Fracking has been propped up as a bridge to renewables, but that’s a talking point to buy the industry enough time to deepen its footprint so we can’t break free from their market control.
As we spelled out in 2019’s report “The Fracking Endgame,” over 700 new fracking-related facilities have either been proposed, started development, or already been built in the quest to lock down fracking’s future. In our newest 2020 report, “Fracking’s Bridge To Climate Chaos,” we look at how no bridge to renewables is needed at this point, and the devastating impact continued fracking will have on our resources and climate.
Fracking Has 4 Fatal Flaws In The Fight Against Climate Change
Many of us now know that fracking is directly related to an uptick in earthquakes, to a scary depletion of drinkable water, and that the wastewater is contaminating land and is even being used to grow produce that we eat. We know that there are questions of whether fracking is to blame for the fast rise of rare childhood cancers in areas near heavy fracking activity.
Those reasons alone are enough to ban fracking, and we must also look at how fracking stands in the way of our efforts to combat global climate catastrophe. In that fight, fracking has four fatal flaws:
Catastrophic methane leakage
Around 3 percent leakage erases the purported climate benefits of using gas over coal. Based on current metrics, the methane leakage is around 4 percent.
Support of dirty and unnecessary industries
The comparison of fracking to coal is misleading because only about 35 percent natural gas is used to produce electricity, compared to over 90 percent of coal. Fracking also supports dirty exports, inefficient heating, and polluting industries like plastics.
Competition with renewable energy
When a utility closes a coal plant and replaces it with a gas plant, they’ve lost an opportunity to build wind or solar energy instead. Since prices continue to fall for renewables, these technologies are increasingly capable of replacing coal, skipping the fracked gas middle man.
Long term commitment to gas infrastructure
The potential lifespan of new infrastructure being built and proposed could be 40-50 years — well beyond the 10 years we have left to transition off of gas to meet the recommendation of the United Nations’ climate change panel.
Bernie Sanders’ Fracking Bill Will Be A Stake Through The Heart Of Fracking
Just when climate activists were starting to wonder if any real action would be proposed to combat fracking, legislation was introduced this year by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Darren Soto (D-FL).
The Fracking Ban Act takes several critical steps to protect our climate, water, and health from the impacts of fracking and climate chaos:
- Prohibits all federal agencies from issuing permits for new fracking or fracking infrastructure, including pipelines, liquefied natural gas or oil export terminals, natural gas storage, ethane cracker plants, natural gas power generation plants, or other infrastructure intended to extract, transport, or burn natural gas or oil.
- Revokes permits for current fracking wells within 2,500 ft of homes, schools, or other inhabited structures.
- Establishes a multi-agency, multi-stakeholder Just Transition Committee, led by the Department of Labor, to develop recommendations to ensure the health and prosperity of natural gas and oil producing regions.
- Bans the practice of fracking nationwide beginning January 1, 2025.
Your Support Will Make The Fracking Ban Act A Reality
As of now, over 570 groups across the country have endorsed this bill. To keep pushing it forward, we need the support of our most committed members and we need you to recruit everyone you know who cares about climate change.
People told us banning fracking was impossible. But with your help, we got to work making it possible and that’s what brought us to this moment. Let’s see it through to the end!