New Yorkers Tell Hillary Clinton: No to Fracking, Yes to Renewables
Last week, Hillary Clinton gave a lecture on a range of topics at Hamilton College in Oneida County, NY. Unfortunately, she was gravely wrong to tout the fact that the U.S. is seeing record-breaking oil and gas production as good news, which is tied to the expansion of fracking. We hope that Ms. Clinton will consider the facts and reconsider her position.
Dear Ms. Clinton,
We are writing to you from upstate New York, a place you recently called “a land of treasures.” We write on behalf of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition which includes more than 200 organizations, 1,000 business owners and 300 faith leaders from across this great state. We appreciate this “land of treasures” every day of our lives and we want you to know that turning our lands into an industrial wasteland from fracking has no place in our environmental or economic future.
In upstate New York this summer, hundreds of residents around Hamilton College were forced to evacuate due to extreme flooding. Even worse, two years ago, Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on the area.
Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report showing that most of the planet’s warming in recent decades is human-caused. The report serves as a dire warning that we must drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere, or face irreversible and very damaging impacts.
Also among the IPCC’s findings was that methane traps even more heat in the atmosphere than we thought, or in other terms, that methane is disastrous for the climate. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other independent scientists have found, fracking operations release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
Fracking also requires and permanently destroys enormous quantities of fresh water. That’s particular reason for concern given a recent U.S. State Department report showing that the U.S. will face a serious freshwater shortage by 2030, with demand exceeding supply by 40 percent.
So is it really so great that we are expanding extreme energy extraction more than ever?
No, it’s not. That’s a backward, twentieth-century belief, and it’s time for you to stop buying and touting the line from big oil and gas.
Listen to the IPCC. Listen to nearly all of the world’s scientists. Consider the havoc brought by so many extreme weather events, and the costs they impose —both monetarily and in human life. In Oneida County, consider how the impacts of climate change have turned the community upside down multiple times in just a couple of years.
And when it comes to fracking, consider the significant and growing body of science showing demonstrable harms—water contamination, air pollution, serious public health impacts, environmental destruction, etc. Consider, for instance, that evidence of a link between fracking and water contamination prompted both Tom Jacobus, managing director of the Washington Aqueduct and George Hawkins, general manager of Washington DC’s water supply to call for a prohibition on fracking near the nation’s capital. Or that a new scientific study last week shows that radiation in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny River is one of the many toxic legacies of fracking. Unfortunately, when it comes to fracking, news like this is far too common, as more and more ill effects are revealed each week. Please stop turning a blind eye to the science and harms of fracking.
Such science is why this holds true: the more New Yorkers learn about fracking, the more they oppose it. In upstate, the latest poll shows opposition at 52-34 percent. The same is the case across the country. In California, opposition to fracking is 53-32 percent. Nationally, opposition is 49-46 percent and quickly growing.
In upstate New York, residents have been on the receiving end of an onslaught of oil and gas industry propaganda for more than five years. We’ve broken through their slick ads and lies, looked to the science and as such overwhelmingly reject fracking. Just as we’re not buying it from the oil and gas industry, we won’t buy it from you and we urge you to do what we have done: look at the science, visit areas affected by fracking and join us in promoting renewable energy and the better future it will bring.
That’s what would be great—if you would come to upstate New York and tout renewable energy and efficiency, which creates more jobs and protects public health and the environment.
In the meantime, we respectfully invite you to visit Dimock, PA, to see first-hand the impacts of fracking and talk to the affected residents.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Trump Denies CDC Director's 2021 Timeline for Coronavirus Vaccine ›
- Trump Orders Hospitals to Stop Sending COVID-19 Data to CDC ... ›
- Two White House Staffers Test Positive for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Admin to Disband Coronavirus Task Force - EcoWatch ›
- Pence Offers 'Prayers' as Hurricane Laura Hits Gulf Coast While ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.
- Covering the 2020 Elections as a Climate Story - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Delays 2020 Earth Overshoot Day by Three Weeks ... ›
By Elliot Douglas
The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.
- German Business Leaders Call for Climate Action With COVID-19 ... ›
- Climate Activists Protest Germany's New Datteln 4 Coal Power Plant ... ›
By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.