Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Groups Gather at Nation's Capitol to Pressure Congress to Ban Fracking on Public Lands

Energy

Today, more than 15 advocacy groups gathered outside of the nation's Capitol, with Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-2) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) to deliver more than 350,000 petitions urging Congressional support of the Protect Our Public Lands Act, H.R. 1902. The legislation is the strongest anti-fracking bill introduced in Congress to date and would ban fracking on public lands. It was introduced this Earth Day by Reps. Pocan and Schakowsky and seven other original cosponsors. The bill now has 27 cosponsors.

“It’s clear from the over 350,000 petitions being delivered today that Americans across the country share my concerns about fracking and its impact on the environment,” said Rep. Pocan, the bill’s sponsor. “Our national parks, forests and public lands are some of our most treasured places and must be protected for future generations.”

“Our public lands are one of America’s greatest assets.  They have been preserved and protected by the federal government for over one hundred years,” said Rep. Schakowsky, an original cosponsor of H.R. 1902. “We owe it to future generations to maintain their natural beauty and rich biodiversity. The Protect Our Public Lands Act—which would prevent fracking damage to those lands—is an important step in that direction.”

“My constituents in New Jersey, and millions more Americans in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware all rely on clean drinking water from the Delaware River,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, another cosponsor of the bill. “Fracking there is a direct threat to their health, and to the green spaces and environment we’ve worked hard to protect. When people visit federal land—in New Jersey and around the country—they expect pristine landscapes, clean air and sparkling water. We can’t afford to put that at risk just because we’re unwilling to move away from fossil fuels.”

Fracking is a dangerous method of extracting oil and gas that has no place on our public lands. Fracking produces large volumes of toxic and even radioactive waste and risks accidents, leaks, spills and fires, while competing for scarce water resources, polluting the air and water, and exacerbating climate change.

“The evidence that fracking is bad for the environment, public health and local economies is staggering and the American people are taking notice, said Mitch Jones, senior policy advocate for Food & Water Watch. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country are demanding that America’s cherished public lands not be fracked. By passing The Protect Our Public Lands Act Congress can get on the right side of history: protecting national resources and heritage, while also decreasing America’s contribution to climate change."

About 20 percent of all potential U.S. oil and gas lies beneath public lands. Already, fracking companies lease more than 34 million acres of public lands, and more than 200 million more acres could be fracked in the future.

“Every year, the Department of the Interior hands over vast areas of publicly-owned land to the fracking industry to be pillaged for corporate profit,” said CREDO Action campaign manager Zack Malitz. “Encouraging fracking on public lands puts our air, water and the health of nearby communities at risk,” Malitz continued, adding, “if we want to stop the worst effects of climate change, we have to ban fracking on public lands.”

Read page 1

"Fracking has marred landscapes and ruined waterways around the country,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America. “Until this dirty drilling is banned altogether, the least we can do is keep it out of some of America’s most treasured natural areas—from Chaco Canyon to the White River to the George Washington National Forest.”

Mounting evidence shows that fracking threatens our air, water and public health. To make matters worse, reports have shown that existing fracking wells on public lands aren’t being adequately inspected, creating even more potential for disastrous accidents. Fracking on public lands also threatens more stable economic sectors like tourism and agriculture and creates socioeconomic instability in exchange for temporary, dangerous jobs.

By passing The Protect Our Public Lands Act Congress can get on the right side of history: protecting national resources and heritage. Photo credit: Food & Water Watch

“The scientific evidence of the myriad of health harms associated with fracking continues to grow,” said Karuna Jaggar, executive director of Breast Cancer Action. “That’s why today, we’re telling our legislators that there’s no place on our public lands for this inherently toxic process, which threatens to expose the public to harmful chemicals linked to increased risk of breast and other cancers.”

Unfortunately, oil and gas corporations have been drilling and fracking on public lands, without regard for the people who these lands were intended to be enjoyed, and not exploited by. Fracking has already seriously damaged our public lands and ground water, and areas buffering America’s most precious national parks and monuments are at increasing risk.

“When big energy corporations can pour unlimited money into our political system, their interests are able to overshadow the public good. Despite the outcry from ordinary Americans, fracking has already brought serious harm to our public lands,” said Rio Tazewell, campaign coordinator at People for the American Way. “We need real reform so our elected leaders are working for ordinary Americans instead of wealthy corporations.”

The following organizations were involved in today's event: Breast Cancer Action, Courage Campaign, CREDO, Center for Biological Diversity, Daily Kos, Deluge, Environment America, Environmental Action, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Nurses United, The Other 98%, People Demanding Action, People for the American Way, Presente.org and Progressive Democrats of America.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Bernie Sanders Demands DOJ Go After Exxon for ‘Covering Up’ Climate Change

MIT Students: We’re Sitting-In at President Reif’s Door Until He Divests From Fossil Fuels

Apple to Clean Up Act in China With Huge Investments in Renewable Energy

Johns Hopkins Study Links Fracking to Premature Births, High-Risk Pregnancies

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less