Mark Ruffalo asks Obama to crack down on fracking

Mark Ruffalo asks Obama to crack down on fracking
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Actor Mark Ruffalo is asking President Obama to use his last 100 days in office to crack down on hydraulic fracturing.

In an open letter Tuesday, Ruffalo, an outspoken fracking opponent, criticizes Obama for overseeing a dramatic increase in oil and natural gas production without taking aggressive action to protect Americans from the pollution related to fracking.

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“While we are grateful for your leadership in acknowledging climate change, the expansion of drilling and fracking for oil and gas during your presidency and its disastrous impact on the climate threaten to undermine the legacy of this significant work,” Ruffalo wrote.

“This extreme form of fossil fuel extraction that you have supported is contaminating people’s drinking water, polluting the air, and making more and more families sick.”

Ruffalo wants Obama to order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reopen a trio of investigations into potential water pollution from fracking in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas.

He is also asking Obama to order other investigations into potential fracking-related water pollution across the country, to meet with families who say that they were harmed by the pollution and to watch the documentary “Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution is Now” — which Ruffalo narrated.

“Fracking is an issue that is not going away and in fact, the more we learn about the process, the more we learn about the lasting harm it will inflict on people, drinking water, the environment and the climate,” Ruffalo wrote. “You still have time to take action before you leave office.”

Fracking has increased dramatically during the time Obama has been in office, leading to massive increases in domestic oil and natural gas production.

Ruffalo and other environmental activists have for years complained about the harms from fracking, including the effects on climate change from gas leaks, and have been frustrated by what they see as a lackluster response by Obama.

A draft report from the EPA last year concluded that fracking has not resulted in “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources,” though it identified specific instances of problems. Greens have strongly pushed back against the report's conclusion.

The gas industry also says its practices are safe and environmentally friendly.

“Hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices,” Erik Milito, director of upstream operations at the American Petroleum Institute, told reporters recently.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRetired lieutenant general tears into Trump over attacks against Navy SEAL: 'Disgusting' Retired admiral who oversaw bin Laden raid doubles down on Trump criticism Trump dismisses criticism from Navy SEAL who led Osama bin Laden mission MORE wants to better regulate fracking and let towns and cities ban it, while Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBroward County official Brenda Snipes submits resignation after criticism Retired lieutenant general tears into Trump over attacks against Navy SEAL: 'Disgusting' Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks MORE wants to cut back on regulations on the oil and gas industry, including those on fracking.