Mountain States

Democratic Senator, Obama Adviser Send Anti-Fracking Activists into Blind Panic

A recent TV appearance by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) drew an immediate and angry response from “ban fracking” activists:

activists-schumer-fracking

So what did Sen. Schumer say to provoke the activists? Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe with former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, Schumer – a senior member of the Senate Democratic leadership and chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center – said the following about hydraulic fracturing:

“Overall, the Democrats throughout the country have supported fracking. The President has, most of us have, and it’s worked quite well.”

(The full video can be viewed here.)

These 21 words sent “ban fracking” groups into a blind panic, because their campaign depends on portraying hydraulic fracturing as a highly controversial political issue. Frack Action, a New York based activist group that believes “fracking cannot be made safe,” issued a “take action alert” for activist to call Schumer’s office. Julia Walsh of Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking – which issued the alert pictured above – said she was “dismayed” by the remarks. Then, Walsh added:

“Senator Schumer is out of touch with the realities of fracking as well as the broad-based statewide and growing national movement against it.”

A bad day for the activists got even worse when John Podesta, a senior advisor to President Obama and the former head of the liberal Center for American Progress, was asked about hydraulic fracturing during a press briefing. When a reporter inquired how much of an “environmental downside” has accompanied increased oil and natural gas production from deep shale formations using hydraulic fracturing, Podesta said: “Well, for the most part, there’s been an upside.” Using more natural gas to generate electricity, he continued, is “a practical and viable way to reduce emissions in the short run.”

Podesta lauded the jobs created by increased oil and natural gas production, also noting that domestic energy production is making its highest ever recorded contribution to U.S. economic growth. But even worse for the activists, Podesta said domestic oil and gas production is consistent with Obama’s other environmental goals:

“These trends will keep the United States’ economy competitive.  They’ll keep the U.S. economy growing.  They’ll help us achieve the President’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.”

Podesta’s comments follow his earlier observations in March about the “ban fracking” movement. As POLITICO reported:

“‘If you oppose all fossil fuels and you want to turn that switch off tomorrow, that is a completely impractical way of moving toward a clean-energy future,’ Podesta told reporters during a roundtable discussion at the White House.

‘With all due respect to my friends in the environmental community, if they expect us to turn off the lights and go home, that’s sort of an impractical suggestion,’ he added.”

So much for Sen. Schumer being “out of touch with the realities of fracking.” In fact, in Colorado today, both the Democratic and Republican candidates in a hotly contested U.S. Senate race are fighting over who is the bigger supporter of natural gas production, which depends on hydraulic fracturing.

With a growing consensus of public officials, policymakers and regulators voicing their support for hydraulic fracturing, no wonder the “ban fracking” activists keep reaching for the panic button.

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