Convention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe
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In a recent op-ed in The Hill, Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch claimed that “fracking has emerged as a key issue in 2016” but certainly not in the way she and the anti-fracking movement intended.

If fracking has come to the forefront of the 2016 campaign it’s because both Democrats and Republicans strongly support it – and activists trying to ban fracking are finding themselves very much on the fringe. How do we know? Because the organization Ms. Hauter represents just spent the past week placing fake poop under statues of donkeys throughout Philadelphia to protest the Democratic National Committee’s rejection of their ban-fracking platform. These are not the actions of folks who have the science on their side. 

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Food & Water Watch claims it is doing this poop protest and marching during the Democratic National Convention because, as Hauter put it, “Anything less could doom us to health and climate peril.” But in reality, activists are the ones who are denying the science. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – made up of the world’s most prominent climate scientists – has said that the “rapid deployment of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies” is “an important reason for a reduction of GHG emissions in the United States.”

The clear role of fracking in reducing emissions was echoed by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyCalifornia commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 Overnight Energy: Watchdog faults EPA over Pruitt security costs | Court walks back order on enforcing chemical plant rule | IG office to probe truck pollution study EPA unveils new Trump plan gutting Obama power plant rules MORE who explained, “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home.” Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Overnight Defense: What the midterms mean for defense panels | Pompeo cancels North Korea meeting | Trump eyes Kim summit in early 2019 | Pentagon drops name for border mission Five takeaways from a divisive midterm election MORE put it well when he said, “we’ve been improving our emissions in this country without agreeing to the Kyoto Accord, without congressional actions, because of innovations in the natural gas area.”

Ban-fracking activists also refuse to accept the results of the EPA’s five year study, which concluded unequivocally that fracking has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water resources.  Ms. Hauter tried to suggest that the EPA’s science advisors have rejected that finding when the opposite is true – they have asked for EPA to provide more details, not change its topline finding, thereby affirming EPA’s conclusion is sound. EPA isn’t alone, either. Study after study has found that fracking hasn’t harmed drinking water, but activists just continue to deny the science.

Considering all this, it’s no wonder that President Obama’s top science advisor, John Holdren, rejected  ban-fracking activists’ agenda saying, “The notion that we’re going to keep it all in the ground is unrealistic.”

It’s also no surprise that the DNC rejected activists call to ban fracking on the Democratic platform, since most prominent Democrats have noted the incredible benefits of fracking. Just to name a few, New York Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE said, “Overall the Democrats throughout the country have supported fracking. The president has, most of us have, and it’s worked quite well.” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper noted that “Based on experience and science, I recognized that fracking was one of our very best and safest extraction techniques.” Gov. Jerry Brown of California put it more succinctly when he said that anti-fracking activists “don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

Instead of spreading poop around Philadelphia, maybe Food & Water Watch should review its advocacy and embrace the science for once.


Katie Brown, PhD, is the Team Lead and spokesperson for Energy In Depth, a research and education program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).