Today more than a hundred people from 23 states traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress and demand that they take action to protect Americans from fracking.
Lobby day is part of the weeklong Stop the Frack Attack—the first national event focused on fracking.
Participants at the Stop the Frack Attack lobby day had the chance to hear from U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Jared Polis (D-CO), who introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act) in June 2009, a bill that would establish common sense safeguards to protect drinking water from risks associated with fracking.
The Frac Act (HR 1084), which was reintroduced by Rep. DeGette in 2011 and has 69 co-sponsors, would remove the oil and gas industry's exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking fluid.
In 2005, the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed by Congress to ensure clean drinking water free from both natural and man-made contaminants. Essentially, the exemption took the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency off the job. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole.
Stop the Frack Attack lobbyists spent the day, among other things, asking their elected officials to repeal the dangerous loopholes exempting the fracking industry from important environmental and public health protections.
During fracking, oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of water laced with secret toxic chemicals into the ground to force out oil and gas from hard-to-reach deposits. A fracking-enabled gas rush has been linked to reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, earthquakes, and industrial accidents and explosions.
People traveled from 23 states, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
“In recent months, what used to be only a local issue has become a national issue. Although there’s not a well in my backyard, we’re all impacted in some way or another. People need to wake up,” said Alex Nunnelly of Tampa, Florida.
“I’m here because fracking is hurting my friends, some of whom can’t speak out because they’ve been gagged by industry nondisclosure agreements,” said Nicole Sweet from Ohio.
For residents of Virginia, proposed drilling and fracking in the George Washington National Forest was a top concern. Ohioans expressed concern about fracking in their state parks and only national forest, the Wayne National Forest.
For more information on Stop the Frack Attack click here.
Stay tuned to EcoWatch for further coverage of Stop the Frack Attack.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a sweeping climate bill on Thursday that would have put the commonwealth on a path to eliminating carbon emissions by 2050.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ajit Niranjan
World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must "urgently step up action," according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Adaptation Has a Long Way to Go<p>The Adaptation Gap Report, now in its 5th year, finds "huge gaps" between what world leaders agreed to do under the 2015 <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">Paris Agreement</a> and what they need to do to keep their citizens safe from climate change.</p><p>A review by the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative of almost 1,700 examples of climate adaptation found that a third were in the early stages of implementation — and only 3% had reached the point of reducing risks.</p><p>Disasters like storms and droughts have grown stronger than they should be because people have warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests. The world has heated by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and is on track to warm by about 3°C by the end of the century.</p><p>If world leaders <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-performance-index-how-far-have-we-come/a-55846406" target="_blank">deliver on recent pledges</a> to bring emissions to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/joe-bidens-climate-pledges-are-they-realistic/a-56173821" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">net-zero</a> by the middle of the century, they could almost limit warming to 2°C. The target of the Paris Agreement, however, is to reach a target well below that — ideally 1.5°C. </p><p>There are two ways, scientists say, to lessen the pain that warming will bring: mitigating climate change by cutting carbon pollution and adapting to the hotter, less stable world it brings.</p>
The Cost of Climate Adaptation<p>About three-quarters of the world's countries have national plans to adapt to climate change, according to the report, but most lack the regulations, incentives and funding to make them work.</p><p>More than a decade ago, rich countries most responsible for climate change pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poorer countries. UNEP says it is "impossible to answer" whether that goal has been met, while an OECD study published in November found that between 2013 and 2018, the target sum had not once been achieved. Even in 2018, which recorded the highest level of contributions, rich countries were still $20 billion short.</p><p>The yearly adaptation costs for developing countries alone are estimated at $70 billion. This figure is expected to at least double by the end of the decade as temperatures rise, and will hit $280-500 billion by 2050, according to the report.</p><p>But failing to adapt is even more expensive.</p><p>When powerful storms like cyclones Fani and Bulbul struck South Asia, early-warning systems allowed governments to move millions of people out of danger at short notice. Storms of similar strength that have hit East Africa, like <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-after-cyclone-idai-building-climate-friendly-practices/a-54251885" target="_blank">cyclones Idai</a> and Kenneth, have proved more deadly because fewer people were evacuated before disaster struck.</p><p>The Global Commission on Adaptation estimated in 2019 that a $1.8 trillion investment in early warning systems, buildings, agriculture, mangroves and water resources could reap $7.1 trillion in benefits from economic activity and avoided costs when disasters strike.</p>
Exploring Nature-Based Solutions<p>The report also highlights how restoring nature can protect people from climate change while benefiting local communities and ecology.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-fires-risk-climate-change-bushfires-australia-california-extreme-weather-firefighters/a-54817927" target="_blank">Wildfires</a>, for instance, could be made less punishing by restoring grasslands and regularly burning the land in controlled settings. Indigenous communities from Australia to Canada have done this for millennia in a way that encourages plant growth while reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. Reforestation, meanwhile, can stop soil erosion and flooding during heavy rainfall while trapping carbon and protecting wildlife.</p><p>In countries like Brazil and Malaysia, governments could better protect coastal homes from floods and storms by restoring <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/mudflats-mangroves-and-marshes-the-great-coastal-protectors/a-50628747" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mangroves</a> — tangled trees that grow in tropical swamps. As well as anchoring sediments and absorbing the crash of waves, mangroves can store carbon, help fish populations grow and boost local economies through tourism. </p><p>While nature-based solutions are often cheaper than building hard infrastructure, their funding makes up a "tiny fraction" of adaptation finance, the report authors wrote. An analysis of four global climate funds that spent $94 billion on adaptation projects found that just $12 billion went to nature-based solutions and little of this was spent implementing projects on the ground.</p><p>But little is known about their long-term effectiveness. At higher temperatures, the effects of climate change may be so great that they overwhelm natural defenses like mangroves.</p><p>By 2050, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/rising-sea-levels-should-we-let-the-ocean-in-a-50704953/a-50704953" target="_blank">coastal floods</a> that used to hit once a century will strike many cities every year, according to a 2019 report on oceans by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the gold standard on climate science. This could force dense cities on low-lying coasts to build higher sea walls, like in Indonesia and South Korea, or evacuate entire communities from sinking islands, like in Fiji.</p><p>It's not a case of replacing infrastructure, said Matthias Garschagen, a geographer at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany and IPCC author, who was not involved in the UNEP report. "The case for nature-based solutions is often misinterpreted as a battle... but they're part of a toolkit that we've ignored for too long."</p>
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