The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has announced the creation of its Community Fracking Defense Project, which will provide legal and policy assistance to towns and local governments seeking added control or protections from hydraulic fracturing in their communities.
Most natural gas extraction today involves hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an extraction technique requiring a mix of toxic chemicals and linked to a range of air and water pollution issues across the country.
“For too long, communities around the country have had little defense against the oil and gas companies that sweep into their neighborhoods and start fracking without regard for the impacts on the people who live there,” said Kate Sinding, a senior attorney in NRDC’s New York office. “If a city or town decides it doesn’t want fracking, or wants to restrict it, their voice should be heard and respected.”
The new NRDC project will launch in five states—New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and North Carolina—and will focus on protecting communities’ abilities to protect themselves against the risks of fracking within their borders. The project’s activities will vary from state to state, reflecting the significant difference in fracking activities and regulatory protections.
Some examples of project activities include:
- Assisting in drafting local laws and land use plans that control the extent of fracking within their borders and/or limit the harmful effects of fracking.
- Working to re-assert communities’ rights to protect themselves under state law.
- Defending relevant zoning provisions and other local laws that are challenged in court.
Through the creation of the Community Fracking Defense Project, NRDC will be both expanding upon current work in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio and also reaching out to communities in Illinois and North Carolina in order to provide similar kinds of assistance to protect public health and environmental quality in advance of fracking drills breaking ground.
“As the rush to extract natural gas from our communities expands dramatically into the Midwest, it is essential to protect the ability of citizens to assure that those activities do not foul our water, air, community health and safety,” said Henry Henderson, NRDC’s midwest director. “
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.