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What the Anti-Fracking Movement Brings to the Climate Movement

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These are my prepared remarks for a speech I gave at the Boston stop of the People's Climate March tour, "Building a Movement of Movements: Towards the People's Climate March in NYC."


Hi, everyone. My name is Sandra Steingraber, and I inhabit the anti-fracking wing of the climate movement.

Only a few years ago, that sentence would have sounded strange, even to me, because the fight against fracking has its roots in another place.

Those who oppose natural gas extraction via fracking first came together because we didn't want to be poisoned.

In New York state, we sought to halt fracking before it started because of what we saw across the border in the gaslands of Pennsylvania: families with nose bleeds and rashes. Sick pets. Horses and livestock with mysterious ailments. Devastated landscapes

We had concerns about exploding pipelines, leaking waste pits and about our children's school buses sharing icy roads with tanker trucks hauling toxic fracking fluid.

Most of all, we came together to protect our drinking water, and, now that the science is beginning catch up to the speed at which fracking is rolling across the nation, an ever-expanding collection of empirical data shows that our concerns were well founded.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the shale gas boom.

It turns out that the same unfixable engineering problem that sets the table for contaminating our water also contaminates the atmosphere with climate-killing methane.