Friday, February 22, 2013


Dear Friends:

I am writing to thank you for your support in stopping fracking in New York and also alert you to an urgent situation at the federal level that we are moving on. This email is only received by organizational leaders, and it's crucial that you take action and share this with your networks.  

First, the great news from New York, where the Commissioner from the Department of Health just put the brakes on fracking, saying that, "...the impacts on the public health are properly considered before a state permits drilling."  Our thanks to Governor Cuomo and Dr. Shah for listening to the concerns of countless scientists and health professionals, not to mention the will of the people.  This campaign is far from over and New Yorkers Against Fracking will continue to keep the pressure on, but this is a major development. This success came right on the heals of our running an ad in the Des Moines Register signed onto by over 100 of your organizations, which called on Governor Cuomo to proceed with, "NOT ONE WELL." The ad was covered in Politico, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere and sent a strong message that fracking is a major issue that national leaders must respond to our growing movement.

Americans Against Fracking, thank you!  

We now have another looming and urgent challenge on the horizon:  The Obama Administration is about to tap Ernest Moniz, a fracking cheeleader, as his Energy Secretary.  Moniz serves as director of MIT’s Energy Initiative, whose founding members include Shell, Saudi Aramco, ENI and BP Technology Ventures, Inc. He supports fracked natural gas as a “bridge fuel” and has testified to congress that the environmental problems associated with fracking are “challenging but manageable.” This appointment could come as early as later today.  

On Monday, while 50,000 people were marching in Washington DC opposing the Keystone pipeline, fracking, and climate change, the president was enjoying a day of golf with gas and oil executives at a private club in Florida.  If this is a sign of things to come, we're in big trouble.  

Take action - and share this in your networks!  We need to get the word out and send a strong message to President Obama that if he is serious about climate change, he should not appoint someone who promotes our reliance on fracked gas. Below are two action alerts from Food & Water Watch and CREDO Action.  We encourage you to circulate one of these alerts, or create a petition of your own to put a stop to this disastrous decision!  

See Food & Water Watch's alert here.
See CREDO Action's alert here

Also, click to share this meme on your organization's Facebook page.

As this decision could be imminent, we are going to submit the letter below later today to President Obama to tell him that we need a climate leader in the Department of Energy - and Ernest Moniz is not that leader.  

Finally, we are a young coalition and we have a lot to figure out, but in the coming weeks, we will be sending out a survey to help determine how we can increase our impact and more fully involve all the organizations that make up Americans Against Fracking!  Stay tuned. 

Thanks for all you do!

David and the Americans Against Fracking Team 

Here is the Letter to President Obama:

Dear President Obama,

We are writing on behalf on Americans Against Fracking, a national coalition of over 190 national, state and local organizations, to oppose the rumored appointment of Dr. Ernest Moniz to the position of Secretary of Energy. While we appreciate your recent public comments about the need to address climate change, appointing Dr. Moniz, a proponent of hydraulic fracturing with close ties to the oil and gas industry, would be a major step backwards.

Fracking and drilling for gas and oil gas pose direct threats to our water, air, health, and climate. The risks and impacts on air and water have been well documented and are supported by extensive research (see attached partial list of citations). While effects on air and water are reason enough to reject fracking, research shows that drilling and fracking for natural gas contributes to climate change. The carbon dioxide emitted from burning natural gas contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change (Myhrvold and Caldeira, 2012). And, in addition to carbon dioxide, high-volume hydraulic fracturing releases significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere during the extraction, transport and processing of the gas.  Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 33 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over 100 years, and about 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years (Shindell et al. 2009).

As such, even small amounts of gas leaked into the atmosphere make enormous contributions to global warming. (Myhrvold and Caldeira, 2012). Increasing evidence, including a study led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, indicates that methane emissions from high volume hydraulic fracturing and related operations have been significantly underestimated by both the gas industry and the Environmental Protection Agency (Petron et al. 2012). The widespread use of natural gas is not a solution to climate change.

This is why your rumored appointment of Dr. Moniz is so disturbing. Moniz serves as director of MIT’s Energy Initiative, whose founding members include Shell, Saudi Aramco, ENI and BP Technology Ventures, Inc. The rest of the sustaining and associate members read as a who’s who of the oil and gas industry. Moniz views natural gas obtained by drilling and fracking as a key piece of our energy plan over the “next couple of decades.” In testimony before Congress in July 2011, he called “environmental risks, which arise from shale development” including “contamination of groundwater aquifers with drilling fluids or natural gas” “challenging but manageable.” He referred to natural gas as “a cost-effective bridge to…a low carbon future,” but we know based on research that natural gas is a bridge to nowhere.

Mr. President, we were heartened when you proclaimed your intention to act quickly to combat climate change in your 2013 inaugural address, stating that “we will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Those words were inspiring, and last weekend 50,000 people came to Washington D.C., to support you in those efforts. But actions speak louder than words and appointing a strong proponent of extracting dirty fossil fuels as our nation’s energy secretary will lead us in the wrong direction.

The person you choose as Secretary of Energy will be key to charting how we address climate change. We desperately need to move away from dirty fossil fuels towards a clean energy future, and we need an energy secretary who has the vision and the independence to do this. Please select someone who will fill that vision and do not appoint Dr. Ernest Moniz.

Citations for documentation of risks and impacts to air and water:

Bamberger, Michelle and Robert E. Oswald. “Impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health.” New Solutions, Scientific Solutions, vol. 22, iss. 1. January 2012 at 51 to 77

Colborn, Theo et al. “Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective." International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, vol. 17, iss. 5. September 2011 at 1041 and 1042

Entrekin, Sally et al. “Rapid expansion of natural gas development poses a threat to surface waters.” Frontiers in Ecology, vol. 9, iss. 9. October 2011 at 503

Finley, Bruce. “Drilling spills rise in Colorado, but fines rare.” The Denver Post. September 9, 2011.

Gilman, Jessica B. et al. “Source signature of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from oil and natural gas operations in northeastern Colorado.” Environmental Science & Technology. Accepted for publication January 14, 2013.

Kusnetz, Nicholas. “North Dakota’s oil boom brings damage along with prosperity.” ProPublica. June 7, 2012.

Lustgarten, Abrahm. “Buried Secrets: Is natural gas drilling endangering U.S. water supplies?” ProPublica. November 13, 2008.

McKenzie, Lisa M. et al. “Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 424. May 2012 at 79 to 87

Myers, Tom. “Potential contaminant pathways from hydraulically fractured shale to aquifers.” Ground Water. April 17, 2012 at 3 to 4

Osborn, Stephen G. et al. “Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 108, iss. 20. May 17, 2011 at 8173 and 8175.


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