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I Give A Frack

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Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Using cutting-edge technologies, the gas is captured and undergoes many processes in order for it to be used for energy.This is not a new form of capturing energy as we can trace fracking back to its roots in 1865. However, hydraulic fracking became commercially successful in 1950, after it was previously under new experimentation for three years. Fracking has many faults as it contributes to many different types of pollutants in our environment, but it is still a controversial subject. As of 2012, fracking gave 2.1 million jobs in the United States in the oil and gas welling market, and could create 3.9 million jobs by 2025. Not only would fracking continue to stimulate the economy by creating jobs, but it also contributes to the larger $284 billion to the GDP, as done in 2012. As we can see, fracking has made a tremendous impact on the economy by fueling the job market and adding to the GDP; however, in the long run, the catastrophic environmental effects will exceed this economic interest.

Fracking is effecting the increase of seismic activity, pollution and contamination, and large consumption of water resources. Man-made earthquakes have been a reality for the past couple of years and seem to be increasing. An increase of 25% in earthquake activity occurs every year. Although scientists have found that the process of fracking does not cause the occurrence of large earthquakes, instead it creates many “microearthquakes” that have great effect on the ground floor. Secondly, fracking adds to pollution and contamination in many ways, such as methane gas and toxic chemical contamination in nearby ground water. For example, in the article “Fracking,” there is a picture displaying a resident in the Dimock and Bradford County of Pennsylvania holding a jar filled with water that is visibly polluted. This very water, as described, is found in the water wells that this city relies on. With more than 500,000 active natural gas wells in the United States, thousands of cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage have been found due to ingestion of drinking water. Fracking can have horrible effects on the health of communities nearby as well as the environment. Each gas well requires on average 400 tanker trucks to carry water to and from the desired site. In 2014 alone, 70 million gallons of water were used in the process of fracking. With the drought in place in California, the state cannot bare to use as much water as it does. Fracking does nothing but exponentially increase the consumption of water,increase pollution and contamination, and increase seismic activity.

Currently there are several efforts being taken to outlaw fracking in the state of California, such as the creation of petitions and public protesting. Some efforts have gone as far as attempting to outlaw fracking in different municipalities. There have been countless numbers of organizations that have created petitions to outlaw fracking such as, Californians Against Fracking, and 350 Bay Nonprofits have also organized public protests. For example, on February 7th 2015, 8,000 people marched through the streets of Oakland to call for a ban on fracking. It was the largest anti-fracking demonstration in U.S. history (MarchForClimate). This year, fracking was successfully outlawed in two counties and one municipality: San Benito county, Mendocino County, and the municipality of Beverly Hills (Desmog). While there are several efforts underway to ban fracking in the state of California and there have been some local victories in outlawing fracking, fracking is still legal at the state level. Efforts such as petition making, public protesting, and the lobbying of state officials to prohibit this dangerous form of fossil fuel extraction have all failed because of the enormous influence of the oil industry. For instance, in Santa Barbara county the oil industry scored a big victory when measure P, a measure to ban fracking, was shot down. The oil industry spent $6.4 million to defeat the anti-fracking bill, more than was spent on any Congressional race in California. The community-led Yes on P campaign spent about $300,000. The No On P campaign, was spearheaded by an industry front group called Californians for Energy Independence and was funded entirely by oil companies like Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and Exxon (Desmog). This battle over fracking in Santa Barbara county is a microcosm of the battle that is being had at the state level and it explains why efforts to outlaw fracking have thus far failed. Oil industry lobbying groups have vastly outspent their anti-fracking counterparts and unfortunately, our state government has adhered to the more generous lobbyists.

Since there has been an apparent effort to ban fracking in California, and even a few places have successfully passed laws to forbid fracking in their cities, there is still hope. However, in order for our organization to truly make a difference, there are several steps we must take to achieve our goal. First, we plan to start small in hopes that our campaign will gain traction along the way. We will begin by having citizens of smaller communities and counties in California sign our petition. Often times, it is simpler to gain the trust and support of communities that are smaller since the people are typically more connected with one another; therefore, if one person signs our petition they will spread the word to their family and friends who will pass it on to their family and friends, etc. This tactic will prove beneficial to our campaign because the more support we gain from several smaller communities will, in the end, be more overwhelming than receiving support from only one large city in the state of California. In order to receive these signatures, we will utilize various forms of social media to present our campaign, such as our campaign website, our instagram account, and our twitter account. Through these different platforms, we will be able to actively reach out to people and stay connected with them on a more personal level. Lastly, with these signatures, we will then present our campaign and our petition to the governor of California, Jerry Brown. Our end goal, obviously, is to have a legislation passed that will ban fracking in California, and through the assistance of governor Brown, hopefully we will be able to achieve this.

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