New Yorkers Join Global Frackdown to Support a Ban on Fracking
On Sept. 22, 11 cities and towns across New York (including two in the Southern Tier) and organizations including New Yorkers Against Fracking, Food & Water Watch, Frack Action and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPRIG), are poised to take part in the Global Frackdown, a series of more than 100 actions taking place around the world in an international day of action to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. A recent poll showed that more people in Upstate New York oppose fracking than support it.
“We hope that Governor Cuomo and the [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation] (DEC) will do what the science says—and protect New Yorkers from the dangerous effects of fracking,” said Alex Beauchamp from Food & Water Watch. “There is no question—the more New Yorkers learn about fracking, the more scared they become.”
Accidents and spills at drilling and fracking sites contaminate land, risking farmland and streams.[i] Contamination of underground sources of drinking water with methane and other hydrocarbon gases is a common problem.[ii] Local air pollution also accompanies drilling and fracking, and there are numerous reports of mysterious health problems linked to such pollution.[iii] Intense truck traffic destroys roads and increases the likelihood of dangerous accidents and spills.[iv]
"As I raise my infant child, I implore Governor Cuomo to protect the air, water and NY food he needs to grow up healthy. I implore Governor Cuomo to ban fracking," said Logan Adsit, from the town of Pharsalia in Chenango County.
"Governor Cuomo must take heed of the rapidly growing and unwavering opposition to fracking not only across New York State but also across the country. We urge him to be a pioneering leader by banning fracking and leading the country in renewable energy," said John Armstrong of Frack Action.
Initiated by the consumer advocacy organization Food & Water Watch, the Global Frackdown will highlight the environmental and public health risks associated with this increasingly controversial energy extraction method. Through the process of blasting millions of gallons of water and carcinogenic chemicals underground to release natural gas and oil from tight rock formations, drilling and fracking has been linked to water contamination and climate change. To date, over 250 communities around the world have taken action against fracking.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
[i] Olson, Laura. “Chesapeake says Bradford County fluid and gas leak is under control.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 22, 2011; Aaron, G. Jeffrey. “Pa. fracking blowout spews fluid onto state forest lands.” The Ithaca Journal. Jan. 25, 2011; Warco, Kathie O. “Fracking truck runs off road; contents spill.” Observer-Reporter (Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania). Oct. 21, 2010; York, Kate and Brad Bauer. “Fracking wastewater leaked onto Ohio roads.” The Marietta Times (Ohio). Dec. 24, 2011; “Waste from Marcellus shale drilling in Cross Creek Park kills fish.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 5, 2009; Whong, Jason. “Police probe fracking fluid spill in Bradford County.” Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York). Jan. 11, 2012; Maykuth, Andrew. “Pa. suspends gas drilling at Marcellus rupture site.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 7, 2010; Schneyer, Joshua and Selam Gebrekidan. “Denbury plugs North Dakota oil well leak.” Reuters. Sept. 3, 2010; Winter, Deena. “Welcome to boomtown: oil production raises health concerns.” Great Plains Examiner (Bismarck, North Dakota). Jan. 10, 2012.
[ii] “Tests: Pa. gas drilling town’s water still fouled.” Associated Press. Oct. 15, 2011; Lustgarten, Abrahm. “So, is Dimock’s water really safe to drink?” ProPublica. March 20, 2012; Osborn, Stephen G. et al. “Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 108, No. 20. May 17, 2011 at 8172 to 8173; Urbina, Ian. “A tainted water well, and concern there may be more.” The New York Times. Aug. 3, 2011; United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory. “Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming.” Draft. (EPA 600/R-00/000.) December 2011 at xi and xiii; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. [Press Release]. “DEP reaches agreement with Cabot to prevent gas migration, restore water supplies in Dimock Township.” Nov. 4, 2009.
[iii] McKenzie, Lisa M. et al. “Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 424. May 2012 at 79 to 87; Bamberger, Michelle and Robert E. Oswald. “Impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health.” New Solutions, Scientific Solutions, vol. 22, iss. 1. January 2012 at 51 to 77; Lustgarten, Abrahm and Nicholas Kusnetz. “Science lags as health problems emerge near gas fields.” ProPublica. Sept. 16, 2011; Wolf Eagle Environmental. “Town of DISH, Texas Ambient Air Monitoring Analysis: Final Report.” Sept. 15, 2009 at 6; Steingraber, Sandra. Ithaca College. Testimony on Health Impacts of Hydraulic FracturingTechniques. Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Health. New York State Assembly. May 26, 2011 at 11, 12, 18 and 19; Colborn, Theo et al. “Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective." International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 17, Iss. 5. September 2011 at 1039 to 1056.
[iv] Reppert, Julie. “Collision spills fracking fluid on state route.” Williamsport Sun-Gazette (Pennsylvania). Dec. 27, 2011; Efstathiou, Jim. “Taxpayers pay as fracking trucks overwhelm rural cow paths.” Bloomberg News. May 15, 2012.
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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