Washington, D.C. - A coalition of climate and environmental justice groups delivered over 90,000 petitions to the Democratic National Committee demanding that a ban on fracking be included in the party platform. The DNC platform committee is holding a public forum to receive input on this year’s platform today in Washington D.C. Petitions were collected and delivered by Food & Water Watch, Climate Hawks Vote, Environmental Action, Honor the Earth, MoveOn.org, and 350.org.
“The Democratic Party has been complicit in the U.S. fracking boom which is poisoning communities and our climate,” said Emily Wurth, Water Program Director for Food & Water Watch. “Any serious plan to combat climate change must include a ban on fracking, and as the committee develops the platform, they should heed the calls of the growing movement to ban fracking and keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
In addition to the petitions delivered Wednesday, a massive anti-fracking protest is planned for Philadelphia on July 24, the day before the Democratic National Convention begins. The March for a Clean Energy Revolution is expected to draw thousands, and is demanding a ban on fracking, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and a just transition to 100% renewable energy. The march and its demands have been endorsed by over 400 organizations.
“The climate crisis and the need for more urgent action are accelerating. The science is in: fracked natural gas, like other extreme energy, is a climate killer. The Obama-era ‘all of the above’ energy policy needs to end, beginning with the party platform,” said RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote.
More than 137,000 fracking wells have been drilled in the U.S. since 2005, putting over 15 million Americans within a mile of an oil or gas well. This boom was in part a result of President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy, which promoted the increased use of natural gas.
Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director at Honor the Earth said, “Around the world, indigenous peoples are disparately impacted by destructive hydraulic fracturing projects. We are often located in rural areas, the kinds of places that are out of sight, out of mind. But we can no longer ignore the climate crisis that is happening – Mother Earth continues to get hotter, the sea is rising, the ecological framework is crumbling while extractive industries expend our finite water resources. Native peoples are the United States’ first climate change refugees; they will not be the last. It’s well past time for elected officials to defend our collective futures, end their support of fossil fuels, and move into the clean energy era.”
“The fact that 15 million people live within 1 mile of a fracking well is only part of the story,” added Anthony Rogers-Wright, Policy Director at Environmental Action. “As we dig deeper, we learn those 137,000 fracking wells are most likely to be sited in communities of color. This is the face of fracking in America: Latino, Native, African American and other communities are disproportionately impacted by the toxic effects of fracking and its infrastructure. It's time for the DNC, a political party that is totally dependent on the participation of People of Color, to show that our health is as important as our votes. Including a fracking ban in the party platform is an essential step to demonstrate this."
A recent Gallup poll found that for the first time, a majority of Americans are opposed to fracking. In recent years, hundreds of communities across the country have banned fracking. Vermont and New York have statewide bans in place, and communities in many other states have passed county and municipal ordinances banning fracking, including California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, and New Mexico.
“Gas is a fossil fuel just like coal and oil, and fracking for it is making climate change worse every single day. Fracked gas poisons water, releases harmful emissions into the air, carries the risk of catastrophic leaks like the one at Porter Ranch, and is a threat to public health -- especially for vulnerable and low-income communities of color. We need a rapid and just transition to an economy powered entirely by clean energy, and that begins with shutting off the tap on carbon-loaded fuels like gas,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve.
“History will not be kind to those who insist on continued burning of fossil fuels long after the science of climate change was crystal clear,” said Ben Wikler, Washington Director for MoveOn.org. “The Democratic Party Platform Committee should echo the voices of grassroots activists and the public at large and state unequivocally that fracking has no place in our clean-energy future.”
“Young voters are at the heart of the electorate, and we are demanding real climate leadership,” said Anna Bonomo, a Pennsylvania native and student organizer at American University. “The DNC must stand with those it claims to represent instead of continuing to cater to the fossil fuel industry, and end the Democratic party's embarrassing pro-fracking policy.”