By Steve Horn for DeSmog Blog. Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) — the controversial horizontal drilling technique used to extract oil and gas in shale basins around the U.S. and the world — has sat at the center of the debate over the Democratic Party’s draft platform set for a vote at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) convention in Philadelphia July 25-28. That platform was drafted and debated by a 15-member committee, with four members chosen by DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, five by Bernie Sanders and six by presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. After a fracking moratorium clause failed in a 7-6 vote at the DNC Platform Committee meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri from June 24-25, an amendment calling for President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan not to incentivize fracked gas power plants also did not pass at the July 8-9 DNC Platform Committee meeting held in Orlando, Florida.
By Lee Fang and Steve Horn for The Intercept – WHEN MORE THAN 300 protesters assembled in May at the Holiday Inn in Lakewood, Colorado — the venue chosen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for an auction of oil and gas leases on public lands — several of the demonstrators were in fact undercover agents sent by law enforcement to keep tabs on the demonstration, according to emails obtained by The Intercept. The “Keep it in the Ground” movement, a broad effort to block the development of drilling projects…
By Nika Knight for Common Dreams. Philadelphia, PA – Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have conclusively shown that living close to fracking operations significantly increases asthma sufferers’ risks of attacks, adding urgency to the battle against fracking within the Democratic Party as it prepares to convene in Philadelphia next week. The study, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at 35,000 medical records in Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2012. The state has long been host to a controversial fracking boom, and many have clamored for politicians to pay attention to the industry’s irreversible damage to the land and human health. “This study’s findings confirm what we have known for years—that fracking is an inherently hazardous process that threatens human health and safety every day. More than 17 million Americans live within a mile of a fracking site, and they are all at risk,”
By Robby Diesu for Popular Resistance. Five activists took part in an action this morning to scale a pair of 60-foot flagpoles at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, attaching a 625-square-foot banner. Three activists were arrested by the Cleveland Police Department. The team of activists involved in the fight against fracking and the immigration justice movement took action to show the interconnected nature of these fights for justice. Activists hope to demonstrate that while Trump is calling for the building of a wall with Mexico, social movements are breaking down the barriers that have prevented them from working together. “Through the power of direct action, our movements can and will stop the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump, and continue to push Hillary Clinton to ban fracking and stop the deportations.”
By Jonathan Crawford for Bloomberg – Tony Clark was wrapping up dinner with his family when the doorbell rang. He didn’t need to answer. He already knew who it was. Anti-fracking activists had followed him home, taping “wanted-style” posters with his face plastered on them across his leafy suburban neighborhood outside of Washington. Coming up to his front door was the last straw. He called the police. And as they arrived, Clark’s 9-year-old son asked: “Why are the police here? Is it because you work for the government?”
By Seth Gladstone for Food and Water Watch – Washington, D.C. – Today, more than 100 families personally affected by fracking sent a letter to President Obama asking for him to meet with them in advance of the Democratic National Convention, where impacted people from across the country will be coming to participate in a march calling for a ban on fracking and extreme fossil fuel extraction and a swift transition to renewables. “We are here to ask you and ranking EPA officials to meet with our families to hear the personal testimonies…
By Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic for Public Herald. Pittsburgh, PA – Investigative news nonprofit Public Herald and more than 50 organizations and individuals (including Green Party Candidate for President, Jill Stein) are calling for a federal criminal investigation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) “for failing to act on drinking water contamination related to shale hydrocarbon development, a.k.a. fracking, and placing public health at risk.” An open letter and petition calling for the federal investigation has been published at Change.org and is currently receiving signatures. The request cites evidence from a 30-month investigation by Public Herald which found “nine ways DEP systematically keeps water contamination cases ‘off the books.’”
By Steve Horn for Desmog – On June 24, the independent news website TruthOut broke a doozy of a story: the Obama Administration hassecretly approved over 1,500 instances of offshore hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the Gulf of Mexico, including during the Deepwater Horizon offshore spill disaster. Albeit released on a Friday, a day where many mainstream media reporters head out of the office early and venture to late-afternoon and early-evening Happy Hour specials at the bars, the TruthOut story has received deafening silence by the corporate-owned media apparatus.
By Nancy Wilson for Resist the Pipeline & Stop the West Roxbury Lateral. Twenty-six people were arrested for disrupting cement pouring at the construction site of the controversial West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. The West Roxbury Lateral is part of Spectra Energy’s massive pipeline expansion project, which aims to transport gas from the shalefields of Pennsylvania through the Northeastern United States to Canada, where several large Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals are being built. This project has been met with massive public dissidence from local residents of West Roxbury and their many allies. In addition to the 26 arrestees, at least 100 sang, chanted, held banners and stood in solidarity with them as they were handcuffed and driven away in police wagons. Organizers are expecting upwards of 125 people to risk arrest over the course of the week and hundreds more to rally in support of this week of actions, which they are calling, “Escalation Summer”.
By Timothy Cama for The Hill – A federal judge appointed by President Obama struck down the administration’s regulation on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands on Tuesday, ruling that the Interior Department does not have congressional authority to regulate fracking. The decision is a major loss for the administration, which worked for years to update its oil and natural gas drilling regulations to account for dramatic increases and innovations in fracking.
By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – Researchers tested air pollution in Pavillion, Wyo., along with local residents, suggesting a link between the toxic chemicals released and biological impacts. A new study brings researchers and environmental advocates closer than ever to tracing whether toxic chemicals spewing out of natural gas production sites are making their way into the bodies of people who live and work nearby.
By Mark Hand for Counter Punch – The name of her new book is Frackopoly, but author Wenonah Hauter tackles issues beyond hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. She writes about energy spats past and present, explaining why she believes the energy industry won most of these fights and succeeded in monopolizing U.S. energy policy-making over the past 100 years. But momentum, she notes, has shifted slightly toward the people over the past half-dozen years.
By Staff of Beyond Extreme Energy – Activists from Beyond Extreme Energy interrupted the Virginia Energy Policy Forum in Hampton today to dramatize forcefully our conviction that current policies of the U.S. government, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dominion Resources and others represented at the event are wrong-headed and dangerous. As U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was addressing the forum, BXEers Steve Norris and Lee Stewart walked in front of the stage carrying a banner that said: “NO LNG EXPORTS.” and “Guys, we ain’t asking … Clean Energy Now.”
By Rising Tide Vermont. Monkton, Vt. – A six day aerial blockade of Vermont Gas Systems’ fracked gas pipeline has ended with one arrest and significant delays at a construction site along the proposed route. Sam Jessup, who occupied a platform in a tree since last Tuesday to halt construction activity, came down voluntarily after police disconnected the cell phone he was using to communicate with supporters on the ground. “As we continue to effectively halt pipeline construction, we are seeing an escalation in tactics from the police in their response,” said Will Bennington, a spokesperson with the climate justice group Rising Tide Vermont. “AT&T has reported to us that Sam’s phone was disconnected from nearby cell towers, and state troopers confirmed that they had ‘other tricks up our sleeves’ to disrupt the action, including interfering with the cell phone.”