Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Winning the Debate on Fracking

Energy

Earthjustice

By Maria Beloborodova

Earthjustice Attorney Deborah Goldberg came out victorious in a July 1 Intelligence Squared debate over whether the natural gas boom in America is doing more harm than good. Arguing against the super-intensive development of natural gas, she targeted the reckless, breakneck speed at which the industry is progressing.

Goldberg asked, “So, what characterizes a boom?" and answered her own question.

It's big. It's sudden. And it blows a lot of smoke. And the natural gas boom is doing all of that to an extreme. It's too much. It's too fast. And the hype is just over the top.

The boom is devastating the environment, wrecking communities and diverting the focus away from the much needed development of renewable energies, Goldberg said, adding:

There are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to ensure that this industry can continue to operate without the science and without the protections we need. As a result, what we are hearing now is not how we're going to end our addiction to fossil fuels, but instead, a hundred years of gas.

Goldberg’s partner in the debate, Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program Director Kate Hudson, brought forward some strong points about the grim consequences of fracking: contamination of drinking water; exposure of communities living near fracking sites to serious pollutants; and the deceptive economic benefits of the gas boom, including some short-lived but extremely dangerous industry jobs.

Hudson argued for “trying to move towards a green economic future for our children, rather than having a fossil-fuel based industry come back.”

The pro-fracking side was presented by Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and Sue Tierney, former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Energy. They pushed the argument that natural gas is the “single best way to diminish coal production,” and tried to convince the audience that the natural gas boom is an enormous “gift” to Americans.

The two sides found some common ground on the issue of industry transparency and regulation: both agree that they must get better.

Goldberg criticized the industry for failing to publicly disclose the list of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing:

We do know, as a result of lots of public pressure, that some of the chemicals that are used in this process are toxic, but there are many chemicals that have never even been tested as to their toxicity, and we have no clue what they're going to do to our health or environment, in the short or the long term.

An overwhelming majority of the audience spoke out against the industry’s secrecy and its reckless pace of development, and demanded a safer solution for addressing the nation’s energy needs. Both points set the groundwork for Goldberg’s closing statement:

We need to scale back, slow down and resist the boom mentality. We do not have to drill hundreds of thousands of wells just because we can. We have to ignore the advertising slogans on both sides and stop living in a fantasy world of endless fossil fuel consumption without consequences.

When the votes were cast, 58 percent of the audience believed that fracking does more harm than good, officially designating Deborah Goldberg and Kate Hudson as the debate’s winners. The audience said “no fracking way” to the impulsive, profit-driven and uncontrolled experiment of natural gas drilling.

To listen to the debate, click here.

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

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Brian Sims ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test. Brian Sims / Facebook

Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.

Read More Show Less
Wolf pups with their mother at their den site. Design Pics / Getty Images

In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.

Read More Show Less
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says this is a historic step for the group. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Linda Lacina

World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.

Read More Show Less
Because of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, in-person sessions are less possible. Merlas / Getty Images

By Nicholas Joyce

The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.

Read More Show Less
A 17-year periodical cicada. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
"Most of this fossil fuel finance flowed to wealthier countries," the report says, noting that China (pictured), Canada, Japan, and Korea provided the most public finance for dirty energy projects from 2016 to 2018.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

An aerial view shows new vehicles that were offloaded from ships at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics on April 26, 2020 in Wilmington, California. "Vehicles are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in America," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. David McNew / Getty Images

Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

Read More Show Less