Green Party Elders Caucus Public Statement on S. 3247 Fracking Ban Act
The Green Party Elders Caucus (GPEC, in formation) is gravely concerned about the climate crisis and the impact on the environment as a result of the fracking process. To that end the GPEC supports the passage of S. 3247 Fracking Ban Act and offers further recommendations to amend the bill.
The issues from fracking include the following:
1) The overall environmental effects.
The increase in contamination of ground water and air, exposure to toxic chemicals and waste disposal, and fracking induced earthquakes are all scientifically proven side-effects of the fracking process. According to studies cited in a NRDC 2014 brief2, emissions of carbon dioxide and methane contribute to climate change.
Methane warms the climate at least 80 times more than an equal amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
2) The use of toxic chemicals in the fracking mix.
Although the mixture is made up of 90% water, 9.5% sand (long term exposure to large amounts of sand particles causes a serious lung disease—silicosis) the toxic chemical mix is .5% including surfactants, corrosion inhibitor acids, and hydrochloric acid. Scientists report that 90% of the total fracking fluid remains underground.
In simple terms 100,000 gallons of fracking mixture includes 500 gallons of toxic chemicals. This mixture will eventually end up in our water supply.
Other toxic chemicals that are injected into the bore hole include BTEX compounds known to cause cancer. The process releases nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, methane and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PCH). This toxic mix produces toxicity to the environment and life on the planet.
The rapid expansion of fracking, both in areas with existing oil and gas operations and previously undrilled areas, can lead to an increase in the type of pollution generally found at conventional oil and gas development and to other pollutants specific to fracking, such as silica sand, fracking chemicals, and flowback wastewater.
The overall impact on the environment from the use of toxic chemicals in the fracking process leads to adverse consequences for the health of all life on the planet, from spills and releases of chemicals and other fluids and underground migration of chemicals, to increased air pollution.
Health effects to people from fracking related air pollution contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, nervous system issues, damage to the blood and bone marrow leading to anemia and immunological problems, reproductive system effects, effects on fetal and child development, cancer, and premature mortality.
The GPEC supports the position that emergency measures are in order to address the climate crisis. Waiting 5 years to implement a fracking ban means 5 more years of extraction practices that are leading to climate catastrophe.
The GPEC supports an amendment to the S. 3247 Fracking Ban Act to immediately ban all new fracking projects and construction of pipelines and compressor stations, during the 5-year transition period to a complete ban.
The GPEC adamantly opposes fracking and the profits made by the fossil fuel industry. Fracking is turning the planet into a large frack well of climate and ecological devastation, and public health catastrophe, for an already obsolete and unnecessary source of fuel.
- SB 3247 Fracking Ban Act
- Fracking Fumes: Air Pollution from Fracking Threatens Public Health and Communities, NRDC Brief, December 2015
Green Party Elders Caucus (in Formation)
(Note: The GPEC is working on its accreditation to become an officially recognized caucus in the Green Party. The GPEC is not officially recognized until those requirements are met.)