Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Environmental Defense Fund: Stop Your Sell-Out to the Gas Industry

Energy

Food & Water Watch

By Wenonah Hauter

I have news for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF): the fracking activist community is shocked that you received $6 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to advocate for fracking regulations. And we aren’t going to stand for it.

EDF says that they’ll be working for “responsible” regulation in 14 states. Of course, this is just double speak that means swooping into states where there is a strong grassroots movement against fracking and shilling for the oil and gas industry. They will claim to represent environmentalists while they promote regulation that is so weak even the gas industry can live with it.

Of course, everyone in the environmental movement knows that this is EDF’s modus operandi. In fact, for years, public interest advocates have rolled their eyes and complained to one another in private about how EDF undercuts their work time and time again. But, everyone is afraid to speak out because they might upset funders, who are turned off by disagreements among environmentalists.

Maybe it’s time to redefine exactly what protecting the environment means. People are ready to fight for what they really want. They don’t want to settle for some weak compromise that was negotiated without a strong fight.

And this time, EDF has met their match. Grassroots activists in communities facing fracking are not beholden to corporations or conservative foundations for funding. They’re tired of the same old game where national green groups undermine their work. Fractivists will never stand still and allow EDF or any other group to come into their state with weak “model legislation” that is simply an industry proposal in disguise.

This is about our children and grandchildren’s future. Fracked gas is no solution to climate change. Cornell University found that methane emissions from shale gas drilling are at least 30 percent higher than those from conventional gas, and may be just as severe as coal. There is absolutely no evidence that shale gas will improve the outlook for the ongoing crisis of global warming. A better strategy is to move away from fossil fuels altogether—not to lock us in to a future dependent on natural gas.

This is especially true since the oil and gas industry is misusing our water supplies at a time when we face increasing droughts that are also associated with climate change. I recently attended an industry conference—the first “summit” of the oil, gas and water industry. Some big numbers about the ongoing use of water resources were exposed at this corporate shindig. An official from Aquatech BV said that 2.4 trillion gallons of produced water (i.e. polluted water) are generated from oil and gas operations in the U.S. each day, and in the rest of the world, another 5.7 trillion gallons of produced water are generated each day—adding up to a total daily volume of 8.1 trillion gallons of polluted water. This is enough to cover the entire area of the United States 3 feet deep every year. The volume of produced water is increasing at a rate of 8 percent annually according to an official at GE Power.

Further, it seems like almost every week a new study comes out about the dangers of fracking. Stony Brook University published an article in the journal Risk Analysis this month that found substantial water pollution risks to rivers and other waterways from the disposal of fracking wastewater. A University of Texas seismologist tracked earthquakes in the Barnett Shale in Texas and found a correlation between the disposal of fracking wastewater in underground injection wells and small earthquake activity. The research will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month.

The truth is that fracking is no way to address climate change. Instead, the rapid expansion of the drilling process has brought rampant environmental and economic problems to rural communities. Accidents and leaks have polluted rivers, streams and drinking water supplies. Regions peppered with drilling rigs have high levels of smog as well as other airborne pollutants, including potential carcinogens. Rural communities face an onslaught of heavy truck traffic—often laden with dangerous chemicals used in drilling—and declining property values. The “bridge fuel” of fracking could well be a bridge to nowhere.

My advice to EDF is to return the money. They will be further discredited in the environmental movement if they pursue this strategy. And eventually, as more people catch on, they will be discredited among not only policymakers and the media, but their membership too.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Earth's atmosphere. NASA

By Jeremy Deaton

You may have heard about the hole in the ozone layer, which hovers over Antarctica. It has shrunk over time thanks to policies that curbed the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. In the nearly 40 years that NASA has kept track, it has never been smaller. That's the good news.

Read More Show Less
Garden interns learn plant and weed identification at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Cheyenne River Youth Project / Facebook

By Stephanie Woodard

Many Americans are now experiencing an erratic food supply for the first time. Among COVID-19's disruptions are bare supermarket shelves and items available yesterday but nowhere to be found today. As you seek ways to replace them, you can look to Native gardens for ideas and inspiration.

Read More Show Less
Although considered safe overall, aloe vera does carry the risk of making some skin rashes worse. serezniy / Getty Images

By Kristeen Cherney

Skin inflammation, which includes swelling and redness, occurs as an immune system reaction. While redness and swelling can develop for a variety of reasons, rashes and burns are perhaps the most common symptoms. More severe skin inflammation can require medications, but sometimes mild rashes may be aided with home remedies like aloe vera.

Read More Show Less
There are plenty of things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint to make a less harmful impact on the environment. ipopba / Getty Images

By Katie Lambert and Sarah Gleim

The United Nations suggests that climate change is not just the defining issue of our time, but we are also at a defining moment in history. Weather patterns are changing and will threaten food production, and sea levels are rising and could cause catastrophic flooding across the globe. Countries must make drastic actions to avoid a future with irreversible damage to major ecosystems and planetary climate.

Read More Show Less
Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Sleep is one of the pillars of optimal health.

Read More Show Less

Junjira Konsang / Pixabay

By Matt Casale

For many Americans across the country, staying home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) means adapting to long-term telework for the first time. We're doing a lot more video conferencing and working out all the kinks that come along with it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Looking south from New York City's Central Park. Ajay Suresh / Wikipedia / CC BY 4.0

By Richard leBrasseur

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered humans' relationship with natural landscapes in ways that may be long-lasting. One of its most direct effects on people's daily lives is reduced access to public parks.

Read More Show Less