Monday, November 17, 2014

People Powered Against the Harms of Fracking

Natural gas is hailed by the energy industry as the future for powering America. But the production of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — also presents significant public health and environmental dangers. As investments in natural gas development expand across the country, so too does our understanding and awareness of its harmful impacts.

No one individual or organization can stand alone against the power of industry to halt the harms of fracking. The fracking movement — natural gas developers and their allies — is well-funded and well-organized. Several coalitions of developers are made up of hundreds of members, from industry giants to local law firms and businesses, who are banding together to grab as much as they can and push for a wild west of fracking for natural gas.

This doesn't mean those working on the ground to combat the dangers of fracking are already defeated, but in order to achieve success these localized individuals and groups must work together. To do so, they need the coordinated support of the foundations dedicated to protecting the communities in the pathway of natural gas development.

fracking, dangers, environment, health, global warming, unconventional gas developmentFor this reason, The Halt the Harm Network was created. This Network will connect and empower leaders at the local and national level to each other, and also to the shared resources and strategies needed to successfully combat the financial and political power of industry.

In 2012, the natural gas industry commissioned a report to provide a risk assessment of social activism related to fracking. Titled “The Global Anti-Fracking Movement,” the report included definitions for “Social Activism Risk Rankings,” the highest of which was labeled as “Significant.” Their definition of “Significant” risks is exactly what Halt the Harm is designed to be:

“Activist groups are well organized and actively network internationally. Campaigns are directed specifically against unconventional gas development. Social activism poses considerable political risks and moderate operational and security risks to unconventional gas development.”

The fracking industry sees well-organized networks of activists, like Halt the Harm, as significant threats. The reason? They know, like we do, that an empowered network of leaders and supporters is the only way industry will be prevented from causing more irreparable harm to communities across the country and our global climate.

The Halt the Harm Network will provide needed services and support to Leaders who are working to halt fracking harms, and will run directed campaigns to generate new Supporters for the movement. Ultimately, the connections among leaders facilitated by the Network will foster collaboration among them.

The tagline developed to describe the purpose of the Halt the Harm Network is: “People Powered Against the Harms of Fracking.” Those people, many of whom are already heavily engaged – and many, many more who remain unaware or ill-informed about the array of harms caused by fracking – need the support and connections Halt the Harm Network can provide them. This network, powered by the people, will enable leaders across the country to band together and halt fracking’s harms.

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