A recent Gallup poll revealed that 51% of Americans are now not in favor of fracking. Although there are many reasons why, I want to focus on one factor – communities across the county raising their voices in opposition.
Here are the numbers: In March 2016, 36% of those polled favored fracking while 51% opposed fracking. Compare those numbers to last year when it was a dead heat 40% in favor and 40% opposed t fracking. Moreover, when you look at political parties you see similar trends especially in the Republican Party. In 2016, the number of republicans in favor of fracking was 55% compared to 66% the year before. Democrats and independents were about the same for both years.
Thanks to what Mark Ruffalo calls the “fighters,” people in the street, we are slowly moving public opinion away from extracting oil and gas through the fracking process. Leaders throughout our network have made great strides in educating the public about negative public health and environmental impacts.
Almost daily you read an article or hear a story on the radio about the most recent crisis created by the fracking related infrastructure. Just last week there was a story about yet another earthquake in Canada due to an injection well where under great pressure, fracking waste is injected deep into the earth.
According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey there are 7 million Americans at risk of experiencing earthquakes in the central U.S. alone.
Since 2008, the number of trains carrying oil has increased over 5,000%. Not surprisingly, there’s been an associated increase in spills, fires, explosions from derailments. More oil was spilled from trains in 2013 than in the previous 40 years combined. There were six such accidents just last year in West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana and two in Ontario, Canada.
At every well head, rail line, waterway, pipeline, compressor station and so on people are standing up and saying NO. There are people pointing out the damage as it unfolds in front of them of health, water, air and the social costs. It is the courage and strength of communities nationwide that is changing Americans opinion about fracking and associated damage.
In New York State, it was courageous leaders across the state who succeeded in stopping, at least for now, any fracking operations in the state. Hundreds of thousands of people raised their voice and stood up against great odds to win that fight.
Due to this massive education of the American people about the serious problems of oil and gas extraction, not only is opposition growing but alternatives are being look at more favorably. In March another Gallup poll found that 73% of Americans prefer emphasizing alternative energy, rather than gas and oil production as the solution to our country’s energy problems. This is the highest percentage since the question was first asked in 2011.
I’ve worked with groups across the country on these issues and I am so proud to be part of this network of activists. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you and let’s continue to work together to keep the polling numbers moving in the direction of opposition.