Progressive Democrats, Allies, Urge the Obama Administration to Protect Communities, Public Lands

Who: A coalition of 275 environmental and other organizations What: Urging a complete ban on "Fracking" in public lands Where: At the White House and the Bureau of Land Management Why: To protect Americans from radioactive and other pollution
WASHINGTON - Aug. 22, 2013 - PRLog -- For Release 11 AM ET August 22, 2013

Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch,, (202) 683.4905
    Mike Hersh, Progressive Democrats of America, (301)-602-9388

Washington, D.C.—Today, a coalition of 275 organizations including Progressive Democrats of America, Americans Against Fracking, Food & Water Watch, CREDO Action,, MoveOn, Environmental Action, United For Action, Berks Gas Truth and many others are delivering more than 625,000 petition signatures urging President Obama and the Bureau of Land Management to protect Americans from hazardous methane extraction.

In June, President Obama committed himself to a Climate Action Plan. Yet drilling and fracking for oil and natural gas will only make the problem worse. Therefore, this large and growing coalition will urge the federal government to ban the highly controversial practice known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on public lands. This rally and petition delivery will amplify the message sent by the approximately 8,000 Americans who called the White House yesterday, also telling the President to protect communities from the negative effects of franking.

A letter sent to the President by Americans Against Fracking and its coalition partners today explained, "The Bureau of Land Management controls access to over 700 million acres of federally owned mineral rights, most of which are beneath federal public and Native American land. The oil and gas industry has drilled more than three thousand new wells, most of which will be or have been freaked."

Mike Hersh, a MoveOn volunteer organizer in Maryland and Maryland Coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America said, "President Obama has a responsibility to live up to his commitment to reduce climate change and move our country to a clean energy future, and he can do that today by banning fracking on our public lands."

Hersh added, "Today marks the largest demonstration of public support for President Obama to ban fracking. MoveOn members have submitted more than 165,000 comments to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and are organizing in 40 states to protect our water, our climate, and our communities."

Zack Malitz, campaign manager for CREDO said, "As President Obama calls for urgent action on climate change, it makes no sense to usher in a new, monumental threat to our climate, with a massive expansion of fracking for oil and gas on public lands," and added, "President Obama should ban fracking on public lands."

Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said, "Expanding the use of natural gas through accelerated drilling and fracking will prove disastrous for the planet. If President Obama truly wants to curb climate change, he would listen to the science and ban fracking."

Jason Kowalski, policy director for said, "The Keystone XL fight is proof that everyday people can fight toe-to-toe with the fossil fuel industry to stop climate change. Fracking is unlocking new carbon reserves, and this is carbon that climate scientists say we can't afford to burn. President Obama takes climate change seriously, so he knows we can't simply frack our way out of this problem."

Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute said, "Americans want President Obama to protect our beautiful public lands from fracking pollution. This inherently dangerous technology contaminates our air and water and disrupts our climate. The president has a duty to protect our environment and our communities by standing up to the oil and gas industry and prohibiting fracking in these wonderful wild places."

Drew Hudson of Environmental Action said, "Our public lands are a national treasure and a sacred trust passed by one generation of Americans to another. Fracking on public lands threatens the drinking water of millions of people, including the President's daughters and everyone else here in Washington, D.C. It would also poison of many of our last wild and pristine ecosystems. Fracking has no place on our public lands, and these citizens, more than half a million of them, are calling on the President and the Bureau of Land Management to say: ‘Yes we can ban fracking.’"

Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth said, "President Obama need look no further than Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest to see fracking's devastating effects on our public lands. Fracking is a dangerous, destructive practice that perpetuates our reliance on outmoded forms of energy. It has no more place on our public lands than it has in our energy future."

According to experts, "Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas, and causes between 79 to 105 times more climate change than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the rate of methane leakage in at least two active natural gas fields is much higher than the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory’s current estimate."

Americans Against Fracking released findings that, "When burned, natural gas produces significant amounts of carbon dioxide. In fact, even if methane leaks could be minimized to about 1 percent of what is produced, the International Energy Agency has estimated that a scenario of increased global dependence on natural gas would increase the global average temperature by 3.5° Celsius, or by about 6.3° Fahrenheit, by 2035."

Americans Against Fracking also reported, "Among the federal lands targeted for drilling and fracking are watersheds vital for the provision of clean drinking water for millions of Americans, such as the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, Wayne National Forest in Ohio and George Washington National Forest in Virginia. Also targeted are federal lands near iconic national parks, such as Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah, Sequoia National Park in California, among others. The deadline for submitting public comments to the federal government regarding drilling and fracking on federal lands is August 23."

The coalition concluded, "The submission of these comments comes just weeks after the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shut down a fracking-related water contamination investigation in Dimock, Pennsylvania, despite evidence that water there was polluted."

The Los Angeles Times reported that regional EPA staff warned senior EPA officials that water tests revealed high levels of methane in the drinking water of a number of homes in Dimock. Instead of continuing the investigation, the EPA abruptly closed the case, stopped water deliveries to the residents and deemed the water there safe to drink. This week, concerned Americans have convened in New York and Pennsylvania to protest EPA’s apparent mishandling of the Dimock investigation.
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