Desperate and Losing, Anti-Fracking Movement Celebrates ‘Disappointing’ Measure as ‘Biggest Victory’

Anti-fracking groups are celebrating after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan allowed a bill instating a two year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Maryland to become law without his signature.  NRDC called it a “victory for a large and diverse coalition of Maryland community and environmental groups who worked tirelessly,” and InsideClimate News (ICN) posted its own celebration by discussing comments from Food & Water Watch (F&WW),

“[E]nvironmental and community organizers are audibly happy about the bill’s success, calling it the ‘biggest victory’ for the anti-fracking movement this year.

Victories such as Maryland’s moratorium and New York’s outright fracking ban ‘really do give hope to others who are fighting fracking across the United States,’ said Mitch Jones, director of the Common Resources Program at the environmental group Food and Water Watch.” (emphasis added)

Wenonah Hauter, the founder and Executive Director of F&WW also completed an apparent victory lap via EcoWatch, claiming “this moratorium is a sign that the tide is changing on fracking.”

It’s interesting that Food & Water Watch (F&WW) is now calling this the “biggest victory for the anti-fracking movement this year,” because the group didn’t seem too thrilled with that bill when it passed the Maryland General Assembly earlier this year.  In fact, their press release called it outright disappointing:

“Although the amended version of the moratorium bill now requires that the regulations being drafted by the Administration be completed by October 2016, we are confident that the General Assembly will realize that there is no peer-reviewed evidence that fracking can be effectively regulated. We are unconvinced that a regulatory approach can protect Maryland, and we are also disappointed the panel to review the available public health studies on fracking was removed from the original bill. Therefore, we will redouble our work educating and organizing across the state prior to the 2017 legislative session.” (emphasis)

In other words, F&WW’s movement is so extreme that it must spin self-described defeats into victories. Further, as the Washington Post reported on Governor Hogan’s decision not to veto the moratorium,

Hogan spokesman Matt Clark said the governor “continues to support the safe and responsible development of energy to meet the current and future needs of citizens and to promote job growth in Western Maryland”… Clark said Hogan has directed the Department of the Environment to continue working on “balanced and protective regulations based on sound scientific input.” (emphasis added)

A three year health report released by former Governor Martin O’Malley’s (D) administration found that “the risks of Marcellus Shale development can be managed to an acceptable level” under Maryland’s strong regulations.  And, as EID’s new video shows, at every turn opponents of hydraulic fracturing in Maryland have been debunked by President Obama and other prominent Democrats.

The bottom line is that if this is F&WW’s “biggest victory of the year,” then they’re essentially admitting that they’re losing – and badly.

A similar dynamic has been playing out across the country.  In Colorado, on the very day F&WW re-launched its campaign to ban fracking statewide, a New York-style ban was overwhelmingly rejected by a special task force established by Governor John Hickenlooper (D) to review the state’s oil and natural gas regulations.  Speaking at an event last week, Gov. Hickenlooper noted that efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing will not find “significant” support. As the Durango Herald reported:

“There will be proposals, but I don’t think there will be something that will be funded to any significant extent, and therefore I don’t expect something to get on the ballot,” Hickenlooper said.

F&WW has also launched an aggressive campaign in California only to have Governor Jerry Brown (D), a staunch environmentalist, tell Meet the Press,

“If we reduce our oil drilling on California, which a ban on fracking would do, we’ll import more oil by train or by boat, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.” (emphasis added)

Remember, Governor Brown also famously pointed out that anti-fracking activists “don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

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