Long before the word fracking was in our lexicon, Food and Water Watch was advocating nationally against the dangers of industrial shale gas drilling. For years, this DC-based organization has been sounding the alarm over the chemicals used and the toxic waste produced by hydraulic fracturting. Today, they stand among better known environmental advocates such as the Sierra Club, in thick of Pennsylvania’s increasingly contentious legislative battle, armed with popular petitions, mounting scientific evidence and growing public concern.
Their mission, in their words, is “to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping the global commons — our shared resources — under public control.” SOURCE: foodandwaterwatch.org
Food and Water Watch is headed by Executive Director Wenonah Hauter, an anthropologist by training with experience as a civic organizer and grassroots strategist. After several years as Director of Public Citizen, from which FWW spun off as an independent organization in 2005, she has led the group to numerous victories. FWW is also led by such visionaries as Maude Barlow, who serves Chairman of the Board. Barlow is National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, an executive member of the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization, a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council and author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water. She has eight honorary doctorates.
Deploying a strategy that includes strong public and policymaker education, lobbying, media, and eActivism, the organization has had numerous successes in its relatively short history. They include: halting a liquified natural gas project in New Jersey that would have wreaked havoc on the surrounding marine environment; organizing a two-year, multifaceted campaign that resulted in Starbucks stopping the use of milk produced with artificial growth hormones in all of their stores; working with local organizations in dozens of cities to maintain public control of municipal water systems; influencing the EPA to regulate the dangerous chemical perchlorate in drinking water.; working with citizen organizations in communities coast-to-coast preventing bottled water companies from mining water.
This is Food and Water Watch’s take on hydraulic fracturing, and why we need a national ban on this oversold, highly polluting fossil fuel extraction process:
- Fracking chemicals are toxic and can leak into drinking water when injected or contaminate water from spills or accidents.
- Fracking produces hazardous wastewater, which can contain radioactive substances as well as toxic chemicals, making disposal difficult and dangerous.
- Fracking requires millions of gallons of water, which can deplete local water supplies.
- Fracking can cause natural gas to migrate into drinking water sources, which can cause houses and wells to explode.
- There have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near drilling sites around the country.
To learn all about their conclusions, read their 2011 report: The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking
Sign the Petitions
Join Food and Water Watch and their many supporters in the fight against toxic water and air pollution. Click here to sign their petition for a National Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing. Or you can elect to join those the growing numbers of New Yorkers who would like to see a Ban in NY State.
Sign the Food and Water Watch petition to ban fracking in the Delaware River Basin.
While Pennsylvania is unlikely to take up a statewide measure to ban fracking anytime soon, Food and Water Watch keeps a current – and growing - list of measures proposed by state. Many, such as Bensalem, PA propose a moratorium on drilling until the process is proven safe, and the state has passed gas drilling legislation, a debate that’s sure to heat up Harrisburg this fall. To send a letter opposing fracking in your PA district, click here.