South Texans Resist the Anti-Fracking Siren Song

Texans have long embraced the oil and natural gas industry and the economic development it creates, and that knowledge is helping to keep at bay efforts by “fractivists” in the state to ban hydraulic fracturing.

One such anti-fracking activist, Eleanor Bravo of Food & Water Watch, a Washington D.C. based group intent on blocking natural resource development everywhere, wants to “help” Texans in a fight against the oil and gas industry.  Recently, though, she expressed surprise that she doesn’t have a strong following in the Lone Star State.

Ms. Bravo told the San Antonio Business Journal that Food & Water Watch has fielded phone calls and emails from concerned Texans, and is even preparing to expand its organizing activities. Shockingly though, she is having trouble making head way.  According to Ms. Bravo:

“Texans are outraged, but so far, it’s been a tough road for us in this state.”

So, although Texans are “outraged”, as she says, and allegedly calling her organization right out of the blue, Ms. Bravo is having a hard time gaining a foothold in the Eagle Ford area of South Texas.

According to Ms. Bravo’s bio, she is has 30 years’ experience as “organizer,” most recently at Food and Water Watch, and is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She boasts of her experience campaigning against a variety of efforts and industries over the years.

Food & Water Watch is a self-proclaimed constant promoter of “facts,” but the group peddles anything but. It was recently caught using the tragic floods in central Colorado as a vehicle for its own political agenda, providing misleading and alarmist statements as part of an aggressive campaign during one of the worst crises Coloradoans have seen in many years.

During the floods, Food & Water Watch proclaimed:

“We’re talking about tens of thousands of toxic chemicals floating down the river, potentially ending up in communities, next to homes, next to agriculture land … We are just beginning to see the extent of the devastation … It clearly demonstrates why these ballot initiatives are going forward to stop fracking.”

As EID’s Mountain States team pointed out recently, Food & Water Watch’s wild allegations missed the mark completely:

“The total reported amount of reported [oil] spills is small compared to the solid waste” that has spilled from damaged sewer lines and household chemicals from destroyed homes, said Matthew Allen, a spokesman in EPA’s Region 8 office in Denver…

Allen said EPA did aerial surveys in the days after the floodwaters began to recede to try to locate broken oil pipelines or other infrastructure that would cause a large-scale, continuous release, and did not find any. Instead, it has mostly worked to recover gasoline tanks and propane tanks that were carried away by the floods, he said.

“What we’ve really seen is this kind of slow trickle of smaller spills, and all are specifically related to the flood,” Allen said of the oil releases. “It wasn’t user error or improper operations; it all falls in the act-of-God category.”

So the oil and gas industry, accused by Food & Water Watch and other anti-fracking zealots of causing major pollution problems during the floods, actually wasn’t even a significant contributor.  The reality is that these professional activist groups attempted to capitalize on vulnerable Coloradoans by scaring them with false headlines, even as responsible citizens were working to first control and then recover from the flooding.

The Washington Examiner reported on various environmentalist groups efforts after the Colorado floods, specifically Food & Water Watch, pointing out that the “local” fight against fracking isn’t actually very “local” at all:

“Food and Water Watch? That’s another Washington-based Big Green outfit that got $34 million from more than 25 Big Green foundations, including $11 million in 2011. This is beginning to look not very local.  No, the locals don’t get the money, they get the benefits of distant big money for activists to do more than a local little money could ever accomplish.”

Similar tactics have been used by Food & Water Watch across the country, as they are behind various fake “grassroots” fights against hydraulic fracturing, investing in Californians Against Fracking and New Yorkers Against Fracking (NYAF) and funded by huge entities like The Park Foundation.

Luckily, Texans know that Food & Water Watch is a purveyor of misinformation, and they aren’t falling for the charade.

The people of South Texas are resisting Ms. Bravo’s siren song and choosing instead the massive, unprecedented economic development the Eagle Ford play has brought to their region.  Yes, the development has caused some growing pains (what form of energy development doesn’t entail risk?), and thankfully, local and state governments are working collaboratively with industry to address issues as they arise.

What does the future look like for South Texas?  More jobs, more economic growth, and more tax revenues to pay for vital public services.  Without question, the Eagle Ford Shale is and will continue to be an economic engine for South Texas for years to come.

Maybe that’s why Ms. Bravo and her followers haven’t caught on in Texas, because with more experience in oil and gas than any other state, people in Texas know better than most that all the scare tactics about hydraulic fracturing are wildly overblown. They know that banning this decades-old practice would be incredibly irresponsible and detrimental to their future livelihoods.

If New Mexico’s Ms. Bravo is having trouble gaining traction in the Eagle Ford region, it’s most likely because South Texans prefer real jobs being created throughout their area by the oil and natural gas industry – as opposed to being paid by foundations based in New York to engage in deceptive protest activities.

In other words, one path is about adding value. The other is about destroying it. Gee, which one to pick?

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