Contact: Tom BK Goldtooth- 218-760-0442 / Elizabeth Yeampierre- 347-603-6600 / Anthony Rogers-Wright- 631-402-7855, anthony@climatejusticealliance.org

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is commonly referred to, has an unquestionable track record of wasteful water use and environmental racism that continues to treat frontline communities as sacrifice zones. While Big Oil (and too many capitulating environmental groups) contend that fracked gas is a bridge fuel to renewable energy, the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) – 70 members strong – knows that it’s actually nothing more than a gangplank to climate catastrophe.

Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, remarked, “Fracking is a poisonous practice that adversely impacts land and water throughout Indian country, it represents a direct assault to the territorial integrity of Mother Earth and the inherent rights of Native nations to be thoroughly informed of all risks associated with fracking, and to be fully consulted under the standards of free, prior and informed consent.” 

CJA welcomes Sanders’ Fracking Ban Act, a bold piece of legislation that must be considered and approved by Congress as quickly as possible. The Act increases environmental justice as it demonstrates a clear understanding of the disproportionate impacts that fracking has on frontline Black, Brown, Indigenous and poor white communities. That said, CJA requests more information on the Senator’s proposed Just Transition Committee, which will only be successful if it centers frontline workers and their communities, while also adhering to the actual principles of Just Transition rather than inaccurate, neoliberal interpretations. We beseech Senator Sanders to take this issue seriously, as the fracking industry currently employs an estimated 1.7 million workers – the transition to a regenerative economy must leave no one behind.  

Various states and counties throughout the country have already banned fracking outright, or are in the process of limiting it markedly. 

CJA Steering Committee Co-Chair and UPROSE Executive Director, Elizabeth Yeampierre, based in New York stated, “When Governor Cuomo banned fracking, he cited public health as the main reason. But New York continues to import and utilize fracked gas from neighboring Pennsylvania while constructing harmful pipelines that leak methane and put our communities at risk. Senator Sanders’ bill, if passed, would complete the work of a full and complete fracking ban in New York and everywhere else this extractive practice continues to harm frontline communities.” 

Because the United States has emerged as a global leader of Liquefied Natural Gas exports, the Fracking Ban Act should also have international implications. Therefore, any national fracking ban must also cease these exports immediately to be effective. 

CJA Executive Director, Angela Adrar explains, “Climate change is a global issue and the U.S. can not be a global climate leader while sending its poison to other nations, especially those in the Global South. I welcome the Senator’s leadership on this issue, but would also like to know how he plans to address provisions in the Natural Gas Act that permit fast-tracked exports to nations we have trade agreements with.”

If former Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson, who once joined a lawsuit to block fracking operations planned near his Texas home can take action, the rest of our elected leaders can too. While it’s rare to see fossil fuel executives fighting to prevent extractive practices like fracking, it’s even rarer to see the kind of political valor exercised by Senator Sanders and other lawmakers who understand the requirement for an expeditious departure from the use of all fossil fuels, in an effort to effectively address the climate crisis. 

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The Climate Justice Alliance is a growing member alliance of 70 urban and rural frontline communities, organizations and supporting networks in the climate justice movement. CJA is dedicated to building Just Transition away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies.

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