Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Voices and Votes Against Fracking Rang Out and Racked Up in 2014

Armed with a 10-gallon hat and a one-gallon milk jug, Burch Muldrow challenged standard operating procedure in a Texas oil patch. Here he compares a picture of the pool of sludge with the scene after the pit was covered. Credit: David Hasemyer/InsideClimate News) Click to Enlarge.
Across the country, from California to Ohio, people have gone to the ballot box to protect the air they breathe and the water they drink by enacting bans on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  They have gone to court to fight for their right to clean air and water.

They rent vans to haul people to meetings of government regulators to protest oil- and-gas development that intrudes on their lives.  They become reluctant activists who say they've been pushed too far.

"The public is becoming more educated on the issue," said Congressman Matt Cartwright, a Pennsylvania Democrat who has opened an investigation into the way states regulate the disposal of toxic waste generated by fracking.

"People are realizing that oil-and-gas operations are being conducted with little oversight and their health and our environment are at stake and that they need to stand up and have their voices heard," Cartwright wrote in an email interview.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, chemicals and sand down a well to crack open bedrock and extract fossil fuels.

Opponents are concerned about air, water, waste, noise and light pollution, and they argue that regulations are too weak.

A New Sophistication in the Public Pushback

Hundreds of cities, towns and counties in 25 states have passed measures regulating or banning fracking, according to data collected by Food & Water Watch, a watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C.

New York authorities announced a statewide fracking ban earlier this month, saying the controversial process could contaminate the state's air and water and pose public-health risks.
Bills are pending to reclassify oilfield waste as hazardous and to ban fracking on federally owned public land—a longshot in the face of a Republican takeover of Congress in January.

Read more at Voices and Votes Against Fracking Rang Out and Racked Up in 2014

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