specifically to Democratic governors. As revealed in our new report, The Democratic Governors Association's Dirty Energy Money, some of America’s biggest oil and gas companies have donated approximately $3,555,281 to the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) since 2008.
If you’ve been following fracking news closely over the past few years, you’ll be rather familiar with most of the key donors, which include the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil, Dominion Resources, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Shell Oil, CONSOL Energy, Encana Oil & Gas, Chevron, Koch Industries, ConocoPhillips, Chesapeake and the American Gas Association. Most of these companies have much to gain from Maryland and New York if their governors help to approve fracking. And now it’s clear that the DGA has already gained quite a bit from the strong influence of the oil and gas industry.
With its campaign to keep America addicted to fossil fuels, the industry has recently turned to Maryland, where it has been infiltrating the political process in the Old Line State. Its goal is simple: to get Maryland’s leaders to approve fracking and begin granting drilling permits. Despite public opposition to fracking and concerns that more comprehensive study is needed before lifting the current moratorium, things have been moving rather quickly in Maryland.
Last April, the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, appointed by Gov. O’Malley, issued a draft report warning that fracking could have significant negative impacts in Maryland, echoing the concerns of many fracking opponents. Still, as has been happening in other states, Gov. O’Malley and other Maryland leaders are pushing forward with drilling as if it is inevitable, despite warnings contained in the Commission’s report.
In response, Americans Against Fracking, along with 24 national, state and local organizations, sent a letter to Gov. O’Malley expressing concerns about pushing forward with fracking despite the inherent dangers. In fact, O’Malley seems to be recommending that Maryland consult the oil and gas industry itself when crafting regulations, and he’s invited the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD)—a pro-industry group led by representatives from CONSOL Energy, Shell, Chevron, EQT Corporation and the Environmental Defense Fund—to the table.
We expect our leaders to look out for the safety and health of the communities they serve. Regulating fracking will not protect us against its harmful effects, and the path to the White House is not lined with oil and gas rigs. We need to ban fracking now.
Today, a strong alliance of advocates for clean water, public health and the environment will speak loudly in order to bring a halt to the rush to frack. Americans Against Fracking and Food & Water Watch will lead a coalition of environmental, public health and advocacy organizations to march outside of the DGA policy conference hosted by Gov. O’Malley. The march is the first of a few rallies planned for DGA conferences being held around the country, designed to get the attention of key Democratic governors, including Gov. O’Malley (MD), Gov. Quinn (IL), Gov. Hickenlooper (CO), Gov. Cuomo (NY) and Gov. Brown (CA).
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brian Barth
Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.
By Alison Cagle
Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.
Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.
By Nanticha Ocharoenchai
In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.