A true tale of corruption and greed, Frackopoly exposes how more than 100 years of political influence peddling facilitated the control of our energy system by a handful of corporations and financial institutions. But, even in such dire circumstances, people are standing up to the corporations and forcing their policymakers to take action. Frackopoly chronicles the power generated by an exciting grassroots movement that is not only fighting to ban fracking — it is helping to take back our democracy.
Fracking pollutes our air and drinking water, hurts communities, worsens climate change, and is linked to earthquakes. It is unacceptable that the oil and gas industry profits off fracking at our expense. It’s time to say no to fracking, and yes to clean, renewable energy.
What Is Fracking?
Fracking, short for “hydraulic fracturing,” is a destructive process that corporations including Halliburton, BP and ExxonMobil use to extract oil and natural gas from rock formations deep underground. They drill a well and inject millions of gallons of toxic fracking fluid – a mix of water, sand and harsh fracking chemicals – at extreme enough pressure to fracture the rock and release the oil or gas.
Fracking Facts: The Dangers of Fracking
The entire fracking process — from drilling a well to dealing with the resulting toxic waste — endangers our water and the health of our communities. There is clear evidence of the growing damage caused by fracking:
- Fracking makes people sick. Some people who live near fracking sites have beome seriously ill from polluted air and contaminated water. Others can light their tap water on fire due to the amount of methane in the water.
- Chemicals used in fracking are toxic. Thanks to government loopholes, the oil and gas industry isn't required to disclose the chemicals they use -- but research has found that many are known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.
- Fracking hurts our communities. Communities with fracking have seen declines in property values, increases in crime, and losses in local tourism and agriculture. Pipelines, oil trains and other infrastructure to support fracking add to these harms.
- Fracking means more climate change. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas driving climate change. Methane leaks from the fracking industry sites, making natural gas as bad for the climate as coal and oil.
Why Should We Ban Fracking?
In the United States, drilling and fracking are exempt from the landmark environmental laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, thanks to loopholes Congress and regulators have carved out for oil and gas corporations – and spills and accidents are far too common. Food & Water Watch maintains that the fracking process, from constructing well sites to managing toxic fracking waste, is too risky to be regulated. Regulations can never make fracking safe. Fracking also prolongs our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels, delaying policies that will bring us truly clean, renewable energy. Claims that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” ignore the fact that it is a dangerous fossil fuel with serious climate impacts in its extraction, and relying on it does nothing to move us to renewable energy.
Corporate influence over our democracy is one of the biggest threats to our food and water, and has paved the way for more fracking. Learn more about how a handful of oil and gas companies control the public debate over energy and fracking, and discover the policies and influence peddling that have led to the growth of the fracking industry and how a growing movement is working to ban fracking in Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment by our executive director, Wenonah Hauter.
The Fracking Industry is Pushing to Invade New Markets And Expanding Petrochemicals
Fracked gas is so abundant and unprofitable that the industry is now looking to save its profits through plastics manufacturing — and the pollution that comes with it. The plastics industry uses petrochemical manufacturing to transform ethane into plastics and other products. This is inherently toxic, polluting the environment and imposing public health risks on petrochemical workers and the communities near the plants.
Running out of places to sell their fracked gas and oil in the United States, the industry has also won a repeal of the crude oil export ban and is plotting to build infrastructure for a Transatlantic fossil fuel trade. This is so U.S. fracking companies can sell their gas, oil, and petrochemicals around the world. If we don’t ban fracking, the industry will use this expansion to continue to undermine the critical transition to clean renewable energy.
The movement to stop fracking is strong and growing. Communities around the world are uniting around the call to ban fracking, and they’ve proven in New York, Maryland and in communities across the country that people power can win against corporations. Food & Water Watch has supported this growing movement in many ways: including with ground-breaking research and powerful grass-roots organizing in the United States and beyond, and by sponsoring the Global Frackdown.
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