Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Frack No! Organic Consumers Oppose Pro-Fracking Scientist as Head of U.S. Department of Energy

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

Feb. 27, 2013    
CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association,
Katherine Paul, 207.653.3090, or Zack Kaldveer, 510.938.2664

The OCA announced its opposition today to the reported nomination by President Barack Obama of Dr. Ernest Moniz to serve as the next head of the U.S.

Department of Energy (DOE). Moniz has publicly supported “Hydraulic Fracturing” – or fracking - a highly polluting form of oil and gas extraction that involves injecting massive amounts of water, sand and toxic chemicals into the ground to fracture rock in order to extract oil and gas. Moniz is the director of MIT's Energy Institute, which boasts such Big Oil financial backers as BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco.

There are more than 600,000 fracking wells and waste injection sites littering the United States, polluting the air and water in rural areas where organic and family farmers are trying to produce healthy food.  

“Blasting billions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the same ground that gives us the food we eat and the water we drink not only fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it destroys farmland, contaminates groundwater, endangers the health of people and animals alike, and threatens the future security of our food supply,” said Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the OCA.

“Expanding fossil fuel consumption via hydraulic fracking is a recipe for disaster,” concluded Cummins.  Fracking won’t serve as a bridge to a cleaner tomorrow. It will more likely sound  the death knell for sustainable farming and the necessary transition to a clean energy economy.”

Moniz believes that the "bridge" to low-carbon sources of energy can only be achieved by drastically expanding America’s fracking infrastructure – even calling the controversial and toxic energy extraction method “paradigm shifting.” If early reports of the Moniz appointment are accurate then the signal from the White House couldn’t be clearer: Americans should prepare for a massive proliferation of fracking wells in California, primarily to extract the Monterey Shale deposit which is spread over six central and southern California counties, as well as the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

There is already ample evidence to suggest that the U.S. food system has been contaminated by chemicals used in fracking. These polluted crops and infected farm animals raised for food serve as potential avenues for exposing humans to these same hazardous chemicals, including arsenic, benzene, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), formaldehyde, lead, toluene, Uranium-238 and Radium-226. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ list of common health problems from exposure to these chemicals includes autism, asthma, cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, infertility, birth defects, allergies, endocrine diseases and immune system disorders.

A recent study published in Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy that involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations revealed frequent deaths. Animals that survived exhibited health problems including infertility, birth defects and worsening reproductive health in successive breeding seasons. Some animals developed unusual neurological conditions, anorexia, and liver or kidney disease. But it’s not just animals that are affected. Increasing numbers of farmers on the front lines of the fracking fight have fallen ill, too.

The OCA has started a petition asking President Obama not to appoint Moniz as the new U.S. DOE.

The OCA will participate in the National Summit to Stop the Frack Attack! on March 2 – 4 in Dallas, Texas.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

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