Tag Archive | fracking

Increase in Chemical Industry campaign contributions connected to the rise of Fracking

re-posted from GRIID.org

Determined to block efforts to strengthen the 36-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act, chemical interests have invested $375 million since 2005 to elect and influence industry-friendly political leaders, Common Cause said in a report released today.

“The dimensions of chemical industry spending documented in this study, ‘Toxic Spending,’ are staggering,” said James Browning, Common Cause’s regional director for state operations and a principal author of the report. “By following the money, we see how and why the industry has been so successful in blocking attempts to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act.”

The report provides us with several important pieces of information; 1) how much money the chemical industry is spending to influence policy and elections, 2) which candidates and members of Congress are the recipients of this money and 3) the relationship between the increase in chemical company financial contributions at a time when fracking is exploding across the country.

Since 2005, the Chemical Industry has spent about $375 million in either lobbying or campaign contributions in order to influence policy, particularly to fight the Toxic Substance Control Act.

The recipients of the Chemical Industry’s contributions are from all over the country as you can see from this first chart.

In addition to funding candidates, the Chemical Industry has been spending lots of money to produce political ads for candidates. For example, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the American Chemistry Council has spent more than $200,000 to convince voters to reelect House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R).

The American Chemistry Council is the trade association representing the Chemical Industry, which includes roughly 150 companies involved in manufacturing and marketing chemicals. In this second chart, you can see how much money the Chemical Industry has spent on political advertising in 2012, which includes data on Michigan Representatives Fred Upton and Dave Camp.

Lastly, the increase in Chemical Industry spending on elections is in part due to the escalation in drilling for natural gas through the method known as fracking. Obtaining gas through fracking requires large amounts of “fracking fluid”—a mixture of dozens of chemicals whose effects on groundwater quality are still being studied by the EPA. Many states now require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking but grant exemptions for chemicals that companies deem to be proprietary information, or “trade secrets.”

According to the Common Cause report,“Natural gas obtained from fracking will rise from 16 percent of all U.S. natural gas production in 2009 to 45 percent by 2035, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.12, 13 And after gas is removed from the ground, it can be sent to a chemical plant to help make more complicated chemicals that end up in consumer products.”

Here is a clear example of how corporate interests are interconnected, with the chemical industry connected to the oil & gas industry. This is important to understand if grassroots movements are going to defeat the power of these industries and prevent further environmental devastation and negative consequences to human health.

Grand Rapids anti-fracking action gets the word out and results in 3 arrests

This is re-posted from GRIID.org

Note: As Our Kitchen Table is engaged in activities around environmental justice, this action, which brought attention to the dangers that fracking has on our water quality, brings up important issues for our constituents. Most often, people of color and those with lower incomes live in areas most impacted by policies, like fracking, causing dangerous environmental degradation.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2012

The Grand Rapids group Mutual Aid GR organized a downtown Grand Rapids march as part of theInternational Day Against Fracking. This statement was released to media prior to the action:

A participant in the action related the following about the event:

 About 20 people attended and marched from Veteran’s Park through downtown and ended at Wolverine Oil & Gas where some folks staged a sit in. The march was a success! Our group gave out information to numerous passers-by and we seemed to have quite a bit of community support, even in-spite of the Art Prize craziness. We shouted chants like, “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Hydraulic Fracking has got to go!” Our aim was to increase community awareness not only of the dangers of “fracking” but also that there are folks dedicated to acting in solidarity to create sustainable change from “outside the system.” 
The 3 folks that sat-in where arrested at approximately 2:15pm. There were several police officers present but all of them seemed very amiable and there was no struggle. The folks who were associated with the building seemed like they may present some resistance but nothing too outrageous came of it. The occupiers gave their demands to the VP of Wolverine Oil & Gas and there was a cordial debate that followed. No shouting or unreasonable acts, just quiet exchange about why and how Wolverine Oil & Gas is complicit in the degradation of our environment. Once the occupiers were hauled away the marchers moved from 55 Campau back to the corner of Monroe and Pearl where we passed out info and engaged in consciousness-raising discourse. All of the occupiers have since been bonded out and are set to appear in court next week.
The following is the statement released by the occupiers who sat-in at Wolverine Oil & Gas. They chose to give their own statement separate from that of the march.

“Today, we occupy the offices of Wolverine Oil & Gas as one action against the consequences of oil and gas extraction in Michigan. We are confronting Wolverine Oil & Gas because they have a history of profiting from environmental destruction and particularly their use of the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing.

We know that hydraulic fracturing is bad for Michigan because it:
• Contaminates ground water and soil with toxic chemicals
• Contributes to the pollution and contamination of fresh water, which is one of the things that make Michigan such a magical place to live.
• Fracking poisons plants, animals and humans.
• Fracking is accelerating around the country and in Michigan and is contributing to the most urgent crisis of our time, global warming.
• Lastly, fracking for natural gas reduces the need to seek truly sustainable and renewable forms of energy.
Therefore, we occupy Wolverine Oil & Gas to say no to contaminating Michigan water; no to practices that significantly contribute to global warming; and no to companies that profit from environmental destruction. 
We are occupying Wolverine Oil & Gas to demand that they release all information about the type and amount of chemicals they have used in fracking to date and the amount of water used; to release information on the location of all oil and gas wells they own and operate in Michigan, and to stop the practice of fracking where ever they engage in this practice. 

No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth!”