Many Faith Organizations Deplore Shale Fracking

by Duane Nichols on May 22, 2014

There is a Growing Number of Faith Organizations Against Fracking

By S. Tom Bond. Retired Chemistry Professor & Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV

Wherever there is unchecked power/money, there is the devil to pay. See the Interfaith Power & Light petition here.

Part of the drooling over Ukraine is because petroleum interests want to horn in on Russia, which supplies European natural gas, by sending U. S. gas to Europe.  If that would work out what would happen to the price of our domestic supply?  Of course, Russia has far more of the worlds reserves of gas than the U. S.  Ukraine itself has substantial shale basins that could be a source of gas also.

You can hardly expect business elites not to prey on each other, can you?  Fracking has a moral dimension, though.  Faith groups have had a say from the beginning, but their number and influence is increasing.  This author recently had to open a new department in my list of anti-fracking groups (now well over 200) for faith groups.  One of the largest is Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness, an interfaith alliance of over 40 faith communities in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania who are working for environmental justice  It’s mission statement includes the following:

“Mission Summary: To spread the truth about fracking  to faith communities throughout Ohio and beyond: Fracking harms God’s Creation. It must be stopped, AND…    We must move to a new paradigm of renewable energy if we are to save God’s Creation,  which sustains all life on earth. Nothing less than God’s Creation is at stake.”

Here is an article in the Huffington Post about religious groups in Kentucky opposing a potentially dangerous Bluegrass Pipeline.  They brought 36,000 signatures on a petition opposing it to the state governor.

A third large group is Interfaith Moral Action on Climate.  They sent a letter signed by over 200 leading Evangelical Scientists to Congress urging steps to be taken to immediately address climate change in July last year.

Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu has called for an “Anti-Apartheid-style boycott” of the Fossil Fuels industry, reported in over a dozen newspapers, and discussed in dozens more.  ‘People of conscience’ must break ties with oil and gas companies that are destroying planet’s future, he says.

Some 100 Harvard faculty members signed a letter to the President and Fellows at Harvard to demand Harvard Corporation divest itself of stock in the fossil fuel industry April 10th.  Their statement begins, “We now know that fossil fuels cause climate change of unprecedented destructive potential.  We also know that many in this industry spend large sums of money to mislead the public, deny climate science, control legislation and regulation, and suppress alternative energy sources.”

Drew Faust, President of the Harvard, shied away, but agreed to appoint a “vice president for sustainable investing at Harvard Management Company.  Her reply is here.

Why are the faith people in it?  Because of too may stories like this one:
“Three (3) generations of oil and gas contamination in Colorado.”

Regard for people and for the natural world are just not in the book for corporate accounting.  There the mentality of Don Blankenship reigns supreme.

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Tampa Bay Times May 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Evangelicals in Florida turn to climate change and call on Gov. Scott to act

Tampa Bay Times, May 20, 2014

Evangelical leaders in Florida have taken on climate change as a cause and are trying to increase pressure on Gov. Rick Scott to take action, while criticizing Sen. Marco Rubio’s stance on the issue.

“He’s smarter than that,” Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland church in Longwood, said in an interview.

This evening, Hunter will moderate a discussion at his church on why Christians should care about climate change. Among the panelists is the Rev. Mich Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, who wrote a letter to Rubio about his widely publicized comments doubting man’s contribution to climate change.

Hescox is also gathering signatures for a petition aimed at Scott.

“As Christians, we believe that God’s grace empowers us to honestly confront the challenges we face and change for the better,” it reads. “We are failing to keep our air and water clean for our children, contributing to a changing climate that most hurts the world’s poor, and putting Floridians at risk as temperatures and sea levels continue to rise. To meet these challenges, we need leaders who understand our duty to God’s creation and future generations. That’s why we are calling on Gov. Rick Scott to create a plan to reduce carbon pollution and confront the impacts of a changing climate.”

Hunter, who is a spiritual advisor to President Obama, says he’s taken to urging congregants to do their part: Turning off lights that aren’t needed, setting air conditioning at a reasonable temperature, keeping car tires properly inflated.

He said he was neither panicked nor preoccupied with the issue. “But this is part of what I think is the moral responsibility of the church to lead in areas that can benefit and protect people.”

Asked about Rubio’s comments, he said: “There are certain aspects of this where qualified scientists could disagree, but not with the overwhelming conclusion. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I understand his political constituency and so does he.”

Rubio lashed out at liberal critics by saying they won’t accept the settled science that life begins at conception.

“I”m pro life so everything about it, I’m in,” Hunter said. “But even if that’s true, two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s not like you can prove the validity of your stance by saying the other side has a wrong stand. That’s not logical.”


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